Go Back   ADVrider > Riding > Epic Ride Reports
User Name
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 08-12-2013, 01:23 PM   #1246
lightcycle OP
lightcycle's Avatar
Joined: Mar 2006
Location: No Fixed Address (originally Toronto)
Oddometer: 663
Updated from

We re-entered Guatemala through the Mexican state of Chiapas, and followed the Pan American highway to Quetzeltenango (Xela), where we had taken Spanish lessons just three months ago. It had rained off and on ever since crossing the border, but as we rolled into town, the skies opened up and we were forced to navigate the slick narrow cobblestone streets of historic Xela, trying to find suitable shelter for the night. After knocking on a couple of doors, we booked into a hostel that was incredibly cheap and not entirely rundown to wait out the storm till the next morning.

It felt kind of nice being in a familiar town, but we were eager to see something new. After crossing the border, all of our schedules and time-tables fell by the way-side and it felt very good being able to dawdle again. I often look at the route we've taken around the Americas and it looks like the path of a drunken sailor - lots of loops, meanderings and detours... which is exactly what we were intending when we first set out!

Dodging tourists in the historic town of Antigua

As we were now in the central highlands of Guatemala, even summer temperatures can dip into the low teens overnight, and this coupled with the rain made for some cold temperatures. Because we were without our waterproof riding boots, for the next morning's ride I wrapped plastic bags over my socked feet and then wore my hiking shoes over this. And as everybody knows, the more prepared you are for wet weather, the drier the ride it will be. It was only a couple of hours riding eastwards, but I felt very dorkey having those white plastic bag sockies peek over the tops of my shoes...

Cobblestone streets and painted buildings

Antigua used to be the capital of Guatemala before earthquakes decimated most of the city in late 1700s. It's a beautiful city that's managed to preserve a lot of the Spanish colonial architecture, and there is a high concentration of ex-pats that have made this place their home. We've been feeling burnt out from travel for a couple of months now, and now that we don't have anything scheduled ahead of us, we've decided to settle down in this quaint town for a little bit of time to recharge our batteries, and also to do some exploring.

Our first B&B in Antigua was home to cats! Because I was allergic, I had to use my zoom lens for this shot!

We wanted to find an apartment or residence for a few weeks, but didn't want to rush into anything so we booked into a B&B and scoured the city for more permanent accommodations. It only took us a couple of days to find an apartment right in the heart of the city. Short-term rentals are very easy to find in Antigua as there are a lot of tourists that visit and vacation in this scenic town.

Arch of Santa Catalina - Antigua's most famous architectural landmark

Antigua is surrounded by three large volcanoes - one of which is currently active!

We found a place! This is our driveway.

Courtyard parking - we shared it with a KTM from California, but never met the rider!

Feels so good to have a kitchen and fridge again!

World-famous delicious NedaBurgers!

It is so amazing having a home-base to dump all our stuff in and just relax without having to worry about foraging for food and shelter. Stocking up the fridge means not having to grocery shop everyday, and with a hot stove, spices and cookware, we're able to make meals that were not possible while we were on the road. Being nomadic is a great lifestyle for us, but we still need some kind of sedentary life to balance the intensity of all the new things we're seeing and experiencing.

Indigenous women selling their wares are a familiar site

The ruins of the El Carmen church are right across the street from our apartment.
Tourists flock to the little market that springs to life in front of it every weekend

Homemade handbags for sale. I had to pull Neda away...

Arch of Santa Catalina at night

My idea of relaxing is to hibernate like a bear, and I stayed inside the apartment for the first week, not even venturing out once. Neda explored the town and showed me pictures she took of what life was like outside the cave. Her idea of relaxation was to book herself for a month of Spanish lessons. I believe at this point she is actually teaching Spanish, not learning it...

After the wi-fi Internet got installed in our apartment, that sealed the deal. I was not leaving this place. Ever.

