There’s No Place Like Home

There’s No Place Like Home

Seems like yesterday that we touched down here in Kelowna, and yet, here we are already preparing to blast off back to Australia. In reality we’ve been back almost 7 weeks – longer than we had anticipated but there were a few, er, shall we say, unexpected “curve balls” put in our path. Expecting simply to come back and have a relaxing month with our children, friends, and of course our adorable new granddaughter, things didn’t go quite exactly as planned.

Grandma and Hadley. Seemed this was her favourite resting place !
Grandpa and baby.
Mum and baby.

Two days after arriving I came down with Covid ( a mild dose ) and two days after that Lois got it from me ( she unfortunately being sicker, for longer ). Needless to say that eliminated any further immediate one on one time with our new baby – with isolation, followed by masking (after the RAT tests showed negative ) we lost about 2 weeks all told. Fine, we thought – having successfully dodged it for 3 years while half the world had gotten it we knew it would come our way sooner or later and at least we had it in the comfort of our own home. Well, almost all of it while at home. Lois was still in the final days of testing negative when another calamity struck – we were caught up in the Kelowna fires and evacuated from our house for a week ! Did someone break a mirror ? Fortunately our home ( and most others in Kelowna ) survived the fire scare but it was a frightening disruption we certainly did not need. Our thoughts were very much with those that lost homes and of course, our eternal thanks to our amazing firefighters ! A special shoutout to the friends and family that took us in for the evacuation days ( Sue, Mark, and Jackie – thank you ! ) – thankfully we emerged unscathed. Nothing like an evacuation order at 10.30 pm to throw your erstwhile tranquil life into complete chaos !

The dreaded RAT test. No one wants to see two lines !
Between the houses in the foreground and the mountains in the background is Okanagan Lake, probably 2kms wide at that point. The fires, which started in West Kelowna ( across the lake ) were so strong that burning embers crossed the lake and started multiple fires on the Kelowna side ( near us ). Here, our neighbours observing the fire – a few hours later we would all be evacuated.
National newspaper headline showing the Kelowna fires. They came frighteningly close to our own home.

With our precious baby time cut short we made the obvious decision to extend our stay and have enjoyed every minute. Freed of the shackles of Covid infections, not only could we enjoy every minute of grandparent time but we were also free to join family and old friends/colleagues and enjoy our Okanagan summer – even if it was rather smokey from the residual effects of the fires. We’ll miss our little Hadley greatly but have sworn that future  trips home will be more frequent, even if a bit shorter in duration.

Managed to get out on the lake with my old boss, Mike. A little smoke still evident in the background.
While doing some shopping in Kelowna we noticed this very impressive German overland rig, making us a little homesick for ours. It’s just an accepted fact among overlanders that the Germans almost always have the coolest rigs !

There’s been no travel here in Canada to speak of but we are truly excited to be getting back in our rig and to exploring the remaining parts of Australia which we expect will take us well into 2024. Western Queensland, the NSW coast, some detours into western NSW and on to the many parts of Victoria we’ve not yet seen, before travelling to Tasmania in the New Year should fill out our itinerary nicely.

It was with very mixed emotions that we got ready to board the flight to Vancouver and then on to Brisbane. Leaving had never been this hard before. It would, ultimately, be a very long flight to Brisbane.
Could not swing a direct flight back to Brisbane, but instead had to go the long way around via Sydney.

Till next week…..

In Case You Missed It….

Very unfortunately it appears that, last week, all subscribers to our blog who use email addresses had their weekly blog link diverted to their junk/spam folders. Probably half our subscribers use gmail so it affected many of you. So if it’s ever not there just open your junk folder and you’ll see it, or simply go to our website and look under Recent Posts ( it’ll be there ). I have been advised that it could be the good folks at Google tweaking their Spam filters ( which usually means it will catch some stuff it should not ). However, I’ve also been advised that it could have been caused by content in the blog – unlikely, since there was nothing unusual in that edition – pretty much like all the others !

