Crash – Damage – Unrideable Motorcycle


Southern Route Traffic Jam

I woke up early to meet Brad at the Iglesia Católica de Godínez church in Godínez on the Antigua side of Lake Atitlán. Before I left I grabbed my bag of tools and entered the coordinates into my GPS.

The trip was doomed from the start 🙁

My GPS took me south along highway 2. I was expecting it to take me along highway 1 which seemed more direct. But I know that sometimes my GPS takes me a faster route rather than the most direct. Case in point was my ride to Santiago Atitlán where it took me the longer route because the road conditions were much better. So I really didn’t think much of going along highway 2.

I reached a section in the road where they were twinning the highway. There was also a traffic jam for as long as I could see. Others were cutting across the median onto the road that was being constructed to try and get around the cars. I did the same thing. Eventually though there was a traffic jam on both routes.

I started to snake around the cars as I had done before. The lineup went for miles! Eventually the cars started to move. I have no idea what caused the jam as I didn’t see anything. But now I was late to see Brad at 10 am. In an effort not to be too late I started to ride faster.

Bad Coordinates

As I approached the town of Mazatenango I started to get concerned that I was not on the right route. I stopped and pulled out me cell phone and looked at where I was on

CRAP! I was way off. I must have entered in the wrong coordinates. Now I was really going to be late. Anyone who knows me knows that I hate to be late and I usually arrive early to everything.

I would have notified Brad but I had no SIM in my cell phone and he said he had none in his either. So he would just be waiting at the church for me. I was anxious.

I now was trying to get back on track and riding faster than I should. Not really fast, but faster than I should have given the poor road conditions.

Road Conditions

The roads here were filled with massive potholes. Along the way citizens were shoveling dirt into them and then asking for donations from passing cars. These potholes along with unmarked topes (speed bumps) would sometimes catch me by surprise.


Hurrying to meet Brad, I entered into a “S” curve. As I did, there was one of those huge potholes right around the corner. CRAP! I hit it.

I don’t remember too much other than I was hanging onto the bike and trying to stop the bike and control the wobble. As the bike slowed to a stop at the side of the road it fell over.

Instinctively I picked up the bike and put down the kickstand. The electronics were still on and my tire warning light was on. I looked at my front tire and it was flat. It also looked like the rim was damaged. To want extent I didn’t know.


I checked the tire and spotted a hole in it.

Good Samaritan

Frankly, I didn’t know what I was going to do. I pulled out my tire repair kit and stood there for a bit in a bit of shock. Thoughts were racing through my mind … I am late for Brad …. how am I going to fix this …. what am I going to do now …. I could be here for hours …. stupid me …. why did I hurry …. I can’t contact anyone as I have no SIM and I forgot my Spot Tracker at the hotel.

Oh how a Saturday ride in Guatemala is so different that one back home in Canada.

Another thought that came to mind is something I had heard at various Horizon Unlimited meetings I had attended. Speakers would say that when you break down, just relax, and look with anticipation on who will rescue you and the people you will meet.

It wasn’t long before a couple stopped to help me out. We tried to pump up my tire with my pump but it just would hold air.

Oh …. another bad thing … while I brought my pump it needs an adapter to connect to my motorcycle outlet. I left my adapter at the hotel with my electronics 🙁 We had to use the couple’s car outlet. Another lesson learned.

Police to the Rescue

As we were wondering what to do next, an Anti Narcotics Police patrol pulled up behind. There was an armoured vehicle as well as a pick up.

The best I could I explained what had happened.

The Officer in charge said to load my motorcycle in his truck and he would take me into town to a tire repair place. That’s what we did.


Notice the chickens in the picture. I bugged them that that was their dinner ha ha. The chickens later died at the tire repair shop.

Tire Repair

About 5 km up the road was a tire repair shop. They didn’t have the tools to deal with my BMW bolts and screws. Luckily, I had my tool kit with me and they used that.



They repaired the hole, put the tire back on and filled it with air. As they did there was a loud bang. Another part of the tire exploded leaving another hole. It was fruitless. The tire was damaged beyond repair.


While they were repairing the tire, we looked at the forks. Both fork seals had blown and it looked like one of the forks was bent.


Basically, the motorcycle was unrideable, even if the tire could be repaired.

Police to the Rescue Again

The Officer in Charge of the police unit was awesome!! He said …well … lets load the motorcycle back up and we will search for a person with a truck to take me back to my hotel in Antigua – a long ways away.

They stopped at several places and asked people. The answer was no. The Officer started making phone calls. I was just in a bit of a daze looking out the window.

One thing about me, I really feel uncomfortable with people doing things for me. I don’t know why, maybe because I don’t like to impose on people. Or perhaps I feel more secure being in control. But in this case I had no other option than to trust and rely on this police unit.

Eventually, we came to this major town. They turned the corner and stopped. The Officer in Charge pointed to this small, wreckedy old truck and asked if this was good enough. What was I going to say ha ha. The cost would be 800 Q or about $150 Canadian to take me to Antigua. That was far cheaper than the 2,000 Q the police said it would probably cost me.

