If you were to ask me to sum up my Baja 1000 experience I would most likely squint my eyes in concentration, think deeply about the 48 hours I was awake, and shake my head because that intense blur of actions and emotions are impossible to put into so few words. What I can do is start from the top and share the experience step by step.  When the documentary mini series that I helped

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Let's say you have three days to spend on Prince Edward Island.  What do you do with your time?  We asked the same question of ourselves and our social media friends and came up with the following.  Luckily, PEI is the smallest (in land size and population) of all the Canadian provinces so we would be able to see quite a bit of the island in just a few short days. First off, we took

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I'm not going to lie to you.  When the first thing you see when arriving in Shediac is a 16ft tall lobster, you have a pretty good idea of what to expect from the the town. We set up camp at Parlee Beach Provincial Park and immediately wandered down the sandy Parlee Beach to the marina and Lobster Tales cruise. Lobster Tales is run by Ron Cormier, a former lobster fisherman who found an alternative way to

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As we rolled up to the customs window at the Canadian border between Maine and New Brunswick, we tried to figure out how to explain the fact that our truck had exited the country around three years ago and hadn't returned until now.  The border guard listened to our seemingly crazy explanation that we had driven through Mexico, Central and South America, shipped to Florida, and were now back in our home country of Canada.  He

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A red-eye flight from Buenos Aires to Miami brought us back into North American life literally overnight.  As we sat at the airport in Buenos Aires, we talked about how strange that moment was -- in a mere 9 hours everything was going to change.  The culture, the food, the climate, the people, the language.  Our trip was about to change fundamentally.  We wondered how it would affect us and how we would adapt, looking into the unknown

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It has been almost three years since the truck pulled out of our driveway in Canada for the last time and started on it's journey south. By the time we made it back to North America Lil' Red had travelled through 15 countries and countless, well... actually about 50,000km of highways, potholed backroads, and washboard dirt roads.  It was time for a little TLC. ARB Front Bumper and Intensity Lights Installation When our friends at ARB 4x4 USA heard that

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Update: After spending a year in South America and beating on our gear we wanted to give an update on how our stuff held up.  It is definitely a sign of good quality piece of gear when you use it every day (and use it hard) and it keeps in good shape. After 11 months of working in Vancouver we only have one more month to go before we step on a plane, jump into our truck, and hit

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This post is a continuation of Buenos Aires, Argentina - Part I.  Here we get a chance to step outside our neighbourhood of San Telmo. What to See and Do Outside of San Telmo Recoleta Cemetery Walking into the Recoleta Cemetery is quite an experience.  You enter from a busy street, filled with the noise of everyday city life, and are suddenly enveloped in a quiet, tree-lined space with statues, crypts, mausoleums and tombs.  And cats.

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With our truck enjoying its four to six week Atlantic cruise, it was time for us to settle in for several weeks and wait until our beloved arrived at the Jacksonville, Florida port.  It made more sense for us to rent an apartment in Buenos Aires and stick around in Argentina than it did to fly... well, basically anywhere.  Lucky for us, Buenos Aires had quite a bit to keep us busy for those weeks. Little to

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Driving north from Ushuaia on RN3 was really just an exercise in keeping ourselves entertained.  3,094 kilometers to Buenos Aires in five days isn't really that bad, but the straight roads, relentless headwinds, and never changing scenery meant we had to keep busy between gas stations and empty campgrounds.  We spent months driving south along the Andes, so it took some time to get used to flat plains and the epic sunsets through the driver-side

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Upon leaving Puerto Natales we realized that literally within several days we would arrive at the end of the road: Ushuaia, Argentina. Despite this fact, we still had close to 1,000 kilometers to go. A quick boat ride from Punta Delgada across the narrowest section of the Strait of Magellen placed us onto the archipelago of Tierra del Fuego, translated into English as “Land of Fire." The name is derived from a Portuguese explorer by the name of Ferdinand Magellen,

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A friend of ours sent some cash monies our way with some advice, “Spend it on something you normally wouldn’t.” We had visions of fancy dinners or hotel stays, but these were quickly replaced with something a bit different. While we were living back in Vancouver between the Central and Southern legs of our trip, I stumbled upon an Instagram photograph of someone walking on a glacier in Argentina. Neat. When a little bit of

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From Parque Patagonia we continued to the Argentinian border.  This border crossing was tiny, just a little house in the middle of nowhere.  It became pretty desolate, and we spent what felt like forever meandering over the washboard roads to the paved Ruta 40.  Patagonia seemed to be taking its toll -- dust and dirt had embedded itself in the zipper of our tent cover, making it impossible to close.  While we were driving, the

