Photos & Videos, Trips

Episode 1 is live – Expedition Atacama Argentina – Fiambala / Balcon Del Pissis

Hello friends of Sin Rumbo! The first episode of our recent expedition trip is now live. You can watch it below. I have been dealing with frustrating computer problems for some time now. I eventually replaced my 2012 Macbook Pro with a brand new HP running Windows 10 Pro on what looks like a fast processor and graphics card, solid state hard-drive, and a fair amount of memory. It has been nothing but frustration trying to edit videos on the new laptop. It has already been in the shop once for a clean re-install of Windows. The software crashes every time it renders the final video. To spare you the details the old Macboook is running again, the operating system installed on an external solid state drive, and using the same video editing software. The Mac rendered the full video properly and quickly on the first attempt. It is disappointing that 10 years of technological progress doesn’t seem to make a difference in the end. I will now edit episode 2 directly on the Mac and hopefully I will be able to present the second episode soon.

To come back to the trip, we had a fantastic time because pretty much everything went as planned. We had to make a few minor route changes when tracks shown on the GPS maps, we used 2 GPS running different apps, were obviously not on the ground. Those changes didn´t affect the overall plan nor schedule. The truck and the camper performed flawlessly. I had worried about getting lost in the immensity of the remote regions we drove through, since there can be many tracks in some areas and choosing one isn’t always an easy choice. But we never got lost and we successfully followed the routes planned. I don´t want to lead you to believe that it was a walk in the park. Some tracks regularly disappear for a bit and you have to be able to pick them out of the landscape in the distance. At times tracks split into as many as 4 or 5 separate tracks. Often they all reconnect further down the road. Once we chose one track down a steep slope to discover that the track had deep holes that would have swallowed half a tire. I didn´t risk going through that section and attempted backing up. Driving a steep slope in reverse at almost 5000 m was a challenge in itself but it was the safest decision. Better reversing than breaking an axle and ending up stranded. Some of the tracks are much less traveled than others and yours can be the only vehicle for days in very remote areas. I will admit to having been tense for several days while we traveled through the most remote areas. At one time we spent 5 consecutive days in 4 wheel-drive, meaning that for 5 consecutive days we never saw the asphalt. But all went well, the weather was clear and sunny 90% of the time. Health-wise we both did well until after we ended the high altitude and remote portion of the trip. Once established in the lovely municipal campground of the small town of Cachi, province of Salta, I got a cold like I haven´t had in years, mostly constant runny nose and some coughing. For a day I was completely run down. When I got better Catty got a cold too, with sore throat, runny nose, and she felt weak every second day for the rest of the trip – 10 days or so. Though we handled the altitude well, when driving there is no time to acclimatize. Leaving Fiambala we drove from 1600 m to 4700 m in a few hours. We felt well during the day and slept well, but we woke up with a lack of appetite and a weird stomach. I walked around to take photos that morning but felt an unusual lack of energy and a sense of being in a bad mood. Later as we drove up to over 4000 m again and again we adapted and felt better. Those are very unusual conditions but I think our experience of the Bolivian altiplano 2 years ago helped. I felt more confident navigating the immensity of the remote terrain. Even though we carried only one jerry can of extra diesel I knew from the experience in Bolivia that the truck fuel efficiency does not decrease significantly with altitude, probably thanks to the turbo. In Bolivia we carried 3 jerry cans and really used 1 but we had 600 km between gas stations. This time we had only 450 km between pumps. I will let you watch the video now. Until episode 2, thank you for reading and watching!

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