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Month: April 2012

Stuck at the Border

Stuck at the Border

We literally stuck in the border town San Antonio in Venezuela, because the custom office is closed on weekends. We reached the border on a Saturday morning. After we got our immigration stamps we wanted to apply for the vehicle permit. But the Venezuelan custom office was closed – like every Saturday and Sunday. “Simón Bolívar” (that’s the official name of the border) is giving us a really hard time. So we’ll have to wait until Monday morning before we…

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Colombia, we’ll be back!

Colombia, we’ll be back!

A lot of slow trucks, countless construction sites and extremely steep roads Herbie had to manage the last days, while we were heading northeast towards Venezuela. It was very exhausting driving an average speed of 12 mph (or 20 km/h) for hours. We passed Barbosa, Bucaramanga, Pamplona and Cúcuta – right next to Venezuela. Meanwhile we crossed the border, but we stuck in Venzuela’s border town San Antonio. After we eventually traveled through Venezuela, we’ll be heading towards Cartagena in…

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Final work

Final work

The last days we finished the work on the Mexican. A lot of screws were replaced by stainless steel screws. The new steering knuckles slammed the bug 6cm! A bit too close, isn’t it?! Pictures of the finished bug will follow!

Go Herbie Go!

Go Herbie Go!

Herbie brought us back to Colombia. We left the Pan-American Highway heading east towards Venezuela after we passed cities like Pasto, Popayán and Cali. We were driving right through the heart of Colombia’s capital, Bogotá. Our plan is to visit Venezuela before we’ll put Herbie on a vessel going back to North America. Colombia is pretty expensive regarding its toll roads. Just today we passed about ten toll booths and spent at least a couple bucks for each one of…

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The Evacuation Route

The Evacuation Route

After spending the night in Latacunga, we followed our “Evacuation Route” out of Ecuador, passing Quito, Cayambe, Otavalo and Ibarra, crossing the border in Tulcán. We left the country with carrying more than 25 gallons (or 100 liters) of gasoline and we’re still running on it, as gas prices in Colombia are more than three times higher. Meanwhile we are back in Colombia leaving the “Pan-Am” heading east towards Venezuela, our last country to visit, before going back to North…

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Trip to Budapest #2

Trip to Budapest #2

Flo and his dear friend Lisi made a trip to the capital of Hungary. Flo and his bug already knew the way because they had been there in the past as we had reported. It was a wonderful and funny trip. “Thank you Lisi for the day! I’m really looking forward to the next journey” 🙂  

Thirsty?

Thirsty?

Domi loves drinking fresh coconut juice. Herbie prefers gas without ethanol instead. One coconut ($ 1.00)  is more expensive than one quart of gasoline ($ 0.38). Ecuador has the cheapest gas prices we’ve experienced in America so far. A complete full tank for our Love Bug costs just 15 US-Dollars (or 12 Euro). Ecuador is the only country in South America having the US-Dollar and Cent. All other South American countries we visited are selling way more expensive gas.

The Banana Republic

The Banana Republic

We just entered Ecuador on our way back north. Although this country is not a “Banana Republic” within the political discussion, it has definitely the biggest banana production in the world. Below you can see “Herbie goes bananas” while the sun was setting. The Love Bug reached the border between Peru and Ecuador late afternoon. After we crossed it, we went shopping some food in Machala and drove on to El Guabo. We already knew the border patrol men quite…

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Long Way Back Home

Long Way Back Home

Herbie continued riding the longest road on earth, the Pan-American Highway, heading further north on Peru’s Highway No. 1. We passed cities like Chimbote, Trujillo and Chiclayo. Lambayeque is the name of the town where we stopped for the night. The “Pan-Am” along Peru’s coast is full of sand dunes and amazing ocean views. Whenever you hit a smaller town it is like a kind of oasis with woods and agriculture. In no other South American country we had so…

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Hands Upon The Wheel

Hands Upon The Wheel

Our final destination after South America will be the Mojave Desert in the Southwest of the United States. We are not there yet, even though the landscape of Peru’s coast looks quite similar to the area around Herbie’s camp in Ridgecrest, Kern County, CA. Today we were following the “Pan-Am” from Ica to Huarmey. On our way up north we were going through the heart of Lima again, the capital of Peru right on the coast. We stopped for lunch…

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The Peruvian Dune Buggy

The Peruvian Dune Buggy

After catching up with new post on Herbie’s World Tour, checking the motor oil level and tire pressure, we hit the Pan-American Highway again. We left Camaná, heading north and passed Nazca and its desert and stopped for the night in Ica. Peru’s coastal desert dunes and the Pacific ocean welcomed us once again. In the afternoon we reached the Nazca Desert with its ancient Lines. Tomorrow we’ll continue traveling north along the so-called “Panamericana”. We’re planning to put Herbie…

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Herbie’s Vanilla Sky

Herbie’s Vanilla Sky

Go west, Herbie! We traveled all the way across the Andes with altitudes over 14,850 feet (or 4,500 meters)  to the west coast of Peru again, passing Puno at Lake Titicaca, Juliaca and Arequipa, ending up driving in Camaná at the Pacific ocean. In Puno we met Juan Carlos, a Volkswagen Bug driver, who helped Domi fixing a little gas issue back in the carburetor. While going downhill towards the sea we had one of our most beautiful sunsets with…

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Crossing Bolivia Again

Crossing Bolivia Again

After riding Herbie on unpaved roads across the Bolivian jungle while it was dark during the night and police men asked us for money, we finally reached Santa Cruz de la Sierra and moved on to Cochabamba and La Paz towards Peru and Lake Titicaca.