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After grubbing up in the wilderness for three days we booted south to Puerto Varas for a much-needed shower and laundry stint.  We parked at the Compas Del Sur Hostel and took advantage of their hot showers, warm wood-fired indoor living space (couches!), and the delicious free breakfast. We took some time to wander around the town, eat some empanadas, and enjoy the sunshine. While wandering around town we saw something we hadn't seen in

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From Argentina's Lakes District we popped back over the border to Chile.  An adorable white lab inspected the back of the truck for any contraband (i.e. fresh fruit and vegetables) and we headed into the thick jungle-like greenery of Parque Nacional Puyehue and Chile's Lakes District.  The air became fresh and damp, clouds rolled in, and we proceeded to Puerto Varas to stock up on food.  The general feel of the trip had suddenly changed.

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Yet another border crossing took us from Argentina into Chile.  Our next destination was the infamous and well trodden Torres del Paine National Park.  The park receives over 140,000 visitors per year so to say that it is a popular destination would be an understatement. Located in Chilean Patagonia, the park was created in 1959.  Prior to its creation the land was part of a large sheep ranch.  According to Trekking in the Patagonian Andes by

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My Grandfather became ill in October (we were in Peru at that time) and was hospitalized for four months.  He was released from the hospital in February.  While housesitting at Lorraine's place we made the decision to travel home to Vancouver for two weeks to visit my Grandpa.  I didn't want to have any regrets and my family had told me that he was quite frail.  So we hopped on an airplane and arrived in Vancouver 15

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We had some chores to take care of in Santiago before Richard's mom arrived for a visit.  Santiago de Chile (in case you get confused with which Santiago I am speaking of) has a population of around 5 million people.  Manicured parcels of grass fill the boulevards, palm trees line the streets, and shiny Mercedes, BMW's and Porsches speed through highway traffic like race cars with exhaust notes echoing through the underpasses.  The rest of the

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From the Paso Internacional Los Libertadores (Argentina/Chile border) we snaked our way downwards from 10, 500 feet, completing the 29 hard switchbacks carved into the Andes.  We couldn’t imagine driving up this road in the wintertime, covered in snow I would expect, while heading to one of the numerous local ski hills up top. Reluctantly, we parted ways with Chris and Mallary as they made the turnoff towards Santiago and we headed towards the coast. After a

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We had been dreaming about Bolivia’s Lagunas Route (also known as the Southwest Circuit) for, well, years. Except it was no longer mythical. It was time to actually start our engine and complete what would most likely be our longest offroad experience in South America. Crazy.   Our generous friends Peter and Leonie (Amsterdam to Anywhere) sent us route details and .gpx tracks months prior, and we were finally at the start of those tracks. We

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“We’ll meet you at the Train Cemetery on Saturday night.” I admit, this is not the most common phrase you’ll hear, but that was our plan for meeting up again with George and Jenine (Traveling the Americas). From the train cemetery we would head into the Salar de Uyuni (salt flats) together with Mallary and Chris. These old trains were mostly utilized by the local mining companies. In the 1940s, when the mining industry collapsed,

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After negotiating a rate for some sweet Bolivian gasoline and subsequently filling our tanks, it was time for us to leave the city of La Paz and find some fresh air and freedom.  Chris and Mallary joined us for a mini convoy to Sajama National Park.  Sajama turned out to be a culmination of everything we love: beautiful landscapes, a little bit of off-roading, and wide open spaces devoid of people other than some close

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After arriving in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile it was time for a legitimate American/Canadian Thanksgiving dinner with Jenine, George, Mallary and Chris, complete with turkey, stuffing, potatoes, veggies, and wine.  We all raised a glass and enjoyed each others' company, as this would be the last time the six of us would all be together in one place in South America. The town of San Pedro de Atacama was dry, dusty and packed with

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We made a quick stop in Bariloche (the largest town in Lakes District) to stock up on groceries and sample some chocolate at Mamuschka (try the hazelnut-filled one) before heading to our campsite at Lago Gutierrez.  Bariloche was an interesting city.  Only after driving through the outskirts on our way out did we notice the dichotomy of this tourist town.  The backside is comprised of dirt roads and run-down buildings, making Argentina's economic woes very

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An hour after we rolled into our campsite in La Paz, Chris, Mallory and Ellie invited Richard, George, Jenine and I to accompany them on the El Choro Trek. El Choro is a three day, 57 kilometre trek starting in the vast Bolivian altiplano (highest elevation: 15,941 feet) and descending into the jungle-y village of Chairo (elevation: 5,278 feet). The only catch: they were leaving the next day. At 6:00 a.m. In anticipation of the

