Los geht´s


Meine Reise auf der Panamericana ist ein spannendes Abenteuer. Im Februar 2017 habe ich mein Gespann über Hamburg nach Baltimore/USA verfrachtet und bin seither unterwegs.

Inzwischen liegen schon 25.000 km hinter und noch ungezählte Kilometer vor mir. Der ursprüngliche Blog ist jetzt hierher umgezogen und ich hoffe ich kann euch besser an meiner Reise teilhaben lassen als bisher.

Das Bild zeigt ein Panorama der „Brooks Range“ im Norden Alaskas und markiert quasi den eigentlichen Startpunkt der Panamericana. Von hier geht´s nurmehr nach Süden !

Last Christmas …

Last Christmas I arrived at Bahia de Los Angeles , BC , Mexico late afternoon on the 24th.

I had not decided where to stay when some other travelers told me they were staying with others at ‚la gringa‘ one famous overlander spot.

So I followed the way to the other side of the bay and found this great spot right on the beach.

What a great place for a peaceful evening. I prepared my dinner and sat there by the fire with some really nice mexican wine that I bought at the estate some days before. The next day was sunny and warm, just right for a kayak ride on the bay.

This year I am back home and spent a very peaceful evening, just Petra and I. Nothing fancy. Just the two of us.

I wish there was some sunshine today or just the view of the bay in the morning. Unfortunately there is neither sunshine nor snow nor the bay.

Anyway I will always have a good memory of last Christmas and I wish to be outside somewhere again next Christmas but together with Petra to make it perfect.

I wish you all a great Christmas time and a happy New Year !

Wer nicht wagt …

Wer nicht wagt der nicht gewinnt … oder „no risk no fun“ .

Ich habe Ende 2016 meinen Job an den Nagel gehängt ohne Backup Option und mich auf den Weg gemacht. Zwar hatte ich , wie man heute so sagt, einen „deal“ der gewisse finanzielle Sicherheit versprach aber irgendwann ist das Geld immer am Ende – und dann ?

Nicht ganz ohne Risiko mit Mitte 50 und Schwerbehinderung einfach los zu starten ohne „Rückversicherung“ , aber wie gesagt, wer nicht wagt … !

Inzwischen bin ich ja wieder zurück in Deutschland und habe innerhalb von 4 Wochen einen neuen Job gefunden der mir sehr viel Freude bereitet und genau das ist was ich mir beruflich vorgestellt habe.

Ein spannendes Projekt an dem ich hier mitarbeiten kann und darf !

Es hat sich also alles ohne Probleme ergeben ! Ich lerne daraus – es geht immer etwas , es kommt meist etwas besseres nach , auf keinen Fall warten bis man alle Eventualitäten abgesichert hat …!

Home sweet home …!

„Home is where wifi connects automatically“ …

When I came home my phone did NOT connect automatically – so what´s that ? A sign ?

No , just kidding ! My phone was obviously in a bad condition since months and I couldn’t connect to any wifi in weeks . So one of my first appointments here is at the Apple Store in Frankfurt where they (I did expect to need a new phone) could easily fix the problem by just resetting the settings. So now I am online again and connect automatically at home :-).

But how does it feel to be back ?

…  back in Germany

… back at home

… back from a year long roadtrip with so many impressions

… back to normal life after living in a trailer full time out in the nature most of the time with no limits and basically nothing to worry but where to drive to that day or what to that day

If have had more appointments during the past weeks than in this entire year !

I got back to work easier than expected. I am in the second week of my new job now and although it has been a bit of a hurry to make things work out I am really happy with what I am doing.

The major drawback is that I am working 320 km from home so I am again on my own during the week and separated from Petra and my home . So I am here in Bielefeld during the week and travel to Frankfurt for the weekends.

Although I returned only about 6 weeks from today I am back into daily routine. A lot of things had to be organized or checked out . I had to realize that the earliest point for me to retire will be in 5 years so it is of utter importance that I found a job that I love without the risk of falling back into former patterns.

I will talk about what I am currently doing later on .

Meanwhile I have to take care of Theo and the trailer . Both arrived in Hamburg safely in the container and are awaiting necessary work-up now to get ready for whatever comes next !

The first days and weeks felt strange but the more I had to take care of less I could think about it. Currently I am back into routine and try to keep up my memories. I haven’t even had much time to reunite with all of my friends but it seems that we have also developed in different ways during these past 18 months. We will see if we can all catch up.

(K)ein Haus in Montevideo

„Ein Haus in Montevideo“ – Als ich n die Stadt einfahre denke ich an den Film mit Heinz Rühmann wenngleich das Original noch wesentlich älter ist.

Montevideo soll also den Endpunkt dieser Reise markieren. Von hier geht mein Haus auf die Reise zurück nach Hamburg.

Es gibt eine Reihe sehenswerter, allerdings überwiegend dem Verfall anheim gegebnen Häuser in die man gerne einziehen würde nachdem man sie renoviert hat.

Allerdings ist Montevideo ansonsten eine typische Hafenstadt mit reichlich Armut und vielen Obdachlosen , ein Bild das man in Südamerika eher selten sieht.

Ich bin hier auch nur um mein Haus nach Hause einzuschiffen da die Formalitäten hier schneller und einfacher zu erledigen sind als in Argentinien.

