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Archive for October 26, 2015

Monday 26 October 2015 – Olmue to Guanequeros

A quick reality check after yesterday’s euphoria at visiting Ritter, even though he was out, revealed that the luggage space in our car was smaller than expected and that our drone takes up at least another person’s (Brian’s?) space. I’ve seen worse, we’ll manage some how. But it did necessitate a serious repack for Pablo who had packed everything into one huge suitcase that he said, would not fit. So he needed to do a complete repack and asked for a delayed departure. Fine, but today’s aim was a hard ride from Olmue to Los Choros – 580 km and with our usual policy not to drive at night, particularly without accommodation booked, it seemed wise to aim for Guanaqueros instead.

And so I find myself again in the Cabanas at Bahia Club, in the same challet where Leo, Marlon Machado, John Ede and I first stayed in May 2001 – on the occasion of my 48th birthday. Our friend Helmut, who owns the cabanas was unfortunately on holiday (in Russia we believe) but it was business as usual. ‘Is Restaurant Pequenia open tonight?’ ‘No, it is their weekly closing night’ the stand in manager reported, but he would ring them to make sure. The good news is that they are open, so we are able to relive old memories and to toast our absent friends with a Pisco Sour and a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon.

It is worth noting that the scenery that we saw along R5 is the greenest that any of us could recall. Pablo is bombarding us with names of plants (with my limited botanic knowledge classified under ‘field flowers’) to be identified, if necessary, with Pablo’s help via Internet communications from home.

Not only is the land covered in flowers, but also in windmills, or rather wind turbine farms. Their numbers are approaching the density found along the highway between Palm Springs to LA. It is clear to see in the USA, that much energy is needed for the good old folk in LA and southern California. But who needs so much power here? You can’t easily store it. The nearest major town is Coquimbo / La Serena, some 150 km away. Still, I’d rather see endless wind turbines than a nuclear or coal fired power station to supply the necesarry energy!

Just a brief reminder that I can’t reach my emails on Angie’s laptop – the hotmail sign in page automatically sends me into Angie’s mail – there is no opportunity to enter my details – so any urgent emails for me to fraileaspine@hotmal.co.uk please.

Tomorrow we leave for Los Choros and our first adventure, studying the threat of Cylindropuntia tunicata to the endemic flora, especially to the Cactaceae of Chile.