Author Archives: Sonja

Argentina: El Chalten

Argentina! El ultimo pais! The road from Chile was the same in Argentina: a dirt ribbon pockmarked with potholes and accompanied by endless miles of barbed wire fencing. The land, directly across the border from Parque Patagonia, was also spectacular. If you cross the border late in the day and are looking for a campsite, this little creek looked like a nice place to stop for the night. We spent two days driving from the border crossing at Paso Roballes down to

Chile: Carretera Austral

South of the port city of Puerto Montt lies the famed Route 7, also known as the Carretera Austral. Construction of the Southern Highway began in 1976 at the behest of dictator Augosto Pinochet, who wanted to bring the isolated and far-flung communities under his control. Both the border delineation and the relationship with neighboring Argentina have always been a bit murky; importing additional people and supplies into the region was seen as a major show of force. Even today,

Chilean Christmas – Lakes District

The Lakes District of Chile is a land of blue waters, dark evergreen forests, and snow- capped volcanoes.      And delightfully funky birds. This is a black-faced ibis. It is also where Chris’ brother Greg and his wife Katherine were meeting us for Christmas and we were eagerly awaiting their arrival – we hadn’t seen anyone since October and everyone was getting slightly massively tired of each other. Long story short: we’d been talking up Auntie Katherine and Uncle Greg’s

Middle Peru: A Hidden Gem of a National Park

After a sad goodbye to Santiago, we headed south. We didn’t find many established campgrounds in this part of the country, instead spending nights at truck stops and gas stations, which is common for overlanders. Nobody slept well during those nights thanks to the loud highway noises, but the price was right. Truckstop breakfast. We headed back to the coast, spending three nice days in Pichilemu with weather that wasn’t hot but warm enough for some beach time. During the

Northern Chile: Miles of Sand and Fantastic Santiago

We’d had quite enough of high desert after the Lagunas Route in Bolivia so we didn’t tarry in San Pedro de Atacama, despite the fantastic number of activities and incredible landscapes in the surrounding areas. After our time trudging through the wilds of Bolivia, we found San Pedro to be an overwhelming (and expensive) tourist town. We ate gourmet pizza, washed our underwear in the hotel sink, and hit the road.  We didn’t make it far: we got a smokin’

Bolivia: Driving the Western Lagunas Route

After our days spent out on the flats, we were a crusty, salty mess. Once back to Uyuni, showers were in order for both humans and truck. Thus cleansed, we stocked up on more groceries, drinking water and gasoline. We were headed for the Western Lagunas Route in far southern Bolivia: a land of desolate wilderness at sky-high altitudes with few amenities along its 450km route. At the end was our penultimate country of the road trip: Chile.  The first

Bolivia: The Western Lagunas Route from Above

South of the Salar de Uyuni is a vast, sparsely-populated region of the Andes Mountains. This is the land of the Altiplano (literally ‘high plain’) and the area is rife with active volcanoes. The climate is cold, arid, and the winds fierce. Vegetation is scant to non-existent. Elevations are monumentally high; we hit a pass that was 5033 meters above sea level (16,512 ft) during our drive south towards the Chilean border. One only has to look at the aerial

Thanksgiving in Bolivia: Salar de Uyuni

Hello Bolivia!! We had some long driving days in Bolivia. The roads were in fair condition and we made good time heading south to the famous salt flats. Herds of llama and vicuna kept the scenery interesting.  Is it just me or is the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen on a roll of paper towels?! (and in english no less).  Chris makes a new friend. This little guy’s mama was the owner of our campground. He wanted nothing to do

Daily Life: Food

Life on the road often lacks the conveniences of home: we spend a great deal of time plotting our route, making sure we have gas in the car, accommodation for the night, and food in our bellies. When we’re not camping, we stay primarily in Airbnb apartments. Having a kitchen works well for us:  we can save money by cooking our own food, rather than eating in restaurants which tend to stretch both our budgets and patience as parents as

Bolivia: Let Us In! Please?

So, Americans trying to enter Bolivia can have a tough time. This is nothing new and not particularly surprising: The United States is not known to be exactly welcoming to other citizens crossing our borders so receiving reciprocal lousy treatment is almost expected. Bolivia charges every US citizen $160 USD to enter the country, precisely the same amount that the US charges Bolivian citizens for a visa (aka a reciprocity fee). Fair enough. What is surprising is that they want

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