Chillaxing in Cancun

Posted: July 7, 2017 by bernardbarbour in Expedition/Travel

It feels good to be off the road for a few days. Waiting for our travel partners “Life all out” , Angela and Scott Woodhams, we’re getting caught up on some much needed rest, getting organized, laundry and sharing some fun and interesting stories with our new friends Christina and Paul that own and operate Camping Cancun RV.com https://www.campingcancunrv.com/.

Christina and Paul have been the most gracious host and have a great set up here for overlanders as well as the locals. A pool, cabanas, RV hook ups, storage and restaurant. The cool thing is you can leave your expedition rig here for months, go back home and return to your vehicle and continue your trip. Which we might do in the future.

We’re going to miss it here, but Belize is calling. Thanks for following. 20170706_125926

 

 


When will it end? We want out we cried. Well not really but we felt like it. Passports, vehicle registration, vehicle title, vehicle insurance, customs, immigration…… and mucho copies too! After two hours we were done and finally free to roam the country. Our first stop, the rock climbing town of Hildago about 200 miles south of the border. We’ll stay here for a night and keep moving south bound and down in the morning. Thanks for following. We’ll have a real treat for you tomorrow. Cheers!


Lafayette’s Louisiana famous Chef Bourque welcomes us! 

As we made our way south towards the Mexican border, there are several stops that are a must. Family, friends and then visiting with Shirley and Ted Bourque (Chef Bourque) in Lafayette, Louisiana is it’s own special treat.

Cajun gumbo,  ribs, chicken, crawfish and much more, was just a few of the many cultural meals we feasted on. “I really think we got so full, we won’t have to eat until we get into Mexico. “said Tammy. We all had a big laugh and kept on eating. Always a good time for us and we greatly appreciated the opportunity to have a meal with them and other friends and family as well .

After leaving Clarksville and prior to visiting with the Bourque’s, we made stops in Knoxville TN, Charlotte NC, and Pensacola FL. We’d like to thank everyone for their great hospitality and well wishes for success on our trip.

Claudell Harvey,  our daughter Brittney Barbour & DJ Wright, our daughter Santia and her family, Shirley & Chef Bourque. We miss you all already.

Aieeeee!

And we’re off, again !

Posted: June 10, 2017 by bernardbarbour in Expedition/Travel

For immediate release

 

When you say the word road trip in the presence of Tammy and Bernard Barbour of Clarksville, this couple’s ears perk up and their eyes gloss over with excitement. You see this road warrior couple are departing for a road trip of epic proportions in just a few days. Driving from Clarksville Tennessee to Ushuaia Argentina. “We’re leaving on my wife’s birthday, June 20th” Bernard says enthusiastically. They estimate this trip to the bottom of the world will take them anywhere from 18 months to two years. They plan to mark a bunch of things off their travel bucket list. The Panama Canal, Galapagos Islands, Machu Picchu and more they say. “I’ve always been fascinated with Bolivia” Tammy says, “ I can’t wait to explore Patagonia” Bernard chimes in.

 

The trip will take them through 13 countries. It will include shipping their vehicle around the Darien Gap from Panama to Columbia. México, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panamá, Colombia, Ecuador, Perú, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. While not new to overlanding travel, in 2014 the couple spent eight months driving all throughout Mexico and much of Central America. “ This time we want to explore more” the couple said with a chuckle. “Sometimes when we tell people what we are doing they think we are crazy, but if you research you’d find there’s a fairly substantial amount of people out there overlanding” Tammy said. “We keep up with a wide variety of people who are out there as we speak driving all around Mexico, Central and South America.” Is it dangerous many ask? Of course it is, no more dangerous than wandering in the wrong neighborhood in any big city USA” says Bernard. The people we’ve met on previous journeys have become like family. Inviting us to their homes, showing us great hospitality and learning a lot about their customs, culture and lifestyle.

