Ends of the Earth Expedition, February 13, DAY 3

The team had a nice relaxing morning and then met up for “photo class.” Scott held a basic class on aperture on one of the outdoor patios. We then practiced our newfound skills on the beautiful sites around the resort. 


Other day events consisted of a walk into town, lunch at a great little taco stand, and a hike to an overlook of the city. The team will be meeting in a few hours for dinner at a local Italian place. 


Ends of Earth Expedition, February 12, DAY 2

Hacienda de los Santos. If you are ever in Alamos, Mexico, I highly recommend it. It has got to be one of the most magical resorts in the world. You enter through wrought iron gates into a magnificent world of sights, sounds, and color. The hotel, which has been masterfully crafted from five restored Spanish Colonial Mansions, is impeccably decorated; fountains, secret passageways, statues, lush vegetation, and private pools adorn its sprawling grounds. 


We arrived at Hacienda de los Santos this afternoon. After a tour of the grounds and lunch outside at a large hammered copper table, the group all decided to extend their stay one night. This place is so nice, we might just end the expedition right here. 




Ends of the Earth Expedition (E3), February 11, 2009. DAY 1

The journey has begun. Had a short drivers meeting before we headed out around 10 am from our camping spot on Overland Journal’s executive editor, Jonathan, and his wife, Roseann’s property in the Sonoran desert. 


The boarder crossing in Nogales was uneventful. So uneventful, in fact, that I was busy “battening down the hatches” in preparation for the boarder crossing, and missed it. Not one of the four vehicles in our party were stopped or even looked at sideways. They just waved us on through (or so I was told).


The planned beach camp turned into an inland camp due to a “problem” at vehicle importation that took several hours to iron out. With a laptop and a printer in the large EarthRoamer, a new document “materialized” and we were on our way. After a short stop at the first taco stand we saw, we were on our way to Hermosillo, and our first camp in Mexico. 

Ends of Earth Expedition Team: Dave, Charlie, Anne, Stephanie, Scott, Stacey, & James

The Expedition Team: Dave, Charlie, Anne, Stephanie, Scott, Stacey, and James


Sights of Mexico: Drove past a horse set out to graze in the center median of the highway (he was tied up, but still, how’d they even get him IN the median across 2 lanes of constant 60 MPH traffic?). 


Ends of the Earth Expedition, Central America


Well, here we finally are. Two years of planning is finally coming to fruition. We are about to embark on the Central American leg of our Ends of the Earth Expedition (E3). The months consisted of detail trip planning, team conference calls, and master purchasing and packing lists divided between myself, Scott, and our employee, Jeremy. The time flew by, especially as we grew closer to our departure date. It seemed there was no end to the details. Every time we checked an item off the list we thought of several more to take it’s place. Shots, check. Shop for quick dry clothes. Check. Waterproof the tent. Check. Pick up pesos, insure new camera equipment, acquire vehicle and medical insurance, copy and translate documents, secure the businesses, find someone to watch the animals, water the plants, open the mail…


Finally, the day came…I felt a surge of emotions as we headed down the mountain toward Phoenix in near blizzard snow conditions. I couldn’t really pinpoint what was making me tear up. I guess the realization that this was it. The months of planning, details, organization, late nights, early mornings, and near crushing, heart-palpitating stress had finally come to an end. We had made it. There was nothing left to do but leave. 


Trip facts

Ends of the Earth Expedition: We leave for Central America, and will travel along the western coastline of Mexico. We will explore the foothills of Copper Canyon and the rich colonial cities before turning east towards the jungles and the remote, muddy tracks in the Yucatan and Belize. The team will explore newly discovered Mayan sites in Guatemala and travel several routes not documented since the Camel Trophy. Continuing south, we will cross into Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, before completing the final 140 miles of dirt roads to the Darien Gap.


I’m known affectionately by my husband and those close to me as the “breaker and the jacker.” It seems I have a penchant for breaking things. I don’t do this on purpose, it just kinda happens. I get hot while driving the car, I flip the knob for the air conditioner and the knob comes off; the battery dies, my husband asks me to pop the hood and I break the lever off (personally, I feel this was a manufactures defect); It’s a gorgeous day, so I decide to roll down the window and the glass slides off it’s track and into the door (again, I don’t think this was my fault. But did I mention it happened twice?); I go to Costco and when I come out to load my groceries, the handle for the back door gets stuck and the door won’t open. My husband was traveling when the “door problem” happened, so when I got home, I looked for the biggest screw driver I could find and “fixed” the problem. I ended up having to keep the screw driver in the car because I never knew when it would happen again (and it did often).


Now, I probably need to back up a moment to give you some history…my husband LOVES his Land Rover (the one I keep breaking). I’m not sure why he’s so enamored by this vehicle. We’ve owned many great vehicles, including other Land Rovers, but for some reason, this is “the one.” It’s his baby. I’m not even offended anymore that he has more pictures of it than me. It just is what it is, and I’m okay with it.


So anyway, one day my husband saw my “door opener” in the car and just about fell off his seat when I told him what I’d been doing with it. So there you have it…the beginning of the end of my Land Rover driving days.


Shortly after the “screw driver incident” he starts talking about G-wagens and showing me pictures. “Wouldn’t you like a G-wagen, honey?” “I think you’d look nice driving a G-wagen.” “You deserve a new car.” “The new car will be aaaallll yours.” Now, I’m not naive. As any perceptive wife will tell you, this is what my husband really meant:  Breaking and Jacking + Screw driver = You’ve lost your Land Rover driving privileges. 


So the next thing I know, my husband is flying to Salt Lake City to pick up a G-wagen. He drove it home and was all excited for me to see it. He asked me to come out and look at it when he arrived home. I had to refuse – it was 2 am in the morning and 24 degrees outside!


So the next day, we made a special trip to a coffee shop and to run some errands so I could drive it. My first impressions: I like it. It’s built like a tank. Very strong and heavy. The inside is nice. The window configuration provides a nice, airy view. Everything’s automatic, which I love. It has black leather interior (never had that before). The paint is showing its age, so new paint is in the works, but overall, I think it’s a great vehicle and I look forward to driving it for many years.


And hey, I know it’s only been two days, but I haven’t broken it yet!