USA, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize


Reports and stories from trips, planning of gatherings, questions about how to get there!
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diverobin
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USA, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize

Post by diverobin » Sat Feb 04, 2017 7:54 pm



In November of 2015 my girlfriend Katja and I arrived in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. We bought two bikes from Top Gear motorcycles. I chose a 1981 GL100i and Katja, because she had just two weeks earlier passed her bike test in Germany, went for a Suzuki GZ250. The Goldwing was promptly named Goldie, while the Suzuki was given the name Zorro. 





We spent the next couple of months travelling to Key West and then up through Florida, and finally to New Orleans, where we left the bikes in storage  to await our return and part two of our trip, which was to be to the west coast. 

While back at work in Germany for the following nine months, our plan changed. It would now be a trip through Texas, then Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and back up to the USA. Quite a difference!

So in November of 2016 we were back.
The shop we left the bikes with needed to do a bit more work on Goldie, but finally we were on the road for a shakedown ride around Lake Ponchitrain. All went well until we were at the furthest point from our base in New Orleans, then my throttle pull cable snapped. Oh joy. Well better now than later I guess! Recovery took us to the aptly named 'Friendly Powersports' of Slidel. The boss, Mark Goulding,  sorted out his initially reluctant staff, and his chief mechanic found an old stock cable of not quite the right length, and made it fit. He did such a good job that I haven't bothered to replace it with the proper cable I later obtained.

The next day our trip really started. Through Louisiana and overnight in Lafayette.




Sadly it was raining that evening so we didn't go out,  but had a nice evening in our Airbnb digs instead. The next day were headed for Texas.
We decided to go the southerly route, through Pelican Island and across the ferry at Cameron. It was a clear, sunny day, but with a heck of crosswind. Very nice route though, with hardly any traffic.


Lunch stop in Cameron, before the ferry.



Waiting for the short ferry crossing at Cameron.


After the ferry we carried on along the coast road, into Texas at Port Arthur and then stopped for the night at the Three Rivers Inn and Suites, a perfectly acceptable chain hotel. 

In the morning we hit the road for the longer ride into Austin Tx mainly along the 105. A decent ride...good road but avoiding the Interstate option, and through some interesting towns too.


In North Austin we had our first house/pet sitting assignment, found through trustedhousesitters.com. A nice condo, two dogs and a shy cat. One week there and then we had a chance to explore the famous Hill Country, to the west of Austin.
Cont. in part two.


If you reach the age of fifty years and you have not yet grown up, you don't have to. :lol:

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Re: USA, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize Part 1

Post by Aussie81Interstate » Sat Feb 04, 2017 8:29 pm

Wow that little Suzuki is loaded up...

Looking forward to part 2 :D

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diverobin
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USA, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize Part 2

Post by diverobin » Sat Feb 04, 2017 8:54 pm

Continuing our tour, we explored the hill country, to the west of Austin, Tx.
We went to Fredericksburg, a bit of a surprise especially for Katja, who is German. The strong German influence there is very clear, with even a German bakery where we had a breakfast. 


We also visited Lyndon B Johnson Ranch, known as the Texas Whitehouse,
and the next door living farm museum, highlighting the tough life of the German settlers of the 1800s.
https://www.nps.gov/lyjo/planyourvisit/ ... jranch.htm


Enchanted Rock is an inspiring setting, and Luckenbach is a must see...a real throwback to the old west.


Enchanted Rock


A shot of the bikes in Luckenbach




Luckenbach, Tx.


Rebecca Creek...stunning place



The whole area is well worth a visit, with some great riding roads. I can recommend the Peach Tree Inn, in Fredericksburg, for a base. Five minutes walk from the High Street and very reasonable rates, a comfy, old style motel with covered parking. And the owner is a biker too!
http://www.thepeachtreeinn.com.


In part three we move south to the border with Mexico










  
If you reach the age of fifty years and you have not yet grown up, you don't have to. :lol:

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Re: USA, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize Part 2

Post by dingdong » Sun Feb 05, 2017 9:47 am

Very interesting ride. Especially what is ahead of you. We have taken the hill country ride, even stayed in Fredericksburg. Keep us informed.

