The plan is to swing back through for a tire and oil change on my way south again, but this felt like leaving.
Julio shows up for our 7:00 am start. Julio’s been riding in Central America for 30 years. He rode out for a couple of the shakedowns in the last few days, including taking Taz me and Bo to a Macadamia Nut ranch for lunch one day.
A couple of days ago we went for a group ride. Julio and his wife Luisa, Taz and Abbey, Bo and Claudia and me. Parking lot portrait shots, haha
So back to the story.
Julio shows up and without killing his engine, smiles and said *shall we go?* and off we went. Julio refers to Guatemalans as mountain people and he’s got a mountain route planned accordingly.
Our first stop is at the ruins of Iximche (now normally I’d add some research to all this but since this is a multi-post evening I’ve got to motor through some of it. And I need space to write up the kidnapping. Ha, now you’re hooked)
Then it’s that damn blast through Chimaltenango
Then on through the tightening landscape, into the hills. Guatemala, a small country, has a population of 12M and 3M live in the CIty. So no matter what view you have (in the south and southwest) you see and travel through pueblos frequently. The towns look like they’re poured into the valley bottoms. More later.
Here’s Julio navigating us there
Up in the hills again Julio tells me Canadian mining companies are the diablo here right now. Signs are graffiti’d with their pissed-offness. Lucinda growls as we go by *leave my boy alone*. She’s so sweet
Why so dark? Because the minute we arrived a thunderstorm rolled in. This was to happen each night at roughly the same time. It started with a heavy hail and kept up until after I was asleep. I was concerned the dirt ride in was going to be quagmire leaving.
The ride in
Then back into the hills. Julio and I reckon that in 200 miles we’ve not ridden a straight more than 500 yards long. Endless bliss. Although the roads are sometimes sketchy and nearly always dirty. I’m getting my riding form back, i.e.. not thinking about it.
But look out for the road hazards
We go through a series of towns that are full of Mayans
I hope you’re clicking on the videos. They give a good impression of riding through this country! And they’re a pain to edit and upload.
Each one has a stage set up. Julio finds out quickly that the President of Guatemala is stumping the area. He says the Mayans have been trucked in and they won’t understand a word he says anyway. Each town is crawling with security. We watch a bomb dog at the first town spend a full 30 minutes sniffing the stage.
Later it’s my turn through town. I think I’m doing a masterful job it but Julio points out I’ve gone down two one-way streets the wrong way. But I’m having fun. Time to stop with that
It’s a great dirt ride in and we arrive at another of Juilo’s secret finds. This time another farm house, but with an equestrian bent. The ride to it is about 10 miles of high-altitude plain, with sparsely spaced, poor, homesteads. As Julio passed a small group of 20-somethings they make menacing gestures at him. I talk to him about this immediately we arrive. He blows it off. But maybe just for my benefit.