Doug Ruth's 1996/97 Trip Report Summary #2

Date: Fri, 8 Nov 1996 10:15:32 -0800
To: BMW -GS motorcycles mailing list 
Subject: Trip Report - October Summary

                          October Summary


I'm writing (and hopefully sending) this from Antigua Guatemala.on November


Oct  2 - Mexican/Belize border at Santa Elena Belize, near Chetumal, Mexico.
Oct 12 - Belize/Guatemalan border at Benque Viejo del Carmen, Belize and
         Ciudad Melchor de Mencos, Guatemala


- Sheared a stud which is part of the left front bracket for my Jesse
  luggage.  That bolt also bolts the rear subframe to the main frame.
  Incidently this is the 2nd time this has happened to me, the first being
  in Baja on a previous trip.  This happened on the potholed and washboard
  road from Flores, in the north Peten of Guatemala, to Poptun in the south
  of the Peten.

  The problem was compounded, by IMHO a poor design in which the stud is
  welded to the bracket, precluding simply replacing it with another

  Fortunately the Finca (ranch) I stayed at that nigh had a machine shop
  and I was able to fix it the way I should have after it broke the first
  time: by drilling and tapping the bracket to accept a bolt from the
  other side.  That way when it breaks again, which it most likely will,
  all I have to do is back out the remnants of the broken bolt and replace
  it with a new bolt.

- Was able to rerivet and repair my seat latch at the ranch also.

- The brake pads for my Harrison caliper wore out after only 10K miles, and
  I had to replace them with my only spare set.  I'll need to acquire
  one or two more sets before this trip is over.

- Another rear flat tire in San Pedro La Laguna on Lake Atitlan, Guatemala.

- Steering head bearing have developed a slight notch at center, but nothing
  which is a problem.

- Bought a new set of Bridgestone tires in Guatemala City (actually on
  November 5)




- In Todos Santos, in the Guatelaman highlands north of Huehuetenango, I had
  my "fake" wallet pickpocketed.  I say "fake" because it contained only
  expired credit cards and an expired drivers license.  Normally I only
  carry one day's supply of cash, but I had gotten a bit lax and had
  about 3*4 days cash, 450Q or about US$90.  It was in my right, rear
  pants pocket, which has a velcro flap.  It happened somewhere among the
  large crowds watching a horse "race" (see below).  From now on I'll carry
  my replacement "fake" wallet in a front pants pocket.

  My "real" wallet, which has my credit cards, ATM card, and drivers license
  is kept in an inside, zipped pocket of my Mountainsmith Tourpack which
  I always carry with me when I'm off the bike.


- Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary in Belize - many different species of

- Bermudian Landing Community Baboon Sanctuary - Howler monkeys actually,
  but they're called baboons in Belize.

- Mountain Pine Ridge, Belize - Caves, waterfalls, cascades, and pools.

- Caracol Mayan Ruins, Belize - Spectacular ruins in a lush jungle setting.
  Highest manmade structure in Belize.  Fun G/S road to get there.

- Tikal Mayan Ruins, Guatemala - Majestic pyramids surrounded by jungle.
  From the top of Temple 4 watched spider monkeys and toucans in the
  treetops below.

- Road from Flores (near Tikal) south to Rio Dulce - great G/S road, though
  the potholes and washboard can be rough on the bolts.

- Antigua, Guatemala - old colonial architecture, cobblestone streets,
  good restaurants, spectacular volcanos looming overhead, great place
  to hang out for several days, or even a week.

- Lake Atitlan, Guatemala - Beautiful lake surrounded by three 9000+ foot
  volcanoes, with 10 or so small villages along it's shores.

- Road around Lake Atitlan - I rode completely around the lake, something
  that every guidebook I had read implied was next to impossible to do.
  It nearly was, as a couple steep, rocky uphill stretches had my feet off
  the pegs and me grabbing as much throttle as I could to keep my forward
  momentum going.

- Todos Santos, Guatemala - Culmenation of their weeklong festival on All
  Saints Day, November 1.  Highlight of the day was the horse "race" in
  which participants rode from one end of the town to the other, stopping
  at each end to take a drink. The "winner" was the rider still on his
  horse at the end of the day.

- Chichicastenango, Guatemala - big Sunday marketplace.


The following is a brief summary of my route, naming thecity/town I stayed
in that night.

1       Chetumal. Quintana Roo, Mexico
2       Crossed the border into Belize
2-3     Corozal, Belize
4-5     Crooked Tree, Belize
6       Bermudian Landing, Belize
7-8     San Ignacio, Belize
9       Douglas de Silva, Belize (Mountain Pine Ridge Preserve Ranger Statio
10-11   Clarissa Falls, Belize (just west of San Ignacio)
12      Crossed the border to Guatemala
12      Flores, Guatemala, island in Lake Peten Itza
13-14   El Remate, on the shore of Lake Peten Itza
15-18   Poptun, Guatemala
19      Ranchito del Quetzal
20-25   Antigua, Guatemala
26      Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
27      Santiago Atitlan, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
28-29   San Pedro La Laguna, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
30      Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
31      Todos Santos, Guatemala
1       Todos Santos, Guatemala
2-3     Chichicastenango, Guatemala
4-7     San Bartolome Milpas Atlas, Guatemala (near Antigua)


- When I leave here, hopefully tomorrow November 8, I will head to the
  Honduran border near the town of Copan Ruinas, near the Mayan ruins of
  the same name.

- From there I don't know what my route through Honduras will be; I need
  to study my guidebook more.

- I do know I will travel from Honduras to Nicaragua to Costa Rica and then
  to Panama.  I'll pick up El Salvador on the way back north.

- I plan to travel through the remaining Central American countries faster
  than I have travelled through Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala.  I can see
  things I miss when I return on my way north.  I'd rather run out of time
  or money when I'm back in Central America, rather than down in South
  America.  From California it's easier to come back to Central America
  than it is to South America.

Doug Ruth