Sunday October 18, 2015, 81 miles (130 km) – Total so far: 12,431 miles (20,006 km)
We had wanted to spend an extra day at Hotel Ecologico in Finca Ixobel (Ixobel means place of the Obel a local medicinal plant), a beautiful oasis in the Guatemalan jungle and climb the huge unrestored nearby pyramid plus the caves where the Mayans lived but it rained hard all night so the ground was saturated with water. Jocelyn attempted the climb but soon was slipping and sliding everywhere. Instead of getting hurt she wisely stopped and we decided to get back on the road. As it was another rainy day the climbing miles came slow. The scenic vistas were just beautiful as we admired all the huge tropical plants and heard unseen animals. Riding in raingear is not fun and seems silly since the raingear is designed to keep you dry. But instead you sweat profusely inside and get soaked anyway. I take my jacket off when not raining hard then put it back on. Jocelyn leaves hers on most of the time. I tend to overheat when I do that.
It starts getting dark now at 5pm. We passed many small villages looking for a hotel or guesthouse but found none. Jocelyn had previously written out in Spanish words to the effect of who we are and that we are looking for a safe place to stay for the night. We spotted a house with a large covered front porch and she bravely went to the door and read it to the senora. She then called her husband who must have said okay because she said we could put our tent and bikes on the porch. We were soon the news of the town as people walked by to see the two gringos setting up camp. The family of five that we stayed with were very friendly and let us use their inside bano (bathroom). I walked to a nearby store for some food and drink for they didn’t seem to have enough food to feed us. We were fine with that. At 7:30 we said our “buenas noches” (good night) and were soon asleep. I was really proud as how Jocelyn and worked this translation out that we will start using more.
The next morning we were up with the sun at 6 and after giving our hosts thanks and a FatherDaughterCyclingAdventures sticker we were on our way. It was Jocelyn’s 25th birthday too! Her mom had given me a card to give her so I presented that at our breakfast palapa. Soon we were in the popular sailboat cruising destination of Rio Dulce which means Sweet River. It is part of a lake and river system that leads to the Caribbean Sea about 24 miles away. The river has many marinas and is packed with sailboats this time of year as it is one of the best hurricane holes in this part of the world. Most sailboats stay here for the hurricane season. It was strange to be sitting at the bar/restaurant and see so many gringos! This morning as I write this many of the boaters are getting ready to leave and there is a large marine swap meet being held where we are staying, Bruno’s Marina and Hotel.
Last night Jocelyn had found “according to trip advisor” the best local fish restaurant. It was a boat ride away and it was excellent as we enjoyed her birthday meal, a variety or fish and shellfish cooked in coconut milk. To top that off we had coconut flan then enjoyed a sunset cruise back to the marina. At a lunch spot that day we ate in Jocelyn’s Restaurant. The restaurant was really named “Jocelyn”. While there we met a nice gentleman, Garon, from Utah and Wyoming. He was a rancher there and came here years ago to buy a marina and another ranch. Today he works his cattle business and really enjoys living in the “free” Guatemala.