26, 27, 28, 29 July..Pantanal to Porto Velho

Trip Start Jun 22, 2013
Trip End Aug 27, 2013

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Rondonia,
Monday, July 29, 2013

26, 27, 28, 29 July

Pantanal to Porto Velho

It has been a very long drive from the Pantanal to here; the country side has been pretty much unchanging, as it rolls by

The internet hasn't been found at all during these past days

Writing and posting a blog here (Brazil) has to be the hardest blog I have ever written, days pass with nothing to say, nothing to post, no photos, no power for the laptop

It’s been very quiet on the truck, people just reading, dozing or gazing out of the window

It has just been a succession of pit stops along the way, cook group shopping and snack buying, and not because anyone is hungry, it’s just for something to do, it’s beginning to really drag between places, and they are so far apart

The weather has gone from one extreme to another now; it’s up in the 90’s and not a cloud in the sky

The bush camps have been some of the strangest bush camps ever, we camped at the back of a service station, which very nice, but the ground was hard and I am just glad I bought 9 inch nails rather than tent pegs and there were trucks moving around all night

We found a place that had a swimming pool and concrete water slides, so most people went off for a dip, I went off to look around this place, it’s all natural, it’s not stored water, it’s a river and the owner has erected several dams and sluiceways, then erected water slides and an ingenious array of pipes to channel water and give the effect of a pool, he just didn’t smooth off the concrete too well and a couple of people left skin behind and collected a few bruises on the slides

But there was a half decent grass area to camp on, not really sure why, but the owner kept setting fire to piles of leaves, it certainly kept the mozzies away though, even though the smoke did blow around a lot and we all smelt like a bonfire

We stopped to get the cook groups food, Mario and I found a place that had spit roast chicken and ribs, it was too good to pass up, so we bought a chicken and split it between us, best bit of grub for ages, but we should have bought the ribs as well

We then went to a National park, but it was closed due to some strike action, so we camped on a roundabout, nice soft grass, but a dog barked most of the night,

I am really getting to hate dogs that bark just for the sake of barking, and there seems to be a lot of them over here in Brazil

It was an early start to get to Porto Velho, we were even early leaving, everything put away and the area tidy, we set off, but about a mile or two down the road, it was a full stop, there was a long line of traffic that was going nowhere (so much for our early start) we stopped got out, just milled around, we couldn’t turn round, we couldn’t go anywhere, just had to wait it out, still with no idea what the problem is, someone got a ball out and it was an impromptu volley ball game (with no net and just a couple of players) it seemed to amuse the rest of the people in the traffic (who just watched or sat in or on their cars

After an hour or so the traffic  started moving, it was a scramble to get on the truck, we hadn’t lost anyone at least, so we arrived in Porto Velho, right opposite the 17 regiment infantry division HQ and their training ground, we had a go at some of the gear outside, weights and stuff then we found our hostel, got our kit in our rooms, I was desperate for a shower, well I sort of had one, then the water went off, so there was me all soaped up and no way to rinse off, glad to say the water came back on (I think everyone was having a shower and it emptied the tanks)

We are only here the one night, so there isn’t much time to see or do much, the consensus was to do a boat trip up and down the river (to me a bit of a waste of time) that is exactly what it was, a 30 minute trip, up and down the river, the only thing we saw was the river and we didn’t even find out the name of it

There were a couple of old steam trains on track, near what looked like old train sheds, this place must have something to do with trains, there are trains and sheds all over the place, but no information I can find or understand, but they seemed worthy of a photo or two

It is actually just too hot to wander round outside, even the locals are seeking out every scrap of shade, and shops have closed up (not sure if it’s for the rest of the day though) even close up the road and pavement shimmers with the heat

There has been a lot of military action in the sky, I have seen several apache gunships fly by and several jets (too high to see what they are though) all the guard towers have troops in them (maybe they know something we don’t)

I think we are all meeting up for a meal tonight, but I don’t really know what people are doing, they have all disappeared in search of the internet

Colin has gone off with the truck to get the wheels realigned or made round or something, but whatever it is he isn’t happy with it, so he is getting it fixed


