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


Quetzaltenango, Guatemala

After some research that said Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, was a university town where students frequented coffee shops, I decided to spend a few days there. It sounded relaxing! I like students, universities and coffee shops 🙂

Hotel Hamilton

I chose Hotel Hamilton because it was close to the main plaza, it was highly recommended, and it was below my budget! It turned out to be really nice. The room was basic but the TV had a couple of English channels.


The compound was very secure for my motorcycle.


The grounds had nice green grass and a roaming rabbit.


And there was a little outdoor lounge where I spent time on my computer and relaxing.


The Streets of Quetzaltenango

After walking around the city I really didn’t see it as a university town. It looked more like an industrial town to me with little pockets of peace.





Parque a Centro América

The main place of peace was the Parque a Centro América. It is the main plaza in the historic center of town.



Of course the church, Catedral Del Espiritu Santo, is the main building bordering the plaza.




But the whole plaza lacked some vibrancy. I think it was because there were no patios around the plaza where people could gather, eat and drink, and watch people. The closest to this was a bar where I had to look through a gate.


Just up from the plaza was another little refuge, the town theater.


Guatemalan Police

My big entertainment one afternoon is watching the police check a bunch of young people gathered in the center of the main plaza.



Coffee Shops

One of my rituals is to find a nice coffee shop in the morning for breakfast and to work on posts and answer emails. The only thing around the main plaza was Cafe Barista.


It is a chain coffee shop that attempts to mimic Starbucks. A poor mimic I might add 🙂 It was OK but I just didn’t feel comfortable there.

Tripadvisor recommended La Chatia Artesana. It was a bit of a walk from my hotel but I didn’t really mind. It was a good opportunity to explore the city more.

When I first walked in I thought huuuummmm …. not really my kind of place.


They didn’t have the chocolate croissant I wanted 🙁 So I ordered fruit and yogurt instead. Probably a better choice anyways.

When my fruit and yogurt came it was huge … and very delicious!


Now I was hooked ha ha. The staff turned out to be really nice and for the rest of my time in Quetzaltenango, this was my go to place for my morning ritual.


I really didn’t see any good restaurants for a single person in the city. For me that usually means there has to be a patio or good people watching or some sort of entertainment. I don’t like sitting in a closed in restaurant by myself with nothing to do.

There was street food, but I’m not much of a street food person. A bit of a cleanliness freak I guess ha ha.

So I decided to go cheap with fast food restaurants.

I saw something in Quetzaltenango that I haven’t seen since the US …..



The place was PACKED with locals. Hard to believe actually. But I guess they want to be part of western culture rather than take part in their own taco culture.

The other fast food joint that was packed was McDonalds. The one by the university was big and had the ordering kiosks. The place was filled with families, people in suits, gatherings …. very popular.

I hate there a couple of times too.


The longer I stayed the more Quetzaltenango grew on me … my morning coffee shop … the hotel … the roughness of the streets all ended up to be nice. When you spend a few days in one spot it starts to grow on you 🙂 You start to experience the rhythm of the town. But it was time to leave.

My Route to Quetzaltenango on May 17, 2017


My Location from May 18 to 21, 2017


Merida, Mexico

After visiting Chichen Itza I booked another two days in Merida. The reason for this is because I wanted to go to Cuba and the only flights out through Interjet were Thursday and Sunday. My time in Merida was relaxing.


I spent a lot of time researching hotels to stay in Merida. Normally I try to stay within walking distance of the historical centers of towns. However, all the hotels in Merida by the historical center were too expensive. Compared to the parts of Mexico I have been to, Merida is rich. The prices of accommodation reflected that.

The Hotel Zar was on the outskirts. Its benefits for me though were that it was next door to the UPS store who would be delivering my new credit card, and there was a Starbucks nearby 🙂

The hotel had mixed ratings but I found it really good. It was clean, new and modern, good WiFi, hot showers even if you had to let the water run a bit before getting to the hot water, and the staff were friendly and accommodating. They even said they would keep my motorcycle and motorcycle clothes for free while I went to Cuba!




Yes, I went to Starbucks most every morning while in Merida. People love to bug me about that. Some people hate Starbucks as it is a US international company and the boutique coffee shops are in these days. People feel a sense of pride and I would even say smugness about going to a boutique coffee shop.  The same goes for craft beer. But that is a different post ha ha. Now, I like these too!! I can be smug at times ha ha. I am in such a place as I am writing this now. But when I have lived in a foreign country or when traveling long term like I am now, Starbucks gives me a piece of home. It is a familiar place in what sometimes is chaos either physically or mentally.

I met a Barista at the Merida Starbucks who spoke near perfect English. I asked her how she learned. She said no classes, just through watching reality TV ha ha. After that she remembered my name and greeted me by name each time I showed up. This made it feel even more like home.

