We always love the over night stop at Agua Caliente (hot water falls) just a short drive from Rio Dulce. The kids from the neighboring village always come to our campers to see what we’re up to, to sell us coconuts,banana pancakes, and play.
This time, they were treated to the antics of Bernard Barbour🤔, who imitated every kind of animals you can think of, chasing them around the campsite. They are such fun loving kids. Despite the communication barriers, every child just wants to know someone loves them, and will pay attention to them. Before it was over, we all got involved in acting out some type of animal, chasing them around.
The young girls, were infatuated with Angela’s bright toe nails, and sat on the camper steps, “petting” her nails and asking for theirs to be done.
Our favorite resident caretaker, and security guard is Our favorite resident caretaker & security guard is Frederico. He is 75 years old, and as spry as a 40 year old. He has lived on the river, at the waterfalls his whole life. He attributes his fantastic health to God, hiking, and swimming in the falls. He was thrilled to receive a special VIP tour of our campers as we shared bananas. He has the most Infectious smile, and laugh. He truly enjoys life. I’m pleased to call him a friend, and enjoy seeing him each time.
The waterfalls are absolutely magical! On this visit the water was down a bit and we could see the rock formation & caves we usually swim around. The river is very crisp, and powerful, while the waterfalls are hot and beautiful. The temperatures are fueled by the sulpheric gases from the volcanoes in the area. Some areas, will actually burn your skin, as it is so hot.
I managed to talk Bernard into braving the climb to the top of the waterfalls with me, where I introduced him to the mud bath that locals claim to rejuvenate your skin. The girls opted to forgo the mud and relax in the waters below.
The last couple days have been fairly eventful. We crossed the border Into Belize,visited friends over night in Progresso (Northern Belize), drove 13 miles of pot hole laden gravel roads for an hour and a half, at 5 mph, picked & dropped a friend at the Belize City airport, camped in a Mennonite community in Central Belize, for free at the park, got some welding and maintenance done at a muffler shop, ate a banana split from the Mennonite dairy, drove to Southern Belize to our home for the next two weeks, a house on the Caribbean sea! I’m tired just writing all that! All in all it has been productive and lots of fun. The sea breeze is incredible tonight as we settle in for a welcome nights sleep.
Phew! What a day! After a 2nd great night’s sleep camping on the way to the Mexico/Belize border, we ran some errands and then attempted to cross into Belize.
Lo and behold, a Mexico aduana agent waved me down and asked for my vehicle permit. Since we had only driven to Cancun for a flight, it was not necessary, and I explained it to the agent. She wouldn’t allow it, and told us we had to park the truck and walk to customs office to buy a permit. In the office, I told them the situation, and they said, “you do not need a permit”. We were caught in the middle! Luckily, the agent went to bat for us, and called the other agent to give an ok. The first agent didn’t look too happy, but waved us through. Across the river to Belize!
The rest of the day went smooth. Although we did drive a bumpy dirt road to a hand crank ferry leading to Progresso. Here we met our friends, and long time On the road in Belize contributors, Eric and Cherie. They were waiting for us on the other side, where we followed them to their wonderful home on the shores of the lagoon, for a feast of grilled BBQ chicken, corn, fresh bread, salad and beans! It was a spectacular meal! And even better company! They invited us to stay the night and we obliged! So much to see and do! It’s great to be back in Belize!
We had another great experience at Auga Caliente in North East Guatemala. This is one of our favorite spots in Guatemala. It features a cool flowing river, providing the water supply to the small village for washing clothes, bathing, and recreation.
The unique part is the sulfur heated sauna like waters that come crashing over the edge of the waterfall. Words cannot describe the feeling of wading through the comfortably cool and refreshing river, to be met with the steamy hot water of the waterfalls!
Ahhhh Antigua! Possibly (most likely), our favorite city in all of Guatemala. There is so much to see and do here. Countless restaurants, coffee farms, historic churches, and buildings, entertainment, and cobblestone streets! This is a place you could move to or visit, experience history, modern amenities, and everything in between. We have been here 5 or 6 times, and each time is more fun than the last. We find something new each time.
We stayed at a nice campground on the U.S. side of the border called Casa Blanca in Laredo Texas. We took two nights to get prepared for the crossing, getting vehicles worked on, supplies purchased, valuables secured, etc.
While checking all of the compartments, I found something strange. My power strip and flashlight had been melted! And the compartment door was blackened. Was there a fire? A battery explosion?
We planned a launch for our one year + overland trip to take off from Asheville North Carolina. For those instagram followers, we created the hashtag #ashevilletoargentina. This represents the full length of the trip from top to bottom.
October 7th-9th 2016 was the Overland Expo East, held on the grounds of the prestigious Biltmore Estate in Asheville North Carolina. Funny to think of all the tents and campers sleeping along the banks of the French Broad river, of the largest private home in the U.S.
We had agreed to show our new vehicle at the expo and give a 1 hour presentation of our travels to Belize. This is a wonderful event drawing thousands of fellow overland enthusiasts. There are some pretty amazing vehicles that come to the show. We were honored to have been one of them. It was great to see so many people and new products on display.
We met up with our fellow travel partners at the expo. It takes a special family to want to travel for this length of time, but they claim they are up for it! Their names (as you will hear more about them), are Adam, Ashley, Cayen (9) and Ellie (5). We really enjoy their company.
Our trip will take us from Asheville North Carolina, and through all of Mexico, Central and South America. Ultimately we plan to reach the furthest point South in Argentina, and put our toes in the sand. We may even have a special trip, that will take us to the next continent (more on that later).
It has been a long time coming, and I am behind on the blog. We have already started traveling, and will get updated soon. I wanted to share pics and details on our new overland vehicle. After traveling thousands of miles and visiting numerous countries in our roof top tent on the Land Rover, we now have premium accommodations!
We chose a 2002 Ford F250 with the 7.3 L diesel. Mostly in part to the fact that they are a proven engine, being dubbed the “Million mile motor”. Plus being that its a pre 2007 Diesel, it does not require the ultra low sulfur Diesel that the new ones do.
We found the perfect truck in El Paso Texas and drove out to get it. It wasn’t the exact color I wanted, but it had all the rest of the requirements, including lots of extra goodies the seller had installed. It came with after market tires and wheels, New Fox shocks all around, a diesel tuner, and lots more. Money saved on items I would add any way.
We decided to have the truck painted. It was done professionally, with all doors, hood, and molding removed. This allowed for a complete color change, as good or better than a factory paint job. Next we had a custom camper built to our specs. This was a culmination of many miles on the road and deciding what we wanted vs. what would fit, and still make it down the Central and South American roads.
A company out of Denver Colorado accepted the challenge and began building the one of a kind camper. The amenities and features are endless!
It was a bit challenging trying to coordinate all of the special requirements we wanted built into our rig, being 1500 miles away from the build. It took about 6 weeks to complete, but what turned out was pretty amazing! Ill share more interior pictures and specs in a later post. Next entry will be our launch from Asheville North Carolina!