The real downside of the oil filter fiasco was that in all the confusion of getting mobile again, Tom’s security bag containing passport, license, credit cards, etc was lost, presumably stolen from the vehicle. The result – Tom and Jeanette are on their way back to Buenos Aires to the Australian Embassy to replace vital documentation. With Pete and Barb already in transit back to Australia(storing their car in Uruguay) as previously mentioned. This means we are travelling on alone until T and J can ‘catch-up’. Sad, but true. We look forward to getting back together as soon as possible.
If you remember the post about the drive we did from Chile to Argentina through Paso Agua Negra, you may recall photos of the exciting gravel road switchbacks and 1000 meter drop-offs. Paso de Jama was much more subdued but just as much fun. The climb began just north of Purmamarca and rose quickly on a beautiful bitumen road past steep slopes cut through by deep gorges. Steep switchbacks and tourist coaches made the going slow but relatively easy and at about 4200 metres we drove over the top and began a long easy drive past salt lakes and pretty flat, dry country with the odd family of guanaco by the road. Passing through a number of small adobe brick towns we made it to the border crossing and were again in Chile. The road climbed again and the terrain changed as we headed into the real Atacama. Past the spectacular Reservas National Los Flamencos we climbed to 4828 metres before dropping down between the snow capped volcanoes that form a spectacular backdrop around the town of San Pedro de Atacama. Eight and a half hours of driving and taking photos in more spectacular country – we are very lucky!