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 tope that came out of nowhere (as they do…). Richard had hammered on the brakes… and noticed we weren’t slowing down at our normal rate. Shit. Foot to the floor and not stopping isn’t best feeling in the world. Richard stomped down a little more and we slowed enough to stop, checked for fluid leaks and other obvious brake issues. No obvious problems, pumping the brakes made no difference… hmmm. Since we were 2km from the border we figured it was best to deal with our brake issue in Guatemala.
After the border we checked the local autopart stores for a backup master cylinder since that was one of the only part of the braking system we didn’t originally replace and figured it’d be good to have a spare… when they didn’t have any we made our way on the short 100km trek to Tikal without touching the middle pedal except for complete stops. After weeks the problem hasn’t presented itself again… it felt like something was wrong with the brake booster, but it’s hard to diagnose when the symptoms are gone.
The ruins of Tikal were worth the unnerving drive. We visited them with Martin, Trix, and Wilson at sunrise the following morning. The monkeys howled in the distance, the coati mundis dropped by to mooch some food, and the ruins broke through the tree tops and fog. We camped at the grassy Tikal National Park Campground, which is a 5 minute walk to the entrance of the ruins. Make sure you arrive after 4 p.m. on your arrival date if you don’t want to be charged for an extra day’s entrance fee to the park.
After Tikal we rolled down the hill to El Muelle in El Remate and camped on the lake. This restaurant/campground/hotel is a good option for those traveling with a dog, as you can easily catch some transportation to the ruins site (there are no dogs allowed in Tikal). The Suisse joined us and our pair of trucks turned into a convoy. This little spot on the lake had a pool, great views, and easy access to cheap food and awesome ice cream. Oh, and puppies. Dinner in El Remate.