On the assumption it may have been caused by blog content, I am sending out this “one off” blog post with no commentary, and no pictures, to see if it gets through as per normal. I’ve also included a link to last week’s missed post “Onwards to Broome “ as well as this week’s post ( “The Gibb River Road” ) in case the same thing happens again: see below

To ensure that you will always get it, it might be a good idea to add OneEndlessRoad to your Contacts and include our [email protected] address in the email section so that the Google system recognizes this as a legitimate email address.

I’d love to hear from any subscribers just to know that you got it…..just put a comment in if you don’t mind. If there is a Google/gmail guru out there in our subscriber base who can advise me on how to prevent this in future, I’d love to hear from you !

Regards, Jeff/Lois

Return to Forbes

Return to Forbes

While we have patiently continued the waiting game in Temora, there has been some progress with our ship – read Postscript: Shipping Update ( at the end of the blog ) for the gripping details. Other than that, a pretty short blog along with a very slight change of location.

We have, of late, been very fortunate ( and extremely delighted ) to be able to spend more time with family so we split this week between Temora ( my brother ) and Forbes ( my sister ). The communities are very close by so it’s easy to get from one to the other – passing the quaint town of Grenfell on the way we checked out what would become the first of (what should be ) many examples of unique “silo art” in NSW and Victoria. The images below show what else we have been up to.

Lois enjoying a little pool time in Temora – perfect on 30 degree days ( 86F).
Delicious Aussie scones and tea with my brother and his wife and the neighbours (all aviation enthusiasts of course ).

One of the guests for scones owned this unique plane, a TransAvia crop sprayer ( one of just a few left in the world ). Known as an AirTruck, it’s practical but does not win any prize for aesthetics !

Through the week we took the opportunity to travel to a couple of nearby communities, Junee and Cootamundra to take in some local attractions. Junee is renowned for its chocolate factory ( yes, we just seem to keep finding them ! ) and Cootamundra for both the Australian Test Cricket Captain’s Walk and, perhaps more famously, as the birthplace of Sir Donald Bradman – THE most legendary cricket player of all time. In more global terms, Bradman is to cricket as Babe Ruth is to baseball or perhaps Pele is to soccer – an icon in the annals of the sport, idolized by cricket fans all over the cricket playing world. His childhood  home is the attraction and has been tastefully converted to a museum honoring his life. Very impressive !

Grenfell’s colorful silo art. There are now many of these that make a tourist “silo trail” across much of Australia. Thanks for the book, Anne, we look forward to seeing many more !
Henry Lawson, a very famous Australian poet, hails from Grenfell, probably its most famous son. Memorialized on a bench in the town.
Sir Donald’s childhood home ( now a “shrine” to the great man himself ).
Inside the museum.
A bust of every Australian cricket captain is placed on a walking path in Cootamundra. The most famous one is below !
Don Bradman himself.

The Chocolate Factory – from outside
The Chocolate Factory is a local success story, having been created from the remnants of an old flour mill. It’s now a major employer in the town – and the chocolate is excellent !

Postscript: Shipping Update

Mixed news ( at best ).

The good first. Our vehicle is finally off the ship and on the port in Melbourne. That’s far more exciting than you might imagine given we have watched it float on a car carrier in Bass Strait for a month..! Now the bad. It has been inspected and, as we had been told to expect ( by EVERYONE ! ) it did not pass the initial rigorous quarantine inspection. To put this in perspective, a month or so back some new cars that arrived on a ship from China were shipped right back to China because they did not pass – yes, NEW cars ! Vehicles that fail ( our shipper advised that was 98% of anything used ) usually go off port to a Quarantine Dept approved wash bay but that has not happened because there was some confusion over the fact that our van contained personal effects ( it’s full of them obviously, as with any overlander’s camping vehicle ). As such they called for a “re-inspection” of those goods which has set us back further. Frustrating ! More details on that as it unfolds next week.

