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14th March – Volcanoes are just the Earths pimples

First up, I need to say that my discipline to have daily reports is something similar to buying a British Vintage Car. Most of
the time it works well and as expected, however, sometimes for no reason at all it does not play by the rules and doesn’t work. So just pretend you have bought a British Vintage car by subscribing to my blog and you will never be let down 😀 Awesome!

Yesterdays funniest story first (by my standards). Driving through rural Chile and me and Dad both comment on the fact that we are in a nice area. The entire region was just nice, big farms, big houses, nice driveways and fences. We say “this is a really classy and respectable farming region here.” Not 30 seconds later we drive past a large “Welcome to some town” sign and someone has spray painted a giant cock and balls on it! I couldn’t stop laughing! I’m not sure why father dearest didn’t find it as funny as I did. I thought it was the best and funniest thing since Dad’s hat blew off his head onto the road.

There must have been more olive tree’s in one valley we drove through yesterday than all of Australia’s olives trees put together. I have noted so far that Chile has an abundance of 3 things, vineyards, olives, and gravel. They should never ever ever run out of gravel to make roads. It seems that gravel covers 90% of the surface of every mountain in the Ande’s.

Chile still does not cease to amaze in all aspects. From the aridest of arid deserts in the north, the temperamental volcanoes, vast farming lands, earthquake remnants near big bridges all the way to Ferrari’s zip lining down side streets in Santiago and horse and carts carrying pumpkins to the market not more than 1km from the cbd of Chile’s biggest city. I still cannot describe Chile – let alone South America – in words for the sheer reason that every corner of every region is just on a different scale.

Piccies will come after I call roadside assistance to come collect a broken down British car. Most likely tomorrow arvo.

Tonights little stop in Pucon should have the most spectacular sunrise in the morning. The sun is expected to beam up and over some nameless (named but I just don’t know it) volcanoes which stands guard next to a large lake. The kind of lake and volcano set-up you would expect any wealthy Chilean to have an exorbitant holiday house on the lakeside and have their Malibu ski boat dry-docked or mored at a private boat club. Yep. This town has it all. Huge houses on huge acreage with huge front gates with huge boats next to huge mountains and a huge lake. Huge.

Only a few trucks slowed us down on the time trial today and after some street-side rumors it sounds like we were a few seconds faster than Billy Boy in the Bentley (our strongest competitor in our class) which firmly secures our still equal tied first position until tomorrow. Lloyd and Chuck in a big ass white Cadillac are neck and neck with us and every afternoon there is at least 5-10 minutes of quality banter on what will happen. It usually ends up with us being called convicts or something of the sort.


12th March – Por favor. Si si. Gracias!

IMG_4098Back in Chile now. And in more sense than the country name it was stupidly chilly today. From the laxed Intercontinental at Mendoza to the bustling Intercontinental here in Santiago stood the herculean Andes, and once again we had to drive by ancient glaciers ever making their way to the bottom. The last rest day of the rally was welcomed by all yesterday, everyone just chilly out. Well, almost everyone. Steve Hyde had to pull his engine apart and change head gasket. Mark and Chris in the Model A had planned to spend the afternoon changing tyres which were sent from Buenos Aires Ford Model A club which were never sent, so it looks like their tyres will be somewhere close to as bald as a badgers bum by the time we finish in Ushuaia. I am well rested, which is highly important of course!!

Another swift border crossing at 3 kilometers above sea level. Either side of the few buildings huddles together is essentially 50k’s of road winding along a contour of a valley or just switchback after switchback and then a few rolling and twisting hills. We even drove past the smallest ski fields I have ever seen in my life. One or two T-Bar rope pulls going what seems to be up vertical cliffs with a hotel plonked at the base with at most 25 rooms! So peculiar. On the way up to the border we had to stop twice because it was just getting so cold!! Small puddles of water were frozen over and on the way down we had to do the exact opposite.

