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Thread: 2Guys1Truck: Astro Van through Central and South America March 2012

  1. #11
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Southwest Colorado
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    595
    Great trip report!
    Moto's, Bikes, Cruisers, and Overland Vehicles

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Pacific Beach, Ca
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    Thanks guys, I am finding its getting easy to stay on top of it now, sort of getting a rhythm going. Still need to figure out how to get video up....baby steps

    Now the not so great news. Think my friend and I are going to go separate ways. We are leaving on good terms, but its not working. I told him many times before the trip I was going to go at my own pace, but now he is in a rush so our schedules are not lining up. Combine that with the fact that he did not do a single thing to help me prepare for the trip, or provide anything monetarily for wear and tear on certain items even though I told him many times I expected help (5 Tires alone were about 750 I think) and I have decided that it is time to make this my trip again. I may head back to the US for a short break to fix the things I didn't have time to do right because of his lack of help, or I may continue on, as there is no deal breaker, just a list of things. As far as traveling together I would say 95% of the time has been awesome, but I am not going to drive him around the world on my dime, and am not going to keep skipping places I want to see just because he does not. So he is going to backpack his way south, before heading to Italy.

    Guadalagara
    Decisions, decisions, decisions...

    Teaser pics.





    2Guys1Truck: 2004 AWD Chevy Astro from California to Colombia!

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Pacific Beach, Ca
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    406
    This time we hit up Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende, and Mexico City/Teotihuacan. Great time, once again we got lost, explored some cities, climbed some pyramids, and even hit a person. Still with my friend, and now a Belgium we picked up in Guadalajara. Sitting in Oaxaca now, may head back any day, may go to the beaches in Puerto Escondio area 1st and then separate...playing it day by day, haven't decided how far from the US I want to get before running back.

    18-1 Bitches!!!

    Teaser Pics:




    Last edited by Wiley; 05-01-2011 at 02:15 AM.
    2Guys1Truck: 2004 AWD Chevy Astro from California to Colombia!

  4. #14
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    Apr 2010
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    Ok, not much went on here, as I got very sick in Mexico City and spent a week recovering (Montezumas Revenge). Lots of puking among other things, couldn't keep food or water down so I was weak for awhile. From Mexico City we went to Puebla, but this was the worst of it so I stayed at the van and did nothing. We then went to Oaxaca, but again, I felt awful so I left my friend with the Belgium, and went about an hour away to hierve del agua to recover. Not a bad spot at all, but also not a whole lot going on, so if circumstances were different I would not have stayed there 3 days. You can easily do this with a day trip, though I do recommend going in the afternoon, and then camping there. There is a section (nothing fancy) where you can camp, setup a tent, whatever, for 3 bucks a night.

    Sadly, as I alluded, my friend and I have separated, logistically there was no way to make it work. I chose to go back since I was only 3-4 days from Cali, and will take a brief break before restarting. He is continuing on, backpacking his way through at least Central America with the Belgian. I still plan on driving to SA in the near future, and am a bit bummed I wont be doing it with my friend. There are advantages and disadvantages to going alone, and while I am sure we would have had our ups and downs, I think he and I would have had a great time if we had continued on together for the whole trip.

    Back to San Diego





    Last edited by Wiley; 06-07-2011 at 01:27 AM.
    2Guys1Truck: 2004 AWD Chevy Astro from California to Colombia!

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Montreal & San Francisco
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    5,702
    Setback happens...that's part of the adventure.

    let's just hope you can get back on the road quickly and visit us in Panama!
    Christian

    CTO Expedition Portal
    www.expeditionportal.com
    www.overlandjournal.com

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    San Diego, CA
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    In honor of Doug Adams' "Increasingly Inaccurately Named Hitchhiker's Guide Trilogy" (in five books), I dub your website:

    The Increasingly Inaccurately Named Travel Website.

    No truck, One Guy.
    Herbie - K6ZMB
    "My minivan is cooler than your bro-truck"
    2003 Chevrolet Astrolander 4WD Van - DIY GTRV PopTop, 4" Lift
    2002 Subaru Impreza WRX "Outback" - a.k.a Frankenstein's Trailhead Vehicle. Lifted, WRX-TR Brakes, STi Seats + More

  7. #17
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    Apr 2010
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    lol...yeah
    2Guys1Truck: 2004 AWD Chevy Astro from California to Colombia!

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Pacific Beach, Ca
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    406

    Default Ok, lets dust this thing off

    Currently in: Zacatecas, headed to Aguascalientes and then San Lois Potosi, Mexico.

    Deja Vu! Or should I say, Deja Blue?? That's right, like two time Superbowl MVP Eli Manning ("Greatest QB ever" for short) and the Champions of the Multiverse New York Giants I am back! Ok ok, this is a travel blog, so lets leave the sports talk behind for now, and get to the story.