As an aside, it has now been almost 11 weeks since we left our van on the dock in Savannah, 5 weeks since the ship arrived just offshore of Melbourne, and almost a week since it was offloaded at the port. It all seems to have taken sooooooo long. Our plans for Tasmania (the booking was made 7 months ago) have been cancelled since we were not able to make the initially scheduled departure date ( Feb 28 ), nor even the revised date ( March 3 ). Incredibly disappointing. Hard to make firm plans for anywhere else until we get our rig. Sigh…………

Carretera Austral – South to Puerto Rio Tranquilo

Carretera Austral – South to Puerto Rio Tranquilo

The last task in Futaleufu was to visit the nearby Argentine border and get clarification from the Chilean border folks as to exactly which Chilean borders would open in the south, come December 1 and then January 1. This was critical information and would determine both our route south and the transportation method ( driving or ferry ). I’ll spare readers the intricacies of the Argentine/Chile border crossing options in southern Patagonia but suffice it to say that with none of those critical borders currently open we could be looking at an extraordinarily circuitous road route to visit both the Chilean and Argentine attractions that we had hoped to see in the Tierra Del Fuego area. Turns out it was a good news/bad news” story. The bad news was that none of the borders that we needed to cross would be open in December.

Border guys in Futualeufu telling us which borders would open next. They were extremely accommodating ( not much else to do at a closed border I guess )

The good news, as seen below, was that finally, on January 1, a critical southern border was scheduled to open ! For us, assuming it all played out as planned ( and news of Omicron was just breaking leading to new international restrictions ) this would mean being able to complete the Carretera Austral and travel all the way down to Villa O’Higgins, returning back Puerto Yungay and then taking a Chilean ferry through the southern fjords down to the very bottom of Chile. The ferry through the Chilean fjords is a spectacular journey itself, saves us a lot of driving and would have us in Tierra Del Fuego for Christmas. All going well with the border opening as scheduled January 1 it would then be possible to cross to Argentina and work our way back north through Argentina after exploring southern Argentina’s many attractions. With fingers tightly crossed the ferry was booked from Puerto Yungay to Puerto Natales for December 11.

This was important – we did not want to just ‘hear’ it, we wanted to ‘see’ it. The Chilean border officer actually showed us on his phone that the January 1 openings included Rio Don Guillermo ( near Puerto Natales ) which was just the one we needed ( in the south )

That all settled, back to planning the rest of the Carretera Austral !

Road leaving Futaleufu ….realized as we drew closer that these were sheep !
On the Carretera even some of the major bridges were single lane
While the roads got rough the views stayed consistently impressive
Map showing the end of the Carretera Austral in Villa O’Higgins. One then drives back as far as Puerto Yungay to take the ferry to Puerto Natales at the very bottom of South America.

While light rain fell almost constantly on the road to Puyuhuapi, it was a visual treat, albeit rough at times and marred with ( the ever familiar ) roadwork. Puyuhuapi is not particularly attractive but has some interesting German history and more famously is the jumping off point for one of the Carretera’s top sights – Ventisquero Colgante ( the hanging glacier ). Reached by an ( at times ) fairly challenging 3-4 hour hike, the glacier is amazing; had we arrived 10 minutes earlier we could have seen the deafening calving that we heard when we were still a few hundred metres away.

Entering Puyuhuapi a town founded by German immigrants in the 30’s. Strong German influence in Southern Chile
Met up with Johannes, a German biker and the first foreigner on a foreign registered bike we’d seen in Chile. Normally there would be many and prior to Covid we had seen many
Entrance to the magnificent Vintesquero Colgante hike in Parc Nacional Queulat
Crossing the first bridge to Vintesquero Colgante
View on the way up…
The hike required navigating some narrow creek beds….
….to reach the stunning view at the top of the hike
Closer view……heard some calving on the way up ( loud !! ) but missed seeing it
Selfie time

The road from Puyuhuapi to Coyhaique was one of the tougher sections of the Carretera, lots of gravel, lots of rain, lots of washboarded surfaces, lots of steep hills and hairpin bends – but all in a days drive on this road. As someone told us, never a dull moment…!

