All good things must come to an end, and we knew our time was ticking to a close in Antigua. As much as we wanted to stay another week, month or maybe a year, the day had come when we had to trek back to Belize. Getting an early start and topping off with what we consider cheap gas ($4.00 Guatemala vs $6.00 Belize) we took the highway heading back through Guatemala City and then continued eastward across Guatemala towards Belize.

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Driving thru Guatemala City traffic reminded me of any big city anywhere. The daily hustle of people going to and from work, school, shopping and so forth. It was actually interesting too, as we saw Wal-Mart, three or four McDonald’s, a movie plaza and many more retail stores, car dealers, and high-rise apartments. Much of these we had not seen since leaving the states, and since we’ve been in Belize we are no longer accustomed to seeing such. Just then we saw something, the Guatemala City Ghetto’s. Full of  people scavenging  for a living in the garbage dump in the center of Guatemala City, scouring trash 11 hours a day for scrap items to sell to recyclers, I was humbled by the site of seeing people living like this and thinking this is all they have to look forward to each and everyday. Little children, Moms and Dads, all working the dump, day in and day out. Living, dying and trying to survive. It is such a pitiful site. I know that one day we will return and try to help out, if nothing more than mentoring, volunteering or in any capacity that we can make a difference.

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After successfully navigating the maze of signs, traffic jams, detours, mud slides and a few wrong turns we finally found ourselves on the outskirts of Guatemala City and now it was time to make up lost time.

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Finally we settled into a smooth pace, but we occasionally ran into some light traffic but otherwise enjoyed the view of driving across Guatemala’s beautiful countryside. The roads in Guatemala we found for the most part are very good, with lots of construction going on and improvements being made. Of course you can’t drive over 50 mph in most places , but for the most part traveling through the Guatemalan countryside was easy. There are plenty of gas stations, roadside stands to get something to eat and always something interesting to see, especially when you get off the main road and take a backroad.

” Hey Bernard” Scott called over the radio. ” Looking at the GPS, we can take this back road and shave about an hour or more off our trip” he quipped! ” I guess” I called back hesitantly, and thus began our real adventure. I wasn’t to worried as I know our Land Rovers have been built for this type of travel and they would easily stand up to the test, but I was just a little worried about having my kidneys shaking up for 40 miles of bad road. No sooner than we turned off the main highway, the road was all loose gravel, mud holes, ruts, ditches, dusty and one lane wood bridges that looked questionable. And we had over 40 miles of it to go, I’m thinking? Soon “Pigs” shouted Scott as I seen his brake lights come on and he abruptly stopped. What’s next I thought, and then I began to think was this a good idea? “Cows” he shouted over the radio not long after that, and then “Dogs, Chickens, Horses” and so it went. It didn’t get much better after those encounters and so we slowed down our pace, and just took it all in stride.

003 005 007 009 010 I guess it’s just a part of expeditioning, you know you’re not driving thru suburbia. Finally after this bone jarring drive and white knuckling experience it was refreshing to get back on the main road that would take us into Belize via the Western Highway. In all I’d have to say this is one of the most memorable drives in my life. It included all the elements of a great adventure drive. Beautiful scenery, unsuspecting surprise stops around every corner (animals), little one lane bridges that you hurried across because you thought you wouldn’t make it, the occasional possible head on collision from a farm truck or tractor coming directly at you, and drifting a 6,500 pound expedition vehicle around blind curves. Would we do it again? Who’s knows, probably, I think it was fun! Finally getting back to the border and into Belize felt like home, and it kinda is for now and we did miss Belize. Thanks for staying with us and enjoying our crazy adventures. And if you’d ever drifted a 6,500 pound 4×4 vehicle we’d love to hear from you.

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