Red Bank River Dawgs!

About 4 miles off of Southern Highway, down a dirt road is a village called Red bank. It has recently become a tourist destination when it was discovered that the Scarlet Macaws flock there to eat the sweet fruit of the Annato and pole wood trees. The best time to see the birds is January thru March.

We decided to drive out last Sunday afternoon for a picnic and swim along the river. The road was in good condition as it has been dry lately. The turn onto the two track narrow jungle path is not marked. Fortunately we had friends with us who knew the way.

After winding down the overgrown path for maybe a mile, we came to a “Y”. We took the left leg and found ourselves sitting above the rock laden river below.

Boulders better describe the landscape. We unloaded all of our supplies , chairs, and food, and walked to the edge of a tree shaded spot to set up.

The spot was a good mix of rocks, sand, shade and access to the river. The kids played and the men got the fire started so we could grill the hot dogs.

After eating grilled onions, and hot dogs over the open fire, some of us chose to swim while others opted for a relaxing nap in the shade. Angela and I opted for the nap.

While it was unfortunate we did not see the Macaws, we did enjoy other birds and wildlife, along with the soothing sounds of the flowing water around the rocks, forming rapids.

You just can’t really have a bad day traveling around Belize, enjoying all of its natural beauty.

Scott Woodhams's photo.
 The road to the river.
Scott Woodhams's photo.
 Cool Waters!
Scott Woodhams's photo.
Ellie & Meridee
Scott Woodhams's photo.
 View from our picinic site
Scott Woodhams's photo.

A Visit to The Kings Childerns Home in Belize!


Yesterday we had the privilege and opportunity to visit one of the few orphanages here in Belize. **Caution: LONG Post!** It is located a few miles outside of Belmopan on the Western Hwy. 11021173_10205202433673055_4189423202244600448_n

11012169_10205202442513276_819794059905966526_nA couple from our church in Placencia had raised money from the States to purchase some much needed food for the home. We were able to help deliver it and meet some of the children. We met Leoni, the founder of the facility. A passionate, sincere woman that has a genuine love and compassion for the children. She started out 25 years ago out of her home and just kept adding on as she took in more children. She now has help, but for many, many years, she filled all of the roles. She says her passion comes from having been one of those children herself.





Volunteer in the toddler room




Playground in the main court yard.10981513_10205202521035239_5935608376396493054_n



Every dollar, every waking hour, she pours herself into the growth and development of these children. This home is not funded by the government. It is solely operated from donations, and the generous hearts of people that see the good she is offering these children. Some come from broken homes of abuse, abandonment, or merely the inability to provide basic necessities for the children. This is not a business for Leoni, she truely wants to see these children have an opportunity in life.


2 years ago, the existing facility was built. Every dollar was donated for materials and supplies. Leoni, spent months in the States, asking for donations and telling of the need to help these children. Slowly, the facility became a reality. First the foundation, then the roof, then finally the walls were added. It is a beautiful facility.

We carried in 5- 100 pound bags of flour, enough to get them through about two weeks of baking for the 86 children housed at the facility. The ages range from unborn up until 19 years old, although one staff member confided, that Leoni would never make the child leave upon reaching a certain age. Beans, rice, and cheese were also delivered, along with special boxes of Rice Crispie treats. You can imagine how much it takes to feed 86 children, many of them teens, 3 meals a day!10428098_10205202438033164_8681251845222649576_n


Some of the older boys helped carry in the food.



Industrial Kitchen!



Currently, there are 10 staff members, and several volunteers that help with all that is involved with raising the 86 children (down from 116 before Christmas). Volunteers have helped establish a truely self sustaining facility. A chicken coop offers both laying, and eating chickens, a barn is being built to facilitate raising a few cows, to produce milk, and meat. With rice and beans the main staples, it is important to offer protein of chicken or beef to their diet.

We were shown around the facility initially by Leoni, but soon she had to have a staff member finish the tour, as she was in pain. She had just undergone surgery, however, she was right back working at the facility. The needs never go away, even when she is not feeling well. She is dedicated. A recent mission group came and built a basketball court for the kids to play. Even more exciting to me was to hear that two local men had volunteered and have been working with the older boys, teaching them trades, such as auto mechanic, auto body repair, and woodworking. These are invaluable life skills that are being taught where these kids wouldn’t ordinarily ever have the chance to be exposed to this.