Some pretty steep roads just out of Puyuhuapi , all under construction – lots of delays but the scenery was impressive
Cascada ( Waterfall ) La Virgen ( on the way to Coyhaique )
Roadside flowers near Coyhaique
The colorful wildflowers were all along the roadside between Puyuahapi and Coyhaique
Close up of the Spring flowers

Disconcertingly, on arrival in Coyhaique, it became obvious that what we thought was just a faulty ( propane ) heater was in fact more serious when the ( gas ) cooktop also suddenly stopped working. How I would explain our propane issues, in Spanish, to someone who could work on an American system ( and find needed parts ! ) in the middle of the remote Carretera Austral was a nerve wracking thought. Fortunately our camp host “knew a guy” and if ever there was a time we “needed a guy” this was it. “Juan” turned up at our camp site at 8pm, stayed till 11pm working on the system and quickly identified a faulty regulator as the issue. Of course, the regulator itself was readily replaceable, and he had one on hand, but the connections ? Of course….all different ! A colleague of his had worked on several foreign ( to a Chilean gas guy anyway ) propane systems, had some cannibalized parts left over and by a stroke of miraculous good fortune these allowed him to tightly connect the new regulator ( property leak tested while we watched ! ) and get the system working perfectly. A huge relief, we could now stay warm AND cook again !

Juan, the gas technician who worked on our propane problem
Leak tested, every fitting, while we watched

Delighted to have the propane issue now resolved the next few days were spent exploring Coyhaique, a small city of about 65,000. Easy to get around, we enjoyed beautiful sunny days there after a couple of drizzly ones, and all our shopping ( and repair ) needs were met. It also seems the camping facilities are just getting better as we go south – “El Camping” in Coyhaique was one of our faves so far. Secluded, private, close to town, strong wifi, best hot showers and cleanest bathrooms we have seen yet AND they helped solve both our our bedding and regulator problems ! As seems to be a pattern in Chile they also had the most adorable animals that stood watch over our camper.

Downtown street scene in Coyhaique
Another street scene in Coyhaique
Candy and Blanco were always at the bottom of our steps……
……while kitty just loved to sleep under the truck in the camper steps box ! Reminded us of the new pups that adopted us in Villa de Leyva, Colombia

Even got in a little emergency ‘construction’ work on the camper. With the aid of a piece of irregularly shaped plywood, our dinette folds into an emergency bed – we had kept the said plywood with us for the last 6 years until I carelessly left it at the campground in Pucon during a clean up two weeks back. We would need this for the 41 hour ferry ride to Puerto Natales ( there are no cabins on board and while we CAN sleep in the camper we will NOT be able to pop the roof up ).

Borrowed a saw from the campground owner and cut some “slats”
Not the perfect platform I had lost but a few pieces of tongue and groove slats cut to length would close the gap we needed to make our emergency bed !
Voila’, an emergency bed. Better than two nights sitting bolt upright on a crowded ferry !
Italian food tonite ! We seem to eat a lot of it, always washed down with excellent Chilean wine ( and beer ) ! Their cheese is pretty good too.

Leaving Coyhaique on an overcast rainy day we expected a 3 hour trip to Puerto Rio Tranquillo, renowned for the Marmol ( marble ) Caves. Between the weather, countless construction delays and some slow traffic ahead of us, we managed to turn it into a 5 hour saga. I say saga because the road was substantially gravel, and rough gravel at that – loose rocks, ruts, corrugations, steep slopes and narrow cliff edges made it well, shall we say….interesting ! But, just another day on the Carretera Austral. The trip did present some interesting sights and even the weather improved by mid afternoon to reveal the grandeur of azure Lago General Carrera as we rolled into our campsite.

