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Old 11-20-2012, 05:04 PM   #106
gallinastrips
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Old 11-21-2012, 10:43 AM   #107
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I have breakfast again in the market. Women walk with huge baskets on their heads, their hands free. Maybe this is one of the reasons they are all so much shorter than me. They smile at me as I wander through. Tempting me with their wears. I sit with aroz con leche in a painted coconut cup on a step with the other patrons, watching the market go on around me. I love these spaces.
IMG_3332

I take photos with my eyes, too guilty to bring out the camera, worried that it might cause attention and make me a target. This is very poor town. The market place is full of women. I am actually surprised that I see so few men. Everyone is talking in indigenous languages. The stalls are full of laughter. Dogs make there way round the stalls hoping to catch something that falls to the ground. Children run through the dirty streets or play simple games in corners behind their mothers stall. There are roaming sellers hawking their wares, trying to convince everyone to buy their goods- ‘You need it at home… a good thing to bring back to the wife…. sweet… tasty’. I talk to the women selling items I am not familiar with. Enjoying the simple interactions and them knowing and not caring that I am not going to buy from them, but simply happy to share their culture and their knowledge. I love soaking up the fresh smell of vegetables, flowers, and grilling meat. Sampling plates of this, and cups of that. Everything is 1 or 3 quetzal. The women come to the market with stacks of quetzal coins tucked into the sash on their skirt. Some sellers just have a single live chicken or turkey tided with a string to its leg. I see a woman hand over a recently bought turkey to another seller, while sorting out her change for goods. The turkey lies face down in a lap its wing spread, occasionally garbling quietly. Patiently awaiting being returned to its now new owner.

I leave Rabinal excited by the experience in the market and promising myself not to attempt too much dirt again. My heart drops however as I realize the pavement stops once again as I leave the town. With my confidence down from yesterday I leave with a sense of foreboding. I start climbing the winding path up the mountain passing a few trucks of people. Then my temp light comes on again. I look at the radiator. Clean as I can get it. I check the oil- I have some! I take of the side cover and check the coolant. It's in the middle level. A pick up pulls along side me and some men come out. They workforce the phone company Claro and one speaks good English. He asks me why I am on this little road. I ask myself the same question. We talk through my route plans and he tells me to avoid a little road further in the day. We check out the bike together and think maybe the problem is the fan. He tells me I am only a few km from a mechanic and he will drive behind me. We put the bike back together and I head off. Thankfully the light stays off. I pull into a mechanic down the road and we talk some more. If no temp problems now he advises I push on and try and see a real mechanic in Antigua. He states he is still on my road for another 45 min or so and we head off down the road again in convoy.

Later as I wave goodbye and continue on down the dusty roadwork’s I hear a horrible sound. I stop the bike. The cross bar of my luggage rack that I had welded the other day has fallen off and is scraping against the wheel. I get out my tools and remove it. While I am stopped on the side of the road a man on a bike comes past. He shakes his head at me and states it bad that I am a woman on the road alone. He warns me of bandits ahead. I ask which part of the road but he is vague and rides off shaking his head. ' mal, muy mal' I hear him mutter. Great. I pack up my tools and re-disperse my cards and money. Fake wallet on top. Camera hidden. Passport hidden. iPhone? It's going to be stolen this time I reason. I have read multiple warnings of the bandits in Guatemala. Never refuse. The unsolved murder rate here is huge. My heart is racing. I pray the bike holds up. I start it and just don't stop. I pass incredible scenery. But my Gopro has broken and I am not stopping for anything. The road gets better and the pavement kicks in. It's a great road but it's hard to appreciate with the fear creeping into my heart. I hate this feeling. Each person I see on the side of the road makes me start. Then I start going through towns with banners of bandits. I don't know what they say but I have to stop to get a photo. I resin now that I am in a town. It's safer than the remote hills.
P1010502

At a cross road where I was given conflicting info on safety I see what appears to be a policeman standing by a van. Getting closer it is not a policeman but a security guard and inside are two men counting out huge wads of money. I start for a little, but he calls me over and it’s too late to pull away now, so I ask them on the state of the road. I feel a little stupid ‘ Please Sir, can you tell me which roads to go to avoid me like you?”. I try not to tell him my destination, but he guesses Antigua anyway. My only consol is that he says both ways are fine. And goes back to counting his money.