Rich Merida

As I mentioned, Merida is a rich city compared to the other parts of Mexico I visited. Here there are functioning street lights, well maintained roads and nice houses.

Montejo Boulevard led to the historical center from the Hotel Zar. The Boulevard was originally created as a street for the wealthy to live. Many of these home still exist. However, now they have been converted into museums, banks and company headquarters.






Of course, I notice the police where ever I go. The Federal Police always drive nice vehicles, and well kitted, the State Police less so, and the Municipal and Transit Police are in old vehicles and wearing tattered uniforms. In Merida things were noticeably different. The police here drove fancy cars with low profile lights and nice paint jobs. There were also lots of motorcycle cops riding Harleys and what appeared the be BMW 650 dual sports. All of them nicely kitted out.




Historic Merida

It is a long walk to the Merida historic center from my hotel.  Every town in Mexico seems to have a Zacalo with a large church at one end. They are the meeting place for people. There is always something going on there. Merida was no different.










La Negrita

One night I looked for a cheap local place to have some Mexican food and enjoy some Mexican atmosphere. I have to admit that up until this point I had been mostly getting cheap food at the local OXXO, a local grocery store and from the Burger King across the street.

OXXOs are everywhere in Mexico. They are like the 7-11s in Canada. They have cheap food well within my budget. I have gotten food from them lots while I traveled Mexico.

Burger King was just convenient.

There was also a McCafferty Irish Pub next to my hotel so I had a meal there to eat some veggies.

Too look for someplace different I checked out tripadvisor. A highly rated restaurant was La Negrita and it was suppose to be cheap. It was a long walk away but I wanted to experience something more Mexican while in Merida. It didn’t disappoint.





Rainy Season

When I left for dinner to La Negrita it started to rain. This was the first rain in a very long time since I have been in Mexico. In fact, I really haven’t even been checking the weather forecast I just assume it will be sunny out.

When I got back to the hotel I checked the forecast for Merida and Havana. Rain for the next 7 days. I guess the rainy season had finally arrived. I will have to start watching the weather for my rides.

My Location from April 11 to 19 and April  27 and 28, 2017


San Miguel de Allende

After the Day of the Dead I still had 2 more days in San Miguel de Allende in my Airbnb.

I love what the Lonely Planet says about San Miguel:

Many people say that San Miguel is a bit like a Mexican Disneyland for foreign (mainly American) retirees and visiting chilangos (those from Mexico City). While there is a certain contrived fairy tale feel to the place – and not a colonial brick out of place in its historic center – it is, nevertheless, a beautiful city, with colonial architecture, enchanting cobblestone streets and striking light (especially popular among photographers and artists). Regular festivals, fireworks and parades dominate the local scene.

The town’s cosmopolitan panache is reflected in its excellent restaurants and high-class accommodations. Numerous galleries are stocked with quality Mexican artesanías (handicrafts) and cultural activities are on tap for residents and visitors. There are few major sights in the compact centro histórico: San Miguel is the sight. The city – with El Jardín, the principal plaza, and the Parroquia, the large church, at its heart – was declared a Unesco World Heritage site in 2008.

Economically speaking, this is no budget destination and is a far cry from the 1940s, when beatniks and artists shacked up here on a shoestring to pursue their creative ventures. While the foreign influence is pervasive (more than 12,000 foreigners are believed to live or have houses here), on the whole, the population coexists comfortably.

Beneath the smart B&Bs and fancy shops, another Mexico emerges. You only have to laze in the main plaza, visit the food market or interact with the local people to sense a different ambience, color and vibe.


My Airbnb was just a short walk to the center of town.


It was a nice place. A full size kitchen, living room with a flat screen TV that got CNN International :-), and one bedroom. There were also two patios. One was shared but the other came off of my bedroom with a view of the street below through the wires ha ha.



I enjoyed spending time there.

My Days

I spent the next two days going to Starbucks in the morning and then wandering the street or relaxing at home.

Starbucks was an interesting place. It seemed to be the place where all the English speakers would gather. It seemed to be the cetre of life. I observed a verbal fight between 2 guys where one said he would break every bone in the other’s body ha ha. There was a woman crying uncontrollably. There was a funny beggar woman who would show up to ask for money. I overheard an interesting talk between two men I think must of been professors. People were taking Spanish lessons. It was like its own microcosm.

I had to do laundry as well. In a weird way I enjoy it as the people in the laundromat are always friendly and rarely speak any English. So I get to practice.


One day as I was at the main plaza, I saw lots of police all lined up. I am not sure what it was all about. I think it had something to do with getting brand new cars.





The ceremony ended with the the cars driving off with sirens blaring.

My Location for November 3 and 4, 2016


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