Copan, Honduras – Tikal, Guatemala – Independence, Belize, March 31-April 4, 2013

March 31, 2013

We left Copan Ruinas by 6:15 am…. the border still took about 1-1/2 hours to get through, even though it was quiet.  The ride through Guatemala was beautiful.  There was a lot of opposing traffic, people coming back from their holiday – which meant too many people trying to pass in our lane.

Guatemala taxi

Guatemala taxi – still room for several more!

Family vehicle

Family vehicle

When we crossed the bridge at Rio Dulce, we got hit by a bus! The bridge to Rio Dulce

Bridge to Rio Dulce

That actually sounds really bad – but he just tapped our bag.  Cars had stopped in the middle of the bridge to look at the view – navigating through the mess of traffic and add a bus….

Croc

Croc

Croc sign

Croc sign

Made it to El Ramate (15 miles outside Tikal National Park) by 2:00 pm.  It is very hot here – 97 degrees.  So thankful for AC!!!!!

Ceiba tree at Casa don David

Ceiba tree and lake overlook at Casa don David

The hotel has a trick little zip line that sends your drinks to you on the lake overlook.

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Sunset over Lake Peten, Guatemala

Sunset over Lake Peten, Guatemala

April 1, 2013

We got up early and rode to the National Park – it was a wonderful 65 degrees and foggy!

Guatemala

Guatemala

So cool riding through the jungle.  We got to the entrance at 6:00 am, bought our tickets, and road through the park.  Lots of animal signs….

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Tikal, Guatemala

Tikal, Guatemala

The ruins are astonishing!  They are so expansive (I think we hiked at least 5 miles). The temples are up to 200 feet tall.  The mist around the ruins in the early morning made it quite surreal.  Many of the ruins haven’t been excavated.  We were impressed with Copan – but more so with Tikal.

Tikal, Guatemala

Tikal, Guatemala

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Tikal, Guatemala - do you see Scott at the bottom of the picture?

Tikal, Guatemala – do you see Scott at the bottom of the picture?

Huge Ceiba tree in Tikal, Guatemala - Scott is standing at the base....

Huge Ceiba tree in Tikal, Guatemala – Scott standing at the base….

We watched howler monkeys, saw turkeys, bats (in the bat palace) and finally saw a Toucan! P1050958 Turkey

monkey business in Tikal, Guatemala

monkey business in Tikal, Guatemala

P1050985P1050925 P1050971 We were able to climb to the top of one of the temples.  The view above the jungle was phenomenal!P1050976“Do not seat on the monuments….”P1050977

As we left the park just before noon, the busloads of tour groups were arriving – the park changed from a mysterious quiet jungle to a zoo in minutes!  🙂

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Border into Belize -

Border into Belize – we alighted

We did our early departure and got to the border of Belize by 8:30 am.  It was our shortest border crossing – 1 1/2 hours!  As we rode into Belize, we were amazed at how comforting it was to see all the signs in English.  The people appear to have a higher living standard than the rest of Central America.  We were riding along, enjoying the lush jungle and dreaming of an American breakfast when we came upon Kropf’s Bakery in a Mennonite community.  We enjoyed an amazingly delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, pancakes and toast with homemade jelly, served by Elissa.  Ahhhhh…….. They also make the best peanut butter cookies we have ever had!

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Elissa, Kropf's Bakery, Belize

Elissa, Kropf’s Bakery, Belize

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We rode south to Punta Gorda and found the Machaca Outreach Center.  This is a camp run by John and Lisa Gotz and Calvary Chapel of Murrieta.  During the summer, they have kids camps, Bible boot camp, some vocational training, discipleship training and an outreach center.  The Packinghouse in Redlands supports them.

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We met Jeremiah and Brittany Peters who are missionaries at the camp as well.  They are a sweet young married couple from Beaumont/Banning.  Jeremiah cautioned us about scorpions, tarantulas and poisonous snakes…. the only thing we saw was a scorpion in our bathroom….. it IS the jungle!

