Well, I’m so sorry it’s taken me this long to write my first blog post of the 2016 expedition. When you read what I write today, you’ll understand why it’s taken so long. Suffice to say, we’ve had some problems.
There are six of us on this expedition, from right to left: Gabriel (the photographer), me, Max, Pedro, and Jovani (the mechanic). Maria (Pedro’s girlfriend took this photo so isn’t in it
For this expedition, we are taking the same cars as last year. I can hear you all groan in disbelief (if you read the adventures of last year) but Max and Pedro assure me that Conway has been beefed up, and will withstand the PUNA this time round. Actually, we now have a huge roof rack capable of holding our duffle bags, a winch, traction mats, metal bumpers, beefed up brakes and one of those exhausts that means the engine won’t get swamped when we drive through rivers.
The other change is that we have some sponsors: Deuter, SPOT, Garmin, Sea2summit and Red Bull. Gabriel is with us to make a documentary for Red Bull television, and we bought an off-road motorbike for Max to ride up in the mountains. It’s pretty amazing – we have an oxygen cylinder to strap onto the side of it so it can be ridden at high altitudes! Yes, they covered it in sheepskin and leather and put horns on the front…
While the boys were finishing the cars at Jovani’s garage in Roca Sales, I made a friend, whose name is Gato (you can guess what that means!) who insisted on sitting on my keyboard as I was trying to work.
When we were all set, we took the motorbike for a test run up a local mountain. The boys drove the car and Max rode the bike and they stopped for filming at various points. I raced them up the mountain on foot, and came a close third to Conway, with Max far ahead. I was so happy running up that mountain and I only stopped once, for a pack of unfriendly dogs. The view from the top was amazing – Gabriel has a video that I’m going to try to upload tonight to show you.
I jumped on the back of Max’s motorbike and we flew back down the mountains, laughing and shrieking. Good times!
The following day, after a very hearty meal cooked by Jovani’s Mum, we were off to Argentina!