2017-11-10 Day 190 Fri

Had a slow morning. Had a look at the leaking diesel breather, cleaned it up and put thread tape on it. Also siliconed more of the bellows between the cab and the home, so hopefully it will not leak quite as fast.

Climbed into and walked along a gorge. The parrots were very noisy and do not sound like ours in Australia.

Spent most of the drive bumping on a yellow cobblestoned. 80km is too long for that sort of road.

We were getting low on fuel again but when we got to the valley floor we asked a truck driver and he indicated further on. Found fuel in the next town. Lady had just climbed into truck full of watermelons to leave but she got out and sold us 6 x 10lt jerry cans at S/5 per litre. Great price.

Found a road up a hill and camped there for the night amongst the giant cacti and green trunked shrubs.

2017-11-09 Day 189 Thu

Had a great run north to Cochabamba on this white road. Only got busy when we were in the city, no big trucks and polite drivers. A very different city than our last entry from the SW 4 months ago. Arrived at the Brazil consulate to find out our time was wrong (again). It was just before nine when we arrived. Take clocks back another hour…….
Looks like getting a Brazilian visa is easy but they want a detailed itinerary of our remaining time in Bolivia??? The cost is about AU$35 but has just gone a up a little but they were unsure of cost. We decided to get the visa in Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Half way between here and the border.

Dropped into a supermarket and had a big shop. The parking attendant was very good to us and parked us across the end close to the store as we wouldn’t fit into the covered parking area.
Drove out of town in the rain and trucks. A very slow trip as the trucks were slow uphill and no passing lane. I passed the same truck 3 times. When we were behind a slower truck he would overtake where I was not comfortable doing so. Again we observed very poor overtaking abilities.

We noticed a wind farm then a sign to it. We turned of  and paid our S/10 (A$2) and drove down to them. Were uncertain whether we could drive in but a guy said yes. We camped for the night at the highest wind turbine, A great view.

2017-11-08 Day 188 Wed

The school kids walked up the hill to their bus stop. We knew they were on their way as we heard the horn being played again.

Finally turned off the dusty road, much better without the trucks. Gave a lady with a baby strapped to her back and her young son a lift. We could not communicate as she did not seem to speak Spanish. We must have turned the wrong way for her destination so she signaled that they wanted out.

Arrived into Capinota which we visited on July 9th, 4 months ago. We arrived in from the SW this time. On leaving we got caught up with trucks and it took us 30 mins to get out of the town. There is a cement factory here and I assume they are bringing in the materials.

Turned off on the yellow road that we had missed 4 months ago. More trucks, followed about 10 along the road. Finally they turned off. What a relief. At the bitumen we stopped to pump the tyres up and low and behold the trucks started turning onto the bitumen from another road, Hadn’t lost them at all….
We needed a camp so turned east on a lesser road (white) Which turned onto a red road on the north side of a lake but nowhere to camp. So we turned north on a white road and climbed up and found a wonderful camp over looking the valley.

2017-11-07 Day 187 Tue

Continued our drive on the road thru a small village and the road became a track. Needed to open two wires on two separate fences At the tiny village of Catuyo we stopped to take a photo of the square. It was well maintained and only had a single row of houses around it. A lamb was in one of the fenced garden plots. Spoke to an old man and old looking lady. They age before their time with this hard life.

Fueled up at Calhuasi for S/8 per litre with a receipt, or S/6 without. We chose without so just over AU$1 per litre. In the cities foreigners are charged about S/9 per litre. For the next 90km’s there were major road works. We were on a new temporary road while a duel carriage way was being built. Turned off on a yellow which was muddy as. Must have just received some rain and lots of trucks were using it. We think it may have recently been graded which added to the mess. We followed the grader up a hill and the road was great although still lots of dump trucks bringing gravel up the hill.

Had internet coverage so decide to stop early. Found a lovely cheeky camp spot on a high corner of road but no Internet so drove backup the hill to camp on a corner overlooking spectacularly rough and colored hills. Internet seemed to come and go on the breeze. Still many trucks.

The school kids disembarked from their bus and walked down the hill one guy playing the trumpet.

2017-11-06 Day 186 Mon

 -4.5°C. Did an unplanned clean while johns jeans were soaking in a tub of very hot water. John cleaned the outside windows and maps with hot water and I cleaned the inside of the canvas. One of my cleaning sprays seems to remove a lot of the black marks. Looks much better.

