The “Beast” – A Ford Explorer Sport 4×4 1998

Yupper, the beast needed a wash. Probably had dirt on it left from Mexico.

And I’m in Nicaragua! LOL

Just got tired of the dirt and people made a habit of writing on it in Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua. It convinced me to wash the thing.

beast write

Don’t know what it says, but I don’t like it

So, on Rosita, Nicaragua, I broke down, spent $7 and had it washed.

Ford Explorer 1998

The Beast – a Ford Explorer Sport, 4×4, 1998

They did a thorough job – which I knew wouldn’t last a day.

beast 1

You’d trust these clowns with your car, right?

Darn roads in Central America, whether you’re in the country or the city – dust and dirt’s in the air, looking to land on someone’s car. A liberal, commie plot, me thinks.

beast 2

Just wash the outside – nope, gotta wash underneath, in the wheel wells – good Gawd – it’s a 1998 and it’s going to get dirty as soon as I drive out of here!

Up the ramp I go, put it in park, and you clowns go to it!

beast 3

Gotta admit, the “Beast” is looking a lot better!

I think the vultures were waiting for it to die! These guys were just hanging around the car wash – “Is it dead yet? Is it dead yet?”


Vultures waiting for something to die for food. It wasn’t going to be my “Beast”!

The kid washes everything- except the engine!

beast 4

This kid’s washing everything! Good Gawd, it’s going to get dirty why waste the time? Whatever!!!

I gotta admit, the “Beast” looked pretty good.

Did I tell you about the story where the “Beast” had no brakes?

I’m driving through the hills and mountains of Guatemala – got lost, and it’s night.
I’m somewhere out there……


Somewhere over the mountains, where am I????

I get down to the bottom of this long grade, and come to a T in the road. I step on my brakes, and nothing. The pedal goes straight to the floor!

I turn right, and come to a small village – a Mayan village. Surrounded by about 20 people I try my broken Spanish to see if there’s a mechanic.

In the middle of Butt Fu$% Egypt, this guys says, “What’s the problem?” English in the middle of nowhere!

I explain to him, “I ain’t got no brakes.”

Long story short – I can wait for the mechanic – he’ll arrive at 10 AM (It’s now about 9 PM) or leave with the van that goes to the city at 5AM.

Now this is a village, not a city – no place to sleep but the car or the ground – “Car it is!”

Surprisingly enough, when we leave at 5AM, I got brakes. But, just to be safe, I’m following the van, I’ll hit the van before I fall off the side of the road – smart thinking, eh?

So we get to town, and as soon as I make a right turn, there’s a mechanic.

Ask him to check out the brakes, should I pull into his shop?

No, that’s for parking. (WTF?)

Park in then street.

Jimmniny Crickets, who the hell am I to argue about this?

So, park I do and they go at it…..

Beast 5

Traffic, dirty, no problem to big for these guys!

Piece o’ cake, rip everything apart, check out all the brakes. What could possibly happen right where everyone turns?

beast 7

Wouldn’t be working right there, that’s for sure!

This kid’s figured out a way to get under the “Beast” without using a jack – fricken amazing!

beast 8

How did he get under there?

Let’s get the whole fricken’ crew working on the “Beast!”

beast 9

Let’s get everyone involved!

They’re checking the pads, the brake lines, how much fluid I have in the containers. They’re doing the “job”, that’s for sure.

So, this garbage truck comes by.

The guy picking up the garbage is a friend of the mechanic, “Hey, take MY picture!”

Sure, what the hell else do I have to do….. Here’s his pic LOL


Why not be diplomatic – take the guys pic…….

These mechanics are just having a ball, working on this gringo’s car. So much fun…….

beast 10

Having loads of fun, and what’s the charge for all this. I’m going to get it in the wallet!

I’m the only paying customer this guy has.

The owner of the shop is the guy on the left, standing.

I’m figuring I’m screwed – no choice, gotta get the brakes checked out, he can ask what he wants- he’s got me.

beast 11

The owner is the guy on the left, standing. What’s all this work going to cost me?

Results of the operation on the “Beast”?

No brake problems.

What the guy thinks happened, is the brake fluid got hot, boiled and wouldn’t keep the pressure.

Brake fluid was low – cost me $5 for a can of brake fluid. Used about half, the guy offered to let have what was left. I told him, keep it – part of my thanks for your help. I was in a real bind!

Cost for the labor?

$10 – they spent about 2 hours checking everything out, got dirty as all creation, lifted, lowered the car 4 times…. What a fricken deal that was! :)

So, that has been the biggest problem, other than the alternator being rebuilt.

What a deal on this Ford Explorer Sport 4×4! $3,000.

It’s been into place I wouldn’t have trekked on foot, much less with 4 wheels! And the beater of a beast, keeps on beatin’.

Have to say thanks for the journey, “Beast”! You’ve held up extremely well, and still looking pretty good for a 17 year old buggy!

What a drive!!!!!

About John Wilson

Traveler, writer and photographer. No home now, just traveling the world in search of the lost chord.
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2 Responses to The “Beast” – A Ford Explorer Sport 4×4 1998

  1. I love your stories about Central America – one of my favourite places. Thanks – the people are wonderful and so helpful. You are truly having an opportunity to experience it first hand and not from the seat of a tour bus. Envy you.

  2. John Wilson says:

    Hi Carol Ann Quibell,
    Thanks for your kind comment and for reading my ramblings!
    Yeah, this is my second road trip through Central America, and enjoying it more than the first time – a little experience goes a long way in the travel world.
    Trials and tribulations, highs of good times and wonderful people. All in the experience.
    Hope all is well with you and yours!

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