Back to the “Routes”

Back to the “Routes”

We were actually planning to go all the way back to Colombia by heading across Brazil on Highway No. 319 reaching Venezuela. Unfortunately we had to change our plan. The Brazilian Highway No. 319 is well-known for one of the worst “roads” in the country. And as we have the rain season right now, this highway is totally impassable. There is no other way getting back north across the continent, so we had to find a way going back to…

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Brazilian Cemetery

Brazilian Cemetery

We entered Brazil coming from Paraguay. On our way through Brazil we passed a junk yard for old Volkswagens. But it was more like a burial site for “Fuscas” – that’s how they call Beetles in this country. Rest in peace!

The Idyllic Paraguay

The Idyllic Paraguay

The soil is red and the people are very nice – we traveled through Paraguay on Highway No. 3 towards Brazil, after meeting Jorge, his wife Natalia and their friend Osvaldo, in Asunción. Paraguay was an unexpected beautiful surprise!

The Heart of South America

The Heart of South America

Jorge Ortiz, an air-cooled Volkswagen fellow from Asunción, and his wife, Natalia Florentin, as well as his friend, Osvaldo Espínola, president of Classic VW Club Paraguay, welcomed us in Paraguay – the “Heart of South America”. Jorge showed up with his totally new renovated red VW Beetle made in Wolfsburg. All in all it was probably the best border crossing we’ve ever had, because someone was waiting for us on the other side and introduced us warmly to his country….

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Don’t Cry For Me Argentina

Don’t Cry For Me Argentina

Herbie made a long way riding from General Güemes on Highways No. 34, 81 and 11 to Clorinda, at the border to Paraguay. Tomorrow we’ll enter this country in the heart of South America. Although we won’t spend much time there, we’ll have a very warm welcome. Jorge Ortiz from Asunción, an air-cooled VW enthusiast and member of the Classic VW Club Paraguay, will pick us up right after the border. We had a pleasant time in Argentina, even though…

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Red Rock Argentina

Red Rock Argentina

As we were heading north on Highway No. 68 from Cafayate to Salta, we passed a truly amazing area full of red rocks. This region is also well-known for its unique wine production, benefiting from the low-humidity mild weather. We stopped for the night in General Güemes, a city east of Salta. Today we’re going to travel further up northeast towards Paraguay.

Cruising across Catamarca

Cruising across Catamarca

We spent the night in Fiambalá, after crossing the Argentinian border via “El Paso de San Francisco”. On the next day we cruised across Catamarca, one of Argentina’s provinces. Remote and vast landscapes accompanied us on our way southeast.

Herbie’s Dakar Rally

Herbie’s Dakar Rally

The Love Bug made it! The border between Chile and Argentina levels 15,505 feet (or 4,726 meters) and its way up there is called “El Paso de San Francisco” – the toughest section of the world famous Dakar Rally. Paved roads were hard to find and the weather was windy as well as freezing cold. Oxygen was quite rare and Zainab even got a bit of an euphoria. Here are our last impressions of Chile. It took us hours to…

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The Atacama Desert

The Atacama Desert

Herbie is driving through the driest area on the earth – the Atacama Desert in Chile. We’re heading further south besides the Pacific ocean. Right after we’ll leave the “Panamericana”, climbing the Andes a very last time.

The Republic of Chile

The Republic of Chile

After meeting the President of Bolivia, we finally entered Chile at Colchane and headed downhill towards the Pacific. We are now following the coast line further south, before we’ll cross over to Argentina.

Till the End of Roads

Till the End of Roads

Herbie made it to the end of the road in Bolivia. According to our maps and the natives we’ve spoken to, the street towards the border should be totally paved and in perfect condition, but we got surprised! We had to drive parts of it on an unpaved path for hours until we reached the Bolivian border town Pisiga on Highway No. 12.

Leaving Oruro in Bolivia

Leaving Oruro in Bolivia

After spending three nights in Oruro, in the South of La Paz, we’re going to leave this town for good, heading towards Chile. Tomorrow we’ll probably cross its border. We had a good time in Oruro, taking a rest from rallying across the Peruvian Andes. We stayed at an old hotel right in the center. And Herbie parked in the courtyard. It was also time for a small motor service, after driving so many miles since California. Domi changed spark…

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¡Bienvenidos a Bolivia!

¡Bienvenidos a Bolivia!

We spent our last Peruvian night in a small town named Juli and entered Bolivia right besides Lake Titicaca. Bolivia is obviously different: Here you get two different gas prices, one for the natives and one for foreigners like us. The so-called “international price” is three times higher. Meanwhile we filled up Herbie already two times. Domi had long discussions at the pump, but finally succeeded – we got treated like “Bolivianos”. Back in Europe we read some good things…

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El Cóndor Pasa

El Cóndor Pasa

We listened to Simon & Garfunkel’s version of El Cóndor Pasa – originally a Peruvian folk song, which means “The Condor Goes By” – while we were climbing passes higher than 14,000 feet (or 4,000 meters) and visited cities like Cusco and Puno, right at Lake Titicaca. Tomorrow we’ll enter another part of the ancient Inca Empire – Bolivia.