December 23, 2013 – 9:00 p.m.

The night watchman arrived by surprise at our door.  He rattled off a string of sentences in Spanish, which Richard interpreted as “follow me!” with a big smile on his face.  So together Richard and the night watchman walked up the dark main road away from our apartment.  After about 1/2 a km Richard started to get nervous.  He was in a foreign country, with no cash in his pockets, following a Mexican stranger into the darkness.  Richard asked where they were going, and the night watchman pointed to a hotel up the road.

When they arrived at the hotel, another security guard showed up.  Now Richard was with three security guards who didn’t speak English in a strange hotel.  The security guard at the hotel proceeded to pull our our Rubbermaid container and 20 litre Scepter water jug from behind the counter.

12 hours earlier…

We woke up early, ate breakfast, and jumped in the truck excited to make our way to Boca De Tomatlan for an epic half day hike.  A bit fuzzy brained and bleary-eyed we hopped out of the truck, donned our packs, and went around the back of the truck to head towards the start of the trail.

This is what we saw.


Apparently someone had smashed the glass and pried one of the locks, taking our Rubbermaid container full of pots, pans, and dinnerware, as well as our 20L water jug.  We jumped back in the truck, irritated that our hiking plans had been thwarted (and that our truck was kind of effed up), and made our way to the apartment we are staying at for several days over Christmas.  After unloading most of our belongings into the apartment we set off to try and fix the gaping hole that was the back of our overlanding rig.

5 hours later, after driving to a few shops and ending up at a glass repair shop, the Toyota emerged with a fancy dancy steel rear-end.  Due to a slight language barrier, the steel ended up being painted a hilarious red colour to “match” the truck, but at least it was bandit-proof!


9:15 p.m.

Richard was standing around trying to figure out why the heck three guys were in possession of the gear that was stolen from our truck the night before.  Finally the hotel manager approached, and explained to Richard in English why they had our belongings.  Our security guard had last night off.  The other two security guards had seen two individuals poking around the vehicles in front of our apartment, whistling to each other to communicate.  They then heard the smash of breaking glass, came out to look, and saw the thieves carrying our stuff.  The guards chased the thieves, grabbed our stuff, and kept it overnight as they didn’t know who it belonged to.  This evening they came to our apartment building and chatted with the security guard and explained the whole story.  THAT was why he was so excited when he arrived at our doorstep this evening.

We think this qualifies as a Christmas miracle.


  • Andrew Whitson

    Awesome! (Not the window smashing part) absolutely love what you guys are doing. You’re life living inspirations to those of us that need a push in the right direction. Merry Christmas!

  • Chris

    Wishing you guys a Merry Christmas from San Clemente! Stay safe and I hope blessings continue to follow you guys!

    Chris, Erin and Zephyr

  • Ruben

    Great story, glad it all worked out in the end (nice steel panel!). Glad you guys are having a blast and allowing us to follow along… But, you’re killing me, please stop with the food photos…. PLEASE! :-}}

  • Dean & Sara

    Glad to hear it all worked out. I like the new seel rear end.

  • Okierover

    I know the guys had the same kinds of issues. Good you have it sorted out.

  • Karen@Trans-Americas Journey

    Bad turned good and more proof that the good people FAR outnumber the sh&*(^^*^heads. One of the major lessons of long term travel and one we’re reminded of almost daily during our Trans-Americas Journey through the Americas. Maybe our Chevy and your Toyota will be in the same place at the same time in SA. We’d love to meet you.


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