Ecuador- A Road Trip, Interrupted

Crossing into Ecuador was too easy. Like, really. They need to tighten up their ship. Colombia let us go with no fanfare. They stamped us out with a smile and once we handed our temporary import permit for The Joan over to a disinterested official we were free to go to Ecuador. In Ecuador they didn’t ask us any questions nor did they look at our truck. I showed them pictures on my phone of our truck. They took pictures of the pictures and sent us on our way. No questions, no peeking inside. We could have had our camper-shell stuffed full of contraband and we would have been home free. We must have honest faces because I heard from some other travelers that they got thoroughly searched at the border. Not that they didn’t have honest faces. I do live a charmed life. Pretty sure we only smuggled in a wilted cabbage and some less-than-turgid potatoes.

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One More from Colombia

We had been planning to visit Medellin all along. We were excited to hear the double L pronounced as a jjjj instead of a shhhh. We were excited to feel the energy of a town best known for its gangster violence. Medellin was hot on everyone’s Must Visit list. In the end it turned out that it felt very much like a lot of cities we had visited. Culturally interesting but mostly a maelstrom of money sucking. We are happier in nature. La naturaleza. We are more comfortable in tiny towns on the edge of the wilderness. Happier without the sounds of honking horns wearing at our serenity and the pervasive exhaust fumes blackening our boogers. We had grown accustomed to the rural soundtrack of barking dogs and crowing roosters and were very happy to get back to it.

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From Bogotá to Medellin- The Long Way

After having a wonderful time exploring Colombia as a trio with our friend Cadence, we were back to a duo and really excited to camp again. Well, I was excited to camp again. I think Scott was enjoying the luxury of the soft beds that didn’t involve a ladder for midnight potty breaks. After some less than exciting time at the auto shop getting The Joan all of the fresh fluids she could possibly want we headed north (I know we are supposed to be going south).

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Colombia with Cadence!

We got our first (potentially only) visit from a friend! My friend Cadence was on her summer vacation from her job teaching Spanish and came to visit us in Colombia. She flew into Bogotá and then took a wee hop up to Cartagena to meet us. The plan was to travel together for about three weeks and we would end up back in Bogotá in time for her to catch her flight home. Scott and I were fresh from our adventures in truck shipping bureaucracy and ready to have some fun. 

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Panama to Colombia

            For the most part, our time in Panama was about taking care of business. After lollygagging our way through most of Central America we had not left ourselves much time to really dig into Panama. Thankfully, crossing the border was quick and painless. We made it out of Costa Rica with no trouble once we got our order of operations straight.

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Costa Rica

Leaving Nicaragua and entering Costa Rica was easy peasy. Maybe we were just getting good at borders. More likely, we had border burnout and neglected to be firm when we told the helper that we needed no help. He was persistent and ended up making things go pretty smoothly. He probably saved us about 15 minutes of confusion. Leaving Nicaragua is a little different than leaving other countries. Continue reading “Costa Rica”

Nicaragua

We stayed in a hotel the night prior to crossing the border into Nicaragua. We did this so that we wouldn’t have a bunch of life maintenance to deal with in the morning and could get to the border nice and early. Best laid plans… We hadn’t counted on finding a channel on the television that had movies in English. We were faced with the choice of arriving at the border early in the morning, beating the afternoon heat or watching Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. Since one bad choice usually leads to another, we opted to stick around for The Terminator as well. As the Terminator was doing his damnedest to wipe out the human race, I was becoming more and more caffeinated and anxious about our border crossing. I finally asked Scott to just tell me how it ended so we could get on the road. Continue reading “Nicaragua”

Honduras

Before we cross any border, I read up on what it is going to take to get ourselves and our truck across with as little hassle as possible. Was it G.I. Joe who always touted, “Knowledge is Power?” Or was it, “Knowing is half the battle?” I don’t remember. It’s not important. What is important is that the other half of the battle is actually using that knowledge. Continue reading “Honduras”

More Guatemala

I may have mentioned before that Semana Santa (the week leading up to Easter) is a really big deal in Guatemala. Many businesses are closed and the majority of the population head to the beach or some other recreation area. Many choose to eschew vacation and go to church. For us, the choice was either to hide out from the chaotic revelry or to embrace it. Continue reading “More Guatemala”

Exploring Guatemala

We almost snuck into Guatemala through a backroad. I had dropped a pin on my Google Maps app on the Guatemalan side of the border and tapped the button for directions without looking at the route. We were about five miles into a smugglers route across the border before Scott smelled something fishy. It didn’t seem right to him that the road to a major border crossing would be a torn-up dirt affair with almost no traffic. That guy is a thinker. I double checked our route and we promptly turned around and headed back towards the paved highway leading to Guatemala. 

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