Trip Start Oct 23, 2006
Trip End Apr 15, 2009

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Flag of Venezuela  ,
Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The highway is sortof marked, and sometimes the little roads aren't. It would help if we actually had a map, but we don't. Off we wander into the uncharted dirt roads f Venezuela. Well, the gas is cheap, so we'll go down the next road on the right.
It turns out that this road is a collector for many small farms, some big, some small. Some missing.
After bouncing along a pretty decent sandy/rocky road for 2 hours, we come across the first of many river crossings, some of which actually had the remnants of bridges next to them. Remnants should have been a clue here, but I digress.
It's a lovely day, and we think that this road may eventually lead us west to a real road, eventually.
The scenery becomes more intense by the minute, and soon we're deep in groves of trees, and tiny one shack farms that are inhabited by horses, I think. It becomes clear that in one river crossing, that some re-building of the opposite bank is in order, and so someone has to haul rocks around. After some fiddling, Eve is set for her toughest test yet, and comes through with flying colours. Well done Eve!
Soon, we find an old church, gated off and signposted for "renovation" some time ago. the road is fast deteriorating now, and what had started off so promisingly, was now fading fast, along with our daylight, but not before spotting a beautiful coloured macaw in the tree above, squawking happily as us.
Well, the road stopped, suddenly, at the last house. Oops, no more road. No road. Bad road behind, none ahead. hmmmmm. dark coming, rain coming. not good.
What folk there were sat and stared in amazement at the weird other folk driving about aimlessly on their road. I stopped and asked one indian man if there was any road west from here. A twinkle in the eye, and an amused grin gave me the news. No road. never was, never will be. He invited us to stay right there, and it was tempting, but then.... there was that rain coming. And dark.
Thanking the old man, we bounced back down to the bad stream crossing we had recently rebuilt, and stormed off to find a spot for the night. Easily the most remote place we'd ever been provided many opportunities for a night's rest, and one turned up soon enough. Set up camp, and quick bite, and we're snoozing, dreaming of parrots.
Suddenly, there are parrots squawking everywhere! it's morning, and there's nothing BUT parrots, all around us, in flocks. big, small, and all noisy.
It's a nice dry morning, although it had rained off and on for the whole night. oops.
Off down the road we go, it's a little greasy now. We wave at our nearest neighbour as he gives us a big smile. The road is really greasy actually, and it's a bit tough going, ubtil we reach the first river crossing. Things change.
So now we look in amazement at the benign little stream from yesterday afternoon, and see it grown into a raging torrent, far too deep for Eve to handle. I walked across to see what it really was like, and found a nice sand band had developed in the middle, and left more than a metre of water on the other side.
Nothing to do but wait it out, so we back up to a flat spot and set up camp. Not knowing whether this would be a day, or a week, to wait.
Thankfully, we're well supplied, and can hold out for weeks if necessary, so the only little niggley thought is..... is this the beginning of a season of isolation for these folk????
There's an old bridge here, it's been damaged before by the flow, and it's 2 metres above the current flow. Not good. Looking at it, the missing section that had been destroyed had been patched with logs years ago, but many had rotted and fallen through. If we had too, we could re-build it, but that'd take cutting down a dozen trees, and days of work.
Hmmmmm, sitting and waiting sounds easier, and so while Diane updates the journal with the latest entry "What he got us into this time", I sit on the bridge and will the waters to recede. Lo and behold, after an hour, the level dimished 2 cm.
Let's see now, 2cm times 30 = 60cm, the amount needed for a safe crossing. So, 30 hours? we can wait it out. Placing sticks at strategic points, I trudge back up to the car and report the good news. More writing.
Well, actually, after 4 hours, the water had receded enough for a good try at getting stuck in the middle of the river. Unfortunately it didn't work. The getting stuck bit that is. Eve showed that she's made of sterner stuff and flew through the swirling melee quicker than our trusty photographer could raise the camera, so you'll have to take my word for it.
All happy and congratulating ourselves and Eve on escaping certain ...demise, we jiggled and slithered down the road to our next surprise. We waved at the next neighbours and they looked at us in a strange way. Do you remember when you see that something that is just not fair? just not possible?
The next river crossing had swollen frpm 10 meters wide to probably 100. The ground all round was boiling and hissing with gas, and for sure, this is where we're gonna live forever now.
Even the cows were smiling at our predicament, and our spirits sank pretty low. It would really take days, if now weeks for this one to shrink back to fordable size. The most amazing things happen.
While wondering just what to do next, a strange apparition gurgled its way out of the waters to our right. An old bridge, abandoned long ago, was now visible above the water, some 100 metres away. It was an incredible stroke of luck, and amazingly the way to the bridge just needed some clearing of brush, and shifting of rocks to be mostly passable. The bridge itself was in good shape, not having been damaged by previous swollen torrents. It remained only to move one newly fallen tree from it's timbers, and that end would be possibly do-able. The other side was steep, and muddy, but there was no choice but to try.
Eve roared up the the old bridge with aplomb, and careened up the opposite bank as though she was a 4wd. Amazing again. Now we knew we were unstoppable. uhoh.
There were three other opportunities for Eve to show her stuff, but I won't bore you with the sordid details here. We successfully reached the good dirt road and eventually the paved highway where we took short detours to little villages eventually nearing Caicara del Orinoco. Suffice to say, we're in a little pousada tonight, thanking our lucky stars.
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