PS. You have more nerve than I do, riding into our southern neighbors territory. Good luck!
Tom

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

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USA, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize Part 3

Post by diverobin » Tue Feb 07, 2017 9:34 am

This part sees us hit the Mexican border at Los Indios.
We arrived at about 9am and the burocracy took about 90 minutes to complete, mostly the paperwork for the bikes. The weird yhing is, the guard stopped us, asked a few questions, then waved us on. No mention of getting passports stamped or bikes sorted, so we could have just ridden on into Mexico. We then had to park up and walk back to the aduana office to get the legal stuff done. 'You get 180 days', the passport guy said to me. Great, I thought, and didn't check....that would come back to bite later!

First stop in Mexico at a fuel station.




We rode all the way to Ciudad Victoria the first day, around 230 miles. Decent roads, not too busy. We checked into the Los Monteros hotel in the city centre. The very nice, fluent English speaking manager insisted we bring the bikes inside.


The bikes cozy inside the hotel.




The hotel was fine, and we had a walk and food in the bustling, friendly town. Lots of young people and familes out strolling..a nice atmosphere. I was a bit apprehensive, never having been in Mexico before, but never felt remotely threatened.

Next morning we rode south, having booked an Airbnb in the mountains near Ciudad Valles. Another good ride. The cabin we were staying at off the main road, about 1km down a dirt road, which got rockier too. I was daunted to say the least, but made it safely, if a bit sweaty!

At our cabin in the forest.


The route to the cabin


I was very glad it was dry the next morning when we left...that track would have been a nightmare had it been wet!


On the road in the mountains...great ride!






This day saw us ride to San Luis Potosi, another lovely colonial town, where we stayed at the Hostal Corathon de Xoconostle. And again the bikes came inside with us ;)
We stayed a few days in this pretty, friendly town, and the staff at the Hostal were very friendly and helpful.

More in part 4
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Re: USA, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize Part 3

Post by dingdong » Tue Feb 07, 2017 9:52 am

Thank you for the ride report. Keep them coming. More pics would be nice.
Tom

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

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Re: USA, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize

Post by OldZX11Rider » Mon Feb 13, 2017 5:48 pm

Has your riding partner got a longer inseam yet? My son had one of those 250's not that many years ago.
I can't imagine riding that all day long let alone on a multi-country trip.
I know people do it but not any fat boys! :lol:
Been to some of those places in Louisiana and Texas but still like seeing your pictures. :D
Keep the dirty side down and have fun!
For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain:

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USA, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize Part 4

Post by diverobin » Mon Feb 13, 2017 7:53 pm

This section takes us from San Miguel de Allende to Lake Chapala.

We headed from Allende to Guanajuato, an old silver mining town. we stayed at an Airbnb outside the town itself, a wise move, since it is all hills, tunnels and narrow, cobbled streets.

To guana
To guana

At our digs in Guanajuato

Guana airbnb
Guana airbnb




It is a picturesque town though, with a hill behind that you can scale using a funicular, or walk, if you have the energy...we walked down! The view from there is pretty awesome.

View guana
View guana


After a few days we moved on, this time to Chapala, on Lake Chapala, where we had our next house sitting job. Six dogs to look after for a week in a lovely house.

Guana
Guana

On the way, about 60 km from Chapala, the fuel pump on Goldie died. We were in a nasty position, a narrow shoulder on a busy road. I somehow got a bit if fuel into the carbs by pumping on the hoses, and we limped to the next town, just a few minutes up the road, where it died again, but at least we could get off the road. After some minutes of fruitless swearing a taco trailer guy pointed out that there was a 'mecanico' just down the road, so I trotted down there and in broken Spanish and sign language got him to understand. We then pushed the bike to his shop and he had at it. After making sure it was actually the pump, he took the top off, cleaned and replaced the valves, and Goldie started up! Awesome.

Me with the mecanico and his mate.

Mecanico
Mecanico




We carried on and reached our destination with no more trouble.

Me with our six charges for the week

Dogs
Dogs



While there I had a new rear tyre put on at The Sierra Shop in nearby Aijijic. A good outfit, they run tours as well as do repairs, specialising in BMW bikes.

Tyre
Tyre




After our week there, we went to the south of the lake, to an eco Airbnb called Kokolo Igloos. A beautiful place with a stunning view. The Igloos are sandbag construction. The place is off grid and very peaceful. Shame we only stayed one night.


