Change of route …

In most campgrounds we haven’t had internet, and here today for once we have it but it is painfully slow. We don’t have much time to spend in cafés so we have been living off the net. It isn’t unpleasant at all but I haven’t been able to post any updates and even less able to upload photos.

Anyway, our trip is progressing very well. We are both in good health and spirit, the truck is running like a Swiss clock, and the camper has been trouble-free despite the number of kilometres of gravel/un-paved roads and roads under construction we have already driven. We entered Chile without difficulty but had to return to Argentina due to the carretera Austral being cut further south without a way into Argentina in between. A boat is running free of charge to by-pass the closed section of road but the delay to board being more than a week we preferred to retrace our steps and change the route. Regardless, we had a great time and great weather for the 10 days we spent in Chile. We cross our fingers because the good weather is following us here in El Bolsón, back in Argentina. We are a few days ahead of schedule, so all is good so far. I took a number of photos but I can only post a few here to give you an idea of what we’ve seen and how we’ve lived so far. We live entirely in the truck. We went once to a restaurant because we were in a town and didn’t feel like going back to the truck, but otherwise we eat healthy and well, local fruits for breakfast, a big salad for lunch with a slice of bread and some cheese. We bought local cheese a few times, local honey too. In the evening we cook vegetables, a soup, eggs, or pasta. We complement our diet with a coffee and local sweets when available 🙂

From the photos you can see that the nice weather has been with us pretty much all along. We had intermittent rain along the coast on the carretera Austral in the morning but by lunchtime the sun was out again. The carretera Austral is un-paved most of the way, the paved sections are good but short. It’s too bad we had to change our route; we would have liked to drive it further along the coast. We’ll catch it much further south if the conditions allow! In Argentina we have been following the “Ruta 40”, called the spine of Argentina because it runs the whole length of the country north to south. It is being paved more and more, but long sections still remain un-paved and are like the carretera Austral: often a challenge to vehicles. Overloaded vehicles suffer suspension spring failures due to non-stop bouncing. All risk a cracked windshield because of loose rocks, tire punctures, etc. The obstacles are many and varied. We hit a tree branch that was across the road at windshield height. Because of limited view forward in fog and light rain I didn’t see it in time. Thankfully it didn’t cause any damage. The experience is well worth it though. We’ve seen beautiful and remote landscapes, and some wildlife. Camping so far hasn’t been a problem. We found campgrounds everywhere, and most with electricity to recharge our secondary battery and keep the fridge running. The bathrooms are often questionable but we also managed to shower every second day or so. Since we packed only travel-friendly clothes we hand wash when the opportunity arises (i.e. clean enough bathrooms, and time enough to allow to dry). We now have the routine to undo the bed in the morning, setup for breakfast, and clean up afterwards. It takes us 2 hours to do all that and be on the road, so we get up at 7:00am and get going by 9:00am. Lunch is often taken along the way, when a spot to park is available, preferably with a nice view, like right on a beach. We generally stop mid afternoon so we have time to find a good campground and get setup for the night. It gives us time to plan the next day, download and edit photos, cook our meal, etc. By 10:00pm we are ready for bed after what always turns up to be a full day. Of course the locals stay up much longer; we hear them talk sometimes until 4:00 in the morning. It doesn’t really bother us. We find that the insulation of the truck camper is good enough to not only maintain a 6-degree celsius difference above the outside temperature, but also to isolate us well from outside noise. We got used quickly to the firmness of the foam mattresses and since we’ve had more cool to cold nights than hot, so we have been very cosy and have been sleeping like babies!