ThursdayOur flights back were uneventful. No delays, no lines, we even got to sit together in both airplanes. Even customs was smooth, minus the long lines. We had emailed ahead for Country Inn & Suites to pick us up at the airport and they were waiting for us (with my name on sign—yay!).
I wasn’t quick enough to get it while it was displayed, but at least I have a bit of a picture this time.
At the hotel, we negotiated a cheaper price for a room. This time, we had a king-sized bed, which meant no issues with Jonathan hogging the bed.
The van was in good order as well, we just needed to air up our front right tire, which has had a slow leak. And my plants were alive with 3 of them developing pups!
FridayThe plan was to get up and take our time to get out of the hotel. Check-out time was at noon, so we had plenty of time. We had breakfast at their restaurant. I can tell that school is out. This time around the place was rampant with school-age kids (from high school through college). As such, the restaurant had a hard time keeping the buffet line stocked. I definitely miss my between-seasons traveling.
Deciding to get on the road, we checked out and left the van half-packed. The goal was to head down the road and hit up Walmart before arriving at Montaña Linda where we could camp and do laundry. Everything went as planned, except that when we arrived at Montaña Linda, it was pouring. So, we decided to eat lunch and let the rain calm down before we went in to figure out pricing and location and such. Probably not the best idea ever as when we went in, they said don’t allow camping anymore. That meant we needed to find someplace else. I pulled out my camping list and found another option not too far away. However, JED (our GPS) led us down this back way. It started out paved, and then asphalt had been laid down and then there was a shallow river crossing.
It was at this river crossing that we really started to doubt JED. There was only about 5 km left on this road, however, so we decided to go for it. After that, the road was just packed dirt with rocks, but doable. There was narrow bridge.
And then, JED told us to go right… We did (well after we missed the turn the first time), but as we turned the corner, we saw the road ahead. It was a dirt road (now slick with mud) and crazy steep and winding. Probably only doable with a 4x4. That nixed the way for us and we only had about 1-2km left to go to a paved road, but it just wasn’t doable. We turned back, already weary and prepared to take the long bypass. Traffic in town was horrendous. We finally made it to the Pan-American highway, though. It was really starting to get dark by then at 6:00pm. By 6:30pm, it was dark, rainy, and foggy combined with a dark, twisty road. Not the most fun thing ever. To top it off, we were stuck behind a couple of slow farm trucks.
We finally pulled off the road to our destination, Paraíso del Quetzal, at about 7:00pm. It was dark and the signs weren’t illuminated, so we were sure where exactly we were supposed to park. There wasn’t even any buildings with lights on inside, so we didn’t know who to ask. We decided to go back to a parking area a little up the road. We settled in and shortly afterward, a man named Oscar came up and asked us if we wanted to camp here. We negotiated a price and set up a tour for the morning. Then I got to make dinner and put away all the stuff I had left out earlier.
So much for an uneventful day.