I gorged myself on downloaded TV shows and motorcycle races, and wondered when they kicked out all the non-Spanish riders out of MotoGP...?

We relaxed. The bikes relaxed. It was very relaxing for the whole family...

Arch de Santa Catalina after a rainfall

The Central America rainy season is fascinating to experience first-hand. Here in Antigua, it rains every single afternoon like clockwork. Everyone in town wakes up early and gets their errands done and by 2PM, they've scurried themselves indoors somewhere to wait out the afternoon storm. Sometime around 6-7PM, the rains stops and the street life resumes once again until the overnight rains return. I've never seen such regular weather patterns before in my life. Especially coming from Canada where the weather predictions are as unreliable as a KTM motorcycle.

Neda tinkers away on her bike

Felt great to catch up with family and friends after being disconnected for a month in Cuba

Antigua is full of wonderful architecture and scenic volcanoes everywhere you look!

Volcane de Agua (Water Volcano) just outside our apartment

Gene R1200GS
Ride Reports: Ride The World! Indian Himalayas Iceland Europe New Zealand
lightcycle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2013, 05:13 PM   #1247
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: Jul 2012
Oddometer: 1,183
Super update, guys! I'm constantly in awe of how you two totally have it "together" on this ride. Learning a lot. Thanks!
Blader54 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2013, 06:54 PM   #1248
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: Aug 2010
Location: Currently - Canada
Oddometer: 1,666
Originally Posted by lightcycle View Post predictions are as unreliable as a KTM motorcycle.

Haha. I liked that. I even own a KTM. (dirt bike)

I enjoyed my stay in Antigua as well. I was only there about two weeks and felt horrible for much of it, but overall still a nice place to kick back. I thought it was a bit touristy, but at the same time that's nice for a change. I spent more than a few nights at the Bagel Barn? using Wifi, enjoying coffee and getting some of the free movies in.

Man I wish I could do another trip soon.. =(
Tour of Idaho T1 Challenge -
Eat. Sleep. Ride - The Great Divide:
Go, Get Lost - Heading South:
Dirt Donkeys Do Baja:

Shibby! is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2013, 07:14 PM   #1249
Gnarly Adventurer
BluegrassPicker's Avatar
Joined: Nov 2006
Location: Rochester, MN
Oddometer: 442
Originally Posted by lightcycle View Post
Updated from [URL][/URL

World-famous delicious NedaBurgers!

WHOA - Free lodging if you make it back through Minnesota....
BluegrassPicker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2013, 07:19 PM   #1250
Sunday Rider
Adventurer Wanabe
Sunday Rider's Avatar
Joined: Jan 2010
Location: North of T.Ho., Ontario
Oddometer: 825
Great update and fantastic pictures once more. Loved the reflection of the arch in the rain puddle.
Sunday Rider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2013, 07:38 PM   #1251
Joined: Nov 2001
Location: So Fla
Oddometer: 33
Great to see you both back in the saddle and heading out into the world's arms once again. Given how this Earth spins and orbits, seems to me you've figured out a way to head toward a spot where Winter turns to Summer. Can't wait for the next chapter.
'00 RT
'76 R90/6
Jake is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2013, 07:40 PM   #1252
Dark Helmet
Studly Adventurer
Dark Helmet's Avatar
Joined: Nov 2006
Location: You'll know when I know...
Oddometer: 723
Originally Posted by Sunday Rider View Post
Great update and fantastic pictures once more. Loved the reflection of the arch in the rain puddle.
I second that emotion! Great shot among many. Antigua looks like a great place to recharge.
You only need two tools in life - WD-40 and Duct Tape. If it doesn't move and should, use the WD -40. If it shouldn't move and does, use the duct tape
BMW 1200 GS Adventure
BMW 1970 R75/5
Suzuki DRZ 400S
Dark Helmet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-13-2013, 12:11 AM   #1253
on any sunday
Balanda's Avatar
Joined: Mar 2013
Location: Australia
Oddometer: 93

Wow, what a cool place to hang out in for a while , such an ambiance with the colonial buildings amongst the volcano's and clouds. Your report has been inspiring from the outset.
Balanda is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2013, 06:32 PM   #1254
Gnarly Adventurer
voyagerrider's Avatar
Joined: Apr 2007
Location: Burleson, Texas
Oddometer: 110
I have been lurking and following your ride from the beginning. I love the pictures and the narrative. Keep on visiting the places I only wish I could, I look forward to the next installment.

