Adventure Team
Challenge 2002

Africa 03 Journal

Africa: Kalahari

Africa Overland

 

Central Africa

Namibia

Botswana and South Africa

Alaska

Behind the Rocks

Belize 2004

Bill Burke Trail Leader Training

Black Bear Pass

Black Dragon Canyon

Blanca Peak

Camel Trophy

Chinaman's Gulch

Clayton, OK

Colorado State Forest

Dome Plateau

Eastnor Castle

Ellis Jeep Trail

Engineer Pass

Expedition Portal

Fins N' Things

Ft. Hood, Texas

Green Ridge Trail

Hackett Gulch

Hackett Gulch 2

Hackett Gulch 3

Hellroaring Rim/ Gemini Bridges

Hole in the Rock

Holy Cross Trail

Independence

Ice Racing

Indian Peaks

Klondike Bluffs

La Ruta Maya

Leadville Mining

Long Way Home

Moab Spring '01

Moab Labor Day

Mosquito Pass

Mount Antero

National Rally 99

National Rally 01

National Rally 02

National Rally 04

National Rally 06

National Rally 08

Off-Road Impact

Onion Creek

Outback Challenge Morocco

Overland Expo 09

Overland Expo 10

Pinatubo, Phillipines

Poison Spider Mesa

Qatar

Radical Hill, CO

Red Cone Peak

SEMA 2004

SEMA 2008

SEMA 2009

 

Drive to SEMA

At the Show

Top of the World

Twist Off 1999

Twist Off 2001

Venezuela '03

White Rim Trail

Yellowstone NP

 

Adventurers

AEV J8 MILSPEC

Biosphere 110

Chris Tullmann

Craig Jones

Dan Cronin

Dustin Hindman

Firetruck D90

AEV J8 Sarge

Joshua White

Nathan Hindman

Patrick Scranton

Rover Tracks

Stuart Nance

 

 

Day 6

Corozal, Belize To Tikal, Guatemala

Click on any of the following images to view them at full size.

Disco Stu's vehicle sits next to the beach at the Hotel Maya, eagerly awaiting the day's adventures.

Another morning and another dead battery. This time the fridge was turned down to a much lower setting and theoretically it shouldn't have drained the battery completely. A quick measurement and it turned out Camel's alternator is only putting out about 25 amps, about a third of what it should be producing. Its not a big enough issue that it'll be a problem, we'll just have to keep an eye on the battery power from here on out.

Camel drives through the sugar cane fields of northern Belize to the Mayan ruins of Noh Mul.


Sam Simpson's D90 and Camel, parked in the jungle near Noh Mul.


Tight parking in the jungles of Orange Walk, Belize.

Today was Camel's turn to lead again. We headed out of Corozal and on to the first Mayan ruin of the day, a largely unexcavated site called Noh Mul just outside of Orange Walk. Getting to this site was fun as it was located out in some sugar cane fields. We turned off the highway, drove through the farm lands and there it was: a set of dirt and foliage covered ruins that was at one time a Mayan city. This site was interesting because of it's natural un excavated state. The temples looked like giant mounds or hills with the occassional bit of limestone carving or stairway jutting out. We climbed to the top of the largest temple and had a look around. We hiked around the temple and found an entance to a tomb Sam had mentioned he saw at his last visit. It had already been well visited and raided long before we got there.

(Left to Right) Nathan, Craig Reece, Patrick Scranton and Lucie Zastreskova pose in front of an entrance to the Noh Mul tombs.


Patrick, Victoria and Lucie on top of Noh Mul.

We all descended the hill to our vehicles only to discover that like the tomb above, Sam's vehicle had been looted. Evidently someone opened his door, cut a bag free and ran off with it. Luckily, the only thing in the bag was a remote control for his winch, but it was still something of an annoyance. Of course, who ever took the bag likely opened it up, found nothing of value to them and tossed the remote control into the sugar cane fields. The lesson to be learned: No matter how remote the stopping point, lock your car.

Luis' Discovery rounds the edge of a sugar cane field; the hill in the background is part of the Noh Mul ruins.

