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Author: Subject: 2 Gringos drive the PanAmerican Highway in a 1987 4Runner
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[*] posted on 3-7-2012 at 10:34 AM
2 Gringos drive the PanAmerican Highway in a 1987 4Runner


Hey guys, I have posted a few threads on Bajanomad while getting info on Baja and and shared our trip report. Our first trip to Baja in February gave us the inspiration and confidence to live our dream and drive the PanAmerican highway from California to Argentina. We started a blog over at http://homeonthehighway.com If you want to check it out, I will share my trip reports here as well if you are interested. We just posted one today on the 1st half of our travels through Belize.

This is the first post of our entire trip here if you want to start from the beginning.

After a great night in Bakalar, Mexico we headed south to the Belize/Mexico border. Unsure of what to expect we checked out our friends “Life Remotely” blog who recently crossed the border and posted a great detailed report explaining the crossing in detail.



It turned out to be a simple affair. We found the Mexican customs office, relinquished our Mexican visas and stopped at the Banjercito to check-out the truck. We received an exit stamp in our passport and they removed our Mexican vehicle import sticker from the trucks windshield. We were officially in “No Mans Land”. The area that exists while you are checked out from one country but not checked into the next. You may know it by the term “duty-free zone”. They had a large mall here where you could pick up cheap booze, cigarettes, and crappy knock-off brand name clothes.

After stocking up on junk we hit the Belize border. We had just learned the day before that Belize’s official language is actually English. Quite a surprise to us. It took a while to get used to saying, Thank you, instead of Gracias and Yes, instead of Si. But man were we happy to finally be able to have a full-on conversation with people instead of standing there like idiots trying to communicate.

The check-in process to Belize was simple, a few stamps in the passport, a cursory check of the vehicle and we were in. Welcome to Belize! We picked up vehicle insurance just past the border, $23 for 2 weeks.

While we were in Bakalar we met up with "Team Equipt" who gave us the line on a great campsite just past the Belize border, We headed off towards the GPS coords. The road was not on our map but Ben assured me, we could make it. ;)



Cruising down the road we hit a river with a ferry crossing. This was no ordinary ferry, an ancient hand-cranked job which looked as if it would sink at any moment. (I later learned that it actually did sink about 3 weeks before…) It could hold about 3 cars at a time, apparently it runs 24/7. The conductor sleeps on a wooden bench in the ferry.


We met some cool [url="http://www.northernbelize.com/cult_mennonite.html]Mennonites[/url] on the ferry who were partying it up, we shared a few beers while we took turns cranking the ferry across the river. Hard working farming folk, there is a large Mennonite community in Belize. Apparently they got fed up with U.S religious policy and a large population relocated to Belize in the 1950s. Most are still very religious leading an almost Amish lifestyle, preferring horsedrawn buggies to automobiles. We met some of the more "progressive”boys. Ha!






We crossed the river, continued down the road, eventually hitting another hand-cranked ferry.


Pressing on towards the GPS coords we eventually found the spot. And it was worth every mile! Thanks again <a href="http://equipt1.com" target="_blank[/img]Team Equipt</a[/img]! We enjoyed this secluded beach cove all to ourselves. We stayed here for 2 days not seeing a soul, soaking up the sun and waves.




From our cove we headed towards a small town in Northern Belize by the name of Sartenja. Sartenja, Belize is home to the “Backpackers Paradise” A great little hostel/restaurant run by an amazing French and Swiss couple. They have carved out their own little piece of paradise here. They rent out cabins, tents, and hammocks to travelers for great rates. Natalie also can cook like nobodies business, we had amazing French/Belizean fusion meals for dinner every night.

The “common area”. No shortage of hammocks to go around. Lauren and I spent most of our nights here lounging in the hammocks listening to the rain and crickets chirping outside.


Read more on the blog... http://homeonthehighway.com

[Edited on 3-7-2012 by defrag4]
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[*] posted on 3-7-2012 at 10:52 AM


Awesome.
Way to be alive.




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[*] posted on 3-7-2012 at 12:08 PM


I must be a lost member of that Mennonite sect. I have some of the same rituals involving amber and green bottles.

So, what's this avoidance of belts? Why are Mennonites and Amish always wearing suspenders? :?:

Cant wait to get through the blog................it's a dream of ours to drive it in our truck and cabover. But I dont think I'll trust those ferries with my rig. Too top heavy.




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[*] posted on 3-7-2012 at 12:17 PM


Great!:bounce:



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[*] posted on 3-7-2012 at 04:51 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by Hook
I must be a lost member of that Mennonite sect. I have some of the same rituals involving amber and green bottles.

So, what's this avoidance of belts? Why are Mennonites and Amish always wearing suspenders? :?:

Cant wait to get through the blog................it's a dream of ours to drive it in our truck and cabover. But I dont think I'll trust those ferries with my rig. Too top heavy.


They hold their underwear up of course :lol:

Hey bud, depending on the height of your camper you may be able to cram it into a shipping container. Is it a popup or fullsize slid-in?

If not your going to have to do a RORO (Roll-on/Roll-off) boat, plenty of people have done it in crazier rigs than a truck with a cabover though so you should be fine :cool:




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[*] posted on 3-7-2012 at 05:45 PM


Really cool!! I will be heading that way next January.
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[*] posted on 3-7-2012 at 06:04 PM


Awesome trip report.

If it would have been my wife and I, we would have had a roof rack, plus every square inch of the inside of the car would have been taken up.