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Upon entering the outskirts of La Paz, we navigated Little Red through a ton of road construction, detours, and dust. Luckily we found a road that skirted around the outside of the centre of La Paz, which had great views of the sandy-coloured and sharp vertical rock formations that are common in the area. We also casually started the search for gasoline. Oh, there were plenty of gas stations around but none had fuel that they

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We always feel a bit hesitant but excited before crossing the border into a new country. You have these pre-conceived ideas of what the country will be like and images in your head from photographs or descriptions from other travellers and blog posts. But now you are here, at the frontera. Stamps are pressed into the pages of your passport, exiting from one country and then into another. We filled out our vehicle import permit

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Our original plan was to scope out the Colca Canyon before heading to the colonial town of Arequipa.  I'm going to be completely honest with you.  Don't get me wrong, we enjoy dirt road driving.  But the drive from Cusco towards the Colca Canyon turnoff just felt like it took forever, so instead of making the turn we continued on towards Arequipa.  I think there is something about driving on freshly paved roads that alternate with dirt washboard...

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This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for. One of the highlights of our trip. The most impressive ruins we’ve ever seen. The beauty and grandeur of the Inca people, set high atop a mountain and so remote you can only access it by train or by foot. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Machu Picchu. We purchased our entrance tickets to Machu Picchu online (approximately $40 USD), but I would actually recommend against this

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The Sacred Valley of the Incas, formed by the Urubamba River, runs through the central Andes of Peru from Cusco to Machu Picchu.  It is comprised of numerous villages, colonial towns, markets, and archeological sites.  Many sets of Inca ruins (large and small) line the Valley, keeping tourists busy for days. The Tourist Pass (Boleto Touristico) is the best bang for the buck if you want to visit many of the historical sights in the Sacred Valley.

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We left the big city of Lima and headed to the Paracas National Reserve for some epic cliff-side ocean views and blue skies and wispy white clouds. After Paracas we stopped briefly in the oasis town of Huacachina.  We watched cobbled-together dune buggies rip up steep inclines while we burned our feet in the scorching hot sand. Continuing south through the Peruvian desert, we took a break to scout out the Nazca Lines.  We lined up

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After two weeks in the Cordillera Blanca we regretfully headed towards Lima.  Regretfully, because we did quite a bit of hiking and exploring in the area, but it felt like we hadn’t even scratched the surface.  On our way to the Peruvian coast we stopped by the Hatun Machay Rock Forest, a well-known climbing spot.  There is a hut on site with a fireplace, large kitchen, and bunks upstairs for sleeping.  We camped outside and

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We decided to spend a couple of days in Huaraz stocking up on food and fast wifi, and attempting to decide whether or not to do the Santa Cruz Trek.  I had been dreaming of trekking in the Cordillera Blanca since Central America, and the Santa Cruz trek seemed like the perfect multi-day hike for us to attempt unguided.  The trek is very popular with backpackers, who often pay for a guided tour complete with

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From the Peruvian Coast we headed inland along the infamous Cañon del Pato (Duck Canyon), a 45 kilometre stretch of dirt road complete with 35 single-lane tunnels, high mountain pass scenery, gorges and rivers.  As Richard aired down the tires he noticed that the leaf spring shackles were getting loose.  Time to pull out the wrenches!  We didn't need the suspension falling off the truck out in the boonies. We hardly saw anyone else on the road,

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Descending from the mountains of Peru to the coastline, the scenery changed dramatically.  Everything dried up.  Sand dunes appeared.  Our water jug deflated.  You know how it is with a drop in elevation and all that.  #science We stopped for lunch at a local dam with some excellent turquoise water scenery before heading to the oceanside towns of Trujillo and Huanchaco. Trujillo is a big city near the coastline of Peru.  This is where we

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If you're not hip to  Sackwear / Cruiser Shirts, here's the lowdown.  Tim McGrath (the brainchild behind the brand) has one of the nicest 40 series Land Cruisers I have ever seen.  He creates awesome designs based on real Cruisers and puts them onto (really comfortable) t-shirts.  You can keep up to date on the latest designs and see more images of his wicked Cruiser on his Instagram account @cruisershirts. "Sackwear was founded in 2005.