The roads were indeed steep at times….but not quite as steep as this sign suggests ! Freaked us out at first though.
As we drove into Villa Cerro Castillo the eponymously named mountain was covered in fog and cloud. On the way out the clouds parted to reveal this – quite impressive !
Had always imagined the “gauchos” to be an Argentine thing but this horseman ( herding cattle by the road near Cerro Castillo ) sure looked the part ! I showed the picture to a local Chilean who confirmed he was indeed a gaucho ( and obviously that Chile also had gauchos ! ).
Typical of the miserable conditions on this day – road and weather !
Just before Puerto Rio Tranquilo, we passed this idyllic scene. Looked much like the South Island of New Zealand
We passed so many motor cyclists that we lost count ( a few hardy cyclists, too ! ). While almost all were Chilean registered motor bikes many foreigners come to Chile just to do the Carretera and rent Chilean bikes. Saves the shipping headache

Puerto Rio Tranquilo is a small, rustic Patagonian village whose sole purpose seems to be a base to tour the nearby Marmol ( marble ) caves. A pit stop for almost all who tackle the Carretera, these multimillion year old marble caves are found on the shoreline of Lago General Carrera just outside ‘Tranquilo’. We’d seen pictures and they looked impressive so we were keen to get out on the water and check them out ourselves. They did not disappoint – I probably took more than a hundred pictures but narrowed the selection down to the following handful. Definitely worth a stop for anyone who comes this way !

View from inside the caves
Marmol caves – can you see the dogs head ?
Marmol caves
Marmol caves
Marmol caves
Reunited With Our Rig

Reunited With Our Rig

Vina Del Mar had been a great place to transition back in to Chilean life. Beautiful warm days, excellent shopping, and – I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it – incredibly hospitable hotel staff. They simply could not do enough for us and all commented on how thrilled they were that tourism here was “coming back”. Enjoyed a special dinner on our last night as it was Lois’s birthday the next day – as soon as the waiters became aware of that some cupcakes and cookies were promptly delivered to us and the two of them serenaded Lois with a rousing “Happy Birthday to You !”

Lois getting a birthday treat

Our “man in Chile”, Juan Pablo, arrived Sunday morning and it was truly wonderful to connect with him again after last seeing him in late March, 2020. He had become a father, started a new business, and, as it turned out, did a fantastic job of taking care of our vehicle ( and almost 30 others ! ). Quillota was only an hour or so away so we took a slightly more scenic route up the coast. He had kindly washed the vehicle and it truly did look just as we’d left it. Some cleaning to do inside, lots of re-packing and ultimately a new battery ( we would replace it a day later – after 18 months a dead battery was to be expected ) but within a few hours we were ready to at least get moving. Juan Pablo would have none of it and insisted we stay for a full Chilean family lunch ( which starts late and runs almost into a North American dinner )…..course, after course, after course !!! Delicious, filling, and supplemented with interesting conversations with the whole extended family. Star of the show was of course their new baby boy, Andes ( yes, like the mountains ) who captivated us all. It was one of those get togethers you just did not want to leave. A global pandemic had brought us together as strangers and here we were about to leave but certainly now as good friends – COVID did give us some silver linings.

Juan Pablo, his wife Daniella and their son, Andes
Preparing for a Chilean feast

The general direction now was simply…….south ! Santiago lay immediately ahead and having explored it fairly extensively on a previous visit the plan was simply to navigate around it. Chilean elections were just 2 weeks away and the city had seen protests and threats of road blocks so not something we wanted to get tangled up in. Our trusty iOverlander app ( absolutely THE most essential travel aid in the repertoire) helped us locate a small private campground near the coast on a route that would later take us through Chile’s Colchagua valley, one its most famous wine growing regions. Unsurprisingly we were the ONLY campground guests, a pattern that would repeat for the rest of the week. 

