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Old 04-20-2012, 05:13 PM   #106
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Originally Posted by defrag4 View Post
Come on down and join the party!
Stop Tempting me! lol
Just because you got the monkey off your back doesn't mean the circus has left town!!
I miss George Carlin!
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Old 04-24-2012, 08:17 PM   #107
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We spent 4 weeks in San Pedro La Laguna, Guatemala taking spanish school. It was a great learning experience and we really enjoyed slowing down our pace and getting to know one location intimately. However, after a month in one spot our brains were burned out on spanish and we were ready to move on.

Our last night at school they threw a big bash for all the students. We cooked up a traditional meal of Chuchitos and Jicacma tea. Laurens teacher loaned her a traditional mayan outfit for the event.

The school got together and started cranking out Chuchitos (basically a Tamale with a lot less work) You take a ball of maiz flour and some oil, mash it up into a tortilla shape and fill it with some chicken/vegetables, close it up and wrap it in a leaf from a ear of corn.

Chuchitos ready for cooking

Throw them in a pot on top of the fire with a bit of water, steam for 45 minutes.

Serve with salsa and EAT!

For a beverage, take a pot of water, add a boatload of Jicama (Hibiscus) flowers, and some sugar. Heat for a while, add sugar, and serve. Jicama tea.

We are going to miss our cabin in San Pedro, but all good things must come to an end and the trip must continue!

We said goodbye to our teachers at Corazon Maya spanish school in San Pedro La Laguna, Guatemala. We became very good friends with our teachers. You spend 4 hours a day for 3 weeks talking to someone and you form bonds. We often wonder what our guatemalan teachers are up to these days…

We said goodbye to our sweet ass cabin

And took in our last views of Lago Atitlan…

Were off to Guatemala City to get some much needed repairs done to the truck (reoccurring theme??) and meet up with some friends.
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Old 04-25-2012, 04:41 PM   #108
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We made some friends off the internet (surprise, surprise) who offered up their place for us to crash in Guatemala City while we got some 4runner repairs done (by another friend from the internet!). We pushed into Guat City with no real idea where we were going. Guatemala City is a crazy town, traffic is horrible, the streets are a maze, and the signage slim. After driving around in circles for a while, making a few payphone calls, and being lost for about 2 hours we finally found our way to our friend Julio’s place. Probably the nicest home we have seen so far in Central America.

Julio and his wife Karina welcome us into their home. We busted out the bottles of booze and became fast friends. They asked us what we missed most from the states. Our answers were… #1 Chinese Food. #2 Movie theaters. (It doesn’t take much to please us…)

That night we went to get some Chinese food. Wantons and Brahva beer!

Our new friends, Julio and Karina.

After stuffing our face we went to the movies and watched Girl with Dragon Tattoo (subtitled in spanish). In one fell swoop Julio and Karina satisfied our American desires. (Tickets were $2.50 each for a state of the art movie theater, Julio couldn’t believe we paid $10-$15 to see a movie in the states)

Next morning we took the truck to our mechanic Adrian in Guatemala City. I had a laundry list of things I needed done/fixed on the truck. Adrian said he would treat the truck as his own and we placed our baby in his hands.

The repairs ended up taking a while and we spent the next few weeks partying it up with Julio and Karina. We met all their friends and family and got to see a side of Guatemala City most travelers never see.

Guatemala Cities “Eiffel Tower”

The worlds biggest plate of Guatemalan typical snacks. Julio got very excited.

Capital building of Guatemala (The Green House)

Guachitos! Guatemalan Drunk food. Greasy delicious hamburgers served up till 4AM.

Old town Guatemala City

Read the rest of the story and see more pics on the blog at
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Old 04-25-2012, 04:42 PM   #109
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Originally Posted by Eagletalon View Post
I just read your last 5 updates!!! What an amazing experience. Good choice in attending Spanish school now early in the trip as pretty much almost all the contries on your journey south speak Spanish. How is to connect with other overlanders? Thanks for the updates

Meeting up with overlanders is awesome, we share battle stories, swap campsite locations, and mainly DRINK!
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Old 04-26-2012, 09:30 PM   #110
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Before our trip we researched all the countries we would be visiting on the PanAm. Overwhelmingly, overlanders reported the most issues with border crossings, corrupt cops, bribery, and theft in Honduras. From what we read the cops seem to like to play it fast and loose in Honduras with “official laws” changing daily or even in between car checkpoints...

