January 2023- Argentina
After the fun flavors of a Welsh tea room the scenery really began to change. We found ourselves on long, boring stretches of highway, with seldom another vehicle. But what we did see plenty of were Nandu and Guanaco. Check out these photos. (I apologize for the blurriness, it is either distance or blowing dust and debris)
Nandu are emu-sized birds that flourish in Southern Argentina. Guanaco are a camelid that is similar to a llama or alpaca and roam in small herds. These two animals are abundant in this region which is called “The Pampas” of Argentina.
The region includes the eastern coastline. And we followed that pretty closely along the Ruta 3. Our stops included wonderful little municipal campgrounds. You may remember the dogs from a recent post. Well, this guy has a much gentler life that those dogs. He is the campground host that spends most of his time near the office door, begging for chips and candy. When he is satiated, he rolls on his back against the cool wall, notice the dirt stains from his frequent upside-down naps!
It was somewhere along this coastline that we had a mechanical issue. We broke an OEM leaf spring! Six tons of truck camper plus terrible potholes made for a disaster. We went to the nearest town and found someone to offer a temporary fix.
This trouble would plague us for quite a long while, as we tried to locate a skilled craftsman to assist. The length and quality of metal materials needed to fabricate new springs was tough to come by. But the patch and clamp work was sufficient for us to continue driving.
We had a French Mirage 2000 Fighter take off from the top of our camper. This jet was used in the Falkland (Malvinas) Island War between Argentina and the United Kingdom. We visited a museum that taught us much more about that war than we ever learned in our history classes. The battle is over, but the conflict is still a sensitive topic to the Argentineans.
We continued south along the coastline as we communicated with mechanics who thought they could make the leaf springs we needed. We spent a night in this guys shop, but he avoided us all the next day and it was clear that he could not do what we needed done.
We stopped at seaside restaurants and ate a delicious version of pasta with langostino and cheese sauce. This food, langostino, is confusing because it sounds like lobster (langosta), and tastes like shrimp (camaron). But it is this size of a shrimp on the plate. Finally at the beach we spotted some of their shells laying among the rocks. I think you will associate this to a freshwater creature that goes by a few different names- crawdad, crayfish, crawfish, mudbug, etc. But this saltwater variety is served commonly and also used as bait for catching larger fish.
While parked at a lovely beach for dog walks, we were greeted by a very nice young man. He knocked on the camper door and handed us two bottle of a distinctly American soda pop product, Mountain Dew. He explained that he goes to the USA with his family frequently and he always brings back a lot of this soda. He saw our truck parked near his home and he figured that if we were so far from home, we must miss Mountain Dew, so he shared his stash with us! Such kindness is typical everywhere we go, even in the Southern Hemisphere.
While in town, we stopped at a grocery store with a beautiful mural on the wall. I took this photo of the mural, with no idea of the foreshadowing it held for us. I hope you will follow our blog so you can be with us when we see, smell, hear and feel this actual location!
At the door of the grocery store were two sweet dogs. These two were clearly told to stay outside and wait for their owner to finish shopping. Their obedience was adorable. They were there when we entered, and still there when we left. Clearly patient pooches.
It was time to cross into the small section of Chile that begins what is known as Tierra del Fuego. The border crossing was the windiest, coldest and longest crossing we have endured in many years. We took turns standing in line for over four hours.
It was nearly dark when we entered Chile. But we made it, and we added the Chilean flag to the front of the camper. Another country, another stamp in the passport, another document for the truck. Stay with us to see what surprises we find in this little southern sliver of a long, thin country!
2 thoughts on “A fighter jet, broken steel and windy roads!”
Me thinks that is an actual photo of the marble caves and not a painted mural. Super impressed if I am wrong. Love following this blog. I’ll be blazing my own trails soon enough.
😆Cheeto used to sleep that way!!
Would love to see how Mike got the jet offf the camper 😉😜😘