Archive for July, 2017


After driving thru a severe storm since the border crossing with Belize, we finally made it to Ixpampajul. Setting up camp was a muddy soggy experience. I actually had to put the truck in four wheel drive, because the ground was so soft or risk getting stuck. Finally done, we went for a quick walk to check out the grounds. “Beautiful” Tammy exclaimed, as we strolled though the park quietly with wild horses watching our every move. “Lets get low” I told Tammy. We squated as too make ourselves less of a threat, hoping the wild horses would come near us. As they approached,  slowly I pulled out the camera to take a picture. Hoping the flash would not scare them away, I fired. Surprisingly they just stared on.

 

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Having had that little night adventure, we retired to bed.

Early, and I do mean early, just before the sun came up, we heard the sounds of Howler Monkeys off in the distance. We had bought a few bananas as bait, hoping to lure them near the truck and get pictures. But no chance, as they seemed to keep their distance. Having a breakfast bar and a lot of water to drink we though we’d take a quick hike around the park. That turned out to be adventure we had not expected. On the park map showed a trail, it said “not to strenuous”. Two hours later “What were we thinking?” Angela blurted out! We were all thinking the same thing about then as we had climbed several hundred feet in elevation and crossed several huge swinging bridges high about the jungle floor. Finally we reached the top and where treated to a wonderful view, in which we could clearly see Flores far off in the distance. After a bit of relaxing at a refugio camp, we headed back down.

 

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Time to take an early morning nap for me. Meanwhile, Tammy took a shower. Later, she woke me from my slumber “Angela and Scott are ready” she reported. Slowly I pulled myself together. Looking at the clock it was only 10:30 am. Thinking about my Army days “We get more done before 9 am” I chuckled to myself. Packed and ready to roll, we pulled out and headed toward Flores for groceries, the ATM and our favorite, McDonalds. Why McDonalds you ask? For the Wifi of course. Thanks for following, sharing and liking our page. More adventures to follow, we assure you.

 

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Our border crossing into Guatemala went as expected. Leaving Belize we were approached by the money exchangers. “ Quetzales, Quetzales, Quetzales” they shouted to get our attention. There is no bank or ATM at the western border between Belize and Guatemala so it’s a common practice to exchange some money with them in order to pay your temporary importation permit fee and fumigation. After a few little pleasantries, we tried to negotiate the best price for our US Dollars to get Quetzales. Fat chance, but close. So we only got enough for what we needed to do.  There is no visa or fee required otherwise.  Checking out of Belize went well. We then got back into the trucks and proceeded to Guatemala. Once crossing no mans land, the area between the two countries , we stopped at the fumigation station. After exiting the fumigation station and entering Guatemala, we parked the trucks and proceeded to immigration and then customs. We noticed that the border was over crowded with 18 wheelers loaded down with scrap metal parked all over the place haphazardly. Parking was a mad house, oh well we thought, what are we going to do, just park in there somewhere. After getting our stamps in our passports, Angela, Tammy and Scott got in line for the temporary importation paperwork while I got in another line to pay the cashier. By getting in the other long line to pay the cashier, I was hoping they would get the TIP, and I would be at the front of the cashier line and they could jump right in, therefore speeding up our process through the border. Scott promised us that he knew of an ice cream stop just in town. “We’ll stop for ice cream, as a reward for all this torture of a border crossing mess” he said with a grin. Then we’d traveled on to our final destination for the night.

 

About then as expected one of the fumigation workers ran up to us asking if we could move our trucks. We were blocking traffic from entering and exiting the border crossing. Imagine that! Little old us stopping up the flow of goods and services between Guatemala and Belize. Quickly we both jumped out of line, moved our trucks and resumed waiting. Soon we’d have all our paperwork finished and we were on our way.

