I left San Cristobal at 6am. Many people probably hadn’t made it back to the hostile by then, as it was a party town, but I had a big day with a border crossing planned. The early morning ride was spectacular. The state of Chiapas is like something out of Jurassic Park. Mountainas jungles with snakes slithering across the road and monkeys swigging from vines above your head. Fog filled in the valleys below the road and clouds would move above your head like steam coming off a hot cup of coffee. And best of all, I had the road to myself, for the most part.

About 5 guys on BMWs passed me doing about 70.  I thought it was rather reckless given the conditions and also silly to be hurrying through such an incredible place. I’ve gotten that vibe from a lot of the people on BMWs, and there has been a LOT. Nothing against the bikes, but the guys going south on brand spanking new GS1200 seem to have a similar vibe–older guys with the intention of getting to Chile doing big mile days and hauling ass. They don’t plan to break down or really seize the adventure it seems. I met two guys the other day who wanted to go down AND back in 6 months. Seems tough to me, and I’m by no means a “lingerer.” Anyway, I’m sure I’ll get to know them better in the future and maybe my perceptions will change. But fuck, you certainly couldn’t drive anything too technical on a 1200 as its too heavy, and I’ve been plenty of places where the bikes would be prohibitively big, and my bike isn’t small.

I had some confusion at the border. I’m driving along, and all of a sudden I’m in Guatemala. There aren’t people stopping you at borders and requesting papers like you would expect. Both Guatemala and Mexico have been the same. There is nothing stopping you from driving straight in without getting your visa or passport stamped or anything. I’m not recommending this, but if for some reason you didn’t want to be official, I didn’t see anything that was stopping you. Same for Mexico.

Anyway, I did want to be legitimate, and I also wanted my deposit back I had payed Mexico for temporarily importing my vehicle, so I doubled back into Mexico about 5 km. It was all easy, and I went back to Guatemala. Again, super easy. Nobody else there and I was good to go in 20-30 minutes. Plenty of people to exchange money. When they wanted me to pay some sort of fee at migracion, I just turned to face the street and hollered for some money changer to come over and he turned my pesos in quitzales for not a bad rate and all was good.

Guatemala is beautiful. I had to stop for a photo.

First fill up in Guatemala was fun…these kids were about the bike.

Beautiful scenery everywhere. The northern highlands…

In Antigua I found a great hostile called “motocamp.” It’s run by the enduro champ of Central America, and they offer to take you on rides, and pretty much everything else bike related–repairs, buying/selling/accommodations/a place to hang out, drink beer, and talk about bikes. They gave me some really great info regarding fun roads to take.

Antigua is alright. It’s really pretty but not worth spending more than a day or two IMO. It’s surrounded by volcanoes, which are cool. One was erupting and you could see the lava spewing from the top when the sun went down, glowing orange in the dark night sky. Pretty cool.

A couple days spent in Antigua. Saw some salsa, took a couple Spanish lessons, walked around a lot, got violently ill for a couple days. Was happy to drive to lake Atitlan. A few shots from Antigua.

6 year old selling cigs

Lake Atitlan in gorgeous. Way better than Antigua. It’s in a volcanic crater and is ringed by volcanoes. Fun road down to the lake. You lose a lot of elevation and it gets a lot warmer.

A friend joined me as I write this…

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