... I had a full day of riding ahead of me, very well knowing, I wouldn't make the border to Guatemala.
After a few hours, it felt like my front tire was loosing air. I stopped at a gas station, had to take off most of my luggage to be able to lift the bike on its center stand. I measured the tire pressure, low. Filled air, re-measured. Seemed, the tire deflated slowly. Hmmm... what to do? One of the gas station attendants showed me a tire repair guy down the road. Ok, great. Load up the bike again and ride over there. After all that work, I hope, there's a leak. Nope, I sure don't.
Tire guy pours soapy water over the tire, no leak. Awesome! Are you sure? Si! Ok, back on the road. Nice road. A little chat with the cops at a check point, things are looking great. Until the nicely paved road turns in to gravel, then rocks, then hard packed sand. Wow, white sand. Looks like snow. Cool. I am enjoying this ride. This goes on for miles. All of a sudden, mud, water. Shit! On a downhill section, the front wheel becomes uncontrollable, and I drop the bike. In the muddy mess I fall. My attempts to pick up the bike, fail. I knew that, but had to try anyways. No cars, no horses, nada. Ok, the old routine. Take all luggage off, and try to lift up the bike. Hahh..not looking forward to it.
Just, as I have most of the luggage removed and piled up on the side where it's not muddy, a van with 4 guys pulls up. Little late, but hey, but better late than never. One guy jumps out to help, but realizes quickly, two guys lifting up a heavy bike standing in slippery mud is not an easy task. The others come to our aid and the bike is on its wheels again. Yeah! Takes me a while to load up the bike. I don't even attempt to clean myself. I look like I had taken a mud bath in Calistoga. So what?
I ride on, hoping, road conditions will improve. Quickly. But no such luck! After a short distance, and crossing a few deep puddles, I arrive at a stretch of watery mud, brown in color. Looking at this stuff, it very reminds me of diarrhea. And I had never ridden a bike through stuff like that before. So, why now?
As I watch two 4x4 pick-ups drive through, I decide, based on the consistency and depth of this mess, to turn around and ride the 10 miles back to the paved road. It's a long rocky way back. But for sure, I would drop the bike right in the middle of it, and then what. More mud on my already muddy suit. And nobody would help me getting the bike back up.
About two miles after turning around, I run in to a guy with 4x4 pick up. He is stopped on the dirt road and trying to re-attached his muffler with a rope, that had disconnected itself from the exhaust.
He speaks a little English. He lives in the next town ahead, La Esperanza, my intermediate destination.
After explaining to him my situation and plan of action, he encourages me to ride through the mud. Otherwise, he says, it would be a long ride around to La Esperanza on the paved road.
I follow him. We arrive at that dreadful section again. He drives through. I stop. I am trying to envision the path that will give me the best chance of getting through this crap without dropping my bike. Straight through where it is most watery is best, I determine. At least, I will be able to maintain control of the steering.
I start the engine. Get on my bike. I head straight for the mess, keeping my legs extended. I can feel the bike sliding from side to side, while the front wheel is carving its path through this slippery mud. I am able to brace the heavy machine with my legs, avoiding it from becoming uncontrollable. I finally make it out on the other side. I must've stopped breathing this entire time. Sweating and relieved, I thank the guy that he encouraged me and saved me from riding another 5 hours to La Esperanza the long way around.
I stopped briefly in La Esperanza for ice cream. Took a few pics of the downtown park and continued on the paved road to Santa Rosa, where I spend the night at a brand new place, Hotel Grand Plaza, $ 51 breakfast included.
Exhausted, but happy, I enjoyed an ice cold cerveza that evening.
I didn't think, I would've made it that far today.