If I have to explain, you won't understand

TMRA #30043
CMA #63099
IBA #31625

!996 Kawasaki Voyager ZG1200
1978 Yamaha XS650SE
voyagerrider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2013, 07:02 PM   #1255
Old School Adventurer
cavebiker's Avatar
Joined: Jan 2004
Location: Hayward, WI
Oddometer: 853

Wow! Thank you
Have a dream, live it. Set a goal, achieve it.
cavebiker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2013, 09:53 PM   #1256
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Jul 2012
Location: Kenora, ON
Oddometer: 134
Best read i have found on here for sure. Thanks for sharing your journey.
benwr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2013, 02:36 PM   #1257
Joined: Aug 2012
Oddometer: 22
I'm curious what happened between July 23rd when Gene announced they were back in Canada and the June 1st entry in Guatemala!

I'm going to guess that the bikes are still somewhere in Central America but Gene's new size elven BMW boots are here in Canada.
bdubbin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2013, 03:37 PM   #1258
Brent T
2014 R1200RT
Brent T's Avatar
Joined: Aug 2011
Location: Ravenna, ON
Oddometer: 40
Great update

Good to hear of your exploits after Cuba. This far into your journey, how are your bikes holding up?
Brent T is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2013, 11:20 PM   #1259
mountaineer's Avatar
Joined: Jan 2008
Location: Manila, Philippines
Oddometer: 69
Gene and Neda, thank you for taking us along your wonderful trip.
Safe travels!
Your life is either a
daring adventure or
mountaineer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-16-2013, 11:40 AM   #1260
lightcycle OP
lightcycle's Avatar
Joined: Mar 2006
Location: No Fixed Address (originally Toronto)
Oddometer: 663
Originally Posted by bdubbin View Post
Gene's new size elven BMW boots are here in Canada.
Ok, now that made me LOL literally!

Originally Posted by Brent T View Post
This far into your journey, how are your bikes holding up?
I know I'm going to jinx ourselves, but the bikes have been doing remarkably well! We are keeping up with our regular maintenance on the road and every dealership we've visited on our travels has been really good to us. Aside from tiny problems, there hasn't been anything that has forced us to stop or delay our riding. Just small stupid stuff:

- I had a bad habit of riding off my center stand at gas stations. With all the weight I was carrying, one of the bolts that held the stand to the bike snapped off in Alaska. I don't ride off the stand anymore.
- The plastic low-beam lightbulb connector on my bike melted. Also, the R12GS eats lightbulbs for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I go about 12-15,000 kms each bulb. I've talked to other owners and they have the same problem.
- My gas cap hinge broke, but that's okay because now it's easier to gas up because I can angle the nozzle better. Most R12GS owners mod the gas cap and rotate it 180 degrees so it flips up towards the handlebars, now I don't need to! Just have to be careful not to lose the cap!
- Neda's bike developed a rattle on warm/hot ignition, replaced the cam chain tensioner. Not sure that was the cause though, still happens intermittently and only when the bike is already warm.
- Biggest problem was the final drive crown bearing on my bike, San Jose spotted some lateral movement in the rear wheel, fixed before it became a larger issue

So far we're really, really happy with our choice of bikes. We've been BMW riders for years now, the F650GS is Neda's fourth Beemer.
Gene R1200GS
Ride Reports: Ride The World! Indian Himalayas Iceland Europe New Zealand
lightcycle is offline   Reply With Quote


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Times are GMT -7.   It's 05:46 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2015