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We spent almost a week in Vilcabamba, Ecuador at the Izhcayluma Hostel doing free yoga, enjoying cheap massages, visiting the health food stores, eating at the local organic market and chatting with other travellers and overlanders. Eventually the day had come for us to step into the unknown: Peru.  To be honest, we weren’t sure what to expect. We heard mixed reviews: we were told by some that the scenery was epic but the towns were

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Cuenca (pronounced "kwenka") was the only location in Ecuador that we parked the truck and loaded our suitcases and toiletry belongings into a hostel room.  We kept busy for about a week soaking up the sights, of which there were many.  It was a bit of a shock to be back in a modern city with cinemas and malls, and we definitely wandered around wide-eyed at all there was to offer. We enjoyed the parks

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We actually first drove by Volcano Chimborazo while making our way from the Ecuadorian coast to Banos and just couldn’t believe the sheer size of it. I mean, this thing was MASSIVE. We were a bit concerned about our ability to handle the altitude after spending five days or so on the coast and then a few days at about 6,000 feet in the Banos area. We were concerned, because even our camp spot at the base of

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When we were in La Paz, Bolivia, we met Ian from Burns Lake, Canada. Richard immediately recognized his white Mitsubishi Delica from a build thread on Expedition Portal several years ago. The former owner Dino Evo drove the Delica to Ushuaia from Vancouver, and Ian was the third owner of the vehicle since it was built. Anyway, we got to chatting with Ian after seeing his British Columbia license plates and he mentioned that during his

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You may recall from our last post that Volcano Cotopaxi was threatening to blow, the Pan American Highway was closed due to protests, and we had to decide between the coast or the jungle as our next destination. Humpback whale season was the deciding factor, and we blasted Little Red towards the Pacific Ocean. 12 hours later (and after swapping long johns and down jackets for shorts and t-shirts) we pulled up to Jardin Suizo

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One thing we love about Ecuador are the FREE National Parks! All we had to do was roll up to the registration booth, provide our names and passport numbers, and drive into the majestic beauty of the park. They even had a free campground with relatively good facilities (i.e. flush toilets, showers, and a cooking area). Back in Canada we pay $30 minimum for a campsite with a pit toilet, plus a national park fee,

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After leaving Otavalo our next stop was The Equator.  We camped in Valentin's garden for a night before heading to the Mitad Del Mundo the following morning.  Valentin showed us his lovely organic garden full of vegetables, and even gave us a little bit of spinach and some herbs for the road.  He also had a big pile of potatoes and some squash that were freshly picked and washed, and laid out to dry in the

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After 10 days, we reluctantly left Finca Sommerwind and headed for our next destination: the market town of Otavalo. We would miss our daily visits to the hardware store and coconut soft serve ice cream booth in the gringo mall nearby, the company of our fellow overlanders and travelers, and freshly baked German bread at the Finca. Our first stop was the massive Saturday market in Otavalo (actually, our first stop was the coconut ice

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Richard We have been using our simple plywood platform and Rubbermaid totes for the last 10 months on the road.  This worked fine (for the $60 it costs us) most of the time, but sometimes it got totally out of control organization-wise and nothing was ever easy to access.  Also, we realized that sometimes we really don’t want to haul everything out of the back of the truck just to make a snack or find

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Our first South American border crossing experience was incredibly un-stressful. In fact, we weren’t 100% sure if we had completed all of the paper work after we obtained our Vehicle Import Permit and drove off into Ecuador. It felt like the Ikea television commercial where the woman has a cart full of cheap furniture and shouts, “Start the car!!! Start the car!!” The difference from the seemingly totally disorganized Central American border crossings was drastic. After only

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As we entered Southern Colombia our next destinations would teach us a bit more about the history of the country, including the archaeological ruins in San Agustin, independence day in Popoyan, and the gothic basilica church of Las Lajas close to the Colombian-Ecuadorian border. San Agustin Archeological Park In 1758 Friar Juan de Santa Gertrudis, a Spanish missionary, stumbled across the small village of San Agustin. He was quite disturbed by the giant stone statues

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We rolled into Manizales hoping to set up camp at a popular coffee finca called La Hacienda Venecia.  The property was lovely.  A big hacienda with a wrap around deck, rolling grass fields, perfectly clean bathrooms complete with liquid soap and towels, library-themed rooms, and the most amazing kitchen complete with granite countertops.  Yes!  Unfortunately they did not want our sweaty, dust-covered, unkempt persons camping on their property.  Fair enough. We took our pesos elsewhere,

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You see Colombian police everywhere on the side of the road. Every couple of long driving days we end up being pulled over. Normally they ask us where we’re going and where we are from. Sometimes they ask us for documents, but many times they just ask how we’re doing, shake our hands, and let us continue along our way. I guess we look like nice Canadian kids. On our way to Tatacoa we were

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Have you ever spent time in Tim Burton's mind?  If you haven't, but you'd like a good idea of what it must be like you should really stop at Andres Carne de Res.  This restaurant is one of the first that we have stopped at that wasn't an empty room filled with plain plastic tables and chairs.  Actually, this is about as far from the typical Colombian restaurant we normally eat at as you can get.