A drive up to the clump of trees with really interesting bark, seem to live within a very narrow altitude range at about 4420m. We then continued around the volcano on a rather rough road. Had a quick lunch sitting beside the road looking at the vulcan.
Exited the park and pumped our tyres back up to 65psi then onto a road heading East towards lake Poopo. We had traversed the south East corner of this area last time in Bolivia. Lake Poopo was the second largest in the country and although it was designated for conservation in 2002 it has since dried up with doubt that it will ever recover. This is partly due to climate change and partly due to the diversion of waters for irrigation and mining.

This area is very flat at around 3800m alt. and is not as interesting as we thought it might be. We decided to cut our trip into this area short and took a side road. We found a spot to camp just off the road in amongst the lumps of spiky grass.
A farmer on his bicycle came by for a chat and told us the 60 Llama around were his. Next a lady came to visit and have a chat. John took a photo of us together. Although we did not understand much of what she said there was lots of laughter on both sides.

2018-11-05 Day 185 Sun

Did not sleep very well and had a slight headache. Just pushing the altitude boundary.

Asked at the cabinaros (police) about the secondary boundary crossing and he said it was illegal so that stopped that thought.. Decided to head back to the termas and do some washing and arrive at the other end of road works again.

Passed about 150 trucks lined up to cross the border into Bolivia, luckily being a small private truck we drove passed them all. All worked well but after being at the border for 30 mins found out that we were in the wrong spot. So another 6 k’s into Bolivia and 150 trucks later - to exit Chile and enter Bolivia. That all went smoothly.
Everyone in cars, bicycles, and buses had to take their bags into the building with them to have them scanned. They just checked our compliance plates….

We had felt sorry for the trucks waiting at the road works yesterday, but to know they had another 5-10 hrs wait for the border crossing or had just had that wait. Just such an added cost to business. Over 300 trucks and drivers waiting.

About 20k’s into Bolivia is the Parque Nacional Sajama. We paid our entry fee of AU$20 each. The park surrounds the volcano Nevad Sajama(6542m) and has hot springs.
Some great fences in the park.

We had a walk up to a hill fortified in times gone by with rock fences and throwing stones. Then drove to the Geisers, which we camped right beside. Hung our washing out to dry and did some computer work.

2018-11-04 Day 184 Sat

Decision time, something that we are struggling with. We do not use I-overlander (an app for travelers) or get information from other sources, just our map. We would love to see some of this park (Vicuna) and then cross the boarder at a secondary crossing. Our map doesn’t show any buildings so not sure if we can clear immigration and customs. Decided to drive further north to a lake then take the main (fast) road to Putrin and do some shopping and get some diesel.
The roads have been great so far. Met a Belgium brother and sister cycling so stopped for a chat. Walter has cycled up form Porte Natales. His sister Anna joined him for a time. Walter has cycled the west coast of Africa also. He said the African people made that trip for him.

We stopped at a little hut which housed a pool of hot spring water, but didn't have time for a dip.

Came to a small village which had the aqueduct run down the middle of the road! A first for us.

At 4560m altitude the lake is the 10th highest in South America and 26th highest in the world.  We arrived at the lake and main road to slot in behind a long line of trucks. But cars and mini buses were wizzing past to the front of the queue. With the binoculars we could make out that they were stopped for road works. 30 minutes later when the road was open, the first 15 trucks went, but the ones in front of us did not. We decided to pass the trucks and found out they were awaiting a weigh bridge. A very long section of road works and at the other end 101 trucks waiting to come through the other way!!

Did a quick shop at two little corner stores and bought 30lt of diesel out of jerry cans at twice the price.

The hill I had picked out for the night worked well. We sat in a saddle at 3700m a little higher than we wanted but should be ok.

2017-11-03 Day 183 Fri

Drove east into the Vicuna park. We began to wonder why the engine was laboring and although to all appearances the road was flat we were climbing steadily. Very very barren rocky desert with deep gulches everywhere.

Very different to what we have seen so far. Although our map says we are on a white road it is sealed but narrow.

We are no longer acclimatised to altitude so think we can handle about 3000m. We found a lovely hill overlooking the ground we had just driven, at about 2pm. We could not continue as the land only gets higher. We obviously were still very tired as we slept for 2 hours. A beautiful sunset.

2017-11-02 Day 182 Thur

More photos and blog, hopefully John will publish them for me and I’ll be all up-to-date. Had notification that EC will not be ready till 6pm. Do we stay another night or make a dash for a campsite before it is dark at 8pm?

2017-11-01 Day 181 Wed.

A public holiday. I went back to sleep. I think we wore ourselves out in Australia. John spent most of the day programming. I worked on photos and blog as well as downloading some movies for EC. I had another sleep after lunch. JA all-told had 3 catnaps - a record….

