America by RV: Chile, Peru, and Argentina
trip to South America resulted from a collision between my schedule
and the timing of my friend Silvio's latest project. I flew to
Santiago, Chile to travel in the RV he has spent two years building
on the frame of a Mercedes truck.
we didn't have a firm destination in mind, we ended up waiting
for a ghost in an abandoned saltpeter town in the Atacama Desert,
visiting hospitable strangers in their homes on the Chilean coast,
crossing into the high altitude ranges of Peru to Machu Picchu
where we helped the Argentinian government search for a missing
Argentine national, and finally daring the snow-choked Paso de
Jama into gaucho country in Northern Argentina. We crashed country
fairs, clambered through the ruins with tourists high on selfies,
salvaged goods from a truck that had gone over a bridge, and negotiated
for prices with village people.
On the entire
trip we were conscious that the motorhome was never far away,
with its shower and bathroom, water tanks and refrigerator, and
cooking stove and furnace. This is not so much about the hardships
of traveling as it is a report from the hidden corners of countries
that are only accessible when you travel by RV.