Camping Las Cipreses, El Tabo
El Tabo

From the rustic town of El Tabo, our route took us through the grimy port city of San Antonio ( only for the sake of procuring a new vehicle battery ) before getting dramatically more scenic on the approach to Santa Cruz. What did strike us was both the relative absence of campgrounds in this area, or, where they did exist, the fact that they were closed. COVID impact ? Too early in the season ? Either way, finding a spot to camp would be be a tad more challenging for the next couple of nights. In any event as most often seems to happen, a solution was found and we found ourselves ( again ) the only guests, this time in a private’ gated, “Tiny Cabins” development with total run of the place…!

Marco, replacing our dead battery in San Antonio

It only made sense to make full use of the facilities ( space, security and privacy ) to do a total re-clean, and re-pack of the vehicle merging all the things we’d left behind with an even bigger pile of the things we’d brought back, only to realize that some serious, shall we say, er, “consolidating” was in order.

Parked at Tiny Cabins, Santa Cruz
Battery was not the only thing we replaced. I carried a spare cabin air filter so changed that too
A most serendipitous discovery

While Santa Cruz does not offer easy camping accommodation it does deliver great wineries, restaurants and a real “Napa Valley-like” ambience. Hugely popular with Chileans, it’s an easy place to just linger……so, linger we did for a couple of days, one touring the wineries of Laura Hartwig, then the amazing Clos Apalta, followed by a second day just unpacking , cleaning, the re-packing the camper – it had been so long since we left Chile that we had forgotten how much stuff we left in the camper. One little gem we ( well, “I”), did uncover in the process was an almost full jar of pure Australian gold……..Vegemite ! Absolute heaven, and enough to last me a good few months used sparingly ! Lois suggested it was the aroma of Vegemite ( she hates it ) that kept the mice out of the camper !

Laura Hartwig Winery
Lois sampling a Laura Hartwig wine
Laura Hartwig Winery
Clos Apalta Winery
Lois sampling a Clos Apalta red
Clos Apalta cellar
The staircase to the six level Clos Apalta underground cellar. It was dug out from stone over 6 years and is one of only a few such in the world
Jeff, with a white
The vineyards

More than a couple of Chileans had recommended we visit Siete Tasas ( 7 Cups ) National Park and being that it was not a big detour on the way south we made our way there. Great place to stop for a couple of days, enjoyed a long-needed 8km hike and realized a second thing that also became immediately obvious – how absolutely out of shape we were ! Once again we were pretty much alone albeit in a beautiful setting right on the Rio Claro.

Lois at the Siete Tasas National Park entry
Waterfall, Siete Tasas
Camping at Siete Tasas
Rio Claro, right beside our site
The Siete Tasas cascading “cups”

While the next stop on our route was Chile’s Lake District ( centred on Villarica and Pucon ), it was a bit of a stretch in one day so we broke the journey at a great Eco Camp ( El Rincon ) just north of Los Angeles ( Chile’s Los Angeles ! ) hosted by Don and Carla, two expat Americans who have created a little slice of heaven in the Chilean countryside. Great spot, great hosts and we finally met our first other foreign travellers ( a Dutch couple ), ironically however on their way home to Holland. Enjoyed a night together sharing drinks, and tales from the road. Bliss……….

Road to El Rincon
Camping at El Rincon
They still wash your windscreen and pump your gas here…….and wear a uniform !

It’s Been A Year !

It’s Been A Year !

“How time  flies” as the old adage goes. If you can believe it, this coming week it will have been fully a year that has passed since we hurriedly packed up some necessities, stored our truck/camper in a little town outside Santiago, and jumped on the next plane to Canada – March 21, 2020 to be exact. Readers may recall this image headlining that final ( for 2020 anyway) “Exit from Chile” blog post:

Our plane for the sudden trip home – fortunately we left when we did, it became much harder just a week later

Much has changed in the world in the last 12 months – and who could have imagined it playing out like it did ? While we are not out of the woods yet, with vaccinations in full swing globally, let’s hope we have turned the corner and that life can, in the coming months, start returning to normal.

