Day 10, Wednesday, January 10
After a short night waking up is torture, but the road to Yaviza, where the Panamericana ends, is long. It doesn't get shorter by a wobbly looking tire, that in the next mud hole decides to call it a day. The Pantastic Four discover a valve stem has parted company with the inner tube. Good when you have a super special touring Easy Lift on board that doubles as a gas canteen.
Danger zone! A leak in one of the Easy lift canteens results in a strict No Smoking zone during the tire change. After a sweaty half hour it's back to the road to Yaviza. And back to the holes in the road, that get bigger until the road consists of only one hole, filled with bottomless mud.
Painfully slow the bikes crawl through the mud. The 4x4 is becoming more and more a liability when the 50 to 150m long mud passages are to be passed. The road is being patrolled by "El Tractor", a converted BigFoot Toyota acting as police car/taxi/truck/emergency/rescue vehicle. Its huge wide track tires leave deep furrows - wide enough for the bikes, but too deep for our 4x4. Only with the help of Indios, tons of rocks and cut down trees can it be pushed out of the mess again - at 40° and 200% humidity, mind you. This repeated procedure cuts the vmg down to 5 miles in 6 hours.
There are some 20 more to go to Yaviza, the last human settlement on the way to the colombian border. Our calculations see the end of the trip in the year 2027. So a decision is taken to go with bikes only, Gerardo and Darius stay with the 4x4 and organize it getting towed to safety by El Tractor.
For a while the two big twins make good progress. Repeatedly trees are fallen across the road, covered by mounds of dirt. As what is behind is invisible, Wolfgang and Klaus divide their party further: One biker rides up the hill, takes a look and comes back to report. Wolfgang is first to look over the last one: Pure terror lies behind it: Mud, mud, boundless, bottomless mud to the horizon, and no trace of El Tractor. Wolfgang doesn't want to believe it, so he returns and sends Klaus up the hill, who sees the same: this is the end.No time for tears of disappointment, the way back isn't much easier, and sunset isn't far away. Just in time the two riders reach the 4x4. The other two have rounded up an Indio in the mean time, who lets them hang up their hammocks in his grounds. The water canteens are empty, a nearby brook gives much needed refreshment to the riders. With the Katadyn filter they try to produce drinkable water, but half an hour of pumping produces just half a liter of water, not enough for four thirsty dudes. All warnings are ignored as they drink directly from the stream. Amoebae? What amoebae?