We had been unsure of our next destination after departing Semuc Champey, but this incident cemented it for us. We were going to go to Guatemala City, as we probably needed a shop with exhaust-design experience plus a tire shop with a large variety of tires that weren’t exposed to the sun all the time. So we navigated the paved roads (hallelujah!) to Guatemala City. Interestingly enough, they apparently had issues with erosion here. At certain points, they would have signs saying “PRECAUCIÓN HUNDIMIENTO,” which means “CAUTION SINKHOLE.” And then varying amounts of the road would have sunk down and worn away. These had happened long enough ago that they had time to put up permanent signs, speed bumps, and occasionally a dirt road bypass when the road had been completely worn away. They apparently have difficulty for one reason or another in getting the heavy equipment and workers in to fix the underlying issue.
One of the milder ones. On the more severe, they had police there to direct traffic on the one remaining lane.
This is one where the entire part of the original road had dropped off and they had built a dirt-road bypass for it.
Guatemala City was intense with its traffic and the number of miles it took to get through it, but it could have been worse. We had at least in 2-3 lanes on each side of the divider. There were also lots of ridiculous, pimped-out old school buses.
We finally made it all the way to the other side of the city to scope out our campground options. The first place, Turicentro La Red, looked like it was closed for the day and we didn’t see anyone around to let us in. The second option, Turicentro Automariscos, also looked like it had closed for the day. But as we sat there thinking about what to do next, a man walking through the parking lot spotted us and came to talk to us. I told him we were looking for a place to camp and he said we could, we just needed to go to the other entrance farther up the road. They soon had us set up and we were settled in just before dark.
The next morning, Jonathan went to work examining the exhaust jumble in detail. Besides the crumpled exhaust, it had nearly broken off the oil fill/dipstick tube. However, he was able to pull, pry, and bend things roughly into place and replace the torn isolator mounts. He thinks we have something that will last a bit longer, so we didn’t have to figure out how to get a new exhaust designed and installed in Central America.
Jonathan sawed through the L-brackets and repositioned them to hold up the exhaust in its new lifted position. (Apparently Central America provides ground clearance upgrades, Gratis)
If you are a "legit" tire shop in México or Central America, it is a requirement that you have a tire labeled with tire shop on it. Interestingly, the word for tire shop changes. In northern México, it is llantera. In southern México, it is vulcanizadora. Then in Guatemala it was pinchazo.
Spanish words of the Day:
Spare tire: rueda de repuestos