What did you pack? One suitcase each??




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[*] posted on 3-7-2012 at 07:51 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by Udo
Awesome trip report.

If it would have been my wife and I, we would have had a roof rack, plus every square inch of the inside of the car would have been taken up.

What did you pack? One suitcase each??


Purty much, 1 suitcase of clothes each, We actually have alot of room let over in the truck somehow :?:




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[*] posted on 3-7-2012 at 07:55 PM






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[*] posted on 3-7-2012 at 08:49 PM


Cool We did the same trip.....San Diego to San Jose Costa Rica in our '55 Chevy pickup.....in 1970. Sold the truck then flew Avianca airlines to Cali Colombia where we continued our journey to Bolivia. Avianca had a promotion......$80 usd fly anywhere in Colombia for 30 days...no backtracking. Had them leave us on Equador border for the final flight. Had our first child down there along the way. Some of your photos are exactly the way it was then......
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[*] posted on 3-7-2012 at 09:48 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by baron
Cool We did the same trip.....San Diego to San Jose Costa Rica in our '55 Chevy pickup.....in 1970. Sold the truck then flew Avianca airlines to Cali Colombia where we continued our journey to Bolivia. Avianca had a promotion......$80 usd fly anywhere in Colombia for 30 days...no backtracking. Had them leave us on Equador border for the final flight. Had our first child down there along the way. Some of your photos are exactly the way it was then......


awesome! we plan to be in CR around May or so, Our folks are flying down to meet us. We figure its one of the most "gringo" friendly spots in Central America. Or at least that what everyone is telling us?

[Edited on 3-8-2012 by defrag4]




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[*] posted on 3-7-2012 at 09:55 PM


I'm working my way through the whole trip on your blog right now. Fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing!
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thumbup.gif posted on 3-8-2012 at 09:26 AM
Great blog!


I linked this to my Facebook page (Pole Line Road) - see the link in my signature line. I'm really enjoying this blog.

Question: Are you going to drive back again, or fly north when you are finished?

[Edited on 3-8-2012 by Ken Cooke]




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[*] posted on 3-8-2012 at 09:52 AM
Getting to be a crowded highway...here's another report.


One year and two days ago, I posted this thread about two couples who were driving thier classic rigs from Argentina to Alaska. Enroute north thru southern Baja, they stayed with us a couple days in Coyote for some R&R before headed north again. Nice trip! Fun people! Bon Voyage, amigos..

http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=44720#pid5030...








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[*] posted on 3-8-2012 at 08:49 PM


Damn Roberto,
That is cool.
How long did you take making that journey?




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[*] posted on 3-8-2012 at 09:25 PM
I think it is a Jeep SUV


Quote:
Originally posted by Roberto
For obvious reasons (if you're old enough) India was the mecca for those in my age group.

[Edited on 3-9-2012 by Roberto]


Goa Gil is one of India's most treasured expats. Check this out, Roberto!





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[*] posted on 3-9-2012 at 09:04 AM


Quote:

Well, I recognize the Citroen Deux Chevaux - they were extremely popular in Europe in the '70s and later, but what is the other one.

It is a late 50's early 60' Willys Station Wagon by Willy - Overland Motors Inc. This one has rare trim package.




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[*] posted on 3-9-2012 at 10:42 AM


Quote:
Originally posted by Ken Cooke
I linked this to my Facebook page (Pole Line Road) - see the link in my signature line. I'm really enjoying this blog.

Question: Are you going to drive back again, or fly north when you are finished?

[Edited on 3-8-2012 by Ken Cooke]


Hey Ken, thanks for the share bud :)

If any of you guys have facebook you can add us on there at http://facebook.com/homeonthehighway We actually post more updates and photos on Facebook than our blog

We dont really have a plan for the end of the road, were just heading south and plan to figure it out when we get down there. A few options are sell the car to another US couple who want to make the trip in reverse, scrap the car out, ship the truck home, or start driving back up! All depends on the financials at the time of course




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[*] posted on 3-9-2012 at 10:44 AM


Quote:
Originally posted by Roberto
Well, I recognize the Citroen Deux Chevaux - they were extremely popular in Europe in the '70s and later, but what is the other one.

If you've never ridden in a Deux Chevaux (literally, two horses), these Citroen Cars ride high and have EXTREMELY compliant suspension, like most Citroens of the time. The higher end models had hydraulic suspension. Anyway, they had an extreme lean into the curves - scary if you weren't used to it. The car was low-horsepower, simple engine, and very light. Four passengers. It was one of the cars we caravaned on a trip from Rome, Italy to (then) Bombay, India. Now called Mumbai. The year was 1973-1974. One of the guys on the trip was a master welder, and thank godness, because just before reaching Kabul, one of the main beams forming the chassis of the car actually snapped in the center. We were overloaded. With my English, we were able to locate a welders shop and he re-welded the entire frame. Those were the days. For obvious reasons (if you're old enough) India was the mecca for those in my age group.

[Edited on 3-9-2012 by Roberto]


very cool Roberto, sometimes we get ahead of ourselves and start dreaming about driving from South Africa to Europe, then we realize we are barely even through Central America and need to focus on this trip :o




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[*] posted on 3-9-2012 at 08:32 PM


Willy...I disagree. I thought so at first, but up until '58 there is no separate turn signal, and I think amber signals came in way later. I'm thinking it's a knock-off? The arc of the rear window is Willies all the way.:lol:



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