If you reach the age of fifty years and you have not yet grown up, you don't have to. :lol:

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USA, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize Part 5

Post by diverobin » Mon Feb 13, 2017 8:21 pm

From Lake Chapala towards Mexico City


We left The lake heading east, along some dodgy roads until we joined the toll road. Our nights stop was in Morelia, at the Hostal Allende. They happily let us bring the bikes into the courtyard and we had a nice evening stroll around the centre, a very attractive square, with the posh hotels around it.

Morelia
Morelia

The next day we headed for Teotihuacan, near Mexico City, to see the ruins there.


All went well until the outskirts of the city when the fuel pump failed again! We were at a junction, a busy place, but I just got on with copying the mecanicos work, cleaning the valves and reassembling. Didn't work. After another couple of tries, she fired up! We carried on, the traffic was awful. We got to the entrance to a short stretch it toll road before Teotihuacan and our hotel, about 14 km away when she died again. It was getting dark. I tried and tried but nothing worked, I am afraid I lost my cool and got seriously upset at the universe. So much so that Katja left me and went on to the hotel. It was only with the help a a friendly young security guard at the toll booths that I was able to contact a recovery firm, and finally, some four hours later, arrived at the hotel.

The next day we visited the ruins. Truly spectacular, so much so that my mind was able to ignore the fuel pump problem for a few hours.

Teotihuacan
Teotihuacan


Teotihuacan
Teotihuacan

Later, I put out a plea for help on Goldwing Docs. The suggestions included an electric pump, with some references. Nothing to lose, so with help from a friendly local car mechanic and an even more helpful taxi driver, I located and bought a generic electric low pressure fuel pump from the nearby town. I plumbed it all in, wired it up, and bingo...she lives!

I am so glad you guys are here to help!

Fuel pump in place
Fuel pump in place

The next morning, after watching the balloons floating majestically over the ruins, we headed south.

Balloons
Balloons

If you reach the age of fifty years and you have not yet grown up, you don't have to. :lol:

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Re: USA, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize

Post by WingAdmin » Tue Feb 14, 2017 12:03 am

The repair looks good, glad it's kept you on the road! :)

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Re: USA, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize

Post by dingdong » Tue Feb 14, 2017 7:52 am

I just have to ask this question. What with all of the horror stories about the gangs and cartels in Mexico. Have you ever felt threatened?
Tom

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Re: USA, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize

Post by OldZX11Rider » Tue Feb 14, 2017 12:55 pm

I was curious about the same thing dingdong.
So much of the information we get about other places comes from the news media and television and their slant and what they want us to know.
Sadly, our news media is not a reliable source of information, but that's another story.
They seem to be having a great time, overall. And the photos show many inviting places. :)
For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain:

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Re: USA, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize

Post by diverobin » Tue Feb 14, 2017 5:58 pm

Hi guys,
Honestly, we have never felt even slightly threatened. Everyone we have met has been friendly, genuinely so, and very helpful when we needed help. We heard the stories too, but they appear to be unfounded. And yes, there are so many beautiful places here. I would recommend Mexico to anyone looking to visit somewhere a bit different.
If you reach the age of fifty years and you have not yet grown up, you don't have to. :lol:

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Re: USA, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize

Post by OldZX11Rider » Wed Feb 15, 2017 9:46 am

Happy to hear you're not experiencing any of the "horrors" we are always being warned about.
I do remember someone telling me, maybe 15 or 20 years ago, that the only problem areas were near the border and gangs in Mexico City were targeting tourists. The whole rest of the country was a good place to visit and cheap too! :D
For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain:

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USA, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize Part 6

Post by diverobin » Mon Feb 27, 2017 6:46 pm

While in Chapala, I forgot to mention, that I checked the documents received from the authorities at the Mexican border. I was shocked to notice that our visas were only valid for 30 days, despite them saying we had the standard 180. Should have looked!

A reassessment had us deciding to run for Guatemala quicker than we had planned, so off we went. The previous installment saw us get to Teotihuacan, and from there we went south to Orizaba.

