We flew back into Cancun, Mexico to reunite with our overland outfitted Landrover. A friend had let us leave it at her house for the two months while we were back visiting the States. When we finally pulled up to see it in good condition and ready to go, my heart leapt!
We were definitely ready to get back on the road. We loaded up our luggage, and new over lander fridge/freezer we had brought on the plane, hopped in, turned the key, nothing. I mean absolutely nothing. There wasn’t a light on the dash or overhead. How could this be? We had installed not one, but two batteries before our previous trip.
Fortunately, we had installed a dual battery system, so that in the event one battery was drained, the other could still start the engine. I popped the hood, and turned the other battery back on. HONK, HONK, HONK! The alarm was going off. Well after a little playing around with resetting the alarm, all was well and we were able to start the car. There was no indication of any tampering with the vehicle. I am so glad we had that back up battery. I will have to look into why one of the batteries was dead though. All I found suspicious so far, was a couple of bare wires that had heated up running my off road lights.
We said our good byes and hopped on the road headed to Chetumal Mexico. This is a town in Mexico on the border of Belize. Our plan was to drive the 5 hours and stay the night before crossing the border to Belize in the morning. The only drawback, was after playing around with the battery issue, we didn’t set out until 3 pm. It gets dark this time of year around 7 pm. I am not fond of driving after dark in Mexico, largely due to the poorly lit roads, unmarked traffic lanes, bicycles, and pedestrians, not to mention, the riff Raff like to come out at night also. We pressed on without any delays or incidences. The roads were very smooth and well marked. Being this is such a touristy side of Mexico, the roads were wide, well maintained, and marked. This was a pleasant surprise, compared to many. We stopped for gas at the Pemex. They did not accept credit cards at this location, though many do throughout Mexico. Fortunately we were able to find an ATM or “cajero” inside the OXXO, a national convenience store. The ATM fee was steep, $69.90 pesos (about $5.00 U.S.).
Back on the road, it was smooth sailing’ and very little traffic by this time. For the majority of the trip, the roads were 4 lanes wide with a divided highway. A fair amount of section in the middle was only 2 lanes. It was getting to be around 7 pm, and dusk was setting in quickly. You could see the sky, but darkness was closing in. I have to admit, you hear so many times, “don’t travel on the roads after dark in Mexico”. It almost builds an anxiety inside if you are caught out in the dark. We still had about an hour of travel left, so it was wearing a little on me. Do we try to find somewhere closer to stop, or press on to our know destination? We chose the latter. I’m glad we did. The roads were really impressive, with reflectors marking the lanes, reflective signs, and no pot holes! The traffic was enough not to feel alone and desolate. We can do this!
We rolled into Chetumal a little after 8 pm. There was lots of activity, as it was Saturday night. Vendors offering grilled food, and other goodies along the streets, along bright decorative displays overhead on the street lamps, of “Viva Mexico”. September is the month of Mexican Independence, so the fiestas had already started. We did it! We had travelled the roads of Mexico after dark and survived! I really don’t recommend it due to the reasons mentioned before, however, it was good to know it didn’t mean instantaneous disaster.
We had already had a hotel picked out from our last visit, called Hotel Marlone. For one reason, it is a very nice facility with some English speaking employees. The other reason, we had left two of our phone chargers in the room, and hoped to retrieve them on this trip. They also have a secure gated courtyard to park in. We were not disappointed when we arrived. We were greeted by some friendly smiling faces, directing us into our parking spot, and offering to check us in.
After locating the English speaking manager, we were given our phone chargers. She had remembered speaking to us two months prior and labled and set them aside. She also informed us that they were setting up for a private party, that she was sure would be a very loud fiesta. She offered us a room up on the 3rd level, but she was confident we would hear the party goers from our room. She offered to let us leave our vehicle secured and stay at their sister property across the street, which we did. A/C, hot showers, nice room, and WiFi! Well most of that was true….while we did see a WiFi connection, we never were able to connect. Oh well, one night without being connected, wouldn’t kill us. Tomorrow morning, we cross the border. Watch for the next post as I will give the play by play on getting out of Mexico and into Belize, hassle free.
Posted by Scott Woodhams