18 December 2002 - Yeee hahhh!

Well, yesterday afternoon I finally got the remaining piece that I needed for the bike.  I worked on putting the clutch back together yesterday.  This morning I enlisted the help of George and Pablo to help me with some of the work, and we succeeded in putting the transmission and most everything else back together.  I took the bike for a quick run up the dirt road and back, and everything seems to work.  Tomorrow I need to check the tranny fluid again, put the crash plate back on, mount the bags, and tighten everything up.  Then I decide whether to leave the bike here and bus to the airport to fly to New Hampshire for Christmas, or ride down to Antigua and leave the bike there..  Not sure which yet, but either way my tentative plan is to be on Utila in Honduras (one of the Bay Islands in the Caribbean) for New Year's.  My Swiss friend from the Finca, Adi, is there teaching diving and I'm gonna try to catch up with him after Christmas.

14 December 2002 - Stupid Hurts: The Friday the 13th Saga

So, yesterday afternoon at the daily Finca Ixobel Water Olympics (videos coming soon), I was sliding down the rusty water slide trying to remain standing the whole time.  I made it until almost the end when I started to fall, so I jumped off, landing in the water flat on my back and whipping my head backwards onto the water.  I gave myself a headache that lasted the rest of the day.

But it gets better.  Or worse.  Last night at the bar there was much dancing, which degenerated, as it is wont to do, into dancing on the roof of the bar.  I had resisted before, but I decided to go with the theme of my trip, a quote from Fanch the night before I left, "Go for it!"  So I acceded.

Everything was fine on the roof, it was the descent that became a problem.  I was heading down to record on camera the rest of the group on the roof..  except when I jumped I caught the sole of my sandal, sending me face first.  Probably was only about a 12 foot fall though.  I managed to protect the camera from collision with the cement floor, but it doing so sprained my wrist.  I also hurt my other arm, knee, toe, and got a small scratch on my face.  Nothing major, everything still works and there were no cracking sounds, so I think I'll survive.  (Incidentally, this is the second time these damn Tevas have injured me.  See the first one here.)

And I still have a few days to heal before my parts get here...

13 December 2002 - Uh oh, more problems.

So I pulled the tranny today with some email help from Glenn.. Glenn is laid up at home after hernia surgery, so he's able to email frequently.  Thanks Glenn.

Problem is, once I got the tranny out, I noticed that the clutch disc splines are stripped, which is a bigger problem.  I was very disappointed, but I think I may have solved the problem.  The BMW dealer in Guatemala City has the part I need, and I confirmed the part number by pulling it off my bike and reading the number.  Roberto the GM here says he has a guy who can get the part up here by Monday for less than I can get to the city and back..  So I now I sit back and await the next part.  Hopefully that will finish the job. Oh well, my intended ten days in Guatemala may extend to a few months!  Luckily, it's a great country.

12 December 2002 - Tranny!

Yesterday morning I left Finca Tatin and spent the day traveling to get my transmission, which finally arrived in Puerto Barrios.  I waited on the dock to hitch a ride on a lancha..  and waited.  I finally got a ride from the doctors who hitched a ride with one of their project small boats.  They took me off the tributary Rio Tatin onto the main Rio Dulce, where I tried to hitchhike and flag down a boat.  The only boats I could find were heading back down the Tatin and then on to Livingston, so I hopped on one of them.  I finally made it to Livingston after about 2.5 hours, and managed to hop on another lancha to Puerto Barrios almost immediately.  After the 1/2 hour ride, I jumped in a cab for the ride to the DHL office.  But, of course, the DHL office was closed for lunch.  So I waited for an hour.  Finally I got my package, and flagged down another cab heading back to town.  I just missed one lancha back to Livingston, so I had to wait over an hour for the next one to fill up, as they only leave when they are full.  I finally made it back to Livingston, but after the lanchas had stopped heading back to Rio Dulce.  So I managed to hitch/pay for a ride on a nice 20 foot bowrider..  Guys with guns and a much nicer and faster boat than everyone else..  hmm, best not to wonder.  Anyway, they took me back to Rio Dulce much faster than the lanchas would have, so it worked out.  I then waited for the regular bus to take me back to Finca Ixobel, and finally walked the 20 minutes into the Finca with my transmission on my shoulder, arriving about 11 hours after I set off.  And this morning I begin work on it!

