The clocks in the UK turned to Winter Time on 25 October and the weather took note as the following morning I woke up to the sound of people scraping ice from their car windscreens. Although days were generally bright, the temperature was in the grip of a cold front. Roads nearby the Stonehenge Cactarium were even covered in snow as freak weather conditions played havoc with the traffic. Yuck, another British Winter.
Fortunately, I had my escape planned and on the first Friday of ‘winter’, Cliff Thompson and I headed off for Chile (via a change of plane in Atlanta, USA).
After our 2003 Copiapoathon, that time a 4 week trip with a strong focus on anything to do with cacti in the Genus Copiapoa, I published the Copiapoathon Diaries 2003 on various forums. This became a tradition that was followed for Copiapoathon 2004, Argentina 2005 and Copiapoathon 2006. Copiapoathon 2007 became a bit more difficult, because after the usual 3 weeks in the field, with up to 23 participants, I stayed on for another 4 weeks with Leo van der Hoeven. We travelled south of Santiago, with Florencia Señoret and Juan Acosta before returning to England. 7 weeks of Diary pages seemed a bit much for a cactus forum, so the diaries were added straight onto my website: www.copiapoa.info
There was not much time to prepare the diaries in 2007; soon after returning from Chile, Angie & I were off for a more touristy 16 days on a grand tour of South America, visiting Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Brazil. No Diaries were published of this trip, nor of the next one: Bajathon 2008, that started one week after the Grand Tour.
The 2008 Bajathon consisted of two trips from San Diego, California to Los Cabos at the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula and back again, with a few weeks of looking around Arizona and California and even finding time to make new friends and showing a few C&S Societies in California my holiday pictures.
Back in the UK, in April, I made several attempts at combining the experiences of the two Baja trips into one set of ‘virtual diaries’ – a 12 day report of what we saw between Tijuana and Los Cabos – doing talks and catching up with various matters that had piled up during my absence means that the Bajathon Diaries remain a yet to be completed project.
The plan is to share our (Cliff Thompson’s and my) experiences, in a series of occasional Diaries, as daily Diaries for the 150 days – 5 months – that we are away from home, seem a little over the top and too time consuming to prepare and read.