 

Just up the road from the border crossing at the first traffic light, there sat a little ice cream shop. Pulling over immediately, we went in, and in our best Spanish ordered the sweet stuff.  “A double cone of pistachio nut ice cream with chocolate and sprinkled nuts.” Scott ordered in his best Spanish. Tammy and I took the easy road and just said “Mismo” meaning same order in Spanish and laughed. “Yummy” said Angela as we all nodded in agreement. To busy, all of us eating ice cream to talk. Just what we needed after a hot lengthy stay at the border.

 

Next it was time to get gas. Feeling a sigh of relief to see gas at $3.25 instead of $5.25 in Belize, we pulled in and filled the tanks. While getting a fill up we noticed the sky getting very dark. Just as we pulled out of the gas station a slight drizzle began. Shortly afterwards, the clouds opened up and buckets of rain poured down. “Scott” I called over the radio! “We need to take it very slow, I can hardly see back here” I said. Suddenly our speed dropped from a leisurely cruise of 50 mph down to 20. Onward we traveled barely seeing the road, yet some cars and trucks were passing us at break neck speed, splashing water up on our windshields. Making life more dangerous.

 

Determined to get to Ixpanpajul, a nature park that boast wild horses and sheep roaming the grounds, we drove on in the vicious storm dodging downed tress and torrential rain. About the time we arrived, the weather had almost cleared. Pulling off the road and into the gate of the nature park we saw many wild horses and sheep roaming the grounds. Just what we needed for our first night’s stay. Welcome to Guatemala.

 


Sunburn, exhausted, and water logged ears drums, we reluctantly made our way back on board the Panga heading to mainland Placencia. Did we care we were in such battered condition, would we do it all over again? Yes, we all agreed! An amazing adventure, Silk Caye was. Delighting us for the moment we arrived till we departed, we snorkled the entire island, had a huge lunch barbecue and then swam with the sharks, turtles and rays. More video of our under water shenanigans coming soon. Trust us you’re going to love it. Meanwhile enjoy the pics and thanks for following.

 


I’ve always had this fantasy of driving an old Land Rover since I was a kid. I remember seeing the first one on Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, bouncing through the jungle with that spare wheel on the hood, no top, the front windshield folded down, and cool safari guys hanging on for dear life while taking photo’s of Lions, elephants, and Rhino’s. Since we’ve been here in Belize, I’ve noticed a few of just such old Land Rovers around the country from time to time, but have never had the opportunity to check one out, until today.  All the while thinking how cool it would be to explore the natural beauty of Belize in an iconic old Land Rover, and just enjoying this simpleness of the machine, this dream keeps circling in my head. No air conditioning, power steering, radio, not even windows! Less stuff to fix or worry about breaking, I thought. Until today!

As you know we’ve been working on the Royal Rover feverishly trying to get it up and running so we could take it out for drives while we’re here, and it’s coming along slowly. Meanwhile we spied another old Land Rover here on the Placencia peninsula owned by an enthusiast. “I think I saw a Land Rover peeking out of that garage” I told Scott as we drove down the street. “Lets swing around and check it out” he said excitedly. “UnBelizeable” we both exclaimed as we pulled into the driveway and there it sat. A 1980 Land Rover Defender Military edition, in all it’s glory with the camouflage paint, canvas top and some cool looking crossed swords painted on the door. We introduced ourselves  to the owner, and before we could finish our conversation about our Land Rover restoration project, he said “Have a look” and we most certainly did. From top to bottom, front to back, and meanwhile asking a thousand questions about it’s history, we were drooling. ” It runs fine” he said. “I’ll fire it up and you can take it for a spin” he added. “Now if you’re not back in ten minutes, I’ll come looking for you! ” he said with a chuckle.

 

Then, off we went and my fantasy started to dissipate. He warned me that there was no power steering, air conditioning, radio, none of that. “You have to manhandle it” he said with a smile. It took me several minutes to get out of the driveway doing a three point turn wrestling the steering wheel as sweat poured down my face. Once we got it going, it was bitter sweet, but “where’s the air conditioning?” I said turning to Scott. “Two windows down at 55!” Scott said laughingly as we drove along. It was quite entertaining and fun to drive an old historical vehicle like this especially in Belize, but the though of driving it any more than twenty minutes over rough terrain was sobering. How did those British Military soldiers survive driving these old Landy’s all over the country. Hmmmmm.. mad respect for them I’m thinking now.

