Panamericana roadtrip memories 5

| Sapa Pana Travel

The Panamericana road trip started in December 2011. A car trip through South America with 83 classic Volvo's. In 35 days and 16,000 kilometres, these Volvo enthusiasts drove from Buenos Aires in Argentina, via the south to Cartagena de Indias in Colombia. On our blog we will share memories of this memorable journey in the near future.

Day 19: Caldera - San Pedro de Atacama

Team 41
How much more desert is there? This is even more desert than there was yesterday: there is absolutely nothing here. The information we have says that this is the driest place on earth. No people, animals or plants. Over 40 degrees Celsius, sand and stone (and a bunch of idiotic Dutch). Camelot is playing on the iPod: melodious metal that is quite feisty at times. I have to take a small defeat because Egbert turns the volume down and tells me: ‘This is a form of abuse!”
Last but not least; the breakdown update: a broken suspension, an oil filter that has come loose (discovered on time) and a clogged fuelling system. We ride on without a problem and we’re happy with the new rubber. The car has become a bit quieter too (unless the radio is on).

Day 19: Caldera - San Pedro de Atacama

Team 68
We’re back in the burning sun at about 10 in the morning. The landscape is bizarre. I thought the pampas of Argentina were dull, but these dominant mountains are the exact opposite and it’s very impressive. The longer you drive through them, the more colours you can distinguish. On the side of the road we pass hundreds of memorials for people who died on this road. They’ve been beautifully decorated with photographs, toys and passionate letters. We’re driving to one of the most stunning places in the north and we have a day off there tomorrow.

Day 20: San Pedro de Atacama

Team 26
The technical team fixed the exhaust pipe. After that we drove to the Valle de la Luna (the moon valley) for a while. This valley dates back 250 to 200 million years when all the continents were still attached to each other, forming one continent. It once used to be a lake but it is now a desert where there’s barely any rainfall, with high temperatures and a strong wind. Because of the constant erosion new palaeontological discoveries are made all the time. Different species of dinosaurs, reptiles and plants from days that have long gone have been found here virtually intact. The Valle de la Luna is one of the most important palaeontological sites in the world, part of the UNESCO World Heritage.

Book Panamericana roadtrip

As a reminder of this memorable journey, the book 'Panamericana Roadtrip' has been published. The story is told with the stunning photographs from travel photographer Thijs Heslenfeld, supported by a selection of some of the many stories written by the heroes of this journey. For everyone that did not participate in this journey, it is a wonderful book to dream away with. The proceeds of this book go to the special projects of the HoPe Foundation. This organisation - founded by Walter Meekes - is involved in developing education in the remote mountain villages around the Peruvian city of Cuzco. 

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