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What is the best part about touristy towns/cities?  The food and drink!  For us, in Villa de Leyva our favourite coffee spot also happened to be our favourite lunch spot.  We returned over and over again to Cafe Los Gallos for their fancy but budget-friendly arepas and lattes.  Our short morning hike to the mirador overlooking town and then a 20 minute walk to town from our very comfortable campsite at Hostal Renecer always increased our

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We rolled into Sogamoso looking for a little rest and relaxation after our time hiking in El Cocuy.  We camped at Finca San Pedro and it was exactly what we were looking for.  Easy camping and good wifi went a long way.  The following morning we were invited to a yoga session in the onsite studio.  Perfect!  Time to give everything a good stretch.  Little did we know that this 2.5 hour long yoga session would

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El Cocuy – The Town The town of El Cocuy is where we prepped for our visit to El Cocuy National Park.  There is more to this town than first meets the eye.  When we first showed up, our main focus was checking in at the hotel, getting secure parking sorted out, and walking for more than 5 minutes without being out of breath.  We were essentially arriving from being at sea level (we were

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From the Colombian coast our plan was to head south, and then east to El Cocuy National Park.  We needed to get some kilometres under our belts for no other reason but hitting the open road.  We had felt trapped by the shipping process and we were finally free in South America.  Little did we know that these first few days were a preview of the long driving days to come in Colombia. Our first stop

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From the mountainous coffee region of La Tagua we headed north to the coastal town of Taganga.  The small tourist town lies in a beautiful bay full of fishing boats and people of all ages looking to take a dip in the cool waters to attempt to lower their body temperature due to the intense heat. We spent an evening wandering the streets, swimming in the water, watching Copa America futbol at an outdoor restaurant,

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By Richard Panama City, where a 5 km drive takes two hours.  The stop and go traffic in 34C temperatures wasn't really easy on us or on the truck. This time it showed the truck’s weak link when we finally made it out of traffic, hit a hill, and I heard the engine revs climb as the clutch slipped like mad in second gear.  That wasn't good.  The clutch in the truck didn’t feel quite

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The shipyard in Colon, Panama is not exactly the most comfortable place we’ve been.  Really the only place we (especially Ashley) enjoyed was the bathroom at the Seaboard Marine Office, which was fully equipped with toilet paper, soap, and even some decor.  Otherwise, we spent half a day at the shipyard on an obstacle race/treasure hunt, following the instructions set out by our shipping agent Tea Kalmbach.  Tea was very quick to respond to our

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Our introduction to Panama City began with the wrong GPS point entered for our hostel. This was after a six-hour driving day. By the time we arrived at the El Machico Hostel we had driven around the general area about a dozen times attempting to navigate the one-way streets of the Marbella neighborhood of Panama City. City drivers were aggressive and impatient. Taxi drivers were reckless at best. The sound of honking horns was constant.

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On the first leg of our trip we had 20,000km of trouble-free driving, but after we picked the truck up from storage in Costa Rica we realized that some of the rubber components needed to be replaced. This is likely due to its year-long hibernation, but also because these parts may be 25 years and 340,000km old.  The rear pinion seal started to leak immediately after picking it up.  A week later one of the CV

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Hiking is one of Boquete's main attractions, with many tours and guides providing mountain and jungle excursions for visitors.  Normally we avoid paying for a guide if it isn't required, but the Lonely Planet guide for this area was a bit lacking when it came to information on solo trekking.  Thankfully, after some quality internet searching (and chatting a little bit with the locals) we ended up finding plenty of available trails.  Of those, we

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"Jungla de Panama Wildlife Center is a safe haven for injured, abandoned, or surrendered animals indigenous to the cloud forest region of Panama.  Jungla provides medical and rehabilitation services for wild animals and a safe and secure permanent home for animals who are unable to return to the wild.  Permanent residents are socialized for visitor interaction, used as therapy animals for local handicapped and autistic children, and provide unique educational experiences for students around the world." We arrived at Jungla for our volunteering gig

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Two days of driving took us from the coast of Ecuador to a green cloud forest filled with evidence of former mudslides, eye-catching waterfalls, and serpentine roads. While climbing one of the hills (at 13,000ft of elevation I guess we can call them mountains) we passed by a guy in a bright yellow shirt pushing a baby stroller. “Jamie!” we yelled out the window. Jamie is running (with an appropriate Instagram and Facebook handle of

