Sunday, March 30, 2014

Ride Day 179 Coatapeque to Antigua

Today I ate a huge breakfast of fruit and yogurt with granola followed by a 2 egger with refried beans, fried plantains and bacon with tortillas and of course coffee and orange juice. I needed energy cause I was thinking about riding all the way to Esquintla 90 some miles away. The ride out of Coatapeque was rough on the cobblestone roads. I had to stop and tighten the nuts and screws on my panniers from all the vibrations. I had some other nuts that could have used some help after all the bumps too but there was nothing I could do for them, the swelling should go down with some rest.

Once on the main road however it was relatively smooth for most of the way with some decent shoulder to ride on. The only places the shoulder seemed to disappear was in the areas where it was the most important like in the cities and on hills and curves. I survived it though. The road was especially bad and rough with big potholes in the cities I rode through. The terrain was mostly rolling hills again without anything real high just constant up and down. I stopped for lunch and rested for a total of 45 minutes trying to decide if I was done for the day or if I had another 40 plus miles in me to get to Esquintla. I went for it.

After around 90 miles very close to Esquintla my legs which started the day out like steel suddenly turned to rubber. At the top of a long slow grade in the high heat with humidity so high it was obscuring the views I could have had of the mountains and volcanoes, I had to stop and rest. Sweat was making it difficult to stay on my bike seat without slipping off and was blinding me running into my eyes. While sitting there trying to recoup enough energy to at least make it into town to find a hotel, a pickup stopped and offered me a ride to Antigua. I thought about it for about 3 seconds and then jumped into his truck. A vacation in the tourist filled city sounded good suddenly. I was planning on missing it because I have been there before. The man had lived in Texas for four years and told me it helped him tremendously in life. He seemed very successful now and happy. It was not far to Antigua but we talked all the way pushing my Spanish to the limit. He dropped me off a few miles from town and I rode the rest of the way. I did see another bike tourist coming up the hill while in the pickup truck but I have not run into him here in the town yet. I would love to talk with him about what and where about his tour.

I did go out and have a couple beers last night. I also ordered and ate a large meat pizza with the beers. The waiter was looking at me like I was some kind of freak eating so much. When I was finished eating it he came over to clear the table and I asked him for the menu and he almost passed out. I was only joking but in truth I could have still eaten more food. I burned a lot of calories going up all those rolling hills today.

I am only a days ride from El Salvador now and I am thinking about whether or not I want to ride through there and Honduras. I could take a bus for $43 to Nicaragua and that is sounding more and more like the best plan. Guatemala is dangerous but during the day there are plenty of people around to make it relatively safe traveling but those two countries have more isolated areas that I would have to ride through where the risk would be greater. I need to decide soon.

I only took a few pics and I can not upload them on this slow wifi connection so they will have to come later.

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