    (Note: All prices will be according to the conversion rates of the posting dates, subject to change)

    1 USD = 13.32 mexican Pesos

    Will update all of these, left them in the Astro

    Baja California: XXXX
    FMT Card: XXXX
    Car Importation: XXXX
    Mexican Insurance: XXXX
    Guerrero Negro Agricultural Spray thing: 20 Pesos (1.50 USD)
    Gas Total (9.96 a Litre, 2.63 a Gallon): XXXX
    Camping/Hotel total:XXXX
    Ferry from La Paz to Mazatlan: 2800 Pesos (210 USD)



    Been in Mexico for weeks, months, hell maybe its been years now, I don't know. Contrary to what Einstein thought time does not exist down here. For those of you new here you can start from the beginning and see what a mess this trip is going to be as I travel "ASTRO-undtheworld", ok, probably just to Panama, we will see: Click here to jump to the beginning "Welcome"

    Hit some new places in Baja Mexico, since I have previously been there it didn't feel like the starting point for the trip, so here is a quick recap. Spent the 1st night solo camping in the Catavina desert, a unique area with some great bouldering and hiking. Then did a little backtracking for some surfing off a point break not too far, a first for me. Shared it with 2 new Zealanders and a "Cana-fornian", plenty of waves, though the water was freezing, I though this was Mexico in June? The cana-fornia had a hoodie and 5/3 which is a thick suit, I wore my winter suit and booties, the New Zealanders are real men I guess, they just had wetsuits. It was a bit rocky, when I got their one of the guys told me they were "soft rocks". What...are you F'ing with me?? I didn't find out but the others said they got racked over them a few times, but the rocks were smooth and covered with seaweed apparently. The New Zealanders then headed off into the unknown for some off road adventures, no map, no water, and a beat up subaru forester...hope they made it, they certainly had the go-for-it attitude you need down there.

    The Cana-fornian was interested in my Catavina stories, so we headed out there for one more night of camping since I obviously need to head south to be successful here. (Note: I had read mixed reviews on the safety of camping alone in Catavina, let alone Mexico before I started the trip, I figured its a wrong place wrong time scenario, as well as perhaps a nice big expensive rig, vs a tiny chevy astro...but remember, sometimes you just gotta go for it out here, just be safe, I am not responsible for what you fools do).



    After that I had a full days drive through some dirt roads, over the salt flats that flood depending on the tide, followed be even worse dirt roads, only to arrive in San Juanico with 1 foot waves, and not much of a town. No thanks, spent the night but wasn't waiting around for the waves to show up, I have a long way to go, though I certainly think I will go back someday, it had potential. Camping on the bluff is 150 Pesos (11.23 USD), but I am badass, and slept in my van on the streets, cost, 0 USD.


    NEED MORE ZOOOOOOM!

    Continued onto La Paz where I relaxed and did some people watching. The 1st time Paul and I went we pretty much passed through here for some free beach camping before taking the Bajaferry to Los Mochis. There is a large mix of both Mexican and North Americans who have relocated to La paz, and yes I am aware that they are one and the same. Every evening when things finally cool down hundreds of people come out of nowhere to enjoy the malecon (boardwalk) to walk, run, bike, skate, and even roller blade, well kind off. La Paz must have the worlds worst roller bladers ever, though you will be happy to know Mazatlan seems to have blading down. Regardless, everyone is having a great time, and the streets a few blocks up from the malecon are full of tons of shops full of crappy things and some nice restaurants and cafes. Make sure you get out and explore a bit more than Paul and I did, it's a nice place to relax for a bit.



    After that I did some more surfing down at Cerritos which I had hit up the previous trip, as well as tried my luck at the 50 miles of washboard road that goes northeast of San Jose Del Cabo. Unfortunately I lost one of the 6 supports to my lift without knowing it. As luck would have it, I had turned around to go back to a beach for some stealth camping I had spotted and what do you know, 1 mile after turing around I spot a spacer laying in the dirt, wtf, that HAS to be mine. A quarter mile from there I find my bolt and bushing, score! Out of 50 miles of rugged terrain, where I could have lost it anywhere, not to mention there was no real way for me to know I lost it, I was lucky enough to not only find the spacer, but the long bolt and bushing. Now, had I not found them, I assume the other 2 bolts and spacers on that side would have warped or stripped causing some real problems. 1st, only 1 guy makes this lift as far as I know and he is either in Colorado or Canada, I don't remember. So getting a new spacer and bolt down here would have been pretty much impossible, and since I put on larger tires its not like I could just take the rest of the lift off otherwise the tires wouldn't fit, basically I would have been F'd. Eventually I popped them back on, slapped some locktite (think mechanical super glue) on all of them so I don't have any more problems in the future, and headed back to la Paz to take the Ferry over to mainland.



