Daily Life Back On The Road

Nancy at Lake Amatitlan
Nancy at Lake Amatitlan (View on flickr)

We are getting into the groove of riding our bicycles down to the bottom of South America. After 4 months of living in the United States we have giving up that and live the life of Hobobikers. What does this mean?

It means staying in a different place every night. a hotel, a flop house, someone’s house, a backyard, or camping somewhere in a town that someone has claimed is safe. Currently we are staying in hotels, with anywhere from a small twin bed to three various-sized beds. Some have running water all day long and produce warm water through an electrical device attached to the shower head. This is called a suicide shower. Never raise your hand up while washing the armpits and touch the electric device. You will get a shock. Others have water only part of the day because of water shortages in the region.

At the end of the days riding we wash that day’s biking clothes in the sink or shower or perhaps a concrete basin for washing clothes called a pila. We have a stretch clothesline for drying our closes. All the shower floors in Central America are about 8 inches taller then the surrounding floor so when I step out of the shower with wet feet onto the tiled ceramic floors, I always feel like I will slip. I use a red bandana as a rug which I wash in the morning and hang it on the bike to dry during the day.

Dinners are usually some kind of grilled meat or chicken dish with rice and some other side dish. Actually this is also for lunch and also for breakfast. I am getting tired of the same food so I guess I will have to get creative.

We set out in the morning between 6 and 9 depending on the temperature and ride for the day. We only really ride 3 to 5 hours a day but it takes all day long. I have to stop a lot and get off the bike to stretch, make an adjustment or have a quick snack. As we approached Honduras the daytime temperatures seem to be getting hotter so we starting earlier then usual. In really hot weather I will wet down my shirt and bandana and ride with the nice coolness of the wet cloth.

We stop some times for a nap along the side of the road or along the side streets of small villages. Usually kids come up to us in the plazas to ask questions or beg for a coin or two, so if we want a real nap we go where no one else is.

As we ride lots of drivers beep, people say god day and others just stare at the strange site of gringos riding their bikes fully loaded past their doors or pastures or washing in a Pila.

We take photos, talk with those that are interested which seems to be a lot of people, and mostly we ride all day. In the western part of Guatemala we have been climbing up step terrain on paved and unpaved roads so I have been walking up the mountains with my bike. I sometimes do not have the endurance to ride and climb the heights that these areas present. I have been offered rides but I politely decline. I will make it to the top one way or the other. When things are very tough, Randy sometimes will ride ahead, park his bike and walk down to meet me. He will walk my bike up the hill for me. I am not proud of this but sometimes I just need a little extra help. He is so very patient. (thanks honey)

Around 4:00 to 5:00 we will arrive in our evenings destination and I will go find us a hotel that fits my requirements. I am in charge of this task because where we stay matters more to me then to Randy. I like a window that opens to the outside natural light and a halfway decent mattress. Randy would take anything for a great price but I do well (according to me) in finding the best place for the value. We have spent anywhere between 7 dollars and 15 dollars a night for lodging. Randy has not complained once about the places I have chosen

That is a typical day of the hobobikers in Central America. We rest a couple days a week, just like a work week. We are taking a couple days in Copan to enjoy the Mayan ruins of Copan Ruins, Honduras. A very nice place which we recommend. I hear it is the nicest town in Honduras but we have just gotten here so we will let you know later how it compares.