They say “home is where the heart is”, which has mostly rung true for us throughout our travels. When we flew back to Colorado we were excited to be back with our friends and family, back in our house, and in a town that we love. But part of our hearts were still in a container somewhere between Chile and Texas. We deeply missed Chimera. After a year of impressing, thrilling, frustrating, and challenging us, and always providing a safe and comfortable shelter, our van really feels like our home. So for us home is where the van is (and the dog).
After a month of waiting and figuring out how to fit back into the still life we happily jumped on a plane and flew to Houston to liberate Chimera from the container that safely brought it across the seas. As expected, the process was a hassle and took longer than it should have, but before too long there we were in the port standing in front of the container that we loaded up in Valparaiso. The port crew were happy to let Tim and Corey hook the batteries up and unload the vehicles themselves, which they were eager to do.
Free at last.
Corey happy to be reunited with his Cruiser.
It felt so great to climb back into our little home with all of its familiar smells and memories. Before long we hit the highway and once again we headed north. We drove late into the night, for the first time on our entire journey, then stopped when the thunderstorms got too intense, and slept at a rest area tucked between big rigs. We drove the whole next day, luckily avoiding the major flooding in northern Texas, and by late afternoon we crossed the border into Colorado.
Just after the sun went down we pulled into our driveway in Boulder, which we had pulled out of 431 days earlier as our journey began. Now our whole van family is really home. This marks the end of this wonderful adventure, but as with most explorers this journey has only fed our wander lust and we’re starting to dream about where the van will take us next. So stay tuned, it might be a year or three, but before too long we will hit the road again heading to new places and new adventures.
Thank you everyone for following us through to the end. We are so grateful for your support and encouragement.
In the style of Forrest Gump, when we hit the end of the road at the tip of South America, we figured since we’d gone this far we might as well turn back around and just keep on going. So that is what we did. We turned the van north heading for warmer weather, some final adventures, and eventually the port city from which we would be shipping Chimera back to the United States.
When we planned this adventure we decided that in general we were going to drive south, we’d stick to the west coast to take advantage of both mountains and beaches, and we’d definitely spend some time in Patagonia, but we never specifically had a destination. Our intention was to enjoy the journey and not focus on the destination. However, we knew that technically the southern end of the Pan-American Highway is in Ushuaia, Argentina, and that Tierra del Fuego was beautiful, so we had in the back of our minds that it would be awesome to go all the way to the end of the road. At one point we weren’t sure we’d make it that far south. The endless washboard roads have been taking their toll on the van and on our nerves and we considered just stopping somewhere nice to hang out for a while instead of pushing further south. But we kept moving on. When we finally pulled into Ushuaia, just five days shy of one year on the road, a fiercely cold wind was blowing the rain sideways and the world was gray, but we couldn’t stop grinning from ear to ear. We had made it all the way south. And it was a fantastic journey.
Windy trees, Tierra del Fuego.
Long before we left on this journey we had dreamt of exploring the magical world of Patagonia. We imagined glacier-clad peaks looking over turquoise lakes, out of which ran bubbling rivers through verdant green forests, with deer, guanacos, and hares running wild and eagles gracing the skies. We realized that this was probably an unrealistic expectation, but we still had dreams of an enchanting place at the southern end of the world. As we fished, hiked, and camped our way through the Lakes District we realized our Patagonia dreams were beginning to come true. As we got further south, into the heart of the deep south, it only kept getting better. Patagonia showed us many faces, but almost all of them were beautiful and wild.
The Fitz Roy Towers.