False Start to Guatemala
We say our goodbyes and are excited to start exploring new territory. In this case, Guatemala. We cant believe our tour of Belize is so short, but there is very little coastal exploring to be done without a boat, and we cant find a resort willing to let us stay on the cayes with a dog. The first real drawback we’ve faced as a result of having Karma along for the journey. I guess we will have to save the cayes and coastal belize for when (or if) we ever begin our sailing portion of the journey.
We have a final belizean meal with our group of friends (fryjacks breakfast to be specific) ask for a jump because our battery still appears to be dead and turn back onto the rough dirt road leading to the highway and west toward guatemala. We make it just within sight of the highway before the bus dies and we coast over to the side of the road. We thought we could simply hit the highway and top off our battery but clearly it’s a larger issue. I had checked all our connections back at breakfast so we know that’s not the cause, but as i look more closely at the coil its clearly damaged. The top looks as though someone cut it off with a canopener and the black matter inside is pushing the top away from the body. In the separation i can see that at least one of the wires that are supposed to be connected to the terminal is loose and poking out the side of the gap. Im still learning all things vw...but i’m pretty sure thats not good.
A few vehicles pass before a gentleman stops to ask what is going on and basically tells us we are screwed; as there is no mechanic in Hopkins and parts have to come from Belmopan. He isn’t going far enough to tow us and heads out suggesting we pull off the dirt road for safety. Excellent idea if we thought we could push the bus out of the giant pothole is sitting in or the other 100 potholes en route to the nearest decent turnoff.
Eventually another vehicle comes by and he agrees to tow us back to town. We dislike being broken down, who doesn't. In this case its certainly a bummer for our exploration plans, but knowing exactly where to have someone tow you back to for free camping and an oceanfront view while you figure out your problems could be worse...
I spend the afternoon online researching to see if i can repair the coil. The easy answer is no. Jen helped in spirit but napped most of the afternoon trying to ward off the animales that invaded her digestive system yesterday/last night. My look into parts proved that there truly is only one parts store in Belize, and it is indeed in Belmopan. They can ship to any of the smaller shops, but there isn’t one here in tiny Hopkins village. A call to the closest shop in Dangriga proves my fear that a (correct) bosch coil wont be possible but they can order a replacement coil by morning. Tad is gentleman enough to offer the 30minute drive to Dangriga on the back of his bike and we save a half day trip on the public bus.
This quick tour is my first time on the back of a motorcycle (or frankly, on a motorcycle at all), so it was a good chance to test my mother’s warning at a young age that “if i ever got on a motorcycle either it would kill me or she would”. I guess that fear tactic was just as incorrect as the warnings we got about traveling to mexico because Tad and i made the trip up and back just fine.
30 minutes into Dangriga, ask a few locals how to find the parts shop, the last of which grins a toothless grin and points across the park at “his parts store”. We’ve found our way, and list checked off it's 15minutes back to Hopkins. I think Tad felt a bit more comfortable my complete lack of balance wasn’t going to wreck us and had a bit more fun on the return trip... In the bus we feel even the smallest pothole or speed bump as though the jarring has broken something, but on the bike i can barely feel most bumps and even the largest are more sport than anything else. Easy to see why people choose this mode for overland travel...right up until its time to setup camp.
We installed the new coil hoping our problems would be solved, but the engine still wont turn over. We’ve since recharged the battery and tried jumping with another battery but cant seem to get the juice we need to start. Back to the samba and the experts to try and find the next step in solving our current woes. Tad and Gaila have now departed as well, so we are hoping more parts or an actual mechanic aren’t needed to get us back up and running. Luckily, tonight is the Fiesta Bowl and we don’t mind having to have a down night in a town where we know about a tv...even if it happens to be a really small one with poor reception. Go Ducks.