Most of the children were at school when we arrived, however there were younger kids not yet attending school, that greeted us when we walked in the door. Their smiles lighting up the room. I was hardly able to enter the door before two little boys were hanging on me. I guess at 6’5″, I do look a little like a jungle gym! I sure got my workout, playing, wrestling, and carrying the kids as we walked along touring the facility. AJ, was especially attached to me. He loved wrestling and just hanging on me. Once he calmed down enough from playing, and wearing me out, he would not let go of my hand. I was trying to take pictures and he wanted to do the same. I let him try his hand at the camera. Notice, I made it 3/4 into the picture that he took. Not bad considering the perspective from which he was taking the picture! Angela equally had her hands full, kids wanting to play with her. One little boy, hurt his foot on a closing door, and immediately came to her crying for her to comfort him.



All in all, this was a pretty amazing day. It helps to really open your eyes to the needs of facilities like this. It boggles my mind the amount of food needed to just provide the basics. We were told that flour is one of the main needs. It can be bought here, but it requires alot. They did have someone donating a few bags a month for the past few years, but that stopped this year. Our church in Placencia provides rice and beans as much as possible. They do not have any other regular food donations. They also expressed a need for bed linens, and towels.10941513_10205202439833209_6622328080443509761_n

We are going to begin collecting as much food and donations as possible to try and help out in the immediate areas (food, and bedding). If you would like to be a part, please feel free to contact me. 100% of any food or donations will be given directly to the home. A 100 pound bag of Flour costs $91 BZ. (it takes about 10 bags a month), 100 pound bags of beans cost $130 BZ, and 100 pounds of rice is $85 BZ. We will make the next delivery before the 1st of April. If you ever get a chance, stop by and meet Leoni and the children. It is an experience not to be soon forgotten!

Playing Kickball



New Chicken Coop


Orphanage Bus




New Gift Shop on Site will sell arts & crafts made by the children.


You Better Belize it! You Got Mail!

Reason number 378, why I love Belize…received a Facebook message today, from the post office, that an envelope had arrived for me, from the States. There is no mail delivery to residences here, so when your lucky enough to receive a package from home, a message comes to on FaceBook. If Dinah at the post office isnt familiar with you, then a FB post goes out to everyone, with hopes that someone recognizes your name, & lets you know that “You’ve Got Mail!”

Unfortunately, the $28.00 flip flops we had mailed cost $20.00 to mail and an additional $13.00 for Belize’s Duty (tax). Bringing it to a grand total of $61.00 US !! To bad Scott didn’t have an average size foot!

Scott Woodhams's photo.
Placencia Post Office
Scott Woodhams's photo.
Local Business Special Delivery Bike
Scott Woodhams's photo.
Front Desk. The wood box to the right is for outgoing mail.
Scott Woodhams's photo.
Mail Notice!
Scott Woodhams's photo.

Art Festival on the Narrowest Street in the World! Placencia, Belize!


Last weekend was Art festival in Placencia Belize. We were fortunate enough to be back from our trip to Guatemala to attend. Every year local artist converge along the smallest main street in the world, according to Guinness book of world records, to showcase their talents and wares for sale. There is something for everyone, from paintings, to shell art, jewelry, pottery, signs, and woodworking, just to name a few. This 2 day festival hosts artists and visitors alike, from Belize, and around the world! We walked the sidewalk and picked up a few treasures. Angela got an Art Festival t-shirt and at the pottery booth she fell in love with a green coffee cup, blue fish bowl & a small clay piece to put in the salt shaker to keep the moisture out was her gift for spending all her money!

My new Pottery!



 Of course local fresh food is served by several vendors and local organizations, offering a taste of local and exotic fare. Unfortunately for me, and other crustacean lovers, it is also the end of the season for fresh lobster. You cannot buy it, legally from any restaurant or store after the season ends. Shirts are still available in Placencia featuring the local artist rendering of this year’s festival. Make plans for next year’s event. You will will be glad you did!

Fish Art
Scott Woodhams's photo.
Art Students raising money
Scott Woodhams's photo.
Hand crafted bowls
Scott Woodhams's photo.
Conch Shell figurines & jewelry
Scott Woodhams's photo.
Wood Crafts
 Ocean paints
Good Food is an Art!
 Glass Blowing
Pottery from Black Man Eddie Village.
Shop until you are to Hot!
 Artwork on the sidewalk
 Mayan textiles
Tourist Strolling the sidewalk

Fuego welcomes us back!

