Driving to Belize. Thanks for following us.

Posted: April 24, 2014 by Central America Overland Expeditions in Expedition/Travel

Day 16: It has been a while since I posted an update. We spent the weekend at Mountain Pine Ridge without internet service. We had a great time! The roads are dusty, rough, and scenic. We were invited to stay with some friends at their cabin, so we took advantage of the offering and the cooler weather. The evenings even got down chilly! We had a campfire for smores, and conversation each night. The wind was steady blowing adding to the chill in the air. We just got to camp within the first couple of hours, and Albert (our friend), said, “let’s go swimming in the waterfall”. This sounded exciting, so we all piled into his 4 door Dodge pickup, and my Land Rover. They have several hundred acres of mountaintops, and in the valley lies this gorgeous waterfall. We drove up hills and down to finally reach the last leg of the trail. This is where it is extremely steep. Albert asked if I thought he could get back out if he drove to the bottom. I said, “don’t worry, I have the Rover and a winch. If need be, I’ll pull you out”. Heading down the steep slope, it was difficult to keep traction, the tires were sliding even while holding the brakes. The nose was pointed straight down the trail. We wound around the sides of the mountains, snaking down to the bottom of the trail, where it finally leveled out. We parked and went down to the water where the fall was splashing down the rocks. The water was icy! Most jumped in and teeth chattering, swam around to try to warm up. I got in up to my knees and waited for my legs to go numb so that I wouldn’t feel the cold. I’ll swim another day… After everyone was refreshed, we loaded back up to go back up the mountain. Albert backed up to get a high-speed running start. He made it about 50 yards up when he lost traction. The engine was roaring and then died. He was at such an incline, it as difficult to hold the truck in place. It began skidding a little backwards before he got it stopped. He turned the wheel and let it roll back to a little cut in the side of the mountain where he could stop. We checked the truck out. It was not getting fuel. It seemed the fuel pump had stopped working. After checking logical things like fuses, etc., we decided I would have to pull him out. Now it is one thing to pull someone out of being stuck, and quite another to tow a full-sized dead weight truck up and down such steep slopes that are challenging climbing on my own, let alone with out dragging an additional 6000 lbs! It was a combination of efforts to get him hooked up, winched, snatch strapped, both pulling forward and backwards, before we finally began to make headway. The Rover did amazing, but it was definitely taxed, as we are still loaded down with all of our equipment, spare parts, camping gear, etc. All four tires dug deep into the loose gravel and dirt climbing up the incline. It was exciting, and a sight to see.! Finally, we made it the 3 miles back to the cabin. Not bad having already had our first adventure only hours into our arrival.
The next day we relaxed around the cabin, and roasted more smores. The tents were set up, so we didn’t go explore any that day. We did take Alberts 4 wheeler and headed out to find any dead trees we could cut up for fire wood. It was an adventure it self. Albert called a mechanic to come up to work on the truck. Apparently a wire had broken to the fuel pump during the bouncing around on the mountain roads. It was repaired and ready to go.
Sunday, some more of our friends came up to meet us at the cabin. We decided to all go to 1000 foot falls, and Rio On Pools. The trip was effortless over to the falls. What a beautiful sight. We only observed from the lookout, but heard people hike into the falls, because only a portion is visible from the lookout. Well worth the visit. Albert took off and said he would wait at ant turns he made so that we could find Rio Pools. We stayed back to avoid the heavy cloud of dust made by his truck. As we approached the first intersection, there was no sign of Albert. We had no idea where the pools were located. After driving around for a half an hour trying to locate him, we finally looked on the GPS to see if we could find it. The pools were actually listed! We followed the directions until it told me to turn left onto a “road”. This may have been a road by definition, however it was the smallest two track lane, overgrown with trees, I had seen in the area. It had deep ruts where rain had washed the trail away. Normally, I would be skeptical that this was the way, but who am I to argue with the GPS? I mean I have no idea where I am, and besides, this trail looks like fun! We set out for what the GPS said would be 6.9 miles. It took 30 minutes to traverse the uneven, obstacle course of a road. We encountered a gray fox, who looked confused to see a vehicle, as he turned and ran the other way. We finally arrived at the pools after being “lost” for over an hour. No sign of Albert or anybody else. Well we were here now, we might as well enjoy it, besides, we had the watermelon with us that we intended to eat at the pools. Bernard and Tammy had ridden with Albert, so no telling where they were. Adam and Ashley had ridden with us, so we were all split up. We hopped out at the parking lot, amazed at how many people were there. It was Easter Sunday, and apparently this was the place to be. Out in the middle of nowhere, was tour buses, charter vans, and local vehicles. This is the most people, actually the only other people, we have seen while driving around the mountain area. The water was very cool, but enjoyable, and families were everywhere, playing, cooking, and swimming. We stayed for a while, and then loaded back up. As we were pulling out, there was another parking area. Ashley hollered out, “there they are”! We pulled back in and rejoined our group, of course giving Albert a hard time for leaving us behind. We stayed one more night and then packed up Monday morning. We are heading to Placencia today! The last leg of this trip. It is mixed feelings. Excited to be back in Placencia and out of our vehicles and roof top tents, but sad the journey was ending. The views on the way were spectacular, mountains, jungles, and beaches. The Hummingbird highway was in probably the best condition its been in a while. Normally they fill the potholes with sand that washes out each time it rains, exposing the hole again. This time they actually used black top. The holes were filled, although filled a little excessively causing there to be a bump now instead of a hole, however, much better than in the past. We are back in Placencia now enjoying the breeze off the ocean, and the beach.We traveled a grand total of 3,384 miles from Augusta Georgia to Placencia Belize. We are already planning the next trip to PG, so stay tuned for the next installment of “On The Road In Belize”. From myself, Angela WoodhamsBernard Barbour, and Tammy Barbour, thanks for following our journey. It was fun having you along! Please get out there, enjoy Belize, and share your pictures, stories, or adventures with us. Remember, its the journey, not the destination. See you On The Road!

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