To Orizaba
To Orizaba

On the way, at a toll booth, we chatted to a Mexican girl biker, Leona. Turned out she was waiting for her 'brothers' to join her. She asjed us to stay. The guys turned up soon, roaring in on a selection of bikes. They were members of 'Butres de Asfalto', a Mexican club with around 200 members. They invited us for food and drinks. we folliwed, a bit worried to be honest, to a village on our route where they handed out drinks. Very friendly, lots of laughter but not much English between them. After a while we followed them to a river picnic spot and they brought along tables and lots of food in a pick up. It was great, and they were genuinely warm and welcoming.
After a couple of funny hours we had to move on, our Airbnb was waiting, but it was a memorable encounter

Leona
Leona


Brothers
Brothers


Katja and Brothers
Katja and Brothers


Next day we went on to a town named Acayucan. An odd place. Close to the coast, we expected it to be quite modern, but it felt like a bit of a backwater. Nothing bad, just something of a forgotten town. Had a cheap meal at a little locals resaurant. Very noisy, with a young girl very loudly making tortillas in a metal press...Bang...another tortilla ready! Good food though.

To Acayucan
To Acayucan

The following day, to keep on schedule we needed to cross a mountain range and reach Tuxtla Gutierez. As luck would have it, the weather turned bad and it bucketed down almost all day. The first half of the way the road surface was terrible too, despite being a toll road. We finally arrived at our Airbnb tired, and soaked through.

To Tuxtla
To Tuxtla


The weather looked bad in the mountains the next day, and since we had a choice of route we opted for the more southerly, lower road to Comitan de Dominguez. It was a minor road, with some poorly maintained sections, but we made it.



To Comitan
To Comitan


Comitan was a surprise...a modern new town, with a lovely old town, very traditional looking, busy but not noisy. We stayed in a very sweet hostel, the bikes in the lobby.


The next day we headed for the Guatemalan border, but stopped on the way at a small archaeological site called Tenam Puente.
We met a guy named Kyle there...he is cycling from Canada to Ecuador ... made us feel like wimps!

Kyle
Kyle



Next...into Guatemala!

If you reach the age of fifty years and you have not yet grown up, you don't have to. :lol:
If you reach the age of fifty years and you have not yet grown up, you don't have to. :lol:

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Re: USA, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize

Post by WingAdmin » Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:04 pm

Eagerly waiting to hear the next part of this epic trip!

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USA, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize Part 7

Post by diverobin » Wed Mar 01, 2017 10:48 pm

After leaving the intrepid Kyle at the ruins we rode on the fairly short way to the border with Guatemala. The Mexican side was fast, efficient,  clean and very polite. Moving to the Guatemala gate was a bit of a difference! Chaotic would be the word...basically a street market right up to the barrier itself. Loud music blaring, people everywhere, just one lane left down the middle for traffic, and the customs and immigration offices in the middle of it all. The actual paperwork was done quite quickly and fuss free, but we did it one at a time,  the other one staying with the bikes.  Then we weaved our way out of the mayhem and onto the grand sounding Panamerican Highway.
In reality this a winding single carriageway road in not great condition, populated with slow trucks and insane bus drivers. Averge speed all the way to Huehuetenango of about 25mph.

To Huehuetenango<br />To Huehuetenango
To Huehuetenango
To Huehuetenango

Katja's rear brake pedal was somehow misadjusted. I asked her to leave it until we arrived at our destination but seeing a motorcycle mechanics place she wanted to pull in, so we did, The young guys there got out some tools and adjusted it.  They didn't ask for payment but we gave them a tip. Would have been good, but two miles later Katja pulls over ... the rear brake is sticking badly. Turns out they only tightened the cable, and I didnt spot it. I adjusted it back, and on we went.
We had not booked but got lucky in finding a decent hotel with parking for the night. we only went out briefly and probably paid too much for a roadside cafe meal, but we were pretty beat after what felt like a tough day.

Next morning I fixed that brake pedal properly and we went on...destination Lake Atitlan. The road improved, becoming an amazing dual carriageway swooping up and down through a set of mountains. I could have ridden it all day! Finally we turned down towards the lake, having hit around 9000 ft altitude. Through a small town of nasty cobbled roads and we arrived in Panajachel, on the lake, and still at about 5000ft.