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We headed to the Panamanian border and decided our next stop would be the mountain town of Boquete.  That meant we needed to breeze through our first border crossing of this trip, as Boquete was about a day's drive away.  Yeah... if only it was that easy. We heard that the Sixaola, Costa Rican border was laid back, and it definitely was.  We arrived just in time for a coffee break for the one person that

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"We all define home in different ways. To a lot of people it's a specific city; for others, it's their parents' house. But, for some, home is a red Toyota pickup and the person sitting next to you. Ashley & Richard are the overlanding duo that make up Desk to Glory. They hail from Vancouver, but you'll currently find them on the road, somewhere between Panama and Patagonia. That's all we'll say for now... for

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As the truck was now in order and our hotel room was becoming much too comfortable, we set off for the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica.  Who could resist the tropical beaches, warm breezes, and fresh seafood?  We were pumped to start the journey. We blasted out of San Jose, only missing one or two turns as we got used to our GPS again.  Our spirits were high.  We’re doing this!  As usual I said

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Just as Ashley was mentioning how well our flights from Vancouver to Houston to Costa Rica were going, our connecting flight from Houston to Costa Rica was cancelled.  I guess Volcan Turrialba had other plans for us when it erupted and cancelled 13 flights due to the ash it spewed onto the San Jose airport runway. After a night at the Houston Intercontinental Ramada Inn and a little bit of alcohol to make the night go

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We get asked this question a lot so we'll do our best to answer and give some tips. First things first. We did not receive money from any company to go towards our trip and we didn't ask. Sponsorship is a slippery slope and best explained in this Expediton Portal article, The Truth About Expedition Sponsorship. However, we DID receive product donations and/or discounts that helped us put together the truck and therefore saved us

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"KEEP CLOSE TO NATURE'S HEART... AND BREAK CLEAR AWAY, ONCE IN AWHILE, AND CLIMB A MOUNTAIN OR SPEND A WEEK IN THE WOODS.  WASH YOUR SPIRIT CLEAN." -JOHN MUIR We are constantly amazed at how little of the Pacific Northwest we've seen.  Lucky for us Overland the Americas and Vanderlust Americas live in Seattle and always invite us on microadventures!  This time we pointed the truck southwest to the Olympic Peninsula.  As usual, a lack

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THE MOUNTAINS ARE CALLING AND I MUST GO. - JOHN MUIR   After a weekend out of the mountains I was jonesing for a deep breath of that fresh mountain air.  Since Ash had to stay at home and work, I (Richard, duh) blasted out to Chilliwack to go for a hike with my buddy Alex. Two great resources we use to find hikes near Vancouver are the Club Tread website and Scrambles in Southwest British Columbia paperback.  Club Tread is

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MICROADVENTURES, A REFRESH BUTTON FOR EVERYDAY LIVES - ALASTAIR HUMPREYS   After five days of working in the city we need to get out.  By Friday it doesn't matter where we go as long as we're away from the hustle and bustle, city lights, and crowds of people.  We want to sit in front of the campfire with friends, watch the stars come out, and fall asleep to the sound of a nearby creek. We made

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The Cascade Pass and Sahale Arm are only a few hours away from Vancouver, but we hadn't even stepped foot in the North Cascades National Park before this past weekend.  Ernesto and Taisa from Overland the Americas invited us down to meet their friends Nate and Danielle from Vanderlust Americas and we couldn't say no. Months ago Ashley had posted a link to the 20 Places To Go Camping Before You Die and Ernesto had seen #3 The Sahale

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To be honest, our first month home was a bit of a whirlwind.  Within a week we had found a new place to live and bought a truck.  By the second week we had visited all of our immediate family and moved the necessary belongings into our new home.  We were both back to work by the third week home.  By the end of the fourth week we rememebered why we were here in the first

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  The best camera is the one that's with you. - Chase Jarvis   One of the most common questions from those reading our blog is, "What camera do you use?"  Sure, almost all analog or digital photos go through some sort  of post-processing, but you always have to start with a good image.  Getting that good, or sometimes great image is up to you and your camera. Now that you've clicked the link to

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Our 2014 NW Overland Rally experience started about 10 minutes before we were supposed to talk about our Vancouver to Costa Rica trip.  Traffic at the border and along Highway 2 added a couple of extra hours to our journey.  We rolled in at 6:50pm, just in time for our 7:00pm presentation and finally allowing the organizer, Ray Hyland, to relax. This event was well planned with plenty of activities to do throughout each of the days...

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So, what do you do on your first weekend home with a new truck?  You go camping, obviously. We didn't worry about the little things, such as not having any camping gear whatsoever.  We were able to borrow an old classic Coleman campstove from Richard's Dad, put some kitchen gear in a cardboard box, grabbed our sheets, pillows and a blanket and then hit the road.  Our first stop in the US was at Fred Meyer. 

