Saturday, July 9, 2011

Emergency Trip to Kansas

Sorry about the complete lack of pictures...we were in a bit of a hurry...

After leaving Lanquin, we drove for as long as we could and realized that we still would not reach Antigua by the end of the day.  We stopped in an Auto Hotel located on the highway, which is a very secure hotel that has an attached garage where you can park your car or motorcycle inside and close the door.  There was a bathtub in the room, the first one we had seen on the trip, but we quickly realized there was no hot water.  The room turned out to be surprisingly nice, with a comfy bed, air conditioning and was cheap, so we slept well and woke up early the next morning to get back on the road. 

We knew we were getting close to Guatemala City because traffic quickly went from no one else on the road to terrible traffic in no time.  The city was crazy; road signs for Antigua were nonexistent and it seemed that no one obeyed any kind of traffic laws.  Most cars didn’t even have brake lights.  We pulled up next to a Guatemalan man on a scooter and, in broken Spanish, asked him how to get to Antigua.  From what we gathered, he told us to take the second…something.  He took off, splitting lanes like all of the small bikes do and we thought we were screwed.  However, two exits later we saw the man on the scooter stopped on the side of the road waving us to turn.  Neither of us could believe that in a city that big in traffic like that that someone would go out of their way to help some lost gringos.  We never would have seen the turn either because there was absolutely no indication that Antigua was that way.

Since we were making the emergency trip back home, we needed to find a place to store the motorcycle and all of our things which we were gone.  Ty had looked online at and found a motorcycle touring business in Antigua called MotoCafe.  He got in touch with an extremely helpful, nice guy named Chris, from Georgia, who worked at the shop.  He immediately offered to store our bike and luggage for us, which made our lives so much easier.  When we arrived in Antigua, we went straight to meet Chris.  He had been living and working in Antigua for several months and was very knowledgeable about the city.  He took us to his house where he was going to store our bike and let us put all of our stuff in his room.  Then he took us to a great little hostel down the street, Base Camp Hostel, where we could stay for the night and showed us where the best bar in town was; not sure what we would have done without him and we seriously can’t thank him enough!  We settled in to our hostel and talked to Jack, Ty’s brother, about plane tickets.  We decided we would leave the next morning from Guatemala City and booked our return tickets for July 4th (almost 3 ½ weeks later.)  We had a couple of beers at CafĂ© No Se, an awesome bar right across the street from Base Camp, with Chris before heading to bed.

The next morning we were going to be picked up at 5:30AM to get taken to the airport.  “Guatemala time” always runs a bit slower than you would like when in a hurry, so our driver arrived at 6:30.  We were well on our way to the city when the car started making a crazy noise; it turned out the tire had shredded.  Ty did a Nascar tire change and five minutes later we were on our way to the airport (on a spare tire that looked like it should be on a bicycle instead of a car.)  Amazingly, we made our flight.  We settled onto the plane and wondered after several minutes why we hadn’t moved.  After about an hour, the pilot came on the intercom and explained that the parking break was stuck and that they were working on releasing it.  After about another hour and a half, he announced that the plane would be taken out of commission and that we should go stand in line at the desk in an hour or so to make alternate travel plans.  The best they could do was fly us to Miami that evening, put us up in a hotel for the night, fly us to Chicago the next morning, and, after a five hour layover, finally fly us to Kansas City.  We finally made it the next afternoon; my mom picked us up and we headed straight for KU Med to check on Ty’s mom. 

Thankfully, everything turned out okay.  After a few weeks in the hospital, Ty’s mom returned home and is expected to make a full recovery and we are so glad.  We arrived back in Antigua, Guatemala a few days ago and are back on the road again.  More updates to come soon!