We have driven through very little villages or small towns over the past few days, only large city to large city and especially in Argentina there is nothing apart from grazing cattle when out of urban regions. Chile seems to be much more agricultural with bulk tobacco and other fruity tree things that I cannot name but i’m sure Dad ‘farmer’ Stephenson will be more than happy to give you a detailed lesson on all kinds of flora.

In other news, Dad’s hat flew off his head today while in the car. Lucky I’m nice and went back to get it for him. I’ll put that one on the list 🙂

My new favorite food is Empanadas! omg they are amazing. Pretty much just a meat pasty. I hope they take the world by storm just the same way Sushi has. Meat and veggie filled pastries are gods gift to my taste buds.

The Spanish don’t do dinner untill way late in the evening so I’m thinking I will squeeze in a power nap before hand. Don’t tell Dad because he will

say that I am getting old like the rest of them : Maybe I wont nap. Maybe I’ll power through just on principal.

More updates tomorrow 😀


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11th March – WAKE UP GOEFF!

Yesterday morning begun at somewhat of a frantic pace. Dad’s phone was still set on Chilean time and apparently we learnt the hard way that Chilean daylight savings ended on saturday night, but here in the depths of Argentina it does not. So we wake up at our agreed time of 6:30 to be in the road well and truly by 7:30, and I look out the window and it seems brighter than usual.

I look at my watch and it is already 7:30. “ummm, Dad? Did you put our alarm an hour later, Because it is 7:30.” Needless to say we were in a flurry of packing and throwing down some croissants for a speedy breakky. Sculling hot coffee is not ideal, hear it from someone who learnt the hard way. It took us 33 minutes from when the alarm went off to when we drove past our hotel even AFTER going 2k’s down the road to fuel up. It is strange knowing that we were the last car on the road. Being at the back is not something I am use to 😛

Alas, we made it into Mendoza and to all the tests in plenty of time for our rest day today. Our distributor has been playing up today but Dad has diagnosed the problem and fixed everything in a few hours work.

More stunning canyons and exposed rock driving, everything is slowing getting greener as well which is nice. I’m going to have a mid-afternoon nap to try and recuperate and prepare for 11 days driving on the trot. Next stop, Ushuaia.




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9th March – “Base camp, come in base camp. We need some assistance”

IMG_4016It is a bit embarrassing running out of fuel. Considering we can carry just over 200 liters for 1000km’s of range. We were light on fuel with 80k’s of range as we left thismorning and had instructions that fuel was at 60k’s and 30k’s after that. Well, the first gas station was non existent and Penny didn’t particularly like breathing on fumes and spat the dummy and decided not to drive any further. Good thing Traecy and Hayden in Lola, came to our rescue for our two beautiful cars had some roadside coitus. The Porsche dangling his fuel line into Penny’s receiving rear tank.

I am so sick of the desert. God damn it just won’t end. Seriously, hot and dry. I need a bit of cold or tropical rainforest to mix things up a bit. We had a slight break in Salta for a hundred k’s or so as we drove through a valley that regularly got thunderstorms, it was even green enough for grazing cattle.

We had slipped back to equal first position after not going quite fast enough on the track yesterday. Not to worry, in Patagonia we have lots of regularity sections and Dad and I are getting the hang of it, watch out, big gold trophy here we come!

I was walking out through the car park just before and heard Stanley (car 12) mumbling and grumbling from severe disappointment. His number 1 navigator had ruthlessly hacked his beard off at day 24 in a fit of rage. Paddy says that he can’t believe he lasted this long without shaving, everyone else suspects his better half Tania had something to do with it 🙂


Only Adrian and I are still in comp for the infamous beard-off. IMG_4014

More stunning driving today (albeit only for a short quirt) on graded gravel roads through some canyons with sheer drop offs on the river side. The cliff edges were thankfully on my side of the car so dad did have what he describes as ‘heart flutters’

when he deems my speed be in excess of what should be driven so close to a precarious precipice. We are now on day 24 and Dad’s midday nap count is at least to 30 something. Classic Dad.

Another solid day drive through the endless silly desert tomorrow and a rest day at Mendoza. Bulk piccies will ensue from there. Catchya then amigos!


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