The 3:00 AM truck arrives promptly at 4:00 AM. The store owner is up and about to watch the show make sure everything goes smoothly. The driver parks the truck facing downhill on a 15 degree angle, further elevating its bed, and pulls out a 1”x8” 1” thick plank. He places it wobbly, on an angle to the truck and sends his two minions over to push the bike up the ramp. I promptly intervene. I explain to the best of my ability that two guys are not going to push a 650 pound motorcycle up a crooked ramp on a 45 degree angle. I advise that we should take advantage of the 3 foot elevation of the porch the bike is already parked on, set the plank between the porch and the truck. I assume he saw the logic in what I was saying and moved the truck accordingly. With everything in place to my satisfaction I fired up the bike and drove it up the ramp under its own power. Reusing our ever faithful cam straps I secured it as best as possible.
I feel a little better.
The one cam strap on each side of the frame with one from the forks would have been fine on any regular road. The giant sacks of cardamom help keep things in place.
The truck was rocking so hard on the dirt road that I sat on the bike the entire 2+ hours applying the rear brake and playing safety in case one of the straps broke.
We decided looking at the road in the headlights along the way that the wreck was in fact divine intervention. It had rained pretty hard on this side of the mountain and things were a mess. Turn me loose on a dirt bike and that’s a different story, but this cruiser is best on a truck.
There’s something magical about this whole deal. Riding through the mountain roads of Guatemala in the dark with your motorcycle strapped in the back of a truck full of villagers and goods heading to town for market day. That’s the part that photos and words will never do justice. It’s the idea that these things are indeed possible, that the inherent goodness of human beings will always lend itself to a solution to any problem. It’s for these moments that I brave travel into places that most would say I have no business. They are truly unique and inspiring. Yeah, we went up there and we wrecked the motorcycle, but what kind of story would we have to tell if we hadn’t tried? We wouldn’t have this kind, the against all odds triumph of people kind…
Around dawn we arrived in the town.
This time we have gravity and the manpower of a half dozen on our side. I’m not going to lie, it was sketchy, but we got the bike off of the truck
in one piece in the same amount of pieces it went on. It literally slid down the ramp with the front brake locked to slow it down.
We had the bike in the motorcycle shop by 9:00 being worked on. By noon they had drilled out and replaced the broken bolts. The shifter was back in proper working order. I asked them to pull the crankcase cover so I could take it to be welded, but it was siesta time by then and Barcelona was playing Madrid. Nothing was getting done until Monday.
We spent Sunday catching up on rest and swimming in the local cenote.
That concludes day four of our 90 mile trip from El Estor to Lanquin.
With any good luck when the shops open tomorrow we’ll be able to get the crankcase welded. If everything goes well we could be mobile again as soon as tomorrow. In the interim we’re holed up in a cozy $12 hotel with TV and internet spending our days exploring Cahabon.
Update: When the shop opened this morning (Monday) they had already had the crankcase cover welded and reinstalled. All for 200Q ($25 US). We’re back on the road!
Catch the final leg of the journey to Lanquin, Guatemala here.