Pulling into Antigua, I head to the tourist police and set up a free camp in their grounds. Rustic, but at least I will be safe here I think. There I spot a Van that I had been playing tag with the other day in the mountains, it is a lovely couple from Mexico and Argentina. They invite me to camp behind their Van and I spend a lovely evening walking around the town and through the market with them.
P1010503

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-k...0/IMG_3363.JPG
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Hewby screwed with this post 11-21-2012 at 11:49 PM
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Old 11-21-2012, 10:49 AM   #108
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adv Grifter View Post
Well ... if you survive .. you've got a great book in the making!

When having your bike WELDED ... I would advise removing the main CDI unit (computer) or any other computers your BMW may have.
Remember Ewan & Charlie in Mongolia? Arc Welders grounded to your frame can FRY your CDI. Phhhffft! GONE! BIG MONEY. $$$

Take racks off if possible for welding ... or remove all black boxes.

Maybe you got a false reading on your oil since your bike was on its side so often? Oil may have flowed into air box or leaked out? Be sure to check on level ground after bike fully warm.

Glad you got to explore that area around Livingston. I lived off/on in Guat. for 2 years ... never saw it. I lived in Solola', at Lago Atitlan, very near
Gringotenango. (Panahachel)

If your chain is loosening and needing adjustment ... it's most likely finished. Guat City is good for parts and service ... but avoid the BMW dealer for all but specific parts. Lots of good indie shops around.

Glad you weren't hurt with all the get offs. You must lead a charmed life. Loving the beautiful Pics ... but still can't see all of them! Keep plugging away!
Keep it up! !que le via bien!
Thanks for the advice. Welding people have always disconnected the battery but I am not sure where the CDI is! The oil needed oil, the bike was thirsty. And yes, I only went to BMW for a scan, and extra parts. I had some wonderful local help in Guatemala city for which I cannot thanks people enough for.
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Old 11-21-2012, 11:43 AM   #109
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Hewby, thanks for the update. I really like your writing style, it seems true, honest, and very in the moment. You write of eating aroz con leche in the market and I am there with you watching the people go by. Nice...

Con suerte,

Martín
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Old 11-21-2012, 02:51 PM   #110
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Look for CA Tours in Antiqua and see if the can help test your fan, check the fan fuse first then just hook it up directly to 12 volts and see if it runs freely.
Spin it by hand and see if there is any resistance. Better to do this now when you are so close to Guate. for spares. The thermal fan switch can also be faulty or the wires on the swittch could be loose. Max BMW has a great parts fiche were you can see these things and the part numbers.

Saludos de Canada
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Old 11-21-2012, 04:04 PM   #111
Adv Grifter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hewby View Post
Thanks for the advice. Welding people have always disconnected the battery but I am not sure where the CDI is! The oil needed oil, the bike was thirsty. And yes, I only went to BMW for a scan, and extra parts. I had some wonderful local help in Guatemala city for which I cannot thanks people enough for.
Sounds like good service in Guat. City. Good to hear!
Any theories from the local mechs on your oil use? F650's have lots of issues but usually oil use it not one of them. Ideas? Keep it topped up but do not overfill.

Take Care the fan. Progression: FAN sticks, Motor gets HOT, cylinder head warps, head gasket lets go, oil turns up in coolant. Fix: new head, head gasket. Long delay for parts.

Mud and debris can stop fan turning freely; crashing can force plastic cowling into fan or warp housing, stopping fan from turning freely. Good you got the mud out of the radiator!

If racks crack again (probably), find out where the CDI computer is.
They are expensive ... not sure for BMW, but my Suzuki one is around $600.

If you follow the big wire bundles they should lead you to various black boxes. They all have PLUGS that UN-plug. Just unPlug them. (they are tight and have tricky little tabs to release)

Once unplugged, safe. Also, when welding, do not use bike's frame as a ground. Removing battery is a great idea too. (or just disconnect + and - leads ... Batt can stay in bike).

Hope you can get your FlickR sorted ... would love to check out latest pics.

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Old 11-21-2012, 06:13 PM   #112
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Hewby
The photo of you bike in repose with the tank angles down hill could mean that oil flowed out either on the ground or into the air box or something. Head back over to F650.com
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Old 11-21-2012, 11:03 PM   #113
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Thanks all with advice on the bike, my theory on the oil is that when BMW checked my gear box, by taking the clutch cover off, they did not re fill it as there was a 2 week gap from when they checked it to getting the orded parts installed. And I dont remember paying for new oil..

Fan, I checked it one the road, and while I thought it might have been delayed it came on and seemed to work well.

