Wednesday 13th October, 2010
Day 579

Home, Washington
Home, Washington
Miles: 60,029
N 41.85233°
W 122.57150°

We drove into Southern Oregon from our camp in a rest stop on the I-5 while it was still dark. The day dawned slowly, through some early fog into a spectacularly sunny North West day; a relatively rare event - it was as if fate was welcoming us home. The weather continued fine all the way to our home south of Seattle. We had spectacular views of the various mountains (Hood, St Helens, and Rainier).

In central Oregon the odometer told us we had just passed the 60,000 mile marker in our trip!!

We were welcomed by the view from our lounge room - we sure have missed that. But it took no time at all to turn our tidy house into a pile of stuff - it was hard to believe we had so much stashed in that small motorhome.

Nina summed up our feelings well in a recent email to friends.

Well 19 months after we set out on the adventure of a life time we have returned safely home. Just as the 32 miners were brought to the surface in Chile we were driving the last few miles of the 60 000 miles of our journey from top to bottom. We missed the earthquakes in Chile, the flooding in Mexico and Guatemala, the hurricanes in the USA, the Farc in Colombia, the landslides in Peru, the snow storms in Canada, the coups in Honduras and Ecuador, and many other catastrophes that befell the many countries we visited in the past year. With just a few scratches to the vehicle and only one unfortunate incident to myself we have had a wonderful and safe and healthy journey, seeing so many wonderful places and enjoying so many offers of kindness.

However, I will not miss the winding bumpy gravel roads which wound around steep mountain curves high in the sierras, where parts of the road just disappeared from the last rain storm into a huge mudslide, or where a long 18 wheeler would approach around a blind corner only to send us to the very edge to teeter until it had passed, or the zigzag path Rob had to execute instantly because llamas, goats or alpacas were being driven down the road or a donkey or rooster or turkey had just decided to take to the middle of the road. Also, I will not miss the narrow streets where Rob had to avoid running over toes and knocking off heads with the mirrors of the RV and of the myriad of bikes, cars, mottos, buses and trucks that overtook or entered or left the road from any angle at any time with out any indication of intent.

But I will miss the intriguing rugged faces of the Aymaran Indians in Peru, of the brightly colored people on market day in Antigua Guatemala, of the vibrant costumes of the Otavalan people of Ecuador as they celebrated their festivals. I will miss the solitary shepherds with their bowler hats and brightly colored flared skirts in Peru who endured a hard and often cold day on the mountains in high winds protecting their flock of llamas. I will miss the magnificent and powerful glacier of Perito Moreno in Argentina, of the huge fast flowing rivers of the coast of Chile where many many tons of water find their way to the Pacific each minute, and I will miss the wide open flat spaces of desert in coastal Peru where few live, but the scenery is so stark, and existence seems unimaginable. I will miss the excitement of driving on the ice road, the frozen Mackenzie River and then the frozen Arctic Ocean in northern Canada, not knowing if the ice was strong enough to drive the RV, and of driving and navigating across the Salar in Bolivia also unsure of the strength of the surface of salt.

I will miss the beautiful birds that soared above our heads, or let us approach them on the Galapagos. I will miss the numerous colonies of penguins, especially the rock hopper penguins, with their punk rock hairstyle who preened each other at Puerto Deseado Argentina, I will miss the excitement of seeing; a black bear with cubs saunter from the woods in Canada, a caribou bound across the road in Alaska, an armadillo stroll across the road in Chile, a herd of vicuna silhouetted in the evening sky in Bolivia, of spotting a puma or a capybara while boating in the Amazon. I will miss paragliding above the cliffs in Iquique Chile, and of cycling the Death Road near La Paz Bolivia, of sun baking on the beaches in Uruguay, of exploring the ruins of the Aztec in Mexico and of sitting around the campfire chatting with fellow travellers about the wonderful places past and those still to visit, and of examining maps and travel books with Rob as we planned the next few days.

I will miss the excitement of wondering what is new and exciting to explore each day but be thankful that we had this great experience. I thank you all for your interest and at times concern for our adventure. It was wonderful to drive into a new and strange place and get an email from friends and family. These emails made the day seem normal.

I think now of those miners who have to get back to a normal life after such a dreadful ordeal and how hard it will be with memories they do not wish to recall. For us we have to get back to a normal life, also, but this is after a wonderful, remarkable vacation which we will wish to recall at every opportunity - glorious memories for years to come. We were so lucky.