To Atitlan
To Atitlan

We parked the bikes in 'reasonably' secure parking by the grandly named marina, really just a small wooden boat dock, and got a water taxi to Tzununa, a little village where we would stay in a hostel for a few nights.
Lake Atitlan is amazing. surrounded by mountains, including three volcanoes,  it is a truly beautiful place.

Atitlan
Atitlan

After out time at the lake we rode to the city of Antigua.

To Antigua
To Antigua

A lovely old colonial town, the ex capital city, now the whole place is a Unesco  heritage site. In many ways it's like stepping back in time. Great food, even from the street markets, the only bad thing is the roads...all big cobbles, part of the legacy I guess...pretty, but hell for vehicles. And looming behind is another volcano.

Antigua
Antigua


Antigueno
Antigueno

Our  accomodation was at the excellent Hostal Antigueno. The owner loves meeting over- landers, and always has bikes in the courtyard.

Then we headed for Rio Dulce, with an overnight stop in  Santa Cruz. For an unknown reason Goldie decided to run really badly. Clogged carburettor badly.
On arrival at the hotel Atlantico I cleared the fuel lines and filter but to no avail. The next day we made it to Rio Dulce but I was getting more worried about the engine problem.
Oh, but how beautiful is Rio Dulce? ! WE stayed at the Hotel Tortugal,  only accessible, as are most,  by water. The bikes were secure, so I relaxed and researched and asked on Goldwing docs for advice. A kayak trip on the river early in the morning was just what I needed, and the hotel is very relaxing. The riverwas so warm and inviting we swam too.

Hotel Tortugal
Hotel Tortugal


It was pointed out that the problem was almost certainly a blocked accelerator pump, needing a carb overhaul. No way I could do that. I decided to try carb cleaner into the air intakes and soaking the carbs in as much fuel cleaner as I could get in.  I did all that with no result the next morning, then left it to soak overnight.

Please get better!
Please get better!

Next morning we had to move on, to Tikal, and the archaeological site there. Needless to say, Goldie was tough to get going, and ran no better than before. Well, we made it to Tikal, where we camped for the night before an early morning exploration of the huge site. After about three hours walking, we packed and set off for Belize along a decent road. While we stopped for a drink we saw a fellow biker on a BMW, he was from Denmark according to his licence plate, but strangely he didn't bother to stop to chat. Each to his own I guess.

Next time...Belize!
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Re: USA, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize

Post by WingAdmin » Thu Mar 02, 2017 12:00 pm

If that accelerator jet is clogged, no amount of cleaner will unclog it - you have to have the cleaner moving through the jet in order for it to do its work. A small guitar string pushed through perhaps...but not really on-the-road maintenance.

How did Katja do on those huge cobbles, being a relatively new rider?

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Re: USA, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize

Post by diverobin » Thu Mar 02, 2017 1:38 pm

Hi
Katja does really well, given that so much is new for her. Riding a Goldwing on such trying roads is tough for me mind you...physically tough sometimes. Those cobbles were the worst, given that the surface they are on is not smooth either, but lumpy.
She actually takes a lot of care, which means I probably go slower than I would if I was alone...a good thing.
If you reach the age of fifty years and you have not yet grown up, you don't have to. :lol:

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Re: USA, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize

Post by diverobin » Thu Mar 02, 2017 1:40 pm

Oh yeah...development about the clogged carburettor coming up in the next installment.
If you reach the age of fifty years and you have not yet grown up, you don't have to. :lol:

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USA, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize Part 7

Post by diverobin » Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:41 pm

On entering Belize, the border formalities again took longer than necessary, in my view...they could simplify it if they wanted to...and provide some shade to park in...it's the tropics for goodness sake! Hot and bothered we then had to stop again a hundred metres down the road to buy obligatory insurance. At least that office was air conditioned.

Belize route
Belize route

Then it was a short ride to San Ignacio, and our hostel for the next few nights, Bella's Backpackers. It turns out that Bella is the owner's daughter.
Couldn't bring the bikes in, but it's on a quiet little road and so we left them,  covered, right outside the window.

At Bella's
At Bella's

Next day I had a look for the slow puncture I picked up in Tikal. Sure enough, found the culprit...a little piece of wire. I plugged it and put a bit of air in with my trusty bicycle pump. Seemed ok.

Repair!
Repair!