Back on the road we gassed up in Orange Walk. After a weeks worth of Pemex, it was nice to have the option of different brands of gasoline to choose from. Back in Mexico the government owns all of the gas stations, so choices were non-existant. Here in Belize we had all the familar brands from back home: Shell, Texaco, Exxon, albiet with much higher prices than back home ($BZ 5.50 per gallon, $2.75 US) (Note: at the time of the expedition, gas prices in the US were a modest $1.50-75/gallon).

Out of Orange walk, we drove down to Belize City for lunch and to pick up Stuart's wife who had flown into Belize. Once in town, we split up for about an hour and a half with everyone attending to various errands. We all met back up at the Swing Bridge, a famous (but very small) bridge in the middle of town spanning what was one of the most polluted rivers we've ever seen. Nonetheless, the river was full of boats and fisherman anchored in. Rather than throwing down an actual anchor, they would stick a long pole into the murky depths of the water which was tethered to their boat, and that was it, they were anchored.

An ex-MOD 24v 110 parked outside of SeaSports Belize (note the Camel Trophy surplus wheels)


Craig, Sam and Patrick's Defender 90s parked outside the Belize City Post Office.


Running joke with Craig Reece: "You know, a younger guy wouldn't have problems with blisters."

Just down the street from the swing bridge we found a 110 parked outside of a dive shop. We went in to inquire about it and found out that the owners were big Land Rover enthusiasts who owned a second 110 kitted out for serious 4-wheeling duty. The owner suggested some fun places to explore in the jungle and we did a shirt exchange, we traded a La Ruta Maya shirt for one of their dive shop shirts. Aside from the nice people, Belize City is some place I could go without visiting again. Run down and dirty, it serves primarily as a changeover point for travelers going through Belize. However, just before leaving town we did spot two diesel Freelanders...

Craig Reece crosses a one way bridge in San Ignacio. Notice the rare Stage 1 V8 Land Rover behind him.

Once out of Belize City, we headed West to the Guatemalan border. We needed to make good time and get to the Jungle Lodge in Tikal by nightfall. Traveling after dark is supposedly dangerous on Guatemalan roads. The border crossing was rather uneventful but expensive- there was an abundance of entry fees, exit fees, vehicle fees, environmental fees, etc. It seemed as though you name it, they charged us for it. There was also a sign in the Guatemalan customs office with a list of "banned" items for importation. Among those items was everything from meat to soap to t-shirts to gasoline. According to the customs rules, it seems, we should cross the border wearing nothing but our underwear. Fortunately, they choose not to enforce any of these rules and we crossed into Guatemala without so much as the pretense of a search.

A Defender 110 Ambulance that was parked at the Belize/Guatemala border.

Upon crossing into Guatemala, we roads went degraded in quality significantly. They went from being old bumpy paved roads in Belize to washboard/hardpack limestone roads in Guatemala. A few miles into Guatemala we saw a broken down truck with over a dozen people packed into it. Sam and a few of the other vehicles stopped to see if they needed help. Meanwhile the others continued a little bit further down the road. Camel was making an awful rattling sound in the back like something was loose on the rear axle. For fear of snapping the bolts on the halfshaft, I took off the rear wheel and pulled out the driver side half shaft. Finding nothing out of the ordinary, we put it all back together and were back on the road. Lo and behold, the noise was gone. The noise was likely caused by some loose bolts on either the half shaft or the wheel.

Roadside repairs: Pulling the half-shafts on the Camel in the middle of Guatemala.

Just as we were getting everything together, the police stopped and advised us that we should get moving again. They said that the roads were unsafe to travel on after dark. The police were heading a few miles back to the border, and then were going to send an police escort to catch up to us on the way. With that we decided to kick it in to high gear as we only had a half hour of daylight left. With Sam in the lead calling out obstacles, and everyone running all their lights, we hauled butt and the police escort never caught up with us.

An hour later, we pulled into the entrance to Tikal National Park, a drive we had heard would take upwards of two hours. Once into the park Sam, the lead vehicle, radioed that a Jaguar ran across the road right in front of him, a rare and unusual sighting indeed. But the stealthy animal was only briefly spotted by a few of the front vehicles before it disappeared into the shadows of the jungle. Ten minutes later, we were checking in to our rooms at the Jungle Lodge, an eco-lodge built beneath the jungle canopy next to the trail leading to the Tikal ruins.

Tommorrow we visit the famous Mayan ruins of Tikal.


 

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

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