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South America

Welsh Tea in Gaiman, Argentina

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After several glorious days of being off-grid and off-line in Península Valdés, we needed to find a campground with Internet access so that Gregor could work. Our friends, John and Paula (Our Bigger Picture), were travelling with us and they wanted some Internet time, too. Based on traveller reviews in iOverlander, we chose to camp in the quaint Welsh village of Gaiman. (more…)

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Parrots and Penguins and Whales, Oh My! (Península Valdés, Argentina)

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Gregor and I carefully timed our drive across Argentina so that we could be on the Atlantic Coast during the month of October. That’s the month when migrating Southern Right Whales arrive in peak numbers on the shores of Península Valdés. It’s also the time when Magellanic penguins mate at the rookeries along Argentina’s coast. Having been land-locked for a month, we were looking forward to seeing the ocean again. (more…)

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Andean Foothills

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After a short stay in the city of Mendoza, we headed for the foothills of the Andes mountains to enjoy some nature time. The Andean foothills (precordillera) is a dry desert-like region where you can find wine valleys, ranches, cowboys, paleontological sites, and oil-extracting pumpjacks. It just so happens that the foothills in our home province of Alberta has plenty of ranches, cowboys, paleontological sites, and pumpjacks (but no wine valleys). As we drove through the Andean precordillera, we couldn’t help but feel at home.
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Entering Argentina: The Money Story

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Gregor and I were super excited to enter Argentina. We were 19 months into our Pan-American journey and we still hadn’t set Lucky’s wheels on Argentine soil. There was a good reason to wait: we needed Lucky to be in tip-top shape before entering the country. Frankly, Argentina is not the place for your vintage camper van to have a breakdown. Reputable VW mechanics are scarce and foreign car parts are inaccessible due to the country’s unfavourable import policies. (more…)

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Northern Chile: Go Big or Go Home

Camilo took us to a site where monster mining trucks were parked for maintenance.
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Entering Chile was like entering the first world again. Gregor and I had just finished driving Bolivia’s Lagunas Route, where the roads were pure dirt and we had little contact with civilization for four days. Once we crossed into Chile, we found ourselves on a pristine highway with speed limit signs, tidy shoulders, SOS stations, and runaway lanes – all indicators of a safety-conscious society. At the Chilean Customs office, the uniformed officials took away our Bolivian fruits and vegetables – the protocol of a highly regulated agriculture industry. And when we were charged $30 CAD to “camp” in a hostel parking lot, well, there was no denying that we had entered a country of means. (more…)

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