Fourth Travel letter, the 19th of January 1995
Guatemala City

I finally left the US from Laredo on the 18th of December. It took me 4 hours to get through the customs, going from one long queue to another, so it was already dark (and raining) when I arrived at Monterey. I had been warned not to ride at night in Mexico, and I wont do it again, the roads are full of big pot-holes, and there is a lot of animals on the road (many of them alive) so even riding at daylight requires full attention. I arrived safely to Monterey and was happy to find a Motel there even-though the price was $55.

Picture The next day I continued my drive towards the Pacific and spend the night in a small town called Villanueva, here the motel was one $8. In the evening I walked around town, and had a look at the "Funerales", they had many coffins on display, in many colors and different sizes, one of them "Funerales Villagrana", had extended their business in a very clever way, they were selling motorcycles and offered an ambulance-service, I got one of their calendars. Death is a big thing in Mexico, all along the road there are crosses where ever there has been a road-kill, and there are a lot, even on straight roads, and they are all very well maintained. Actually I think it is a good idea, it constantly reminds you of the dangers of the road.

Picture I arrived at the Pacific the next evening, and found a hotel just in time to enjoy the sunset, and take a swim in the hot water, what a nice feeling my cold had gone completely. The next two days I rode along the coast down to Puerto Escondido, where I had been told by various sources that another BMW tourer was spending the winter.

Bill Bauman has bought a small piece of land (10 * 30 meters) with a beauty-full view of the Pacific. Here he has all what is needed, a big water-tank and a 3 story shit-house. The basement works as a septic-tank, then there is the toilet with shower, and on top there is a palm-leaf covered terrace (Palapa) with just enough room for 4 people. Underground in another corner there is a 10.000 liter water-tank, combined with a car-battery and a pump from a motor-home it gives you all the comfort you need. There is no electricity and no real house, but you don't need that since it never rains here in the winter !!.

Picture This Palapa is really wonderful, since it is on top of the toilet you have great view all around, and you get a slight brease up there, and of-course the palm-leaf gives you the shadow. While at home we spend the most time up there, especially the evening-show (sunset) was great, especially when it is combined with a cool Corona.

Bill has been traveling in Mexico and Central America for the last 20 years and have also taken the Pan American High-way all the way down to Ushuaia Argentina on his BMW R80ST. If you are going south I would really recommend you to pay Bill a visit, he has space for a tent or 2 and he is quite easy to find. Near the PEMEX gas-station you will find the "Corona Agencia" and directly below their big sign you will find a gravel road which you will have to follow a few hundred meters inland, once you spot a tower with a palm-leaf roof you have found it. You can also write to him at this address

Bill Bauman, APTDO 290, Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico 71980

I spend Christmas at Bill's Palapa, and together we drove up to Acapulco to spend New Year there. Acapulco used to be a place where hundreds of motor-cyclists would gather for New Year, but with very few showing up in recent years, this year we were 6; 3 BMW's and 3 Gold-wings (one of them a 3-wheeler). The Gold-wing drivers were in the sixties and seventies, so it was very quit party, and I was also not really in the mood since I had got diaria, which would last for 2 weeks, but I am fine now.

When I first arrived in Puerto Escondido my rear shock was loosing oil and now I was driving on the spring alone. I never reallised how important a component the shock is. So one week into the new year (after I had learned to live with my diaria) I left to head for Guatemala city where I knew there was a BMW dealer. When I arrived in Guatemala city my drive-shaft had gone too, and the BMW dealer didn't have any parts, so now I was really stock, and Guatemala city is not a nice place to get stuck in. The BMW dealer had to order things directly from Germany, so I decided to mail-order the parts from the US. I got the shock last Thursday but I am still waiting for the drive-shaft, maybe it will come tomorrow.

While I have been driving south of the US I have met 3 GS (paralever) riders and 2 of them had to have their drive-shaft replaced around 40.000 miles, the third one had not passed 40.000 miles yet. Mine died at 44.000 miles. and I have heard of others with similar problems in the US.

I hope my drive-shaft will arrive real soon now, so that I can get out of this SMOG-filled city. The air is really bad here, mainly due to the hundred of old diesel-busses here. they leave a black smoke trail so you can hardly breathe and it gives you a head-ache. The buses makes so much noise that any Harley driver would be jealous, they really now how to fine tune the exhaust so it works more like a trumpet, these mechanics would have a great future in Harley-land.

Yesterday I took a bus-trip to go to Antigua, a one hour drive. When we were driving slowly down a very steep 4-lane road in the left-hand lane, a BMW-car driver was so unpleased with that, that he passed us on the right-hand side turned back into our lane and slowed down - Well he shouldn't have done that!! - it upset our bus driver quite a lot. After this our bus was chasing the car down the mountain, not keeping any speed-limits, and with the brakes sounding like horns - I was quite scared, but I think the car driver must have been more scared when the bus finally managed to pass him, and moved over before the back-end of the bus had passed the car - they really know how to get your adrenaline pumping, and that for only $0.40.

Kind of the same thing has happened to me, although the situation was a bit different. Bill and I were driving through some pretty steep roads in Mexico (route 175) when there was a truck and a bus in front of us, first Bill passed which made the bus driver very mad because he wanted to pass the truck too, a little later I was passing the bus, when the bus suddenly decided to pass the truck as well, he just pulled over while I was half-way passed him. A BMW-mc can stop at a very short distance, when it has to, I hope the same is the case for a BMW-car.

On Saturday I will move to Antigua where I will stay for 2 weeks taking a Spanish course.