 

As a retired Military couple they will easily admit they have the travel bug bad. Being stationed in Europe and Asia during much of his military career, Bernard says he really never got a opportunity to explore South America, so this trip will be a chance to see what he’s been missing. Tammy’s working on her third passport as well. We set a goal to see as much of the world as we could. In 2015 they traveled to Hawaii, England, and Canada all in the same month. Bernard says it all started with him when he got his first passport. “I’m on my 4th passport now and one I almost managed to completely fill with stamps” he says.

 

While the trip will include many fun touristy things to do, they will also be volunteering. Animal conservation projects in Belize, Costa Rica and Panama are already on the to do list as well as Habitat for Humanity in Guatemala. “If we happen upon a worthy project on our travels we’ll be flexible enough to adjust our schedule to participate.” they say.

 

The couple have their 2008 Toyota Tundra with a truck camper all decked out for the trip. They admit their truck and camper does attract some attention.”Many people ask us what’s that black thing sticking out the side of our truck?” he said. In addition to having a snorkel fitted,  there’s a winch, front grill bar, auxiliary  lights, the suspension is heavy duty and lifted, and they are carrying some critical spare parts. the truck camper has a bathroom, A/C, kitchen, which Tammy loves.

 

“Since the kids are grown and have started their own families, we decided to rent our house and hit  the road full time” they say.

 

On the 20th of June their adventure begins leaving from Clarksville heading south. “Passport, camera, spanish lesson CD’s, check!” Tammy laughs! We are ready to go!

 

You can follow their journey at Tales of the Pan American Highway and Central America Overland Expeditions.

 

A virgin passport………

Posted: May 19, 2017 by bernardbarbour in Expedition/Travel

by Bernard Barbour

I have four passports now. All starting back from 1987. Prior to that, being in the military I could travel most places on my military ID and or drivers license. However, when I found out I needed to get a passport, thus began a novel idea of wanting to travel as many places as i could go and get as many stamps as I could, thus filling up every page. Looking back now it looks like I did a pretty good job, especially with two of my passports as they are almost full. As I look through them sometimes, vivid memories flash in my head of my adventures. Wow, I think to myself, I have really been quite the wanderer. Cyprus, Morocco, Chile, Bahamas, lol. Yes, from our cruise ship I walked to immigration and got the stamp.  Maybe deep down inside I’m a passport travel stamp collector. How did this come about? Gibraltar, Ecuador, Canada, El Salvador and many more stamps adorn the pages. What memories.

Interesting enough in the last few years it’s been harder to get a stamp depending on where you go. In Europe for instance now, sometimes it’s almost impossible if you don’t fly into an airport to get a stamp. One time taking the train and driving around Europe you now have to go local immigration office to get a stamp. There’s no guard or border crossing agency at the border now. Funny when you arrive there to request a stamp in your passport, they want to know why you want a stamp? Sounds crazy, but true.

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Well as our big trip looms I had to get another newer passport with 43 fresh pages in which to collect stamps……woot woot! Look out world I’m on a mission to fill this virgin passport! Hoping to fill it up soon. Will there be a 5th passport?

It’s on like popcorn!

Posted: April 6, 2017 by bernardbarbour in Expedition/Travel

Doctors appointments, vehicle repairs and modifications, family visits, it’s all on the table. As we count down to getting back on the road and heading south, way south this time, the thought of less than 100 days is making us frantic but in a good way.

This ain’t your Dad’s road trip, but a full blown 4×4 expedition crossing two continents and taking up to almost two years to complete. What a daunting task, huh?

Many people ask us if it’s dangerous? Well heck yeah, it’s dangerous crossing the street if you don’t look both ways. But dear readers as you know this ain’t our first rodeo. So stay tuned, send us some positive vibes as we prepare for our July departure.

 

Cheers!

Tammy & Bernard

Tennessee to Argentina 2018 and beyond!

Tales of the Pan American highway

Mexico, don’t go there!

Posted: October 12, 2016 by bernardbarbour in Expedition/Travel

So what are our friends up to in mexico?

by the Travel Amateurs

I don’t care what other travelers say, Mexico is dangerous.  We followed the travel warnings issued by the U.S. State Department but still found ourselves in multiple situations where we felt unsafe.  I researched as much as I could to prepare for leaving the safety of the U.S.  We carried bear spray, a small hatchet and other blunt objects.  I planned code words so we could communicate discretely.  We studied Kung Fu, Jiu Jitsu, and Sumo Wrestling for Dummies.