And we are back! To Antigua that is.  On our way back to Antigua from Lago de Atitlan we were met by what looked like a snow storm, but turns out it was ASH! We were met with a dust cloud covering the air, ground, and vehicles. Volcano Fuego was erupting! At times it was difficult to see oncoming traffic as it was so thick! People were putting on surgical masks and covering their faces with their shirts as we pulled into town. We could feel the ash landing on our eye lashes but used paper towels we had in the car to cover our mouths and noses to make breathing easier as we made our way to a local restaurant to wait for the ash to settle. Once it was clearing, all the shop owners slowly started coming out with buckets of water and throwing them on the sidewalk to wash the dust away. Seems they have done this before! Love experiencing local culture!

Ash covered cars in Antigua
Scott Woodhams's photo.
Ash covering our carunnamed (1)Street in AntiguaunnamedThe next day we were able to see pictures of the eruption in the newspapers!
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Page 2
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Below is a  video from YouTube that shows the eruption!

Lake Atitlan by Rover, Boat & Tuk tuk!

After leaving Antigua we headed Southwest to Lake Atitlan, we decided to only spend one night, but could have spent much more time there exploring all of the villages surrounding the lake.

Overlook as we drove down to the lake.
Overlook as we drove down to the lake.
Crops planted on the sides of Mountains on the drive to Lake Atitlan.
Crops planted on the sides of Mountains on the drive to Lake Atitlan.


We chartered a private lancha this morning to site see and ultimately end up at breakfast on the other side of the lake. Lake Atitlan is a 50 square mile lake flanked by 3 Volcanoes and other mountains. The depth of the crystal blue waters is around 1200 feet. It was a bit brisk at 7:30 in the morning, but the views were so worth it!Our lancha captain came to our campsite to pick us up.

Our lancha captain came to our campsite to pick us up.

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Santiago as we approached by boat.
Santiago as we approached by boat.
Posado de Santiago for Breafast across the lake in Santiago Love the Yogurt, fruit w/Granola!
Posado de Santiago for Breakfast across the lake in Santiago Love the Yogurt, fruit w/Granola! Who let a Raccoon into the restaurant!

The tuk tuk ride was the icing on the cake. Tuk tuk’s are 3 wheeled motorcycles made into taxi’s! We took this to get across the village to the restaurant from the lancha.

Our Tuktuk
Our Tuk tuk
Traditional clothing worn daily by the women. Some men also choose the traditional vs modern.
Traditional clothing worn daily by the women. Some men also choose the traditional vs modern.


We stayed outside of the town of Panajachel, where we were able to camp across the street from the hotel in a wide open field. There were 3 other families camping, but it was very peaceful and the kids had a play set right next to there car! Unfortunately there was extreme winds that came over the mountain & into the valley that night. I thought the tent was going to fly off the Rover with us in it!

Two tents & a palm.
Two tents & a palm.
Sunset of Lake Atitlan
Sunset of Lake Atitlan

Around Antigua!

These two crack each other up!

These two crack each other up!



Antigua City Market
Antigua City Market


World famous for their leather products! Pastores, Guatemala
World famous for their leather products! Pastores, Guatemala


Locals will use their horse & mules to carry wood they collect for their own use or to sell to use for cooking.


Photo bombed by the cowboy!
Photo bombed by the cowboy!
City streets near Antigua
City streets near Antigua

Random Pictures of Why we LOVE Antigua!

Antigua is a mixture of what is Old & New. The cobblestone streets give the city an appeal all its own. The city has a rich history of devastation, but has learned to survive.  It was the most important & booming city in Central America. Then in 1717 & again in 1773 earthquakes destroyed a large part of the city & the capital was then moved to what is now Guatemala City. Around every corner is a historical church or building that was damaged in the earthquakes and left as historical markers of the past. Many buildings have been restored into thriving stores as well as chain restaurants such as McDonald’s, Domino’s, & Burger King. The city is known to be one of the safest in Guatemala because it is so popular with tourist!

