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.
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.
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.