This world of ours is the most amazing place. So full of different cultures; colour & movement; music & frenzy and yet, peacefulness and tranquillity. Its all here to enjoy.  If we have touched the imagination of some of you, with our stories, then we are satisfied. 

We are often told “You have inspired us”, and are always delighted to hear that from young and old!

But we too are constantly inspired - meeting an 85yr old on his motorcycle, riding from Canada to Rio de Janiero and back again; La Vonne, our great friend of 86 yrs; then Pedro’s wonderful mother, and our friend - still going strong, living alone and enjoying life at 102!!

Valle de Luna (Valley of the Moon), at San Pedro de Atacama, where NASA has tested some of the equipment for moon landings. An eerie, incredibly beautiful landscape. Our view, as the sunsets.

Some of the crazy roads we are fortunate to have driven in this very mountainous country. 

We detour about 200kms to assist

2 French backpackers, and are rewarded with this great drive ... a steep climbing gravel road from our camp on the river below, and rewarded  us with -  Condors! 

This young condor was as inquisitive about us, as we were fascinated by him. Their size is hard to show, but their wingspan can reach 3 metres across.

Local horseman (caballeros) don’t always wear ‘chaps’ but carry heavy leathers across their saddles to protect from these vicious  thorn bushes!

I wish I could take credit for this quote which I have carried with me for many years, and is on our card. It now has even more relevance!

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of

arriving safely in an attractive and well presented body,

but rather.... to slide in sideways, champagne in one hand,

strawberries in the other; body thoroughly used up,

totally worn out, and screaming

“Whoo Hoo - What a Ride!!!”

Maybe we need ‘chaps’ for our tyres!!  We got two punctures within about 4 hours - fortunately we did carry 2 spares.... now we only carry one!

We visit Cafayate, in a region famous for wines, so indulge in 2 tours, which means we must try everything on offer.  Fascinating to see the wine is stored in these huge concrete vats, rather than in barrels. “Torrontes” is this region’s  favoured white wine, and “Malbec” the red.  Both are DELICIOUS!!  We have to try several to be sure! The local climate, with 350 sunny days a year, and cool nights, is perfect, so there is never a “poor” year for wine... and its so cheap, around $4 US bottle. The 5 lit bottles (below) are around $5!

Fantastic colours, shapes, and row upon row of mountains. Parque Ischigualasto (thankfully named Valle de la Luna), in Argentina, was stunning, and the home of many fossils, including one of the largest dinosaurs. The largest dinosaur found was discovered in 1989, at Nequen,  standing 18 m high, 40m long; and the largest carnivore - 100 mill yrs old; 18m high, 18 ton, meat eater! Newsflash! We read of a ‘new’ largest dinosaur (herbivour) just found in Argentina, approx 45 tonnes - the size of a herd of elephants.

And this ever so cute baby Llama is only

25 days old!

But, its time to clean these wonderful vehicles that have taken us so far, and clean everything in them, ready to ship home!

Kym & Lyn have arrived, to ship home with us, and we all spend a hard week cleaning - Australian import regulations are very stringent!  It takes us 5 days of hard work to get the vehicles clean enough to put into the container. Now we just hope it’s good enough to meet Australian Agricultural requirements.

We have met many travellers who, sadly, won’t visit Australia in their vehicles, as the import restrictions are so tough.  Each day, we ache all over!

Our Chilean friends, Pedro & Ruth, have given us use of their huge warehouse, supplied a water blaster & vacuum, and a shower!

Constantly changing, spectacular, scenery!

Ooops! We are stuck on the wrong side of these Andes. The entire 4000kms of border is closed, so we have no options but to wait! 

This lovely sunrise gives us hope!

Eventually permitted to cross, along with about 500 trucks! The drive is spectacular, as we wind through about 80kms of mountain pass.

Pedro’s warehouse, which we share with his company’s massive tunnelling machines!

Eventually, we get the All Clear to Load from Aduana (Customs)!

Loaded, tied down, locked, sealed.

Around 8pm, we drive back to Santiago, for a restful weekend in hotel accommodation.

Exhausted.... but on our way home!

and we wait............

We arrive, stressed & exhausted, at the port of San Antonio, just sth of Santiago, to load, as arranged, at 9am.... however, this is

Sth America, and we hurry up and wait for

9 hours, fighting the local bureaucracy, and told “manana”  (tomorrow), but we insist there is no “manana” for us!  Also, John & Kym must be allowed to drive the trucks into the container. This precise manoeuvre cannot be done by someone unfamiliar with the vehicle, as there is only a space of 10cm all around, once loaded.  

Maps all torn and taped, with routes planned and changed;

photos of family and friends hanging tattered on the walls;

Lonely Planet travel books all dog-eared;

Spanish dictionary thrown out ...

its time to go home, after 31 countries and approx 160,000kms.

Occasionally, our truck gets ‘mobbed’ just driving through a village. The French girls were with us, and fascinated!!

We follow the Yellow River (dont know why its called that - maybe the colour of the water??) to the old abandoned Cablecar Chilecito Station No3.

The cablecar was an English/German Co-op built in 1904 and of course ceased operations at the beginning of the 1st World War.  It rose from 1200M to 4600M across 262 towers, 9 Stations and was a 4 hour journey that ferried workers and equipment to a mine 40km from the town of Chilecito. It was used by local operators for a short period after this but then fell into disrepair.