Our accommodations

Our accommodations

A work group of youth and adults from Murrieta are at the camp this week so we met several people from Murrieta and Redlands.  The camp is 253 acres of inland jungle – hot! hot! hot!  Did I mention it is hot?!  The camp has a cafe in town (about 15 minutes) called Di BoneVille Cafe.  We rode in and ate dinner with everyone from the camp.  They have a great outreach in this coffee house/cafe next to the university. Plus, they make great cheeseburgers and tacos.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The camp graciously put us up for two nights.  We rode out to Blue Creek with them today to swim.  This creek is about 20 minutes away from the camp.  Scott paid his little guy with the stick to guard our bike.

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Blue Creek, Belize

Blue Creek, Belize

The water is crystal clear and full of fish!

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We hiked up to the mouth of a cave where the river flows out.  Scott went with the group (who wore headlamps) as they swam into the cave about 1/4 mile.  The cave is about 12 miles long to where the river enters.  The water is so refreshing.  I waited at the mouth of the cave, and swam in until it was too dark.  Just in the mouth of the cave were stalagmites and stalagtites; bats were flying in and out.

Blue Creek, Belize

Blue Creek, Belize

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Scott and Jeremiah, Blue Creek, Belize

Scott and Jeremiah, Blue Creek, Belize

 

Group from Murrieta

Group from Murrieta and staff from Machaca Outreach Center

Scott jumping in off the rope swing

Scott jumping in off the rope swing

For dinner tonight, we drove into Punta Gorda to Asha’s Culture Kitchen, built out over the sea.  The food was good and there was a wonderful breeze.  Scott had the lion fish, I had the baked pork ribs (in case you were wondering what kind of food a culture kitchen serves!)

Asha's Culture Kitchen, Punta Gorda, Belize

Asha’s Culture Kitchen, Punta Gorda, Belize

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Tonight, the camp put on a “cultural dinner” for the group of high schoolers from Murrieta – it was a very interesting illustration/lesson of being a respector of persons.  The kids were only told that a special dinner had been prepared for them.  They were divided into delegates of seven different countries (they had been studying through the week).   Each country’s delegates were seated at their own “table” and served dinner according to their “status”.  The USA delegates were seated at the best table, served heaping plates of the best food, clear water, soda, ice and dessert.  The other countries were seated at smaller tables, or on the floor.   The “lowliest” were served dirty brown water in an old plastic cut off bottle and one tablespoon of rice as their meal.  The delegates were treated accordingly from important down to insignificant. At the end of the evening, the three delegates from the USA were completely full – the rest were starving (and told that the next meal would be breakfast).  It was very interesting to see their reactions. John did a great job facilitating the discussion and bringing the point home.  (They all did finally eat about 9 pm).

Machaca Outreach Center, Belize

Machaca Outreach Center, Belize

Sunset at Machaca Outreach Center, Belize

Sunset at Machaca Outreach Center, Belize

Thursday, April 4, 2013

We got an early start today in the cool of the morning…..

Belize

Belize

….. for five miles.  Then, our rear tire decided to disintegrate.  We rode 20 more miles very, very slowly….at 35 mph…. to the crossroad where the tire went completely flat.

No bueno.... in Belize

No bueno…. in Belize

Immediately, a truck pulled up and asked if we needed assistance…. yep!

Angels to the rescue

Our rescuers

Our angels :)

Our rescuers

These Christian guys loaded the bike into their truck and took us to a hotel in Big Creek/Independence with a garage next door.  The owner helped Scott find someone who had a used tire that they would sell us.  Scott took the wheel off the bike….we took a taxi (car) to get on the water taxi to the town where it was….

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Saw this as we rode in the taxi cab….

House movers

Belizian mobile home

Hokey Pokey water taxi, Belize

Hokey Pokey water taxi, Belize

Hokey Pokey water taxi, Belize

Hokey Pokey water taxi, Belize

Hokey Pokey water taxi

Hokey Pokey water taxi to Placentia

Road Kill TIre Repair Shop

Road Kill Tire Repair Shop, Placentia, Belize

Five hours later… we got back to the hotel room with a tire that we are hoping will last us into Mexico to a BMW dealer.  It’s been a looooooooong day…..

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