BMW scan in Guate city. Clear- they said there are no mechanical problems stop worrying the flashing lights means nothing! I checked the Air box and it was clear. Fan checked and working???

So no Joy. I feel like a hypochondriac.
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Old 11-21-2012, 11:12 PM   #114
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In the morning, after being serenaded in rustic showers by the tourist police as they get ready for work, I start on getting my bike in a slightly better state. A group of the police come over to me and ask if I want to swap my bike for one of theirs! We laugh and I let them ride the bike around the grounds.

IMG_3367

Later in the day I get a message that Petra and Jean Luc, as couple of friends of Guaterider who live in Guatemala city are on their way to Antigua to get me! Amazing kindness. I pack up my stuff and we take a ride back to their home in Guatemala city, dropping off my bike to their friend Andres’ garage so we can work on her in the next few days.

P1010507

The next few days that I spend with them are simply magic. The tension of the last few days and the build up of fear melted. It was so nice to be with great people, friends; cooking, talking, laughing, drinking wine, walking the local markets, and watching the sunset over the volcano! A very chilled and relaxing few days and exactly what I needed.
P1010548

Petra and I get along wonderfully and we have many wonderful talks about life. It’s so magic to find a fantastic friend on the road.

My bike too is treated to real love. The wonderful Andres checking her over thoroughly. Looking at each little thing with the eyes of my father. ‘Mmmm, maybe we could just do that to make it better.’ ‘Let me just fix this as it is not quite right’. He ticks off the list of all the little broken pieces, all the loose items, finds my break light is playing up again and fixes it. Organizes welders for my racks and cases and ensures they are reinforced and perfectly aligned so they don’t bump around. Properly cleans all the mud from my radiator, checks my coolant and air filter. Double checks the new indicators I have installed upside down, so they are the right way up! An amazing wonderful and giving person. He negotiates with BMW for hours to ensure they don’t rip me off when I go for a scan of my electronics as my temp light has developed a new habit of flashing three times when I turn the bike on and off. (This ended up being nothing they tell me later after a 3 hour wait for the 10min scan).

IMG_3385

At one point we had four of us working on her at once, with a friend Milos also pitching in.
IMG_3391


Jean Luc and I spend some great time in the kitchen and he teaches me more of the art of the French Sauce, which I am very grateful.
IMG_3393

On the day of my departure he rides with me, and another of his friends Frank, to the border. Waiting and assisting patiently when just as I am about to go through immigration the bike stops dead. With the soundtrack of Franks laughter (a German that hates BMW) I pull off all the faring and play with the battery. A loose terminal. I put it all back together and finish my paperwork while they watch my bike.

My heart swells with emotion when I think about the kindness and the generosity of these wonderful people. I know that I will be back to Guatemala for sure to see them again, and then I hope that I will also finally get to met Guaterider who set this all up for me.
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Old 11-21-2012, 11:22 PM   #115
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Hope you can get your FlickR sorted ... would love to check out latest pics.

Sorry no joy at the moment. I think I fix it and it goes back to the problem again. Not coming up with answers at this point!

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Old 11-22-2012, 12:50 AM   #116
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Not to worry. You are creating fine word pictures. Just came across this ride report and am enjoying seeing places I need to go.

I will likely not catch up to meet you personally since I am lost in the Mundo de Maya in the Yucatan and haven't gotten out of Mexico yet.

Keep up the good work!

Kindest regards,
John Downs
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Old 11-22-2012, 11:24 AM   #117
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Glad to hear the F650 got some TLC in Guat. City. So lucky to have friends!
(skilled friends no less!!)
It's a shame when bike problems dictate the travel agenda. This happened to Lois (Louis On The Loose). Every stop had her scrambling to find parts or get her BEAT 225 Serow to run again ... meantime she missed much culture, learning the language and enjoying the local people. Her book did not show this so much ... but her Blog, done in real time, certainly did.

Glad you've managed to take it all in ... and have some JOY! ... and not let bike problems dominate the trip.

(PS ... last set of pics all coming through! About 10 missing two pages back)
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Old 11-22-2012, 11:32 AM   #118
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Deb,

Put me down for a copy of the book you have to write. I'll want it autographed, por supuesto!
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Old 11-22-2012, 07:19 PM   #119
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Thanks all. Very thankful for you all and the support I have received on route, both physical and virtual. Happy thanksgiving.
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Old 11-23-2012, 02:00 PM   #120
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It was great meeting you Debbie !! TY for stopping by











Vaya con Dios !!
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