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By Richard I have an addiction.  There, I said it.  I like these old Toyotas.  What's not to like about old trucks?  Lack of power, poor fuel efficiency, no creature comforts... hey, that was supposed to be a rhetorical question. Our trip has taught me to love the simplicity in all things.  When it comes to vehicles, that means something that I can work on with a basic tool set, manual windows, manual seats, no

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  WHAT IS THE DELORME INREACH? While your average smartphone is great in places where people drink lattes (the 10% of the world that has cell phone coverage), with inReach you’re connected everywhere. Whether you’re crossing Antarctica or the Sahara, you’ll have reliable coverage on the other 90% of the earth — with the world’s only truly global network. Simply install the free DeLorme Earthmate app, and transform your smartphone or tablet into a two-way

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We spent the our last few days in Jaco at the Kangaroo Hotel prepping the truck for 11 months of storage, and our spare time was spent surfing in the Pacific and swimming in the hotel's pool.  It took us about two days or so to do a full clean out of Little Red, including washing all of our dishes and utensils, vacuuming out the cab and the tent, packing up the stuff that would

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The Nicoya Peninsula.  Possibly one of the greatest drives of the trip.  Fast dirt roads give way to water crossings and then turn into slow technical trails.  Then you repeat.  The scenery alternates between lush, bright green fields filled with cows and stunning beaches with turquoise waters and crashing waves. On our first day we started at Playa Grande and we drove down to Nosara.  We stayed in Playa Guiones for few days of surfing

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We get it Costa Rica, you're beautiful.  You have lush green rainforest, white sand beaches, bright blue oceans, and deep red sunsets. After crossing the border we headed straight for the Junquillal Bay Wildlife Refuge for a night of camping on the beach.  We arrived and were told it was $19 per person to camp.  WTF.  After we stared in disbelief at the cost for what seemed like forever.  Finally the park "ranger" told us

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By Ashley YES!  FINALLY!! We ran into the notorious "crooked cops" we had heard so much about throughout our travels in Mexico and Central America!  Before and during our travels we had been warned about Mexico and Honduras in particular, but to this point (6+ months on the road) had sailed through without any problems.  On our way to the Nicaraguan-Costa Rican border we saw two cops on the side of the road who waved at

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So... we're flying home to Vancouver, BC on May 14.  What then?  Other than saving money for the next portion of the trip we plan on exploring our backyard in the Pacific Northwest as much as possible. We're also going to the 2014 NW Overland Rally! The rally is a family oriented event where overlanders, car campers, motorcycle riders, and kids of all ages come together.   Have fun, learn stuff, and meet new friends! Haven't

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By Richard “When we get to Leon we should go volcano boarding!” Ash said to me. As usual, I was only half-listening, but responded with the standard, “Sounds good…”, not really understanding what I was agreeing to. Our stop in Leon was Bigfoot Hostel.  They’ve got parking out front with a 24hr security guard to make sure nobody was going to jack with our truck.  They’re also one of the few companies that offer volcano

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After leaving Somoto we made our way to the town of Esteli in search of information about a possible homestay.  We stopped in at Hostel Luna’s affiliate tour company, Treehuggers Tourism Office, which provided us with a list of families residing in Reserva Natural Miraflor. After a quick check of the families available we chose Orlando and Devanira since we had read a couple of good reviews about them on Trip Advisor.  What would we do without

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After our escapades at the Honduras-Nicaraguan border we didn’t have much daylight left to make it to the Somoto Canyon.  We did however pull into the town of Somoto where we found an inexpensive hotel (Hotel El Rosario) where we were able to park in the courtyard. Score (I wish we had parking options like this at home sometimes.). Within 5 minutes of arriving at the hotel we were put in touch with a guide to

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We cruised from D&D Brewery on Lago Yojoa towards our tentative campground in the National Park just north of Tegucigalpa.  Once we got close and saw it was still before noon we decided to cruise straight for the border.  When things are going well we tend to just keep on going... especially if the proposed campground was just a stop off point after a long day of driving. After about 6 hours on the road

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Let us start off by saying that we are mere visitors to these wonderful Latin American countries.  We can't comment on political issues, poverty, and the way of life of the millions of people we didn't meet.  We are merely describing our great three week experience in a country that we knew almost nothing about before we crossed the border...  - Richard and Ashley With a reputation of being the murder capital of the world who

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The next stop for us was El Porvenir, where we would be situated for a week volunteering with the Muskoka Foundation and Honduras Child Alliance.  Prior to our departure from Vancouver we organized a used camera drive and collected several point and shoot cameras, as well as a DSLR all donated by friends and work colleagues.  We also collected donations from friends and family in the form of school supplies and other necessities like toothbrushes