We came prepared with our “Anti-Bribery toolkit". 3 reflective triangles, 1 fire extinguisher, roll of reflective tape, crappy porn mags and cheap cigarettes.

We mentally prepped ourselves for chaos and headed towards “El Florido”. We reached the border, nestled in a small valley between some large green hills.

What we found was not quite the insanity we expected. In fact it was actually a pretty sleepy frontera with just a few trucks idling about. Not a single scamming tramidor or corrupt official to be seen.

Equipped with our new spanish skills we asked around a bit and figured out the process. We found the aduana office and talked with a customs official who took care of stamping our passports out of Guatemala and canceling our car permit. We gave him all the paperwork and just sat back, he ran around various offices taking care of everything for us. Gratis! (Free)

Well… that was easy. It must get crazy on the Honduras side right??

We get back in the truck, drive a few hundred feet down the road and park in front of the Honduras Customs office. A man in a customs shirt comes up to us and says he is headed to lunch... OK?

Apparently, the customs office closes daily for lunch. (OVERLANDING PROTIP: Get your border crossings done before 12:00PM)

The official instructed us to get our passports stamped into Honduras and then come back later to handle the truck paperwork. Alrighty… We didn’t really have much of a choice so we stamped into Honduras and headed over to the comedor (restaurant) to have some lunch.

We entered the small lunchroom and the customs official waved howdy to us over his bowl of soup. We spent an hour eating lunch with the entire customs office watching “Scrubs” dubbed in spanish on the lunchroom T.V.

FYI: I don’t think “Scrubs” style of humor translates to Central America… though that Zach Braff sure is dreamy.

When lunch was over we headed back with the customs official to the office. A bunch of stamps, bunch of copies, and we were in. No strange fees, no bribes. Easy. Just how we like it.

As long as you have plenty of time to hang out for lunch “El Florido” is a great border crossing.

Welcome to Honduras.

I read somewhere that 75% of Honduras is on at least a 25% incline. I believe it, this country is full of rolling hills and mountains.

Our first stop in Honduras was Copan Ruinas. We had heard tale of a bar there with a german owner who was brewing up 100% organic hefeweizen and other german beers. After drinking nothing but tasteless lagers for the past 5 months I was dying for a beer with some real flavor. Oh ya. I heard there were some Mayan ruins nearby too…

We pull into the city of Copan Ruinas and start asking beer questions, someone points us in the direction toSol De Copan, German Bar and Restaurant.

We walked up and met Tomas outside smoking a cigarette, He saw our truck driving down the street with the California plates. He said “You guys must be thirsty?”

We spent the rest of the entire day and evening hanging out with Tomas and making all kinds of new friends in Copan Ruinas. Once Tomas said we could just camp outside the bar we REALLY hit the sauce…

I don’t recall much from that night. I do remember we woke up the next morning in a fog. We drove 5 hazy minutes to the ruins, stepped outside the truck. Looked at the steep hike, looked at the hot sun, and then looked at each other… We jumped back in the A/C cooled truck and headed to the beach chugging water and tylenol the whole way.

Maybe next time Ruinas!

Up until Honduras the weather has been fairly mild, not too incredibly hot, not to cold. The instant we crossed into Honduras it started to heat up and humidify quickly. We thanked baby jesus that Adrian fixed our A/C in Guatemala City every time we stepped foot out of the truck into the inferno outside.

The palm-tree lined sandy shores of Tela, Honduras were more our speed on that hot day. We sat in the shade, ate fresh ceviche, and nursed our hangovers.

Sunset over the Caribbean. Tela, Honduras
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Old 04-27-2012, 12:15 AM   #111
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This is definitely wetting my appetite for a ride South.

Out of curiosity, how often are you camping in your 4runner, vs staying places?

Thanks Defrag.
They're nihilists, Donny, nothing to be afraid of.

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I'm sorry your dog died before you got to beat it with a dead chicken.

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Old 04-27-2012, 12:20 AM   #112
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Just found the thread, thanks so much for sharing your cool adventure with us.

That Prada "store" pic made me look it up.

Its an art installation, not cheap either.
Give big space to the festive dog that makes sport in roadway.
Avoid entanglement of dog with wheel spokes. - Old Honda Manual
If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies,
jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness, and fears. -- Glenn Clark
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Old 04-27-2012, 07:55 AM   #113
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Originally Posted by Jurgen View Post
This is definitely wetting my appetite for a ride South.