I'd also like to thank Greg and Sharon for their help.  Sharon has managed to juggle a newborn and taking care of getting me a new tranny..  of which she knows nothing about.  Thanks also to Gayle who got the ball rolling.  And finally, thanks to Josh at Partshaus.  I have yet to talk to him, but all reports say he was a pleasure to deal with, and went out of his way to help me out.  P.S.  Now we hope that the tranny is a good one!!!

10 December 2002 - Finca Tatin:  The Trip just keeps getting better....

So, today Sybil and I headed upriver to Finca Tatin, a small hotel on the Rio Tatin near the Rio Dulce.  It is a small eco hotel with a dorm, a few cabanas, and a few kayaks for rent, set on the river amongst the mangroves.  We got here this afternoon and immediately rented kayaks to check out the river.  We headed down two branches of the Tatin until they ended..  Even though one of the kayaks was a whitewater kayak and refused to go straight, we had fun, paddling through the jungle along the river.

We came back and spent the afternoon playing with the four Rottweiler puppies and their mom.  They are really quite cute.  I don't know how old they are, but they have not quite worked out how to walk perfectly, and were always stumbling over each other.

Dinner at Finca Tatin is a group affair.  One of the owners, Miguel, a displaced Spaniard, hosts, and all the guests join together.  A very interesting group tonight.  A couple from London, the woman a photographer who is quite mad (as in loco) and the man a software programmer with his own company.  The other guests were Michelle, an English woman traveling alone and Mohamed, a 64 year old Pakistani guy living in Toronto.  Finally, two doctors and a nurse practitioner from Marin General.  They are down here doing a weeklong seminar on children's health.

After dinner Miguel the owner took us on his boat along the Rio Dulce to the natural hot springs a few miles away.  We spent a few hours soaking in the hot springs, which are in the river, set apart by a few large rocks..  I swam out into the middle of the river, a very slow moving wide river.  Once I got out from under the jungle canopy hanging out over the hot springs, you could see amazing stars and several shooting stars.  I treaded water alone in this huge river until I realized I was heading out to sea, and decided I should swim back.

On the way back down the river to the Finca Tatin, we went slowly with no lights, and enjoyed several more impressive shooting stars.  Miguel also flashed his light onto the water at times and we watched fish jump and jump.  For some reason they think the light is a food source.  Miguel said that you can catch fish in the low lying canoes by just going out at night and using a flashlight.  Some of the fish will accidentally jump into the boat.

When we returned, Miguel pulled out the big guns to make the night even better.  Red wine and excellent chocolate on the riverside dock.  We sat there and enjoyed the wine and chocolate until the clouds rolled in and obstructed our celestial light show.

I was originally thinking of spending the night here and heading to Puerto Barrios for my transmission tomorrow, but then I changed my mind and decided to spend another night.  However, after tonight, I think I might move on tomorrow..  it can't get better than this, plus I have been waiting for two weeks for my transmission, and it should be in Puerto Barrios tomorrow.

08 December 2002

I am now back in Livingston, across the Rio Dulce from Puerto Barrios, where hopefully tomorrow I will get my tranny.  I met Sybil, a half Guatemalan half American girl at Finca Ixobel, and we are traveling together for the time being.  She has a cell phone and speaks Spanish, so she has been calling DHL to track the tranny for me.  And, it turns out her great great granddaddy's picture is on the 10 Quetzal note here.  Was president back in the late 19th century.  And her Uncle was the last president or something.  Anyway, can't upload pictures here, so text is all you get.  Hopefully I will be back on the road in a few days!

06 December 2002 - Cheetah breaks out again..

Well, yesterday afternoon Cheetah the monkey broke out again after a few days back in jail.  She came over to see me in my new tree house, and sat on my lap on the front porch for a while, but hightailed it out of there as soon as one of the guards showed up with a rope to catch her..

This morning she tormented a German couple camping near me (incidentally, they are on a BMW R1150GS Adventure)..  Apparently they have some cookies in their tent so Cheetah was trying to get in for a few hours.

And talking about the comforts of home.. Last night's dinner, as Caroline the Irish lass would say, was gorgeous.  The all you can eat buffet consisted of home baked bread, salad with home grown lettuce, fried zucchini with parmesan, mashed potatoes, a vegetarian casserole with rice, mushrooms, cheese and eggs, a quiche with carrots and cheese, and beef stroganoff with mushrooms and onions.  Absolutely marvelous.  I think.. nay, I know I definitely ate too much.


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