So today we have to leave Hickatee Cottages. This has been our favourite place to stay in Belize so far, and we’ll miss Ian and Kate, and their wonderful humour, opinions, and hospitality.
I’m up early to photograph some of their plants, and to take a hike in the jungle on the trails around their property. We have a light breakfast, and we’re off with hugs and handshakes to see the Chocolate Plantation.
Familiar with the route, we head back on the gravel roads towards the Butterfly Farm. On and off it has been raining, but never heavy enough to get our rain gear out. Even the heavy moments pass quickly. We ask locals a few times for directions and realise that we’ve passed it. I gingerly turn the bike around on the wet, loose gravel. I think we now know exactly where it is.
Up ahead is a narrow wooden bridge. The boards are uneven, and slick from the rain. About halfway across I feel the bike slipping, and then the front tire drops into a groove between two boards. I can’t wrestle it back out and I feel the bike tipping to the left. The bridge has no railing, and if we tip now we’re falling 20 feet into the rocky creek below. I can tell I’ve lost control.
In an instant I make the decision that I’d rather crash on the other side of the bridge than over the edge. I twist the throttle and yell to Rebecca that we’re crashing!
We almost make the other side before the bike goes off the bridge. The front wheel hits the bank and I’m in the air. I can tell this is going to be a bad one. At one point I can see the bike in the air above me doing a pirouette. I can hear Rebecca screaming, but don’t know where she is. As things start to slow down I realise that we’re in the creek bed, and the bike is above us, hanging on the bridge. Still not sure where Rebecca is I’m yelling for her to get under the bridge because I’m sure the bike isn’t quite done its acrobatics.
Safely under the bridge I try to assess if Rebecca is okay. She’s really shaken up, and not making sense yet. The bike is above us, in shambles, but still running. I grab Rebecca and firmly say, “I need to know if you’re okay?! Is there anything that hurts or won’t move?” Holding back tears she tells me she thinks she’s okay. I rush back over to the bike to look for the kill switch amidst all the pieces and tangles of vegetation. Above us I can hear people running to the scene. That’s when I notice my right thigh doesn’t feel good. I can tell something bad has happened to it, but I can put weight on it and walk, so I’ll deal with it later.
We clamour up the embankment to find the entire village out to see if we’re okay. Before long lots of men show up with ropes, and together we haul the bike off the edge of the bridge and back onto the road. All in all, it doesn’t look too bad.
Now to look at my leg. I step off the roadway and unzip my riding pants. Most of my thigh has swollen up almost an inch, and half my leg is turning colour already. I know what already hurts is going to hurt even more tomorrow.
The next couple of hours are spent assessing the damage, and putting things back together.
- Windshield destroyed (and cut my riding pants)
- Handlebars bent forward (courtesy of my thigh)
- Cell phone mount broken (and 4 matching bruises just below my groin)
- Left Side Jesse Pannier punctured in 2 spots
- Left Side Jesse bracket bent badly (1 hour bending it gets it close enough to ride with a bungee cord for added security)
- Left Side Jesse Lid bent – no longer water proof – cooking gear in that side, so okay
- Left side Throttle Body dislodged
- Left side Throttle Cable unseated
- Left side Engine Cover Guard sheared off (now held in place with bailing wire)
- Engine not running well. Stuttering and sputtering.
Still shaken, we decide that the Chocolate Plantation will have to wait until another trip to Belize. We limp the bike north 2 hours to Placencia to see if Jacki still has a room at Casa Placencia for us, and see if we can get in touch with a guy in Maya Beach who knows BMW’s. We were given his number last week in San Ignacio by a fellow GS rider “just in case”.
Fuel mileage is way off, so we barely get to Placencia on the tank. Safe and sound in our hotel room, we ice my leg and head to RumFish for Rebecca’s Fish Tacos, and some ice cream at Tutti Frutti’s. Scary day.
Throttle Position Switch broken (low idle stall, 4000 RPM engine stutters)
Left Front Fork Seal shot