Friday, 8 January 2016

Scorchio Scorchio

It's easy to get lulled into a false sense of security regarding the heat when all you've done is sat in shady cafes for a few days. We found out how hot it was the hard way.
We were on the road at 8.47am. Our research told us we had a 66km ride back to La Entrada, this chart showed about 52. It turned out that it was 66km and I reckon the extra 14 were all uphill!

We'd had a hearty (and colourful) breakfast so felt in pretty good shape for the challenge.

A couple of hours in we stopped at a rare roadside stall for some drinkies. We had water, all the other local people who stopped as we sat there had Pepsi, sweets and shite crisps/snacks. There's trouble brewing for this regions health.....
On we went. The scenery was lovely. I'll let this video save my finger a bit of typing

There was no food at all on this stretch and we began to feel a bit desperate. We were now overheating as well. We knew we should stop but also wanted to go on in search of food. There were quite a few stalls but they only had drinks, mostly warm Pepsi.
Finally at around 3pm we wobbled into La Entrada. Another thing we have learnt is that the gradients on the chart are averages and not to be taken literally. The last section into town appears to be downhill but it had loads of ups as well, all in full sun. I was beginning to feel sick and weak. It was around 32 degrees and in that sun it was all a bit much.
We stumbled into the first half sensible restaurant we saw and ordered up some pollo fritas and bloody good it tasted too.
Now there's not much to keep you in this town. Our plan was to stay the night and then ride this little lot the next day

A bus looked bloody appealing. Now it seems that I was wrong about the lack of roof racks, maybe it was a Western Honuras thing... Anyway, within 2 seconds of pulling up at the bus station the bikes were being lashed to the roof of a minivan and we were off. The driver was a flippin nutter. We were squeezed right in the back. It was boiling and we couldn't really see where we were going due to all the heads in front of us. The bus lurched and bounced about making for a pretty unpleasant ride. What we did see of the climbs made us glad that as bad as this was, it was still the right decision. 
About an hour later we were unceremoniously dumped off at the bus station of Santa Rosa de Copan. My back wheel was half hanging out and kates gears were bent. The final climb up to the old town just about finished us (me especially) off. We checked in to a hotel, showered and went for a crap burger. There wasn't much else around apart from 1 soulless empty posh place. Phew, what a day.

The next day we were on the road by, yep you guessed it, 8.47am. Don't learn much do we?! This was today's ride

We had a small breakfast in a little cafe upstairs in the 'bandstand' of the central square. The whole place felt very calm, European and dare I say normal 

According to our map there was a little town about 15km away and we we felt pretty comfortable we'd be able to get a second breakfast there that would see us through the 45km ride. All research said it was actually 45 so we should be fine

The town was about half way down that big descent, so in true 'chart average style' we saw the turn off whilst we were sweating it out up a nice long climb! The turning plunged off the side of the mountain but with the promise of a hearty feed we followed it down. When we got to the dusty central square, to say we were disappointed maybe a bit of an understatement. There was nothing but closed doors and a few scabby dogs. Asking a lady who was hanging out her washing we got directions back up the hill, for sure there was a restaurant there. Hmm, really? A few minutes later kate was creaking the ajar door open, calling out "ola" in her best Spanish accent. 

Kates actually learnt quite a bit of lingo using an app on her phone, mine is non existent. "Pollo, huevos?" Kate proficiently asked, casting the net wide for anything that might be available.  "Si" said the owner, returning a few minutes later with 3 frozen chicken drumsticks and 4 eggs in a plastic bag....App that!! 
We don't actually think we ever found the restaurant but the lady kindly cooked us up some 'breakfast tipico'- tortillas, scrambled egg, refried beans and some local cheese that's like an extremely salty, crumbly feta.

With full bellies and a hefty tip given to her little daughter who sat through our bizarre visit watching the Muppets in Spanish, we were off up that bloody hill again

And then down the other side - pay back time and top speed of the trip 64.9 /h. You just can't let go properly down those hills. 

We're pretty heavy as bikes go for our stopping power and there are always either potholes lurking in the shadows or the odd street dog running about, or both...

A quick stop for a front wheel puncture on my bike for a change! It's the first one I've had nearly 5000km of touring in France, South East Asia and here so I couldn't really complain

The scenery was dryer here, the jungle given way to a far more Mediterranean feel

We crossed a river and couldn't resist a cool off. I walked in with my shoes and socks on, well they needed a rinse.

More ups, more downs. We made sure to stop off when we could, even just for a drink or a sit in the shade and calm it all down a bit.

I'd got my gradient charts mixed up and was expecting a final downhill into Gracias. Obviously it never came, making the final hot few K's even harder as I felt I was being tricked.
We headed for the Lonely Planet's best cafe/hotel for a well overdue late lunch. It was the weirdest but most welcome Club Sandwich I've ever eaten. The book waxes lyrical about spotting woodpeckers and hummingbirds from the terrace. All we saw was a pigeon trying to get it on with his lady friend on the neighbours roof. We checked the expensive but nice rooms and moved on, choosing a place down the road instead, deciding that we could then splurge guilt free on some frozen Mojitos also recommended in the book. For once it came up trumps



  1. That first breakfast looked yummy! Shame there isn't more of that available. So that place where Kate convinced the lady to rustle up some well earned grub - was that a restaurant or just someone's house?

    1. That colourful breakfast looks better than it tastes. There are a weird mix of flavours going on there. As for the second breakfast, we think it was just her house. She took kate to the cafe but the guy wasn't interested so she stepped up to the mark thank god!

  2. Thank God. I can't imagine being that hungry with no hope of food.