    Next stop Mazatlan!



    More Pics on the site. I will post the full story on here now rather than the teasers I used to do, if I don't like going to an external blog, why on earth would I make you?? I hope you go there for the pics!

    http://2guys1truck.com/?p=779

    Travel Notes:
    The section below is only for those interested in details which may make a similar trip a bit easier, I will try and include these at the end of posts when necessary, if you just want to keep reading how bad *** I am you can ignore this and wait until the next awesome post.

    Tijuana Crossing: I crossed at San Ysidro, before crossing I stopped at the San Ysidro exit just before the border to get Mexican Insurance, you can take care of this on your own elsewhere, probably a bit cheaper, but this is fast and convenient. Since I have zero faith in ever getting any help if there is a problem, I went with the cheapest I could, which was XXXX. Then jump back on the 5-South and continue towards the gates of hell as the media would say, and when arriving at the border stay towards the right park in the section for declaring items. Walk over to the Aduana (Customs) to begin your process of obtaining an FMT Card (Tourist Card). This is needed if you plan on leaving the free trade zone, and you will certainly want to go farther than that if you want a true taste of baja. Take your paper work 50 feet to the left to the bank, and pay for your card, and then return to the aduana to complete the process. I also imported my car into Mexico in Tijuana, most people are wusses, and do it elsewhere. A few blocks away you can either walk, which I think you need your passport to return and cross the border, or you can drive over as I did. Walking is probably easier, I feel like I got lucky in finding it the first try as there was a fair amount of traffic and madness going on. The bancinerto is on the street just behind the McDonalds, you can pull right into the walled structure so you don't need to park on the mean streets of Tijuana. I parked on the streets, cause I am badass, you starting to see a pattern yet? Go in, pay some dude 2 bucks to photocopy your stuff which I don't even think I needed to do, he then directed me over to the bank to pay the import fees and collect your sticker. Once your car is imported you are good to go for 180 days of Mexican madness! You must return your FMT Card and Sticker when you finally leave Mexico either to return to the US, or enter Belize or Guatemala in order to get your deposit back, which is heft if paying with a credit card (400ish USD) for deposit. You can re-enter the US and no one will ask for it at this crossing, so its up to you. I do not know about Belize or Guatemala as the last trip was such a failure and I didn't even make it that far haha. Once you are ready to drive again you will need to have them "Inspect" your vehicle, which consists of them poking and prodding a few things and deciding its not worth looking through all your crap since no one has ever smuggled guns into Mexico unless they are a President. You are then officially in Mexico, congrats!

    Guerrero Negro: This agricultural checkpoint is located where Baja North and South meet. They will take fruits if you are dumb enough to tell them you have any, but don't search, so the decision is yours. You then pay 20 pesos (1.49 USD) to have the underneath of your vehicle sprayed. Guerrero Negro is one of several great places to see the California Grey Whales if your NOT traveling in June. February and March are the best times to see them, after which they head back north to the cold West Coast waters.

    FerryTMC: I took this ferry rather than the BajaFerries boat we took last time as you have access to your vehicle. Neither ferry is necessarily nice, though not bad, but its much better to chill and to sleep in your vehicle on the overnight trip assuming you live in your vehicle while traveling. The ferry departs at 5pm, make sure you go early for your ticket I think they loaded me on at 2 which is rediculously early, and arrives in Mazatlan around 10 am the next morning. Its costs 2800 Pesos (208 USD) for myself and the van, I believe any vehicle up to 5 meters. As I did not need to head north to Los Mochis (Topolobampo) again it was better to head to mazatlan. The trip to Los Mochis departs around 4pm, and arrives around 11 pm or 12 am so keep that in mind, not a bad area, but not a great area either, especially to arrive in the dead of night if you have never been there.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Wiley; 07-02-2012 at 08:41 PM.
    2Guys1Truck: 2004 AWD Chevy Astro from California to Colombia!

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    near Asheville, NC
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    663
    Quote Originally Posted by Wiley View Post
    Ok, let's dust this thing off!
    Back from the dead! Glad to hear you're back at it. We loved the Cataviņa boulder fields...such a surreal place. We'll be in Lago de Atitlan, Guatemala until mid-August, so you have plenty of time to catch up
    Recently finished 2 years exploring North, Central & South America in our '87 4Runner

  10. #20
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    Apr 2010
    Location
    Pacific Beach, Ca
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    406
    Awesome I will see what I can do....though I keep adding places in Mexico, there is so much diveristy here. I was following your trip, but its tough from the road, keep enjoying yourselves.
    2Guys1Truck: 2004 AWD Chevy Astro from California to Colombia!

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