2017-10-31 Day 180 Tue.

Went to see Kauffmann to find out that the vehicle would not be ready till Thursday COB (tomorrow being another public holiday). A bit of a disappointment as they have had her for  over 2 weeks.
Got a few things from the vehicle and booked an apartment. Finally got into the apartment at 3. Went for a walk uptown to buy some food & wine. I had another sleep.

2017-10-30 Day 179 Mon

Although we flew back into Santiago Chile last night we decided to continue our blog from today.

We spent the morning on some paperwork and sleeping. We checked out at 12 and walked to the restaurant to await Jose and Marcela. Liguria Bar and Restaurant is a well known restaurant with lots of waiters. The wine and alcohol menu was very large with a small food menu. Most wine only available by the bottle. It was nice to finally meet Jose and thank him for finding and purchasing the tires for us. We had carried two bottles of Patricia over for him.

Caught a taxi to hotel for our bags and then out to the airport for flight to Arica on which we slept.

Taxied to our hotel which was a 'bit' colorful. Had a walk outside in the markets then back to bed.

2017-10-11 Day 178 Wed

Arrived at Kaufmann at what we thought was 8am handed over vehicle and took taxi to airport only to discover that we were still running on Peru time 2 hours late…..

Sat in the airport for another 14hrs and caught the next flight to Santiago.

2017-10-10 Day 177 Tue

Spent some time at Kaufmann sorting out the service and tires. Got permission to drop the vehicle off at 8am so we would have time to catch our 10am flight.

Visited TNT and paid for the freight $200 and asked for the tires to be delivered to Kaufmann.

Found a camp north of the city out on the beach and packed our bags.

2017-10-09 Day 176 Mon

Drove to the Peru/Chile border and crossed without any concerns. We did not have one of the pieces of paperwork, a lady in the queue said she had a spare and retrieved it from her car. The Chile Customs took all our food scraps (I had not found a pig to feed in the past few days). All the other food had been cooked including the eggs so all good there. They did not want the ginger.

Found Kaufmann after traveling a few roads, but they were closed for a public holiday. Located TNT for our tires so we knew where to go the next day. 

Found a nice spot above the ocean south of Arica and had an early camp and lazy afternoon.

2017-10-08 Day 175 Sun

The sealed road only lasted a few more km’s then back to gravel. Drove through some fantastic dessert. 

I was feeling a bit time pressured as we needed to get to Arica by the 9th to give us a few days to organize the vehicle parking and service, collect 4 new tyres  and who knows what will be around the next corner.

A lot of work is being done on this road and we were wondering if they will seal it.

The road improved greatly and in the end we were doing our set limit of 75kph. We made it to Los Palos just a 30 min drive before the border to Chile.

We finally found a nice camp on the beach after a few false starts.


2017-10-07 Day 174 Sat

Had breakfast in the house with Marie family and students. We wondered up town to the markets to try to find a hat for JG. Didn’t find what we were looking for but found a hat and a little cap and Jumper for Greg and Lisa’s baby. Spent some time in EC waiting for Maria. Finally John went to get out laundry off the line and woke Maria.

Got Johns glasses and said our goodbye’s. Headed out of town rather late… SE towards Puquina.

We had trouble getting on high way, the entry ramp had road works on it. So rather a long way round to join up with highway. Then a road block where we watched a policeman try to get a big truck around a very tight corner with cars and bikes getting in the way. The truckie gave up and parked, I guess he will wait till the road reopens.

I think the witch directed us on the wrong road, as after 2hrs of very rough road, we joined onto a sealed road, what a relief. On dusk we turned onto a side road along a ridge and camped near a aqua duct.

64km today.

2017-10-06 Day 173 Fri

-6.3°C last night. Caterina and Adrian did not freeze into their roof top tent. Together we drove out a different route which at times was quite rough. Lots of Vacuna and Suri which is on the endangered list. Said good bye and then decided instead of going all the way round on red road we would cut the corner off the park.

Great white road across but when we got to the red road very glad we had not gone around. Very, very rough and corrugated. Stopped near the salt lake for lunch. The salt lake was being dug up and put into trucks – not the salt but the mud underneath. Saw about 15 trucks motoring across the salt.

Saw two salt-devils out on the salt pan.
Arrived into Areiquipa and did a quick shop. Don't want to buy much as Chile will take all fresh fruit & veg & eggs off us.

