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Hola! Week 1...

We have been on the road for a week now and much has happened. After 20 hours of airports and flying we arrived in Santiago with all of our luggage minus a few brain cells. We quickly realized how little English is spoken here in Chile and we hear that it becomes much less in Patagonia. No worries we have Google translate in a pinch.

The next morning we arrived at Condor Campers and were given an orientation. Check and change the oil when needed. Drive with your headlights on. Check tire pressure often. Hand over the papers at border crossings. Fill up with gas every chance you get. How to use the the single burner stove. How to convert cash. How to set up the bed and a multidude of other do's and dont's but the best of all, where to take a shower. Our van is showerless with no bano. We went four nights of our first week without a shower and when we finally got the opportunity, it was muy frío and I mean ice (hielo) cold. At this point Sarah was reminding me what a great wife she is. She is!

The instructions continued at a staggering rate until we were on overload. Then came the, "You are going to have a great time," and off we drove.

The first stop was to get supplies at the downtown mall in Santiago. That went well except for the fact that we could not figure out how to get out of the underground parking lot. The arm would not raise as I did all it asked me to do. Two gringos using Google translate while feeling the frustration of the cars behind us, was a little distressing. After 10 minutos of helplessness a voice came out of the box saying, "back up." So we backed up and the gate ascended into the heavens. We drove out of parking lot and we were on our way.

We got the heck out of Santiago and headed south on route 5 to the town of Chimbarongo and stayed the night in an air BnB. Great place with a rustic hot tub. The host was an absolute sweetheart.

We headed to the coast the next morning and stayed in the town of Pichilemu. This place attracts surfers from all over the world with its point break. We stopped and had a hamburger at a nice spot and then spent the night in our first wild camp location.

A wild camp is not an official campground but one which has developed unofficially. This spot was in a neighborhood that was on top of a hill overlooking the city. We parked our van, made dinner, read a book and called it a night.

The next night was spent in the parking lot of a vineyard (Viña Viu Manent) where we took a fantastic tour followed by a wine tasting. The days are typically in the high 80's but cool down to the low 60's at night. This will not be that case as we go further south.

From there we headed to Parque Nacional Radal Siete Tazas and spent three nights including Christmas. The hostess of the campground, Jimena, treated us like royalty. She introduced us to most of the staff throughout our stay which made us feel welcome. On Christmas Day we hiked the Seven Tazas trail which was stunning. We have to mention that we got the best Christmas gift ever! A new grandbaby, James Scott, born to Caiden and Helen on December 20th. We are thrilled!

Today is Tuesday the 26th and we are in a new campsite next to a gorgeous river not far from an amazing volcano. We don't know for certain where we are but somewhere southeast of Linares in the mountains. We plan to keep heading South toward the region known as Patagonia and will probably arrive there in about a week.

Keep on rolling,

Scott and Sarah

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