Be sure to follow the link above, we know you’ll enjoy this adventure.


Our Perspective

We knew before we moved to Ecuador that we were Gringos. And we have been called Gringos frequently – by store clerks, friends and even strangers on the street. I’ve gotten so used to it, I describe myself to Ecuadorians as “el Gringo” because its the easiest way to describe who I am. In a community of Ecuadorians, the term Gringo identifies me as the 6ft tall pale-faced guy.

What is a Gringo?

The term Gringo comes in a few variations

  • Gringo – for the man
  • Gringa – for the woman
  • Gringita / Gringito – for the child or the “dear little gringo”. This is a term of endearment.
  • los Gringos – the group of gringos

Online forums and blog comments are full of Americans and Canadians who are insulted at the thought of being marginalized, by being reduced to a word.

Here in Ecuador, a Gringo is anyone foreign – from any country. However, the taller and blonder you are increases the odds of being called a gringo. But the telltale give-away is when you open your mouth. Once you speak, either exclusively in English or with the distinctive English accent, you become a “Gringo”.

Something to remember: in Latin American culture, it is common, accepted and even a kindness to give people nicknames based on their physical appearance. For example:

  • Flaco (thin or skinny)
  • Gordo (fatty)
  • Gordito (little fatty)
  • Suco (fair skinned)
  • Negrita (little black)

Two years ago, while visiting Margarita Island, I was driving with a Venezuelan friend. He referred to a friend of his as “negrita” – I was shocked. I thought that it was out of bounds – that it was an international insult. But no . . . in Spanish its common term of endearment. A professional friend, a Cuencano, calls his wife “flaca”. When translated literally means “skinny woman”. In English, it doesn’t sound so nice, but in Spanish it is a sweet expression from a husband.

In Ecuador, people are often identified by where there are from:

  • Cuencano (a person from Cuenca)
  • Guayaquileño (a person from Guayaquil)
  • Quiteño (a person from Quito)

For us, being called Gringos is equivalent to being called Canadian. It simply identifies our origins. It isn’t uncommon to be walking downtown and hear two older Cuencanas say: “Mira – la gringita”, referring to our daughter. They say it with all the love and interest that her own grandmother would. To us, it is a very kind.

 

What Are the Alternatives to “Gringo”?

While most people from the United States consider themselves “Americans”, this doesn’t have the same meaning here. America isn’t a country: it includes everything from Alaska to Argentina. After all, Ecuador is part of Latin America, located in South America. Technically speaking, everyone from Canada south to Patagonia is an “American”.

If you are from Canada or the United States, you may be called norteamericano (North American). At a glance, it is impossible to tell Canadians, Britians, Australians and New Zealanders apart. So just as the the diverse nationalities of Latin America have been grouped (right or wrong) under the term “Latino”, it seems that “Gringo” have come to define foreigners as a group in Latin America. Have you noticed a Gringo Superiority Complex?

What do you say? Are you offended by the term? If you are Ecuadorian, what do you say about it?

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We’re getting close. Excitement fills the air as we continue testing, preparing and solidifying our plans. Attending Overland Expo West 2016 was great and we had the opportunity to catch up with a lot of good folks, check out vehicles, attend training and get new ideas. If you missed it, not to worry, Overland Expo East is coming up soon and we’ll keep you posted. Attending Overland West gave us a great opportunity to shake down our vehicles and equipment prior to our departure for Argentina this fall. Additionally we had the opportunity to visit family, friends and a few of our wonderful state and national parks. So, meanwhile enjoy this pics of our wonderful tour across the US of A and few of the expo. Thanks for following.

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Davis Falls Belize, the final cut!

Posted: April 8, 2016 by bernardbarbour in Expedition/Travel

Thanks to our partners Ashley & Adam Swierczek, and Angela & Scott Woodhams for documenting their adventure to Davis Falls Belize. Enjoy!