Mom and Dad’s Travel Stories: Stranded at the Edge of the Earth

April 4, 2011 at 3:50 pm Leave a comment

Remember I told you parents like to travel? Well they returned this morning from a 2.5 week trip to Chile. I just confirmed that they have landed at YOW so I can now post about their trip without fear that someone will take the opportunity to steal their garden implements and power tools (ha! as if they have any…).

I am hoping they will join us tonight for dinner. I’m making this Maple Baked Beans from Oh She Glows and I know my dad loves beans (the kids probably won’t eat it but it’s worth a try).

Anyway, as usual, this trip was not without its adventure. My dad even admitted that he found this trip stressful because they found themselves in a few precarious situations. Not to mention, my mom and dad were both sick and have each come home on antibiotics.

Here’s the most interesting email (edited for length)) I got this time entitled “What’s That Smell?”:

Hi all,

We set out at 7:30am.  The program was a 1 and 1/2 hour drive to meet our sailing ship and a trip around the island we are on, mostly on the Beagle Channel (discovered by Charles Darwin, for those who are interested in a topic for term papers!).  As luck would have it, there was to be no sailing today.  The weather was gray and it was uncertain from the beginning…but we set out anyway…it would be a beautiful drive along the coast.

We travelled in an old bus, sort of like the old school buses of ‘back in the day’.  The first long hill was a challenge…we had to back up and give it another go.  After several of these difficult hills, it became apparent that the hills were not the problem, the bus was!  About ten kilometers from our destination there was a terrible smell in the bus, and those of us who have driven standard transmission cars recognized it immediately….the clutch!

We let the bus cool down a little and tried again, but no luck.  The clutch was gone, we were miles from anywhere, it was pouring rain and very windy, and the local cellphones could only be used to text….not call.  Something to do with how close we were to Argentina and politics….too complicated for us!  After several messages back and forth, it became clear:  we were closer to the ship than the lodge, but there was no transportation available from the tiny port.

Wait….. apparently a truck from the naval base was on this road and would be here within an hour…they would pick us up…yeah! Ron’s phone came in handy…as it wasn’t a Chilean cellphone, it could call directly to the lodge.  We got an update verbally that made us all feel much better.

So, we waited, we used the natural toilets on the side of the road, we had snacks….oh, no!  The ‘truck’ is an open flatbed with huge tanks of water on board….but there is room for us and the sailors are happy to accommodate!  We put on all our rain gear and climb on the back….I worry out loud that Mum will not be happy with this arrangement!

At the first hill, more trouble….the tanks break loose on one side and come hurling into us….one of the women ends up on her back with water splashing over her (not rain!) and one of the fellows gets a couple of superficial cuts on his leg.  We are all somewhat shocked, but fine!  The tanks are relashed, the sailors (Armada de Chile) apologise, and we continue on.

We finally make it to our destination at about 1pm to find that the local Naval Commander has closed the port….but our captain has found a little house nearby that belongs to a friend and has started a fire to warm us all up.  We trek up the little hill and find water boiling for coffee, a warm fire and smiling Chileans who are going to BBQ our lunch supplies!

We never did get to sail, although it cleared up enough that we got permission to go out on the zodiac to visit our little ship.  We had too much to eat, too much wine, and not enough activity today, but we will have lots of laughs telling stories about today’s adventure!

Oh…..and how did we get back to the lodge?  The Chilean Navy kindly sent their transport bus to pick us up and bring us back!

Nice people here in Tierra del Fuego!

Lots of love to all of you.

And again, they wonder why I worry…

A few photos:


Drink chilled with ice from the glacier

Dad sent this one entitled "My new cycling partner"



Entry filed under: Travel. Tags: , , .

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