Flash back a year ago – I came up with the idea of bicycling across of El Salvador. I knew it was a Central American country, I knew it was seemingly feasible, I knew nothing else about the country – and to be honest, today, I know a few sites here and there, but I still have loads to learn and experience.
Flash forward a few months, I book my flight to travel the world, a few months later, I quit my job, and one last flash to just over two months into my travels I arrive at El Gato Negro Hostel in Xela, Guatemala mid afternoon after a three hour Chicken Bus ride. I was fresh out of a backpacking relationship heartbreak and really looking for a fresh start. I was going to take Spanish classes, live in a home stay with a Guatemala family and after a few weeks of traveling full time with the aforementioned girl, I was really hoping to meet a really cool guy or two to travel with for awhile.
Enter Lennart, and five other guys the instance I walked into the hostel in Xela. We all grabbed pizzas and beers that night – I was off to a great start. That night, I stumbled across a tourism trolley, and the idea to rent it as a “Party Trolley” popped into my mind immediately from my previous experiences in Chicago.
The next night, Saturday, we were off on it cruising around Xela, partying and dancing the night away – the 7 of us guys, 4 girls from the hostel, and 3 Guatemalan guys who I invited to join us right off the street. By the end of the night we’d picked up another group of 3 girls and it was an absolute riot of a night! Xela was off to a great start.
Over the course of the weekend, Lennart and I realized we had very similar plans – 2 weeks of Spanish courses, and then making our way through Central America over the next 3+ months and we both shared the desire to bike across a country. His original goal was Costa Rica, having never thought about El Salvador, I mentioned the idea and he jumped on board immediately. We shared the similar feeling of going with the flow and a love for beach volleyball and shortly thereafter, “El Danger Zone” became the coined name for our future trip.
After a few more weeks of traveling Guatemala, stops at Lake Atitlan, kayaking, hiking the highest peak in Central America, Volcan Tajumulco (4,220m and summiting it from 4,000m at sunrise after sleeping in a deep freeze) (another blog about this coming soon!), and the even more difficult Volcan San Pedro – we began our bike shopping….a simple feat in a first world country – not so much in Guatemala….
Our bicycle adventure was just beginning. El Danger Zone was going to have loads of challenges and we knew this was only the first hurdle, but no matter what was thrown at us, we had faith we’d succeed.