Out of curiosity, how often are you camping in your 4runner, vs staying places?

Thanks Defrag.
In the USA and Mexico pirate-camping was easy to come by, the further south we went the more jungly things got and opportunity to pirate camp stated to slim-up. We switched to organized campgrounds (which are also a challenge to find) and crashing in motels.

At this point we are probably camping 65% of the time and the rest in motels

We are looking forward to South America where I hear the landscape opens up again and pirate camping abounds.
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Old 04-27-2012, 01:23 PM   #114
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Thoroughly relaxed and recovered from our hangovers we pushed towards La Ceiba, Honduras and Pico Bonito National Park.

Semana Santa (Holy Week) was rapidly approaching. During Semana Santa the entire latin american populace takes the week off and heads to the coastline to party it up. On the beaches of Tela we were sitting at ground-zero for the madness. The hotel owners all said we should get the hell out of dodge before Monday, every single hotel room was booked up for the next 8 days and people were flocking in by the thousands when we hit the road.

We headed for the hills! Specifically Pico Bonito national park located outside the town of La Ceiba, Honduras. We stopped by the grocery and stocked up on supplies. We were planning to be gone for at least a week up in the mountain, vowing only to come out once the madness had ended.

The Rio Cangrejal winds through Pico Bonito park. Rio Cangrejal is known for its world-class white-water rafting.

We followed dirt roads all throughout the park searching for free place to pirate camp. Unfortunately you had the river on one side and crazy dense jungle on the other. Not many opportunity's for camping. Beautiful country though.

I had some fun mashing through some wild river crossings and getting some weird looks from kids wondering why this gringo is driving in their swimming holes.

On the road we pass this hut slinging some sort of jungle hooch. We, of course, pulled over to have a taste.

Guifiti/Gifiti is a Garifun native drink made out of sticks, herbs (including that good good), spices, and rum. It tastes like crap but they say its good for your health and vigor.


They also had this bottle of AIDS for sale. Surprisingly it was pretty damn good.

Sun was starting to set and we still had not found a place to camp, We passed a few hostel/hotels on the way up the mountain so doubled-back to check them out.

We found a spot called “Omega Tours” who offer cabins/camping/rafting tours in Pico Bonito. $5 a night and they have a bar. Sold!

More pics and the rest of the story on the blog at
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Old 04-27-2012, 06:29 PM   #115
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Thumb Great report

Loving your 'ride' report. I want to do the same sort of thing with our Xterra. I think I will need two spare gas cans though
"Experience alone is not the great teacher; Experience has to be multiplied by intelligence to yield sustained progress." Phil Schilling
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Old 04-27-2012, 06:55 PM   #116
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Originally Posted by dirtypumpkin View Post

Just found the thread, thanks so much for sharing your cool adventure with us.

It's so cool stumbling across unexpected gems. Thanks.

Absolutely stunning.


It is just a bunch of inner tubes Roy . . . - Cannonshot
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Old 05-01-2012, 09:07 PM   #117
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Originally Posted by Deuce View Post
Loving your 'ride' report. I want to do the same sort of thing with our Xterra. I think I will need two spare gas cans though
hey buddy, check out my friends they drove from CA to Panama in an Xterra
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Old 05-02-2012, 01:09 PM   #118
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GREAT read so far! Keep up the travelling, we will be watching from our armchairs!
CRF250L | KTM200SX
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Old 05-07-2012, 12:18 PM   #119
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We packed up our stuff from the “Omega Tours” in Pico Bonito and headed to town to stock up on supplies, gas, and cash. We were planning to drive out to the remote “Miskito Coast” and needed to be prepared for anything.

We load up the grocery cart with tons of food, water, beer etc. Hit the register and try to pay with our debit card. Lady tells me its not working for some reason… OK, try this one? Still not working… Great. OK Let me go pull some cash from the ATM.

ATM is not working either. Crap. We try Lauren’s card, same thing. Nada. “Please contact your bank” UGH. Worst case scenario as we now have no money, no food, and no phone to call to figure out what is going on.

We apologize to the clerk and abandon our cart full of crap in the store, luckily we were in a mall and figured we could find a payphone/internet café to call the bank and see what was up. We went out to the truck and pilfered our last few bits of change from the ashtray to pay for a call.