The process of transferring my motorcycle started.





As the police departed we shook hands and I offered some money for their dinner. They declined and the Officer in Charge said it is prohibited.

You know …. you hear a lot of horror stories about Mexican and Central American police. But these police officers at least, were the most kindest and helpful you will ever meet. I am not sure if the police back in home in Canada would have done the same thing. I am ashamed to say that I would have been reluctant to do so. Of course we have other services like tow trucks to deal with these issues.

Back to Antigua

The ride back to Antigua was slow. My motorcycle was almost as big as the truck so we moved slowly. Also, unlike me, he drove slow to avoid the huge potholes.



As luck would have it the clouds rolled in and it started to pour.



We got back to my hotel at 6 pm. A long day since I left at 7 am to meet Brad at 10 am.

We unloaded my motorcycle and as the driver left he gave me a big hug and wished me well. People are so kind here.


I was exhausted, hungry and discouraged. At the same time I had a sense of satisfaction. I had made it. People are good. I had survived.

To both commiserate and celebrate, I headed to the Londoner Pub in Antigua for a beer and chicken curry.

My server was awesome and spent time talking with me … just what I needed.




I hadn’t had anything to eat all day. So the beer went to my head fast ha ha.

Off to bed that night knowing tomorrow would be another day of trying to get my motorcycle to the repair shop in Guatemala City.

My Route there and back for May 27, 2017

bike accident

Great Views, Bad Roads and a Protest

Today ended up being a day of great views, bad roads and a protest!

Leaving the Hotel

My usual practice it to leave whenever I get up and get ready. No alarms 🙂 Alarms remind me of work and answering to the schedule of others.

Before I left the Hotel Tiosh Abaj I walked down to their waterfront to take some pictures.




Now it was time to ride around the other side of Lake Atitlán.

Great Views and Bad Roads

I was anticipating the roads to be much as they were yesterday – paved with topes and some potholes. Well, the first few kilometers were. Then it hit. The paved road turned into washed out dirt. Obviously it had rained hard and now the remnants of rivers ran down and across the road. I kept say to myself, “don’t drop it, don’t drop it.” I suppose I shouldn’t have been focusing on the negative. As the road went up hill and turned it just became worse.

Was I even on the right road? The map showed this as a major road. I was encouraged when I was a number of cars also taking the road. However, the cars were all over the road just like I was trying to find the right line. This made the blind corners dangerous. A few times I have to navigate to the very edge of the road as a car took a blind corner wide.

As I entered the towns along the way the road would become paved. Phew! In one town, I can’t remember the name, the main road was blocked for a market. I went around and my GPS was saying to go down an unpaved, narrow, potholed, dirt road in the town. Surely this couldn’t be the way to a major center like Antigua where I was heading. I stopped and asked someone and they said yes, that was the way to Antigua. I should have taken pictures of the roads. But I was took focused on getting through this.

I did get some pictures of the views I passed though 🙂






Eventually, I made it back to where I started to go around the Lake. This highway was a major highway and really nice. I could finally relax as I rode the last leg to Antigua. All of sudden I encountered a long line of trucks. Immediately I thought of my time just outside of Oaxaca, Mexico, when I ran into the same thing. That time it was teachers blocking the road in protest. I was hoping that wasn’t the case here.

I weaved my way around the trucks. Many of the drivers were sitting under their trailers eating. That wasn’t a good sign.

I was approached by two women who told me to turn around. I ignored them.

Finally I reached the front. Yup, it was a bunch of protesters blocking the highway.

protest 2

A couple of police officers approached me. One spoke a little English but left. I tried my best to converse with the other officer. He didn’t speak any English. I reached into my tank bag and gave him an Abbotsford Police shoulder flash that I had been carrying.

Others would saunter around my motorcycle looking at it. My bike is huge compared to what they ride.

I thought about just coasting around the protest kind of stealthily. There was room to do that. But I didn’t want to be disrespectful to the protesters or cause any unnecessary problems for myself. So I waited.

protest 3

The clouds/fog rolled in and I thought just maybe the protest would end. It didn’t.

At one point, on the other side of the protest, a group of motorcyclist riding what looked like to be Harleys, approached the protest. They revved their engines. Immediately, people came from around the protest to form a solid blockade against them. It was a stand off. The Harleys were rebuffed. They turned around and roared off.

All of a sudden there was commotion. People scattered. The protesters ran to waiting buses. The police blocked all the traffic. Cars started honking horns. The police officer who I gave the shoulder flash to waved me to the front. With the wave of the police officer’s hands it was like the start to an Indy 500 race. We were off! I raced out front.

It wasn’t long and I was in Antigua and safely resting in my hotel.

My Route for May 23, 2017


Riding Around Lake Atitlán to Santiago Atitlán

I set off to ride around Lake Atitlán to Santiago Atitlán. Lake Atitlán was something I was really looking forward to seeing.