Next day in the morning I went to the gas station to pump the tyre properly, since it had deflated a little. Goldie started as rough as she had ever been recently. But after warming up and getting a couple of miles down the road, she coughed, spluttered, smoked, then cleared! She started running smoothly again. I went to the gas station, did a few more miles,  then back to the hostel.

Later that day we rode to the Mennonite town of Spanish Lookout, 16 miles away. These people are like the Amish, but use technology in their farming. They apparently turned around the farming in Belize and made them almost self sufficient in many basic foods.  Their community is like stepping into modern farmland America. The roads are great, and everything is spotless. Goldie ran perfectly there and back.

Next day we left to go to Hopkins, on the Caribbean coast.  Sadly, Goldie started very rough again, coughing and backfiring even. Twelve miles down the road, she coughed, hacked and burped, then suddenly became smooth again! Via Belmopam, no reason to stop there, down the beautifully named Hummingbird Highway.

Hummingbird Highway
Hummingbird Highway

This improved road winds through lush jungle, and is a wonderful ride. We stopped at a weird cafe in a house for a fruit juice. It looked like a voodoo haunt, but turns out the owner. A local,  built it himself. He was just decrying the lack of business this year. We were glad to help him out a little.

Voodoo cafe
Voodoo cafe



Hopkins is a beach village...just a couple of dirt roads parallel  to the beach. We stayed at the Funky Dodo hostel, run by a German Polish couple, who are both naturalised Americans. It a well run place, and their cat decided she loved Goldie!


Funky Dodo
Funky Dodo


Cat and Goldie
Cat and Goldie


Beach at Hopkins
Beach at Hopkins



After Hopkins we went all the way to Orange Walk. A bit of a weird place, but we found a decent hotel, the hotel de la Fuentes. Next day, getting out of Belize was easier than entering had been. Them we had to do all the Mexican side again.
For some unknown reason Katja's card would not work for her deposit, and they would not accept me to pay. I had to race into Chetumal, the nearby town to get cash out, then find a change bureau, since they only accept cash in US Dollars! Finally we got through, and we're in Quintana Roo, Mexico again
If you reach the age of fifty years and you have not yet grown up, you don't have to. :lol:

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diverobin
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USA, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize Part 8

Post by diverobin » Wed Mar 29, 2017 9:17 pm

Once into Mexico again we headed north a little, then west on a dead straight, flat road with jungle either side, to the coastal resort town of Mahahual. It's a small place, though growing, totally dedicated to tourism. It reminded me very much of Sharm el Sheikh, where I used to work, in Egypt. We arranged to go diving, but the weather turned up very windy, so that was off. Great beach though, and we hung out with a friendly iguana for a while.

Mahahual
Mahahual

Next we arrived in Tulum, a town of two parts. Along the road is the main town, busy, noisy, with all the tour and ticket offices, restaurants, shops, while a few kilometres away is the beach area, where the better hotels are. We arranged to dive in a Cenote the next day (Cenote are caves where part of the roof has collapsed, leaving them open to the air). That was worthwhile...warm gin clear water, swimming among stalactites and stalagmites. A bit too busy, but still great.
Also in Tulum are the only Mayan ruins built at a beach. Very scenic.

Tulum
Tulum


Tulum 2
Tulum 2


La Negrita, our hostel in Tulum
La Negrita, our hostel in Tulum

After Tulum we went Playa del Carmen, but the less said about that place the better. Just a not very nice modern touristy city. we only stayed one night anyway, and then headed for the ruins of Chichen Itza, in mid Yucatan. While at our Airbnb I managed to get an oil change done on both bikes. The owner of the place wanted the old oil. ..he mixes it with a little diesel and treats his wooden building with it to keep out the termites.

Tikal
Tikal

The ruins at Chicgen Itza are pretty special, well worth seeing.

Tikal 2
Tikal 2

Then we carried on into the heart of the Yucatan. Jungle all around, but not the lush typically tropical jungle we saw in Belize. This is dense, scrubby jungle on almost completely flat land. It has its own beauty, but I wouldn't want to walk through it!
We stopped overnight at The Pickled Onion, a lovely cabana style hotel run by an eccentric English lady.

