This years voyage takes place in South America. Starting in Buenos Aries, Argentina in a rented motorhome, we headed south to Patagonia. We have 4 months to drive to Ushuaia, Terra del Fuego. Then we cruise to Antarctica, South Georgia and Falkland/ Malvinas Islands ending up in Montevideo, Uruguay. Our first goal: Peninsula Valdes to see the Southern Right Whales or Ballena Franca Austral. Many mama and baby whales graced us with wonderful frolics very near us by the shore. There penguins sat on eggs and the Elephant seals fought over mates. Herds of guanaco, a camel, were everywhere. From there it is over 500 miles across the plains of Patagonia to Chile. In these lands they find new discoveries of dinosaurs. Crossing into Chile from Esquel to Futaleufu was a snap. On down the rivers to drive the Carretera Austral or Ruta 7. This is one of the most remote roads in the world. It can only be reached by ferry from the north and a few remote border crossings along the Andes. The Carretera Austral ends at the third largest ice field in the world at the southern tip of South America. This road in a dense temperate rain forest has been under construction since the 1970s and is largely UN paved. The road swoops through glacier carved valleys, along the fjords of the Pacific ocean and is bordered in the east by the Andes Mountains with many hanging glaciers and waterfalls. The Andes are the longest mountain range in the world at over 5000 miles. The flora and fauna have amazed us. There you have some of the oldest trees on Earth – the Alarces. The Pudu, the smallest deer in the world, made an appearance peaking at us from under a nalca / rhubarb leaf. The Pudu are nearly extinct. Exploring the land of Patagonia has been surprising. Sealife, giant ostrich like birds the Choique/ Rhea, flamingos and Andean condors just to name a few are the wonders of this land. The call of the diminutive chucao, a very small wren has been the song we hope to remember from this rugged land.
Leaving the boat all tucked in for the winter by mid-September, we drove across the top of America. Destination Winnipeg to fly up to Churchill to see the Polar Bears by mid October. On this journey we enjoyed the Northern Cascades with friends we met in Argentina and Baja camping buddies from Twisp thrown in. On to the Grand Coulee Dam. On through Idaho to Montana to Custer's Last Stand Battlefield. The Native people who vanquished Custer were finally given a Monument of their own there. More hot springs along the way near Boulder, Montana. Down into Wyoming to see the Devils Tower or the Native name, Bear Lodge. On east into the Dakotas. Surprising there is much to see there with Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial, The Black Hills and the Badlands. At a Pow Wow in Rapid City, 1,867 Natives danced. Custer had it coming in the year 1867! More hot springs at the Stroppel Hotel. On up to the Canadian Border through the Standing Rock reservation and the Chippewa Nation at Turtle Mountain. Our trip to the Polar Bears was really neat with lots of animals and birds made special in that Carl's sister, Marge joined us. The Lodge we stayed at is on wheels and right on the side of Hudson Bay. Upon arrival a polar bear greeted us. Back to the States we visited Scotts Bluff then on to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Got to visit Adwoa in Gold Hill where it snowed! As soon as it thawed we drove to Loma on the shores of the Colorado River where we recited our wedding vows many years ago. The "Best Man" was Bandit, and the "Maid of Honor", Callie. On to Utah. Got to see "the dome" just before it was torn down. Stayed at Jim Martin's home in Castle Valley. May he rest in peace. Then Arches, Green river melons, and through the Burr Trail. Had a wonderful walk to Calf Creek Falls. To St George for family and other red rock escapades. Once the chilly winds blew we headed south to Arizona for more exploration. Volunteering in three Christmas Bird counts at Organ Pipe and Cabeza Prieta we learned more about the desert birds. As it got colder we wandered down to Mexico following those birds.