Super awesome. I really wanted to go on this trip.
Super awesome. I really wanted to go on this trip.
2010 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara
2006 Jeep Unlimited,AEV highline kit,35x12.50s on Pintler beadlock wheels-- gone but never forgotten.
1999 Jeep Wrangler-setup for rockcrawling
24 Feb 2012- Day 3
Early morning wakeup at 0600. NLX is meeting us for breakfast at the La Lancha restaurant, and we need to be checked out and ready to roll. After a quick repack, there's time for a little "me time" to take in the surrounds visible now in daylight.
Reflecting back on the night before, I was up late trying to finish repacking, and fell asleep to the sound of Howler monkeys and wildlife nearby. If you have not heard the sound of Howler monkeys before, you would be in for a real surprise. Howler monkeys, when they get started, sound like what you would imagine dinosaurs sounded like. I'm not kidding. I have no idea how the Spanish conquistadors didn't say "adios! I'm outta here" the first time they heard that. I faded to sleep with images of the Jurassic Park visitor center in my head.
The morning in beautiful. Was about 70 degF as I walk up to the restaurant. Here's a view on the way looking off to the lake.
I drop off my rucksack and Pelican case at the front desk, and have a seat at the table waiting for Bill and Lee to show up. Coffee? Yes please! Bill and Lee show up moments later and as we are working through our first cup of joe, we hear the parade of diesels approach the front gate. Music to my ears! In comes the remaining cast as promised.
"Remus" - Land Rover 110 station wagon. 200TDI engine, LT77 tranny
"Romulus" - Land Rover 110 Crew Cab. 200TDI engine, LT77 tranny
"The Pinz" - Pinzgauer 6x6. 4 cyl gas and almost unending supply of beer...almost
Can you tell we're excited?
Everyone is in great spirits at this point, and we all have a fantastic Guatemalan breakfast together.
Here's a pic of Byron and Karl in their club regalia and swag which left us (Bill, Lee and I..ok, just me) feeling inadequate and wanting!
karl and byron at breakfast.jpg
And James can be seen in this shot. Does his expression say "Been there done that" or what? He knows exactly what we're about to get into later this day, and Bill, Lee and I have no idea..not even a clue.
karl and james at bkfst.jpg
Last edited by overlander; 03-21-2012 at 07:01 PM.
Very nice. Loving the pics and story. Most exciting news for me is the cigars with Series LR! Sounds great.
"When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect. There is no other way for land to survive the impact of mechanized man, nor for us to reap from it the aesthetic harvest it is capable, under science, of contributing to culture." - Aldo Leopold
2001 Mitsubishi Montero Sport 3.5XS - "Scooby"
Working on it!
24 Feb 2012- Day 3 (continued)
So having finished breakfast, we loaded up and off we went. Plan today was to head from La Lancha Lodge to the Tikal National Reserve Park, home to the world famous Tikal site. We'll have lunch there, then head North in the park to the town of Uaxactu'n to check in with the park coordinator for the mules we need to make Mirador (more on that later) then head on to the first campsight at Dos Lagunas.
From here on out I'll be using these map images. Black will be past track. Blue will be next planned leg.
Peten Map 24feb leg 1 la lancha to Tikal.jpg
Main roads up here are in great shape around the perimeter of Lago Peten and as we turn the East end of the lake before turning North for Tikal, we make first stop for provisions. Provisions in NLX means diesel and beer...
a good road in Guatemala.jpgenroute to fuel stop.jpg
pinz love at fuel stop.jpgfuel stop on way to tikal.jpggraham at fuel stop.jpg
Also my first chance to check out the Pinz!
pinz interior.jpgpinz love at fuel stop.jpgmy pinz.jpg
And this shot is an image that will be repeated throughout the remainder of the trip..or at least most of it. Everyone should overland with a bartender...
Now that we're loaded up, off we go to Tikal. Not too long (maybe 30 min) we arrive at the Tikal park main entrance. Now let me say this. Throughout Guatemala one will encounter many military checkpoints. This is a good thing. These checkpoints have 4-6 soldiers, all looking to be in their teens-early 20's, and they don't really do much more than wave as we pass through, although some of them can look quite serious. I say it's a good thing because they keep the area under control and whatever issues with traffickiing exist are kept covert from the main roads. I'm a fan. That said, there's a military manned foxhole at the main gate, but I never felt threatened.
Enroute to Tikal.jpgtikal main gate lineup.jpggate guards.jpgtikal entrance gate que.jpgtikal entrance.jpg
At the gate we all stop, and James and Byron chat with the park rangers about our entrance. We pay the daily park fee at the campground, and we receive our time. James explained to me that they control speed through the park by marking your time as the front gate, and then comparing to your arrival time at the inner campground checkpoint. This is to prevent roadkill of the protected species in the park. Along the way, here's the variety of road signs we see to illustrate the point.
look out for jaguars and pumas.jpgLook out for deer.jpgbeware of wild turkeys.jpgbeware of coati.jpglook out for snakes.jpg
After a 15-20 minutes pleasant drive through the park entrance road, we arrive at the main campground and hotel site. You can get an idea of how many international tourists visit Tikal from the amount of minivans and buses that are parked here. There's camping grounds located here, as well as the Tikal Jaguar Inn and restaurant (which we don't see until later in the trip). We short hault for a moment in the main parking area while James and Graham pake the park fees for our time in the reserve, and they we move up and park at the campsite cafe (can't remember the name) for a "last supper" in neo-civilization.
road in to tikal camp and hotel.jpgtikal main camp tourism center.jpgtikal campsite.jpgparked at restaurant.jpgheading over to lunch place.jpgtikal restaurant 2.jpgtikal cafe.jpgordering lunch.jpg
While we are inside waiting on our food, dozens of tourists of all nationalities to include many Europeans flow in and out of the restaurant. The 110's parked outside draw a bit of attention next to the mini-buses. Most of the travelers here are the 20 something backpack across the globe Europeans living it up on the road.
As we are people watching, James breaks the silence to illustrate a point he had made earlier in a conversation. Little did I know that Belize and Guatemala don't have the best relationship. As a result, the Guatemalan government does not recognize Belize as a country, and still considers it one of their states or territories. On the wall is a Guatemalan map, and if you look at it, Belize is just an area within Guatemalan. You have to find an international map to see Belize as a sovereign state. Point made.
guatemala map of belize.jpg
After lunch and a few cervezas, we hit the head (surprisingly clean!) and hit the road for Uaxactun. For the rest of the trip, I'll be riding shotgun with James in Romulus the crew cab, and Bill and Lee will be in Remus, the wagon.
The plan is to make good time to Uaxactun, make sure the mules are laid on to meet us at the Naactun site 3 days from now and to see the rare Mayan archeological specimens that the government agent ("the lady") has at her farm/museum/house/compound there. Then we'll make our way into the jungle growth on unmaintained government trails to Dos Lagunas campsight. Sounds easy right?
So we say goodbye to Tikal for now..
from tikal to uaxactun.jpg
Fantastic so far. Sound like a great trip!
Mark the suspense is killing me and I was there! Great write up.
Trying to writeup a little every afternoon (trying). Getting the right pictures composed and inserted takes a while. We'll get there.