There´s no toilet paper on the road less travelled

Trip Start Jan 15, 2006
Trip End Sep 05, 2006

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Saturday, February 25, 2006

Brad has been doing a great job sharing the play-by-play highlights of our travels (along with his political musings and pontifications). But before we arrive tomorrow in the bright lights and big city of Buenos Aires, I wanted to sum up the Patagonia portion of our expedition in a few factoids that until now have not been shared. For any of you out there that might also be comtemplating (translation, crazy enough to) travel by Jeep Wrangler across continents, you might take special note.

Patagonia by Jeep - Executive Summary

*No. Miles driven: 5,000 miles (mostly on unpaved, dusty roads)
*No. of bumps in the road: Too many to count, but rest assured, in a Jeep you feel every one!
*No. times ran out of gas: Just one (see prior entry)
*No. of cracks in our windshield: 2 big ones, thanks to errant rocks from passing trucks smashing into us (we are going to get it replaced in Buenas Aires)
*No. of roadside stops that have TP in the Ladies Bano: 1 out of 10 (and what they do have, when they have it, is made from RECYCLED tissue. It´s so thin, it's almost a 'why bother')
*No. of times we have had seperate beds: At least a dozen. Catholism is definitely alive and well in Patagonia. What we would call ¨a double¨ room in the USA, they call ¨Matrimonial¨. I quickly show them Brad´s wedding band when I ask for such a room so they know we are ¨legit¨. Thank goodness we got married before the trip or I would be feeling like we were staying in sin. Even though we qualify for a matrimonial bed supply seems low so we have often ended up getting a room with two tiny twins (and Brad, at 6´4, often has to sleep with his feet dangling off the bed´s edge).
*No. times to be blown over in the wind: Technically zero. But while camping in Torres del Paines, I ALMOST was blown over 3 times (I told Brad he should be proud that his wife is light enough to get blown away in the wind. 'Course, that is only in Patagonia where the winds HOWL and wip through the valleys at up to 60 mph, but details smetails.)
*No. times caught in the rain: 5 times.
*No. times to stop on roadside in frantic attempt to put soft top up: 3 times (yes, your math is correct. That means we did get stuck in the rain twice and just kept driving like MAD, hoping to drive fast enough and make it to the other side of the rain clouds before getting soaked).
*No. times our "out drive the rain strategy" worked: 1 out of 2 times. The second time we ended up getting pretty soaked. The Jeep (and our duffle bags bungeed on top) were a little soggy for a day.
*Best purchase: A large plastic blue tarp (now patchworked with duck tape) that can be thrown over said Jeep in 2 minutes. Can you say, life (and sanity!) saver?
*No. times we have been stopped by the police: Surprisingly to us, since we are so conspicuously gringos, only twice. And then we just showed our passports and were given a friendly wave to continue on. We thought we would encounter much more bureaucracy (and possibly even corruption?) than we have. We´ll see what Bolivia is like.
*No. times to be chased by a dog: 1 time. There is no leash law in Chile or Argentina and the dogs, which seem happy and well-fed, are free to roam around town at their leisure. This makes for happy dogs, but it can be scary when the form into a pack or when they decide to chase you. Yesterday I rounded the top of a hill on my bike and was greeted by two snarling dogs, teeth bared and growling. I heard a little kid yell ¨run¨ in spanish. I didn´t need to hear that though. I was already turning around my bike. I aimed headed straight downhill, pedaled like mad, and fortunately made a clean gettaway.
*No. times we have gone shopping: Just 1 time, for 30 minutes to buy a warmer shirt. (My husband has zero patience for shopping. If you were to look up "World's Worst Shopper", look it up in the Guinness Book of Records, and you'll see Brad´s name there. I´m hoping to up this number in Buenos Aires).
* Best drink in Chile: Hands down, the Pisco Sour. This is a wonderful frothy little blend of sugar, egg whites, and POTENT pisco. And it just takes one to feel the road weariness melt away.
* Best drink in Argentina: Alcolohic- any Malbec wine. Non-alcolohic, Matte (it is a national past-time to sip tea out of little gourds with a bombilla, or sterling straw. Only, it´s not a tea, it´s more like an ´¨herbal infusion¨. Argentinians, and South American´s, are just wild for it as we North American´s are for our Peet´s coffee).
* Best thing about traveling in a Jeep: Brad will probably say it is driving ¨TDTU¨(Top Down, Tunes Up). But for me, it is "aromatherapy". As we have driven thru the numerous clover and wild flower fields in Patagonia, I have been overwhelmed at times by the sweet fragances which one can only notice and appreciate from an open-air vehicle, including honey, mint, and licorice. (Of course, when we drive past oil fields and sheep estancias, the smell is downright noisome, but best not dwell on that).
*Best thing about the trip so far: Even on the longest, windiest day, it still BEATS THE HECK out of sitting at a desk all day!!!!

Bottom Line: We are having the time of our lives and loving (mostly) every minute! Next stop, BA.
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