Tuesday, February 28, 2012

El Zotz

One of our first adventures in Guatemala, still on the road with the white Mitsubishi listening to the name Dino, was a trip to the ruinas of El Zotz. What we intended to do was driving to El Zotz and from there up North-East towards the village and ruins of Uaxactun and than down to famous Tikal. See how that went... 

The north road of Lago de Peten Itza was a relatively easy drive, just some water puddles reminded us of the last couple of days that, despite "dry season" have been kind of wet.

Photo by Toni

The turn off north towards Camelita was easy to find.

A little later we turned off east on the road to El Zotz, at first it did not look too bad...

...than we had come to a very muddy area, where we stopped and decided to look on foot which of the many ways that cars before us have tried might suit us best.

Checking out the different pools, and we have decided on...

...a route. Since the Toyota is heavier than the Mitsubishi we have decided to let Dino go first, not that I would mess up the entire track with the approx. 3 tons of the Cruiser, making it impassable for the Mitsubishi, but...

...despite the lighter weight, Dino go stuck.

We got out all the gear, 4 sand boards, lets call them mud-boards instead, and my Habegger come-along winch.

We got stuck. Really good, that is.

Mud digging.

Felix at the wheel, the Diesel engine reeving up... 

Photo by Toni
...I am at the winch at the same time sweating it...

...slowly, slowly, spinning wheels and smoking engine the Mitsubishi is back on the boards...

Photo by Toni
...checking the situation and getting tension on the rope again...

...and soon after out of the mud.

Real happy. Real early!

Guatemalean wheel design.

The mud hole without the car in it...

...the wheel without the mud in it.

At this point we decided to go and explore the next couple of hundred meters on foot. Especially since some Guatemalen folks that came by on horse and on foot, said it was impossible to pass the road by car right now, due to the heavy rain of the last couple of days. 

Photo by Toni
In fact, we did not walk too far until we decided to rather turn around. That byitself was for sure a good decision, however it also meant getting Dino back on the other side. Yeah, again through the bitch of a mud hole. 

This time we took more time and preapred the way back better. We build somewhat of a bridge, supporting the boards with wood and stones, adjusting its width exactly to the Mitsubishi's axle. We also put the Land Cruiser in position to pull, while the Mitsubishi would drive with its own power. 

We did that in two steps and the first one was working well. We got two of the four boards out and started building the bridge further, back on our seats, Felix in the Mitsubishi, me in the blue truck pulling...

...and off it went, back into the mud. The ground was just too soft.

Digging again. 

In the rear it did not look too bad...

...compared to the front.

There were moments when it was not all that much fun anymore.

With united powers of the two Japanese trucks we got it out once more.

Final digging was...

...to get the gear out again.

On the way back it started raining heavily again...

...which we did not mind, since it got all the clay alike mud out of our cars wheel arches.

We headed back to the "Gringo Perdido" campground on the north shore of the lake. We cooked some food, and put all our gear out under a palapa roof to dry and fell into our beds.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sexier Blog-Posts!

I will show you more! 

It seems that my blog posts have become a bit dull for you to read and look at. I have noticed a significant drop in visits since I have changed my blog a little and made it more of a typical travelling blog, with coordinates and all those "standard" travelling blog stuff. 

So I have decided...

...to give you more to look at again. 

Write little stories about what I experience rather than bore you with coordinates of where I parked over night. I figured you're more interested in what happens at night than in where it happens... 

...so all that said, should you still want to know exactly where, just drop me a comment on the relevant post and I will comment accordingly or even better send me an e-mail with your request of what you'd like to know or where exactly you are traveling to. And since there are...

...so many that offer their services...

...I guess you can do without mine. There are some excellent travel blogs and web pages on-line of people that do a much better job at letting you know coordinates, places to stay, even more stuff, like places...

...to eat...

...and places to sleep.

So, in the near future I will add a new page to this blog with web references of blogs and web pages of people that I have met or blogs I use myself while I tour through America. But on this blog, you won't find too much of that anymore. But - sexier posts for you!

I hope this all makes my blog a lot more...


...for YOU.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


By now I am in Guatemala, stay tuned for more muddy, wet stories coming soon on this blog.

The last night in Mexico

The last night in Mexico before passing the boarder to Guatemala we were camping right in the town of Tenosique. You can camp at the park that also has a Police Station. It might be a little noisy but seemed to be safe and it was.

City Camping in Tenosique

"Nut-Cases?" Is what those kids on their way to school were probably thinking after they saw us camping right in town.

The last days in Mexico

After leaving the Chetumal area I have teamed up with Toni & Felix. They are travelling in their cool Mitsubishi Delica, called "Dino Evo", since it is the second vehicle of that type the own and have modified to their home on wheels.

Together we have made our way to the ruinas of Hormiguero, an easy well marked way and to the ruinas of Rio Bec, a not so well marked and not so easy way. But thanks to the recovery equipment as well as having the benefit of two cars, we negotiated our way to the ruinas. On the way back we were a little smarter and faster and through the most difficult mud hole we have built a little bridge with the sand boards I carry. Thanks to Ulla and Kari I have even four of them now. They are on a world tour with their Mercedes Sprinter and carried them around more than half the world without ever using them. So I traded a couple of bottles of red wine against the boards and I could put them on the side of the blue truck... not long before I really needed to put them to work.

Dino and the blue truck at Rio Bec

The road to Hormiguero is easy, no 4x4 required

4 eyed spyder mama, check out all the baby spiders that ride on her back!

Return from Hormigureo

Mud hole on the way to Rio Bec, First we got the Cruiser back out with the boards and hooked up to the Mitsubishi...

Then we tried to get Dino through but it slid off to the side into the mud or rather clay too. Digging and pulling it with the manual "Habegger" come-along winch we got it finally out. Laying a new way with the boards and taking the hole with lots more speed got the Land Cruiser through as well and off we went on our way to the ruinas. 

Our guide is working through some low hanging trees with his machete.

We picked the mayan guide up in the last village on the road to the ruins. Still 100% mayan inhabitants.

More trees...

...and finally at or on, the ruinas

Kind of a steep way back down.

What exactly were those signs meaning...

very solid construction

Dino gets through the mud hole again on the way back. A bridge with the boards and a lot of speed made it an easy passage on the way back. 

We were allowed to camp in front of the casa of the family of our mayan guide. That is were we started to get our equipment cleaned and got packed in the morning again. 

It is actually supposed to be "dry" season and if it hadn't been raining that much lately it would have been an easy drive to Rio Bec. However over the last couple of weeks it had been raining alot and therefore the path was not as good as it was supposed to be. 

Taking a guide along is not really mandatory but recommended. However, if you have a good vehicle and the right equipment you could probably find your way there yourself as well.