December 27, 2017 – January 13th, 2018

The Waiting Game & End of Blog

While we were waiting for three packages to arrive from the States, we decided to explore the areas surrounding Santiago. 

We wanted to start with the Maipo River Valley. But first on Dec. 27th, upon trying to retrieve the truck/camper from the airport long-term parking, we discovered the truck wouldn’t start and because it was parked close to fence to allow vehicles to pass behind, we couldn’t access the hood release. With the aid of a friendly Chilean who wanted to practice his English, we called the mechanic we had used upon first arriving in Santiago who came out and his helper climbed over hood and while propped against fence, found the latch. Using their battery, they jump-started the truck. And told us that our battery was fine and didn’t need to be replaced.

So we left Santiago and stayed at Camping de Sauce in the Maipo River valley southeast of Santiago. Didn’t see many of the vineyards or wineries that the Maipo Valley is known for. 

The 28th found us continuing up the valley to the Embalsa (reservoir) de Yeso; us and 20+ tour buses. But the buses left around 3pm and we were just left with the numerous dump trucks hauling materials down the mountain. We boondocked overnight at the reservoir while the trucks rumbled by until 10pm and started up at 5am the next morning. 

Embalsa Yeso

Returning to the flatlands on the 29th, we tried to track down the wineries in Maipo but of the five we could locate, all were closed. We ended up boondocking at a Shell truck and rest area on Highway 5 south of Santiago. Large family traffic though since start of major holiday weekend. 

On the 30th we drove along the Ruta de la Fruta, a major agricultural area to Camping Naviocar located on the shores of Lago de Rapel. The Lago is a major reservoir and is nestled among low hills. It is a really beautiful spot even if the campground was rundown.  Editor’s Note: All the campgrounds are “run down.”

Lago de Rapel

The 31st found us celebrating New Year’s Eve at Naviocar; campground was full of Chileans enjoying the lake, pool and BBQs. 

2018 January 1

The New Year found us back on the road to Rocas de Santo Domingo. Beautiful beachside community reminding us of Carmel or an upscale Santa Cruz, CA. We boondocked in the beach parking lot and had a gorgeous sunset to celebrate the New Year. 

Jan. 2nd we drove to Cartagena just up the coast from Rocas. It was packed because of the holiday and summer getaway. We boondocked in its beach parking overnight. During a walk into town for lunch, we visited their equivalent of the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.

Cartegena

On Jan. 3rd we first visited the Humedal Laguna de Cartagena, a very nice bird sanctuary wetlands. We saw the biggest flock of whimbrels we have ever seen. 

Brown-headed Gull

After spending a few hours at the wetlands, we drove to Camping Millantú campground situated on the Rio Maipo. 

We stayed at Millantú from Jan. 4th – 8th where we relaxed and did some minor work on camper during which time Dave fell on a small step stool and injured his ribs. And gashed his head on camper corner while doing work underneath the camper. 

On the 9th we decided to return to Santiago to see about the status of our packages in person. But once again the truck wouldn’t start. A campground worker gave us a jump-start directly. 

We drove into Santiago and parked in the Parque Arauco Mall to get a new truck battery, groceries and use the wifi at Starbucks. However during the process of opening and closing the truck hood to view the battery specifications, the pain from Dave’s injury caused him to double over and almost fall to the ground. Security staff rushed to his aid and wheeled him into the Mall’s paramedics station in a wheelchair. The paramedic couldn’t help him but made arrangements for an ambulance to take him to a private hospital to see a doctor. 

After 10 hours of doctors exams, two x-rays and a ct scan, it was determined he had fractured a rib. The good news was that it only cost $383 including ambulance ride. 

A political note here: The doctors were efficient, qualified and spoke English as well as Spanish. The hospital was modern with all new equipment. Puts the USA medical system to shame where the same tests and treatment would have cost possibly 100 times greater. We know from personal experience the ambulance ride alone would have been $3600.

By the time it was diagnosed and medication prescribed, we didn’t have access to the truck/camper locked in the mall parking lot since it was so late and after checking in with six different hotels, couldn’t find a hotel room until the doctor that saw Dave last, got us a reservation at a faculty that is a hotel for rehab patients.

The 10th was spent in the hotel while Dave recuperated. 

Dave felt he could move enough on the 11th to keep on with our errands, so we first went to the Aeropost delivery company and raised hell about the long delay with our packages. The local boss, Jaime, said he would look into it after we specifically pointed out which invoice pages he was missing and what added up to what items in each box. 

We returned to Parque Arauco Mall, purchased a new battery, installed it, bought groceries and settled in at Starbucks to use their wifi while waiting for Aeropost to call. 

At 5, we received the call from Aeropost and they had the packages. After an Uber ride there, we picked up packages and took Uber back to truck/camper. 

At which time we discovered some crook had punched out our truck’s passenger door lock and stole some of David’s camera gear and some camping gear while we were gone; although there were security guards and even a group of 7 Chilean police nearby.  

Feeling disheartened and in pain, we boondocked at a nearby gas station to re-evaluate what to do next. 

After a night of mulling over options, we have decided to call it quits after 21 & 1/2 months on the road and 25,000 miles and forego driving to  South America’s tip because in many ways, that would have been the most difficult part of our journey. 

Currently we’re in an airport hotel looking for ways to get the truck/camper shipped back to USA. 

This entry will end our blogging.

Two of the reasons we’re ending our trip in Chile are:

1. One of the camper’s roof motors is failing. Getting a replacement and installing it is impossible in South America, and

2. We’re just tired of worrying about security every time we walk away from the truck. And Brazil is notorious for notorious for property crime – and worse – against foreigners.  –Dave

One thought on “December 27, 2017 – January 13th, 2018”

  1. So sorry to hear about Dave’s injuries. We hope and pray for his speedy recovery. You two are an inspiration! It felt like we traveled with you, thanks to all the beautiful photos and in depth descriptions. We are simply amazed that you went as far as you did. Que te vaya bien! – Dean and Kinkani

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