Parked outside Maria’s house which has had a major face-lift and looks great. We gave EC a quick internal clean and then Maria came out to see us. Great to catch up. We had a shower and took a couple of bottles of wine and sat in the lovely front garden. An Alaskan family and an American lady, are all staying here so lots of talking. Chicken soup for supper and off to bed.

2017-10-05 Day 172 Thu

Woke up to watch eagles gliding below us. A great view. Have decided to go north of Arequipa into the Reserva National Salinas y Aguada Blanca and not to enter it from the southern side.
The red road that skirts Arequipa to the West is obviously the main route to Cusco and Puno. Full of trucks and buses. A fast road but way too busy for our liking….

The train that kept us awake while staying in Arequipa with Maria.

We finally found a track off the road and perched on a hillock for lunch. Just as we were cleaning up we had visitors. Yes Adrian and Caterina (from ICA supermarket) had seen us perched and stopped by. They informed us that the southern route into the park was not passable. We decided to go find a camp spot together

The two roads into the park on our map had been closed off but google maps showed another that was still usable, so we drove down a lovely smooth sandy track to the reservoir and camped above it.
Saw one Vacuna chasing another so stopped and watched. We assume that the Alfa male was removing a young male from his herd.

We had a nice time in EC Chatting and eating dinner. Nice to get to know some fellow traveling Aussies.

2017-10-04 Day 171 Wed

Drove down more switchbacks on a rough road to the archeology site. No one was around so we entered and had a look around. A big site and well worth a visit.

Now on a reasonable yellow dirt road. Which finally turned to bitumen. The valley floors here are well irrigated. There are small herds of dairy cows and lots of different crops growing.

We had a diversion around road-works which was not well signposted, but finally found the guy waving a red stop sign in a corn field. A very narrow windy road up out of the river bed. Made it to the tarseal again only to initially turn the wrong way until map was consulted. We had crossed from one converging road onto the other so were now on the other side of the valley.

Starting at 400m alt we drove up the side of a cliff to the top at 1050m alt. We camped overlooking the very fertile valley floor.

2017-10-03 Day 170 Tues

Heard the bus leave at 6am so the road is cleared. Drove out about 7am as we need to make some miles. The skinny road around the hill was very well maintained and we made good time. Also being around the side of the hill we had good visibility of on coming traffic which were few.

We were going to take a white bypass south of Cotahausi but it had a sign indicating that there was a 5 tonne limit to road. Finally dove into Cotahausi and refueled.

As we were leaving we read a sign saying at the 258km mark the road was only passable for 15 minutes at 10am and 3pm and for 1 hour between 12 and 1pm. it was only 9.30am so we parked outside town as no camions (trucks) were allowed. We walked passed two big dump trucks as we walked into the main square to get some printing done.

We drove out of town and up switch backs. The 258km mark was only 20kms from us, so we would probably have a wait. The 258km came and went with no roadworks to be seen. Glad we hadn't decided to wait out the time at the bottom of the hill…. Don’t seem they use signs very effectively.

We turned off on a yellow rd to take a short cut to Maucallacta an archeology site above the town of San Antonio. We passed some amazing colors in the hills. The road started as a yellow and slowly degraded to a “Not passable”. The rains in March had washed a lot of material off volcan coropuna (7244m) onto the track.
Another set back.

We drove out and puts some rocks across the road to indicate that it was not passably. Drove the long way around then turned back north towards the ruins on a white road.
We camped at 3700m alt on the side of the road with Internet!!! Difficult to get level though. Still a little down in the back despite perching on some large rocks.

2017-10-02 Day 169 Mon

Continued our high pass to Cotahausi. The track became very rough, however it became a bit better after joining another road. Very barren and desert like up here. fantastic view looking down 2000m’s onto Cotahausi. Saw our first condor circle above us.

As we descended we saw a very large Llama herd; about 300 animals. 3hrs and 50km’s later, half way down the serious descent from 4200-2700m we were stopped by an overtaking ute.

The guy explained to me that there was a road block that they had been working on for 4 months. He explained what road we should take which was good, and we needn’t retrace much of yesterdays drive, just four km’s past last night's camp.
So we turned around and retraced our steps. There was a triangular road which we took as a detour, hoping it would be better, which it was for a while, then degraded. But a beautiful drive across the high plain wetlands.

We had lunch overlooking another beautiful high lake (4700m alt), 2.5 hrs and 60km’s later. Nearly back to the turn off.
We turned off onto the white road which was well maintained and headed down to Chacana. 52 switchbacks later we were stopped by a  police man as drove through the town square. No Passe! Rockfall last night should be cleared tonight or tomorrow morning…. What a let down. So we pulled up at the main village square for the night (3390m alt).