Pickled onion
Pickled onion

Then on towards the coast again, and the town of Champoton, an old fishing town, now more of a truckstop. The road through on the coast is modern, with hotels on one side and fishermen clinging to their way of life on the other, trucks barging through in between. But just a few streets inland is the real town. A bit dirty, but lively and quite charming. We found a place to get some cheap food, and got some fruit to take back to the hotel.

Champoton
Champoton

It was about here that I really grasped just how big Mexico is. it's a really long road from the Yucatan back to the states!
If you reach the age of fifty years and you have not yet grown up, you don't have to. :lol:

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diverobin
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USA, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize Part 9

Post by diverobin » Wed Mar 29, 2017 10:09 pm


Yucatan 1
Yucatan 1

The route from part 8

Yucatan 2
Yucatan 2

The route from this part

The road out of Champoton for the first 50 or so kms was great, along the coast, nice and flat, with light traffic.

After Champoton
After Champoton

Turning inland we hit some roadworks. It's good that they are improving the roads, but why such long stretches? They tend to rip up several kilometres, lay d I wn some big gravelly stones and let you drive on it. Well, in a 4x4 that's fine, but on bikes it's really not fine. And not just once, but several times. Oh well, grin and carry on, I guess. We eventually got to Palenque, to a nice air bnb with monkeys ready to come from the trees and eat bananas from our hands. Very special
More ruins in the morning...very specially situated, nestling in lush, jungle laden hills. The most beautiful yet.

Palenque 1
Palenque 1


Palenque 2
Palenque 2


Then into the mountains. Difficult riding...twisty roads, bad surfaces, and in the villages (and there are a lot of villages) speed bumps. So many speed bumps. I now have a pathological hatred of speed bumps. Very slow going. four hours to do 120 kms. By the time we reached Ocosingo we had had enough. Luckily I had scoped out a good hotel there, and so we stopped, just as it started to rain.

Ocosingo
Ocosingo

The next day was the same...same distance, same roads, same speed bumps...Grrr! BUT finally into San Cristobal de las Casas. At 8000ft, a colonial town, very traditional looking and very much like Antigua Guatemala, but without the cobbled roads, thank goodness.

San Cristobal de las Casas
San Cristobal de las Casas

The following day we left San Cristobal, out of the mountains on a great road for a change. An amazing ride swooping down from 8000ft to 3000 in what seemed like a Playstation game. Fantastic views of the valley to our left, all the way to Tuxtla Gutierez, where we stopped en route to Guatemala. This time it was just a fuel stop, then onward and downward toward the Pacific coast, past Slains de la Cruz and turning a bit north. We stopped around 4pm, tired and hot, at a decent hotel by the road which later became quite busy with other travellers.
Next morning we carried on to find, not far down the road, a huge line of trucks, stopped by a roadblock. I have no idea what the protest was about, but the line of vehicles was 5km on each side!
They let us through, thankfully, but our joy was shortlived. A few kms later my rear tyre was nearly flat.

Puncture
Puncture

I found a piece of metal in it, just the same as the one I took out in Belize, so I think it had been there all the time! I did a repair with a plug, then to my dismay, in trying to inflate it, my pump broke. I got a few pounds in it, and with no option, began to ride, very slowly. Luckily there was a gas station just 2 km up the road where I was able to re inflate it properly. After a pause to be sure, we carried on.
The aim had been to reach Puerto Escondido, but with all the delays we decided to stop 100 kms short, at a seaside town. Not pretty, but we just needed a rest, and stayed in the cheapest room we could find. Next morning I located an Autozone, of all things, and purchased a decent foot pump, before continuing the short ride to Puerto Escondido, where we had arranged to stay a few days at a quiet retreat, called appropriately, The Sanctuary.
If you reach the age of fifty years and you have not yet grown up, you don't have to. :lol:

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Re: USA, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize

Post by WingAdmin » Wed Mar 29, 2017 10:34 pm

Amazing...I wonder what the reason is for all of the speed bumps? Could you be speeding through the villages otherwise, with the condition of the roads?

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diverobin
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Re: USA, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize

Post by diverobin » Wed Mar 29, 2017 11:20 pm

It's frustrating because personally I would go slowly through the villages anyway. I can only guess that some of bus and truck drivers are irresponsible, and would go too fast. Can't really blame the villagers for wanting to make them slow down...didn't help my mood though!


If you reach the age of fifty years and you have not yet grown up, you don't have to. :lol:

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