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Many overlanders decide to drive straight through Honduras and complete two borders (El Salvador and Nicaragua) in one day.  The overlanders that do enter Honduras usually do so through the Copan crossing from Guatemala.  Since we wanted to hit some spots in El Salvador, we decided to cross into Honduras at the El Poy border.  This border is not frequented by travellers very often (at least, this was what we discovered while researching and while

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By Richard We almost skipped El Salvador because we were in a bit of a rush to make it to Honduras to start our next round volunteering with the Muskoka Foundation.  Instead of skipping it we decided to spend seven days there and then book it straight to the north coast of Honduras after that. Our first taste of El Salvador involved driving the beautiful Ruta de Flores from the border to Juayua.  This short

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A Facebook message from our friend Sarah suggested that we should climb Volcano Acatenango as part of our stay in Antigua.  Ash had been itching to do some hiking and had been eager to climb a volcano since our days in Mexico.  Unfortunately due to her Guatemalan Weight Loss Plan (GWLP), we weren’t able to do Volcan de San Pedro, so we had to choose between Pacaya (2 hours) and Acatenango (2 day hike with

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By Ashley A switchback-filled, steep, pothole-ridden road led us (very slowly) to the town of San Pedro La Laguna.  We arrived just in time to start our week of Spanish classes at the Corazon Maya Spanish School. Upon arrival, we knew we had made the right decision to stay at the school.  Our cabana had great views of the mountains and everyone at the school was very friendly.  There was also gated parking, perfect for

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Chichicastenango is a cute town in Guatemala, famous for its Wednesday and Saturday market which is said to be the largest in the country.  After 4 hours of driving around the town with Sarah and Wilson, all we knew was that accommodation was going to be a problem.  It seemed impossible to find a hotel with enough parking to secure two rigs, and for a reasonable price.  We decided to pack it in and continue

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We arrived in the mountain town of Nebaj hoping to find a place to camp for the night.  After wandering around town and making inquiries at hostels and hotels, it looked like our only option was the nearby airport and the football field.  Lucky for us, Wilson ran into a doctor that worked out of one of the hotels.  He suggested we check out the town of Acul which was about an hour’s drive from

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We said our goodbyes to Breena and Spencer and our Toyota convoy (The Suisse, Us, and Wilson/Sarah) headed over the bridge through Rio Dulce ready for our 7+ hour drive to Semuc Champey.  As we hit the bridge out of town we ran over a 6" long bolt, which resulted in a huge puncture in our tire.  All we heard was POP! PSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! as our tire deflated rapidly (like seriously rapidly, as in it as

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We made our way from Tikal to Rio Dulce, where our friends Breena and Spencer from Straight Six Straight South were parked at the Nanajuana Marina.  We had travelled with their old travelling amigos, The Suiss (Martin and Trix), and Wilson and Sarah.  Looks like we've got a little Toyota crew coming together! "Hey, I've got you on my Instagram!"  Umm, what??  Bradley rolled up in an Econoline van, pulled the parking brake, and ran

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After our adventures in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve we made our way down the mountain into the town of San Ignacio and the Clarissa Falls Resort and Campground.  We used the raft on the river as a launchpad to cool down and clean off the sweat and dust from the mountain roads before our border crossing the next day. The following morning, and on our way to the Belize-Guatemalan border, we hit a

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What do Canadians do after spending some good quality time at the beach?  Head into the mountains, of course!  From Hopkins Village we took the gorgeous Hummingbird Highway across Belize with a slight detour through the fascinating area called Spanish Lookout, otherwise known as "Little America."  All of a sudden we came through the jungle and into what looked like a town in Middle America.  There were tractors, rolling hills, and Steves's Diner.  (It may

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We (Richard, Ashley, Wilson, Sarah) were sitting down to dinner at Backpacker's Paradise when Wilson proposed the unpaved Coastal Highway as a route to get to Hopkins Village the following day.  After a teeny bit of hesitation, and some Google imaging, we decided to go for it.  Boy are we glad we did.  Apparently words like "worst road ever," "lots of rocks," "vehicle damage" and "regret" did not discourage us from choosing this road less

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We honestly didn't know if we were going to head to Caye Caulker or not.  The island is a fantastic tourist destination and was bound to be expensive.  We went anyways and it was worth every penny. After saying a quick goodbye to the truck we left Backpacker's Paradise and headed towards the water taxi dock.  An hour ride on the Thunderbolt I (powered by 3x 200hp Yamaha outboards) brought us to San Pedro on

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