Sunday, February 15, 2015

Back to Guatemala : Home alone


16th September –10th November 2014


Life was pretty quiet for the six weeks before Liam came back from Australia. I spent  a lot of time cleaning GWTW, particularly the outside which looked very unloved due to all the rain and hot humid weather she’d sat patiently through in our absence. Using a lot of elbow grease within a couple of days I had her looking good again. All the mildew and the dirt on the outside was gone. The interior faired very well, only a little dust here and there. Having the a/c running for a hours a day, monitored by friends on Munerra while we were away, really worked a treat. Coming in from Portland it was great to walk into  my cool clean home after a seven hour flight followed by a five hour bus ride from Portland Oregon back to Nana Juana Marina in the Rio Dulce. I must say it’s always great to come home.


Staying on GWTW by myself didn’t really phase me at all. The nights were a bit lonely I must admit but the daylight hours were fine. There were plenty of other boats in the marina with live-aboards and I shared many a meal with them under the shade of the palapa, a thatched roofed, open sided building down on the dock. The palapa was also the venue for anything ranging from a spur of the moment BBQ and a classroom for all the cruising kids to a yoga / fitness. Often it was just spot to hang out and read a book or catch and have a chat.


Thursday was Trivia night. A few of the marinas took turns to host around 50 of us quiz hounds for a few hours and it was a lot of fun. Dinner was at cruiser prices and there was a launch provided for transport there and back. On other nights there were movies or mexican train dominos There was always something to keep do.



Every morning I’d hit the marina pool and swim 70 laps and then in the afternoons, once the temperatures cooled down to about 30C our walking group (ladies only) would  set out for our power walk of seven kilometers round trip into Fronteras and then back to the marina. And I gotta tell you we were all pretty pooped after that  little bit of exercise. Before long I was feeling really fit and the kilos started to drop off. That part made it all very worthwhile.

The time by myself seemed to whizz by and before I knew it I was standing at the bus station in Fronteras waiting for Liam's’ bus to arrive from Guatemala City. 

Most people who haven’t been to the Rio Dulce  in Guatemala think that it is a dangerous place. Well that’s not how I found it. There are definitely places in the city itself that cruisers would never go but then that can be said of any big city anywhere in the world.

Being snug in the marina I really enjoyed my time alone on the boat but it was sure nice to have my man about the house again too.


Friday, February 6, 2015

USA road trip information

This posting is just a little recap on our road trip. For anyone out there who is contemplating an extended road trip in the USA we would encourage you to do so and maybe this Info might come in handy.

Sleeping n’ Eating


America is a fascinating, diverse and beautiful country. Her people are warm and friendly and show a genuine interest in where you’re from and why you are there in their town, particularly in the mid west states. It is very affordable unless you want to stay in high end hotels, but that runs true in any country when you think about it. The run of the mill hotel and motel chains are more than adequate. The majority of properties we stayed in offered complimentary breakfast, free wi-fi,  an iron, small fridge and microwave oven in the room which then allows you the choice of eating in or out.

Every couple of days we sought out accommodation which also offered laundry facilities. For about $ 1.25 per  load  you could wash and dry without having to find the  local laundromat downtown. Some chains such as the Extended Stay America offer full cooking facilities in their rooms ie cooktops and ovens including all utensils. So all you  have to do is just trot down to the local supermarket, buy your goodies and whip up a home cooked meal back at the hacienda.  The four photos below were taken in the bank in West Yellowstone

DSCN3919-001 DSCN3924-001

DSCN3918-001 DSCN3926

The  hotel/motel chains that we stayed in were : AmericInns, Days Inn, Ramada, Super 8, Extended Stay America, Comfort Suites and quite a few  others that were not part of a chain. Most of the name brand chains had a 4pm check-in with free cancellation up till 6pm. Trip Advisor is a  very valuable tool when looking for somewhere to bunk down for the night.

If like us, you crave the odd bbq during your travels, fear not. The majority of town parks and all the national parks we visited  offered picnic areas with tables, chairs and bbqs. All you need is to supply your own charcoal.  We became pretty self sufficent in the eating department and to make our outdoor cooking easier we popped into Wal-Mart and bought a few  good quality basic essentials including a small  bbq hot plate as all the park bbq’s are the grill type, a chopping board, and an esky on wheels which made for easy transfers from the car to the bbq or into the room at the end of the day.We love our bar-b’s so none of that cost went to waste. Ice was available at no cost in most places we stayed or for a small fee from gas stations or convenience stores.

 Getting around & left v’s right

Anatone population sign  Wallowa Mys 002

Many foreigners are worried about driving “on the other side “Well yes it takes a bit of concentration at first, but pretty soon you get the hang of it and then you start to wonder why you were worried at all in the first place. We tended to avoid the freeways where possible, preferring to take the local roads which allow you to see the smaller towns and a lot more of the countryside. Renting a car is easy, there are heaps of companies around. We choose Budget and took a Ford Explorer on a one way rental from Richmond Virginia airport to Portland Oregon airport with free mileage and insurance which was covered by our Visa card. During our 10 week trip we drove over 9,000 miles through 16 states including 5 days in Canada. Travelling those sort of distances you really need the free mileage option.


We used our iPad for navigation. Ours has a inbuilt GPS and we also put an AT&T sim card in it for wi-fi access while driving. As for paper maps, each states’ visitor centre willing hand over maps and brochures for their state. We also got maps from AAA which covered every state we were panning to visit plus others that we didn’t make it to. Lonely Planet USA  and the internet were both great sources of info also.

So that about wraps up the info on the trip apart from what I covered in the earlier posts. If you need more  details feel free to contact us.

The next few postings will be covering our time  when we got back Guatemala and then on to Belize and Mexico before sailing north again to Florida.


Just a few more interesting photos to ponder over…….