Wikipedia on Lake Atitlán

Wikipedia has this to say about Lake Atitlán:

Lake Atitlán is the deepest lake in Central America with a maximum depth of about 340 metres (1,120 ft) with an average depth of 220 metres (720 ft). Its surface area is 130.1 km2 (50.2 sq mi). It is approximately 12 by 5 km with around 20 km3 of water. Atitlán is technically an endorheic lake, feeding into two nearby rivers rather than draining into the ocean. It is shaped by deep surrounding escarpments and three volcanoes on its southern flank. The lake basin is volcanic in origin, filling an enormous caldera formed by an eruption 84,000 years ago. The culture of the towns and villages surrounding Lake Atitlán is influenced by the Maya people. The lake is about 50 kilometres (31 mi) west-northwest of Antigua. It should not be confused with the smaller Lake Amatitlán.

Lake Atitlán is renowned as one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, and is Guatemala’s most important national and international tourist attraction. German explorer and naturalist Alexander von Humboldt called it “the most beautiful lake in the world,” and Aldous Huxley famously wrote of it in his 1934 travel book Beyond the Mexique Bay: “Lake Como, it seems to me, touches on the limit of permissibly picturesque, but Atitlán is Como with additional embellishments of several immense volcanoes. It really is too much of a good thing.”

The first volcanic activity in the region occurred about 11 million years ago, and since then the region has seen four separate episodes of volcanic growth and caldera collapse, the most recent of which began about 1.8 million years ago and culminated in the formation of the present caldera. The lake now fills a large part of the caldera, reaching depths of up to 600 metres.

The caldera-forming eruption is known as Los Chocoyos eruption and ejected up to 300 km3 (72 cu mi) of tephra. The enormous eruption dispersed ash over an area of some 6 million km²: it has been detected from Florida to Ecuador, and can be used as a stratigraphic marker in both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans (known as Y-8 ash in marine deposits).A chocoyo is a type of bird which is often found nesting in the relatively soft ash layer.

Since the end of Los Chocoyos, continuing volcanic activity has built three volcanoes in the caldera. Volcán Atitlán lies on the southern rim of the caldera, while Volcán San Pedro and Volcán Tolimán lie within the caldera. San Pedro is the oldest of the three and seems to have stopped erupting about 40,000 years ago. Tolimán began growing after San Pedro stopped erupting, and probably remains active, although it has not erupted in historic times. Atitlán has developed almost entirely in the last 10,000 years and remains active, with its most recent eruption having occurred in 1853.

During the Guatemalan Civil War, the lake was the scene of many terrible human rights abuses, as the government pursued a scorched earth policy. Indigenous people were assumed to be universally supportive of the guerrillas who were fighting against the government, and were targeted for brutal reprisals. At least 300 Maya from Santiago Atitlán are believed to have disappeared during the conflict.

Two events of this era made international news. One was the assassination of Stanley Rother, a missionary from Oklahoma, in the church at Santiago Atitlán in 1981. In 1990, a spontaneous protest march to the army base on the edge of town was met by gunfire, resulting in the death of 11 unarmed civilians. International pressure forced the Guatemalan government to close the base and declare Santiago Atitlán a “military-free zone.” The memorial commemorating the massacre was damaged in the 2005 mudslide.

Santiago Atitlán is the largest of the lakeside communities, and it is noted for its worship of Maximón, an idol formed by the fusion of traditional Mayan deities, Catholic saints, and conquistador legends. The institutionalized effigy of Maximón is under the control of a local religious brotherhood and resides in various houses of its membership during the course of a year, being most ceremonially moved in a grand procession during Semana Santa. Several towns in Guatemala have similar cults, most notably the cult of San Simón in Zunil.

The Ride to Santiago Atitlán

I started the day by putting in the coordinates for my hotel in Santiago Atitlán. I assumed my GPS would take me around the near side of the lake to Santiago Atitlán at the bottom and then I would ride the other side of the Lake the next day to Antigua.

It wasn’t until it was too late that I noticed my GPS was taking to the far side of the Lake. Huuuummmm

The ride around the Lake was simply amazing. One of those places you can’t help but look at in awe.







Santiago Atitlán

As usual I arrived at my hotel, Hotel Tiosh Abaj, in Santiago Atitlán in the early afternoon. The hotel I could see was either a once really nice hotel or one that was overbuilt. By that I mean it had fountains and pools everywhere. But they were not being maintained and didn’t have water in them. I am sure it is much too expensive to keep them going. Regardless, it was pretty nice. Lots of greenery.



atitlan-hotel motorcycle-4

There was a security guard and gate at the entrance so my motorcycle was safe 🙂

After booking in I went for a walk around town.




I looked for a place to eat and didn’t find anything to my liking. But there were lots of coffee shops. So I stopped for a coffee.



It was a great day of riding and exploring the town. Looking forward to riding the other half of the lake tomorrow.

My Route for May 22, 2017



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