We find an internet café which is setup for international dialing, after messing around for 20 minutes trying to dial a 1800 number (If you have ever tried to use a phone outside the country you will understand!) we finally get through. Then we end up waiting on hold for 45 minutes…. Lauren and I start to wonder if we have enough change to cover this damn call.

Finally an exasperated man picks up the line, Before I get a chance to say anything he yells “THE VISA NETWORK IS DOWN! YOU CANT USE YOUR CARD!”

Oh. Looks like we weren't the only ones with problems….

It turns out while we were staring blankly at the grocery store clerk and then confusedly stumbling from ATM to ATM with no success. The entire VISA network in the states was taking a 45-minute coffee break.

We hung up the phone, walked out to the ATM, and tried again. The sweet whiiir of cash being queued up was like music to our ears.

Life is all about timing my friends… 10 minutes earlier we would have had no problems getting cash, 45 minutes later the same. We just happened to arrive at the perfectly incorrect time.

Overlanding ProTip: We have a stash of US currency in the truck for emergencies like this, however the store did not take U.S. money. We now keep a little stash of local currency in the truck as well. You never know when your card is going to crap out on you.
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Old 05-07-2012, 12:26 PM   #120
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Stocked up, fueled up, and ready for adventure! We hit the road to the Moskito coast.

The directions we had were shaky at best and we ended up taking a wrong turn into a small sketchy neighborhood. Before I got a chance to turn around we found ourselves smack in the middle of a police-checkpoint in this barrio.

The checkpoint was manned by 6 young fellas. They see us coming and pull me over. Young guy asks me the usual paperwork questions and then says he needs to search my truck... OK. We haven’t been asked to search our truck yet in Honduras so I thought it a bit odd.

Then he asks me to get out of the truck. Again odd, I haven't been asked to get out in quite some time either.

So I get out and he puts me up against the truck and gives me a crappy cursory pat-down. The first pat-down I have received since leaving the U.S. Obviously he wasn’t looking very hard since he doesn't notice I have a damn buck knife in my pocket. He starts asking me if I have drugs, where we are from, did we come here to buy drugs. We are conversing in spanish, I am telling him… No we are just lost, we are tourists bla bla blah.

He continues to search the truck, I roll down the rear-window, he opens the cooler and comes back around to the front of the truck. He then tells me “Having a cooler full of beer during Semana Santa is illegal...”

I say... Por Que? (Why?) and he says because the police say so...

So from this point on we know this guy is trying to take us for a bribe and we mentally shift gears.

As sick as it sounds… We have been preparing for this moment now for so long we are almost excited to get a chance to have a go at some corrupt cops. The game is a-foot!

He rechecks all of our papers and tells us our vehicle import papers are only good for Guatemala (which is bullshit. Why would Honduran immigration give me an vehicle import document for Guatemala?) so I call him out on that in spanish. Surprised by our confidence. He moves on.

Then he says I need a front plate. I explain to him you do not need one in the United States and they do not issue you a front Honduran plate at the border, in spanish. He moves on again.

He starts saying I have drugs in the car, since I am from California and Californias love drugs! (I see our reputation precedes us…) I tell him we do not have any in spanish. He moves on.

The cop just keeps coming up random crap hoping we cave and just offer him cash. I keep calling him on his B.S. in spanish. He is almost smiling at this point, unable to keep the con alive and remain serious.

Eventually he just straight up starts asking for a bribe/regalo (gift). That is when we start playing the fool and immediately forget all the spanish we know….

Everything he asks now is met with a "no entiendo"(I dont understand)

He asks Lauren something, she replies “No entiendo”

We go back and forth for 10 more minutes with him asking me for a regalo and me saying “no entiendo”and talking to him about random nonsense in rapid fire english which really confuses him.

He keeps saying in frustration “You don’t understand my language!?”. Guess he forgot about the 1st half of our conversation that took place entirely in spanish…

Eventually he calls his buddy over who just tells him to knock it off. Young Cop #2 takes our paperwork from Young Cop #1 hands it to me and tells us to get going.

Home on the Highway-1 Honduran Corrupt Cop-0

While every case dealing with the police is different…we have found, as have most others, if you play along with the cop long enough, waste their time, or just downright confuse them. You can get out of most bribery incidents without paying a nickel.

NOTE: This was our first bribe attempt in over 5 months of travel and 20,000+ miles covered. The majority of police/military we have encountered have been friendly and helpful.

PS: He never did ask about our reflective triangles, fire extinguisher, or reflective tape!!!
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