The Antigua Tourist Police Compound offers free camping to Overlanders with self sufficient camping.
The Antigua Tourist Police Compound offers free camping to Overlanders with self sufficient camping.
Our Camping spot at the Antigua Tourist Police Compound.
Our Camping spot at the Antigua Tourist Police Compound.
The courtyard at McDonald's with Volcano Fuego in the background.
The courtyard at McDonald’s with Volcano Fuego in the background.
Cappuccino at McDonald's cafe.
Cappuccino at McDonald’s cafe.


Courtyard behind the city walls.
Courtyard behind the city walls.
Cobblestone streets.
Cobblestone streets.


Window sill on the street.
Window sill on the street.

Camping at the Finca Ixobel!

We camped in Northern Guatemala just outside of Poptun at the Farm Ixobel; to break up the drive from Flores to Rio Dulce’. It was a family owned property since the 70s. The food was excellent, and they had a bakery on site for fresh bread and sweets. We walked the property trails back to a spring feed pond and roasted marshmallows over a Coleman burner stove for S’mores! Before turning in for the night. It was a relaxing evening. Ironically this is one of the few nights that roosters did not wake us up at 5am and we were on a farm! Then we moved on toward Rio Dulce’. Weather has been great! 84 during the day, 65 at night!

Entrance to the Farm
Entrance to the Farm


Our home for the night.
Our home for the night.
Solar shower.
Solar shower.
Trail leading back to one of the spring feed swimming holes on the farm.
Trail leading back to one of the spring feed swimming holes on the farm.




The kids (including Scott) really wanted s’mores, but the fire pit was back in the jungle and the bugs were really bad. So, we opted for the porch of the restaurant & used our Coleman burner! Perfect!

Hot Water in a Cold River!


During our recent trip to Guatemala, we were treated to one of the most spectacular experiences you could ever imagine. Hidden along the shores of Lake Izabel, 16 miles outside of Rio Dulce, is the only Hot Water falls in the world. Fueled by underground volcanic activity, the water gets HOT! After a short walk through a jungle trail, you round the corner to see a magnificent waterfall cascading into the natural pool below. Steam lingers at the waterline, as the hot water from the falls meet the cool waters of the flowing river.


This phenom is a spectacle to behold, and even more glorious to experience! Wading through the river, making your way to the hot water showering down, sends shivers through your body, even chill bumps, as the two temperatures meet on your skin. The joy is in finding that perfect place where the waterfall does not scald you, and the river doesn’t freeze you. Once located, you just sit in one place taking it all in. The jungle surroundings, and sounds of the falls, add to the ambiance.

Scott getting a mouthful of steaming hot water!10968401_10205144605307382_4135231729185673088_n

Cayen & Adam


Once you are acclimated to the water, you can swim under the falls and enter caves that feature narrow paths, occasionally having to submerge your head to continue swimming forward. The steam can take your breath away at times, but the sites are magical. Swimming behind, underneath, and through the worlds only hot waterfalls! What more could one ask for?


After the swim, we made our way up a steep trail to the top of the falls, where there are hot pools of water, inviting you for a sauna bath, some so hot they were boiling!

He found the perfect Hot Shower! 10989133_10205148336040648_5012523524273290230_n

Perfect Day!10676188_10205144600027250_5244985054107120376_n

Furthermore near the end of the trail, lies damp, dark mud. Due to the hot water, this mud is in a paste like form. Legend has it, if you cover your skin in this aromatic mud, your skin will be baby soft (either that or a cruel joke on the gringo’s). We found the spot, and each person started lightly putting some of the hot, slimy mud onto our leg or arm. I decided if its worth doing, it was worth going all the way. So, I grabbed two hand fulls of the sloppy muck, and smeared it on my face and the rest of my body.

All in!10592863_10205144605027375_5201281221352018391_n

Ashley trying to obtain silky smooth legs!1506983_10205144676989174_4642083706092448930_n

Adam, joined in, and before long, we looked like two swamp creatures! Ellie, was less than impressed, as evidenced by her scowl, of disapproval, on her face.

Jungle Men!
Jungle Men!


Taste like Chicken!
Taste like Chicken!
Ellie is not impressed with the muddy men!
Ellie is not impressed with the muddy men!

We let it dry, and then headed back to the hot water to clean off. And lo and behold, my skin was silky smooth! Almost oily feeling. You absolutely must make this one of your bucket list items. I have checked it off, but added another box, so I can return again later!