Europe 1
Europe 2
Africa 1
Africa 2
Africa 3
Central America 1
Central America 2
New Mexico 1
New Mexico 2

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Family camping adventure:  Grand Rapids, Michigan to the Panama Canal and back. Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama.
Central American Camping 

We are in the process of up-dating this account and its Central American photos

Bill and LaVerne Blickley along with  two sons, Adam and Eric who were twelve and eleven years of age, traveled for eight months throughout Western Europe and northern and western Africa.  We traveled in a CJ5 Jeep and lived in a tent camper trailer.  When we returned to the United States we purchased a new Dodge four-wheel drive truck.  We began to plan our next adventure to Central America.

   During the intervening years we used the truck for our farming operation and in our business snowplowing driveways and parking lots.  This truck was the one that we hoped could carry us to the South American adventure.

  During the summer we traveled throughout the United States pulling a food concession trailer with our custom  tent- camper Dodge truck.
At that time our sons were teenagers and enjoyed working the concession trailer selling popcorn, hot dogs, caramel corn, cotton candy, hot chocolate, coffee, soft drinks, and sno cones.  We traveled along the northern United States to California and back to Michigan through the southern states during one summer.
Later we took our "adventure truck" to Mexico and spent five weeks traveling about five thousand miles throughout Mexico getting within twenty-five miles from the Guatemalan border along the Pacific coast.  During this trip through Mexico with our teenage sons, we confirmed our desire that  we would soon head further south.  
When the civil wars in Central America were at least temporarily ended and our former snowplowing business was running well under new ownership it appeared to be an opportune time.
      We have learned that to find the most out of life we need to be sensitive and be obedient to the leading of God in our lives.  Therefore we began two tracks of planning: 1. we sent a graduation announcement/resume'/offer to work or serve to a select list of one thousand people in the Grand Rapids area.  (If God had prepared a place for us to serve, one thousand offers to serve should leave us open to hear the call!) 2. At the same time we began the information gathering, medical preparation, equipment preparation, and administrative preparation necessary for a three to six month trip as far as the southern tip of South America. We sent letters to over a dozen missionaries located along our planned route through Centeral and South America.  The letters stated that we planned to travel near them and we were willing to do manual work for them to help their ministry.  All we asked was to be provided a place to park our truck and a list of work that could be done in a few days.
      The "adventure truck" purchased about 15 years earlier for this trip now was poised to fulfill our dream adventure. After such a full history, we wondered if there was enough life left in the old truck even after having its engine rebuilt and being carefully inspected and refurbished.
      On February 14th. 1993, with the family's blessing,  we headed south in the blowing snow. Our plan was to travel as far south as we could.  We finally  ended up traveling all the way to Panama, and back.
We were not against staying in commercial camping grounds, when available.  We have used them and their cold showers, but we mainly find "wild" overnight parking sites.  These are the most memorable and  provide the best opportunities to meet people.  However in many places we woke up grateful to have passed the night safely and not made to move before morning.  All through central America we found many good campgrounds when we needed them.
At one such curbside site in a small village  we were awakened and serenaded by a Maruichi band.  Five pieces, and great love songs.   OK,  maybe it was for a lady who lived on the street near us. They sang eight songs in about twenty-five minutes, emphasizing love, lost love, and  special love for their  unseen intended recipient.  We did not get live music like that again until we were blessed by the Ocosingo Baptist Church Band in the mountains southeast of Mexico City.

One evening we got caught at night in really dense mountain fog with no flat spot or off - road space.  We finally stopped at a small crowded truck stop where Bill scouted in the dark until he found someone nearby who allowed us to follow a small path behind his house at the bottom of a steep driveway.  The next morning we discovered that we were between two trails: one for cattle and sheep, and one for local people to come for water.  Two open wells attracted a fascinating parade of people from several directions came with a wide variety of containers to obtain water.  Many young children are assigned this responsibility, and they work hard to fill up containers and carry water back up the mountain.

In Mexico we had three flat tires along the road.  We had to use all the gears to get where we were going and the rebuilt engine and parts were strong and smooth running.

Go to Central America page two