we made our way straight for belize....The rain started in just as we were pulling out of our camping spot, but we were trying to get some distance between us and the tempting sailboats of rio dulce as quickly as we could. We made our way as far north as Finca Ixobel and called it done. Finca isn't exactly our normal stop- an inland ecoresort in the middle of the jungle, but we had a remarkable experience here nonetheless. They fed us like royalty, the staff was great and this place has an uncanny knack for collecting amazing people (and it was nice to be almost chilly when falling asleep for the first time in a while). In our one night here we met a family trying to start an ecoresort in rio dulce, a another working to demystify sustainable farming in north america (by giving up their own land and house in minnesota to a communal group to test a theory) and several other families from points around the globe. What fun conversations!
To top it all off, just as were pulling away the one person who seemed the quietest (but father of the girl most obsessed with karma) came running up to the bus smiling from ear to ear. "I have to show you something" he says. "I just put it all together...i knew i knew you guys from somewhere" and shows us the Times article on his iPad.
That would be exactly the first time someone has spotted us out of the context of our ADU from the article... almost made us feel famous. Cooler still however, is that he and his family are small home buffs in Austin and have been striving for a minimalist lifestyle of their own. Very inspirational! Kind of like taking your family of four to drive around Guatemala for winter break!
We headed for the border and crossed into belize. Relatively uneventful crossing, but Belize happens to be the one country that gave us the hardest time for trying to bring a dog in on our last trip. We also crossed the border at the end of a long day of driving and didn't want the few extra hours that importing a pet was likely to bring... Instead, when they asked us to pull the car forward for inspection I had karma crouch down in the back while they inspected the VIN from the front seat.
As the (very friendly) inspector moved toward the cargo doors karma and i danced around each other in the 13" walkway that lies between our front seats/cabinets so that by the time she made it to the doors karma was hiding out in the front seat. Nothing like a little pup smuggling to end your day. Karma as it turns out is quite the expert at disguise when she wants to be. ;) Probably saved us $100 and at least 2 hours...but was also a pretty fun experiment.
We didn't get far after crossing the border. We had learned that Belize has the best cable tv and our greatest chance of catching the ducks in the rose bowl game, so we checked into Windy Hill Cabins in San Ignacio (about 20minutes past the border) and booked ourselves a nice tiny home for a few days.
We pulled the bus right in front of our cabin, had a great time lounging by the pool, catching up on design work, watching bowl games and celebrating new years eve. And then on new years day we thought about nothing but the ducks, eagerly passing hours waiting in beautiful paradise for the big game. We were at the Rose Bowl the last time the ducks made it there and our atmosphere tailgating was a bit crazier than the lazy day we spent this time around.
Wow, was that worth the wait!! Fueled by tequila, we watched a game sure to go down in history. So great to see the ducks finally rise to the occasion on a big stage...let's hope they do so one more time this year in the national championship game. As we read in the Headlines the next day, it seems to have finally bought them some respect... "Formerly Cuddly Oregon Ducks finally tough enough in program-altering win". It even prompted me to do a little late night photoshop work.
We had another breakfast with the group of people we befriended over the last few days and said our goodbyes as we pointed north towards orange walk and eventually mexico.
I'd be lying if i said our conversation most of the drive didn't revolve around whether or not we could find a way to make it to Arlington in time for the National Championship game (or how to afford the tickets). ;)