I crested the hill going about 30-35mph and there he was, a white Toyota, in the middle of the road, coming at me! The road was 1 1/2 car widths wide, the mountain was on my left, a cliff on the right. There was really no room on either side and, besides, I was going too fast to change my direction in time. I knew that I was going to hit this truck.
Having road raced cars for several years I've learned not to panic and this was no exception. At our closing speeds, I had about 1 1/2 to 2 seconds to react and knew to brake hard but DO NOT go down. I did not want to end up underneath that truck! Fortunately, we both braked hard and when I hit the center of his bumper, the speed was low enough that the impact only tossed me onto his hood.
Nothing happened for a few seconds. I then quickly assessed my condition; everything seemed okay. At this point I looked up. The driver was still in his seat, frozen, with eyes as wide as saucers. Above him were several people in the back, all standing there staring at me. I tried to move the bike but it was sideways and there was no place to go. I tried to start it but got nothing. Finally, Taz came back (he had been a few hundred meters in front) and he started yelling at the driver.
The people in the back of the pickup all jumped out and ran up the road about a hundred meters. Once I got the bike moved, the driver took off, stopped for his riders, and was gone.
Hey! Come back!
The bike needed some work. The wheel was bent and the forks were bent back and twisted. But hey, this thread is going under Ride Reports
rather than Face Plant
so I guess it could have been a bit worse.
We were able to ride slowly into the next town, Rabinal, where we stopped at a bicycle shop and pounded out the wheel (it wasn't pretty) so that it was round again and would hold the tire. Taz managed to finagle the forks and handle bars so that they mostly pointed straight. I felt okay and it was time to put this behind us though I gotta admit that I played that scene over and over in my head a lot that night.
We spent some time in Rabinal and grabbed some lunch. I checked out the local market. Few gringos come here and, being IT-pale, somewhat taller than everyone, and wearing motorcycle gear, I stuck out. It was great fun to look at the locals and, in return, be stared at by pretty much everyone.
From Rabinal to Salama, we were back on tarmac and spent the rest of afternoon on incredible twisty, fast mountain roads. I've ridden a lot of great roads: PCH, The Dragon, Hwy 128, the Cherahola, and the Cabot Trail. Today's roads were comparable but with no traffic.
In Salama, we began what would be our daily ritual of having a cerveza or two, or more, kicking back, and walking around the local area. After a good meal, this day was over. What a day.