We’ve been with this pandemic for so long now that it’s easy to  forget what “normal” was – remember, life before masks, intermittent lockdowns, social distancing and copious daily applications of hand sanitizer ? It’s also amazed us how quickly everyone has just gotten used to this ( albeit  temporary ) “new normal”. Interesting as well to look around the world and see how different countries have tackled it – there have certainly been some surprising outcomes.

It seemed like the one year anniversary of our hasty retreat from overlanding in South America was a good time to update readers on what has since transpired for us, what we are working on, and when we plan ( or should I say, “hope” ) to be back on the road – with 38,000 kms of the Pan American highway under our belt we have about 5,000 kms still remaining to reach our destination of Ushuaia. When it comes to the PanAmerican highway this quaint Argentine town on the island of Tierra del Fuego at the very bottom of South America marks ( quite literally ) the end of the road.  Or, as the the Argentines call it, Fin del Mundo – the end of the world.

Ushuaia, Argentina – the end of the PanAmerican Highway

Given that we have not yet been vaccinated, and won’t be until at least July, travelling right  now is not viable. Unfortunate, because now is the ideal time to be in Patagonia and travelling the Carretera Austral considering it’s their summer. It’s just not a place to go in winter ( in fact much of it shuts down ) so if you don’t get there by April at latest one is simply best to wait until the southern Spring – which is October’ish. 

That, in fact, is exactly what we plan to do – assuming all is good on the COVID front, assuming we are vaccinated and assuming the world is back to a semblance of normality, we would depart Canada sometime in September, fly to Santiago, pick up our truck and continue the journey. The loose, and I stress “loose” ( if COVID has taught us one thing it’s not to plan too far ahead) idea is to spend 4-6 months travelling to the bottom, then working our way back up the famous Route 40 in Argentina through to Eastern Bolivia, southern Brazil, and on to Uruguay. It’s not likely, having lost this much time, that we will loop all the way back up to northern Brazil or the Guyana’s but we will see how it unfolds. When our time in South America is done we will ship the vehicle home and sell it ( unless anyone out there wants to take a great overlanding rig off us in South America and do the reverse Pan American – it can been done ! ).

But, “Why would you sell it Jeff – there is much more of the world to explore, and surely you’ll need your overland rig?”, you might think. Indeed, there is much, much more to explore and we hope to continue overlanding for quite a few years yet, but COVID ( and basically suddenly having nothing to do ! ) inspired Lois and I to start a new project. In what might best be described as a rush of blood to the head, late in 2020 we somewhat spontaneously purchased a Mercedes Sprinter 4×4 and set about camperizing it for future overland travel. The “project” is about a third complete and we hope to have it done by this ( northern ) summer allowing us to travel in it through July and August around Canada. We will then store it here until we return from South America. Future travel will be in the new van. Here is a glimpse of how it looks so far ( we do need a name by the way so send us your suggestions ):

The new project – camperizing our Sprinter

The truck/camper has been fabulous and we could easily have continued on in it but we could not pass up the opportunity to do a van build-out  when we had this much time on our hands. Essentially, we just moved the purchase forward a few years – a Sprinter had always been something we had coveted and we were actually very close to buying one when we bought the truck/camper back in 2015.

The wonderful Spring weather we are enjoying in British Colombia right now is a welcome change from the cold of mid-winter ( especially for those of us refitting a van in their driveway ! ). We are all looking forward to the coming summer and ideally a less restrictive life. Wherever you are as you read this, both Lois and I hope you are well and that your community, state, and country is getting on top of COVID. We look forward to starting the weekly blog again as soon as we are on that plane to Chile. Until then, stay healthy, and stay safe !


For those who have wondered ( and some have asked ) this is where our truck/camper is – ours is pretty much right in the middle ( making it more secure we tell ourselves, lol ). It gives you some idea of how many people are ( or were ) overlanding in South America at any one time ( we often speculated on that ). This is just in one part of Chile but there are doubtless thousands of overland vehicles parked in places like this all over South America

Our vehicle, along with almost 30 others, stored on the unused clay tennis court
of a friendly Chilean overlander