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Time to turn around. Another several minutes and a three point turn, we were on our way back. “Did you enjoy it?” we were asked. “Most definitely” we replied. We much appreciated his kindness and for us a memory we’ll soon not forgot. Especially that I need a/c, power steering, a radio, and windows. Have I gone soft and spoiled, you betcha? In all fairness though, I love these old Land Rovers so much and it really wouldn’t bother me to do without the modern day comforts. I still see myself just bouncing around in the jungle taking pictures of wildlife. Me, my camera, and the Landy. Maybe one day. Do you have a fantasy with old cars? We’d love to hear about it. Keep the dream alive.

The fastest woman in Central America

Posted: July 23, 2017 by bernardbarbour in Expedition/Travel

Yesterday was great, as I had an opportunity to volunteer at the Kaina Martinez 5th Annual Olympics Games for the kids in Seine Bight Village. Thanks Rodolfo Sáenz de Ugarte for inviting me.

Born 20 February 1986 in the Garifuna village Seine Bight, Stann Creek District, Kaina Martinez is a Olympic Belizean athlete. True to her roots, she sponsors these games for the children of Seine Bight, every year. Encouraging, mentoring and coaching, her caring and commitment to her community is evident. She has won many titles and is known as the fastest woman in Central America. She competed in 100 meters at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Introducing our travel partners, “Life all Out”

Posted: July 21, 2017 by bernardbarbour in Expedition/Travel

Dear family, friends and faithful followers. You’ve probably noticed the Ford Earth Roamer in many of our pictures and the cute couple that navigate it. Our fantastic friends Angela and Scott Woodhams have been our travel partners for many years, and this trip to the most southern tip of the planet, Ushuaia Argentina is no different. They are from Augusta Georgia and we recently met up with them in Cancun Mexico to begin our journey. Please check out their site Life all Out to learn more about them, their unique vehicle, and life story. Moving forward we’ll be cross blogging, sharing stories and pictures all along this most incredible journey. Cheers!

 

South of the border, the Mexican one!

Posted: July 21, 2017 by bernardbarbour in Expedition/Travel

 

As we crossed the border into Belize from Mexico, Tammy looked at me “We can go back to speaking english now!” she said, “Si” I exclaimed with a chuckle. Just then we passed under large colorful sign that said welcome to Belize. “Woot woot” I shouted as Tammy and I did a fist bump. About then we came upon the fumigation station. Like a car wash, we pulled into the building, stopped, and we were doused with some unknown chemical that smelled like bug spray. Good thing all the windows were up tight. “$10.00 the attendant said and he gave us a receipt. This time we were sure to give him $10.00 Belize currency. When we came thru in 2014 we paid the attendant $10. USD, only to find out at the immigration and customs office that is was $10. Belize, which is $5.00 USD, so he made a huge tip.

Getting thru immigration and customs took almost an hour with a vehicle inspection, stamps in our passport and an interview. “Where are you staying, how long are you going to be in Belize, do you have any fruits or animals in your possession?” were just a few of the questions asked and we were cleared to go.

Feeling a sigh of relief, but still knowing we were not quite done yet, we moved on to go get some insurance. Auto insurance is mandatory in Belize. You get stopped often at police check points and you have to produce your proof of insurance, drivers license and sometimes your registration too. Occasionally the police will do a safety inspection, checking lights, your front windshield, seat belt operation and so forth. Now if you don’t have insurance they will take you to jail right on the spot. They are serious about it.

Having made it through the border, plus insurance in our hands, we were free to roam the country. Soon we’ll be taking a rickety old ferry to visit friends in Progresso, we will make it? Stay tuned.

 

 

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