All through this trip I have found lots of places that have free coffee, mainly garages though, it has been quite funny for some on the truck (more like a standing joke), I seem to be able to find coffee in the most obscure places, I don’t have a problem with drinking beer or anything really, but the beer isn’t really the best I have had, it’s more like drinking cold fizzy water to me, but there are some on the truck who enjoy it (the cool box is full of the stuff, along with bottles of coke and rum) but only problem I have with this free coffee is, it’s just so sweet, they don’t use sugar to sweeten it, they use this one cal stuff, its sweeter than sugar (if it wasn’t they wouldn’t have any teeth left) but coffee is coffee and it may not be as good as the stuff the wife makes me (bless her) but it does in a pinch and its better than no coffee

Collin and Danny have really been the best guide and driver I have come across, Colin tries his real best to give us a comfortable ride in the back, and we don’t get bounced about, so sitting anywhere on the truck is good, he is always out checking tyres and other parts on the truck, and he made a real effort to get the new light cluster replaced (after it was broken in a secure car park)he spends a lot of time going over different routes on Google maps, trying to avoid some of the poorer roads, they may not be the shortest routes, but it saves getting bogged down or going somewhere that just aint worth going to

Danny is either researching our next stop or preparing lunch for the following day, or sorting out the 'books’ or accounts, but he knows exactly what there is at our next stop and is full of bits of useful information, ATM’s, banks, shopping

Both are really nice guys as well, they just can’t help the route we are following or the weather, but as we all know this is an EXPLORATORY trip and hasn’t been done before, so we’re sort of blazing a trail for others to follow (hopefully with less long driving days)
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colin on

thanks derrick, the name of the river is RIO MADEIRA. the main feeder of the amazon basin / 6th largest river in the world (volume wise)

ps. you should stop napping on the truck, then you would notice the views changed alot! even danny has stopped napping ;)

derrick241 on

Thanks for the update on the river, Colin, very much appreciated, and of course your comments are appreciated, especially if it can put names to rivers, places, birds and animals

Sorry about the kipping, :-) just too many long drives :-(


Your crew have done an exceptional job for everyone. From an operators point of view I really find exploratory trips like this to be a bit of a waste of time for both crew and passengers. We all need to find new places to go to and check out but I have always found it is best to stick to tried and true, trusted areas and perhaps just go and explore possible areas nearby without going to areas that have little or no focal appeal whatsoever. There are countless hundreds of places here in Australia that I could drive thousands of boring miles to get to which would have absolutely no appeal to anyone and there are other remote areas that are worth the drive. Oasis have some great itineraries for South America and my idea would be to perhaps do sectors of a longer trip and add a few 2-5 day diversions off the main route to add some new sights then back to the main itinerary. You must include the touristy places always and new diversions are a bonus if you can plan a good side diversion .I go off the highway for about 30 kms and drop into a ghost town complete with tumbleweeds, abandoned buildings and historical advertising signs etc...people love it...just a little something extra that no one else does, the old railway station platform, tracks long gone...........
Now I see the weather has done a complete about face and is very hot...you cannot win . .....Loved the trains and your other pics. It must be coming to an end fairly soon I guess....Dont think you will be joining Annand and Deepti in September though. cheers Dj

Anne on

The swinning pool looked o so you didnt go in
Nice to see some photos of you
The train looks nice

Jim on

Although some of the long drives might get a bit boring, at least you see what others don't see- so I think the pioneer spirit shows, mate. You all seem to be wearing the journey well, and it is an exploratory one, so you might geta little tired, and bored, occasionally, but if they did not try it for you, it might have been boringly touristy, and meeting different people in these out of the way places, like you do gives a better insight in my opinion.
The pictures are always helpful, showing that 'oasis' and that mans efforts to create something from nothing, The train looks in very good nick. The Caymen look tasty bed mates- Thanks for taking so much time and trouble to write and show us the good, and sometimes the not so good.
Enjoy your journey of discovery.

travelmonster on

This trip sounds so much better organised than the last one.

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