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Old 01-09-2013, 12:03 PM   #25
Catours OP
Guatemala Tourer
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Joined: Jun 2009
Location: Guatemala
Oddometer: 153
Day 4: Barillas to Soloma

I doubt our starting point and destination mean much to most readers, but if you look on a map they are only about 25 kms away from each other. Of course we didn't take the direct route! Here is the route we generally followed, you can see that we were very close to the Mexican border for parts of the day:

It ended up being one of our longer days, but trust me the riding was well worth it! First, a quick update on Santa Cruz hotel. The promised hot water didn't work, oh well I'm not that spoiled. We left town and continued West towards San Mateo Ixtatán and then onto Patalcal. This area is filled with mountain climbs, descents, and then more climbs - all the time with beautiful views.

In Patalcal we found ourselves at a split in the road, to the right we could see a blanket of fluffy white clouds above Mexico, so we decided to go for it.

Mexican clouds in the distance

This is the road towards Bulej and then to Aguacate. After a snack stop in Yalambojoch, Frenchy noticed another flat tire. This guy has some luck, I tell you. He thought he was lucky to find a pinchazo just down the road but it turned out to be manned by a teenager who had no clue how to change a tire. Instead we used his air compressor and took care of it ourselves, tough life eh?

After we sorted the tire we got back on the road and happened to see a sign for Finca Chaculá (see RichSuz's recommendation in another post) and decided to pop in to check it out.

Finca Chaculá

That worked out well and we got some really good advice on the local area and based on the guardian's tip we headed to El Cimmaron. Cimmaron is a deep hole in the middle of nowhere, perfectly round with 172 meters diameter and 180 meters deep. There is a fertile, fresh, and green forest at the bottom that is protected by the walls with no trails to go down. At the trail head from the highway, we decided to go as far as we could on the bikes. This was a fun rocky single track trial until we hit a really steep section that screamed "park the bikes and walk from here". We reluctantly obliged and started hoofing it on foot to the hole. It was more impressive than we expected but very difficult to capture in pictures. Hopefully these do it some justice.

From Cimarron we headed south on nice tarmac to Nenton. This is when our day took a turn for the better as we headed East on some amazing mountain passes. At one point we got to a "T", looked around and decided to go left. Once again this was technically the "wrong turn" but it turned out to be one of the best sections of riding in our whole ride. Essentially climbing up to ~4,000 meters, going back down, back up, over and over on small dirt roads. There was also some great Pine forest with really deep silty sand, fun for me but maybe not as much for Frenchy trailing behind sans rear suspension. We ended passing through San Sebastian Cuatonm, then Pet, and finally to Soloma. We had to agree that was one of our best days of riding ever!! Again, as the crow flies - Barillas to Soloma is only 25 kms but I can't imagine a better route than today's 208 kms! Unfortunately we don't have a lot of pictures, but trust me it was an amazing section of riding! We were too busy enjoying it.

this gives you a glimpse of the road, you can see a few sections:

Day 4 Stats:

- Q9 snack
- Q30 lunch
- Q65 gas just past Nenton
- Q40 gas in Soloma
- Q65 hotel
- Q15 tacos
- Q2 internet
- Q18 dinner
TOTAL: Q244, ~$31

208 kms, 6.5ish hours riding
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