guatemala : tikal

We were driving through Guatemala and heard about Tikal - amazing ruins of an ancient Mayan city discovered in the jungle.  In 1853 a man was hiking through the jungle and came to realize the hill he was climbing was actually a large stone structure.
We were driving the little Mazda GLC (stands for 'Good Little Car') that we had bought from some Texans near Tulum, Mexico.
A few people had told us that we wouldn't be able to drive to Tikal unless we had a 4 wheel drive truck. The Mazda had front wheel drive and I was twenty-two and I thought we probably could make it through so I started asking people about it.
"Why do we need 4 wheel drive?"
"Because your car will get stuck in the mud."
"But it hasn't been raining for a while..."
"It doesn't matter - you need 4WD."
"But why...?"
"The roads are all red mud and the logging trucks create deep ruts - you need really good clearance - it's bad mud - a car will get stuck."

I discussed it for a while with Siri and finally convinced her that we should go for it.
The promise I made that tipped the scales was that a) I wouldn't get us stuck b) I would be very careful, but mainly c) if we came across a tough patch that she didn't think we could make it through then we would turn around.

So we headed North from El Cruce towards the jungle and Tikal.
It was a dirt road right away, but the going was pretty smooth for quite a while.
It had been dry for about a week, but you could definitely see how the road would be very muddy if there was rain.

Then we came across the ruts.  The road had no shoulder on the left or the right - just jungle growing right up to the road.  I was carefully looking ahead as we drove at about 35-40 MPH tops.  Looking ahead I saw something that didn't quite make sense at first.

The road had a big ridge of mud right down the center.  About 3 feet wide and 2.5-3 feet tall.  Really the 'ridge' was at the same level as the other ground around - really there were two huge deep ruts gouged out of the road by logging trucks.

When the road had been wet and muddy the logging trucks had slogged through - sometimes a bit to the left and sometimes a bit to the right, but always dragging their axle in the middle and digging the ruts deeper as they passed.

Right now there was no muddy mud, there was perfectly dry and packed mud, but with this huge ridge that the car would never be able to straddle - at least not with its tires on the ground.