In der Tat kann alles recht schnell abgewickelt werden und Theo samt Wohnwagen wandern in den Container nach Hamburg. Die Option RORO – „roll on roll off“ habe ich auf dem Hinweg gewählt aber hier schnell verworfen. Das Schiff hält auf der Tour nach Europa in mehreren Häfen in Südamerika und Westafrika sodaß das Risiko für Beschädigung oder Diebstahl relativ groß ist da man bei dieser Variante den Wagen nich abschließen und den Schlüssel abgeben muß damit das Fahrzeug eben rein und raus gefahren werden kann. Der Container hingegen wir von mir selbst beladen und anschließend versiegelt . Kein Risiko. Die Kosten sind mehr oder weniger gleich. Die Termine bei Container wesentlich flexibler , ein Schiff geht jede Woche.

So bin ich also wieder „obdachlos“. Zurück in Buenos Aires komme ich erst einmal im Hostel unter. Danach fliege ich nach Rio de Janeiro wo ich Petra und Leonie treffen und wir ein AirB&B haben. Sehr komfortabel ! Hier stellt sich morgens nur die Frage: nach links ? 5 Minuten zur Copacabana oder nach rechts 5 Minuten zum Ipanema Beach … wer die Wahl hat hat die Qual. Es könnte einem wesentlich schlechter gehen …

Where the road ends …

Where the road ends here in Tierra del Fuego there is a small footpath to a beautiful lagoon. And there it is … the end of the world – el fin del mundo at least as far as driving and walking is concerned !

Next Stop is Antarctica but you will need a boat to get there … and a lot of money! Antarctica starts at around 4000 USD.

I stood there this morning in beautiful sunlight and clear blue sky. No one around befinde myself. Silence.

I started from Galbraith Lake, Alaska at +11.5 degrees Celsius on June 4, 2017, so at the transition of northern spring to summer and arrived here today, almost one year later at – 8.0 degrees Celsius at the transition of southern fall to winter. In between I drove exactly 42.112 kilometers along highways named „The Dalton“, „Top of the World“, „Alaska“, „Panamericana“, „Ruta 40“ and many more named or unnamed but not less beautiful.

Along the way I saw so many incredible nature ans historical as well as contemporary sites, met so many people and experienced us much beautiful and some difficult situations some of which I have already shared with you. There is much. More to write about than was possible during this intense time of traveling and I will continue to share even after I get back home in about 3 weeks from now. So stay tuned !

For now I am kind of overwhelmed from what I was able to experience and it will take much more time to realize every single thing. I am also a bit tired as are my car and trailer – they need a bigger workup. I need to get back together with Petra , my family and friends and share what I was able to experience .

Time to be thankful and happy !

Good to have …

It´s good to have a good mechanic around wherever you are on a trip like this. I have had several issues now where I needed professional help in order to be able to continue with my trip. I was glad and lucky that handcraft is well maintained in Central and South America as spare parts are not or rarely available.

So you may recall my post „shit happens“ which caught me in the middle of nowhere in Mexico. Yesterday it happened on that 70 km gravel stretch on the way from Gobernador Gregores to El Chaltén in Patagonia, Argentina. I had to turn around an get things fixed which on a Sunday was not that easy – imagine in Europe to find someone to fix a problem on your car or trailer on a Sunday !

The mechanic „el welder“ was ready to do the 3 hours repair right away after I had called him from his lunch.

So thanks to him and his craftsmanship I am back on the road and off to the final +/- 1000 km to Ushuaia – El fin del mudo.

Alexander von Humboldt …

… landed in Cartagena 1801 on his journey coming from Cuba.

Alexander and his friend or better co-worker Aimé Bonpland, a French physician and botanist, undertook a research travel to study geography , geology , flora and fauna of South America. This was at that time a real adventure and nobody believed that they would ever return from their first exploration of the Orinoco river in what is today Venezuela.

Alexander had a huge inheritance from his mothers side and was willing to spend all of his money for this research. This granted also his independence . Nevertheless he needs some support that is generously provided by the Spanish King Carlos IV. who provides Baron Alejandro Federico de Humboldt in terms of a extensive authorization to get every possible support in the Spanish colonies.

This was an adventurous trip at that time and is probably still today. They almost got killed in several dangerous situations but returned successfully after proof of the existence of a connection between the river systems of the Orinoco and the Amazonas.

They continued their journey to Lima so I was following their route more or less. What is relatively easy today must have been really difficult and exhausting at that time. So for example it took them 4 months to travel from Bogota to Quito.

None of the mountains we look at today was measured. They climb several volcanoes, measure altitudes , study the flora and volcanic geology. They also attempt to climb the Cotopaxi (picture above as I could see it from my camp these days). I cannot imagine how this looked like as I compare what modern equipment we would all carry making this still a strenuous and adventurous attempt. They make it to about 4400 meters but not further up. Cotopaxi is the highest active volcano in the world . I was lucky after driving all day along the „avenue of volcanoes“ all day with all the mountains in clouds to get a peak in the late afternoon at sunset. Amazing picture.

They continue their journey further south and finally reach Lima from where they will travel to Acapulco, Mexico and further on to the USA.

It is impossible to report the whole trip of Alexander here. I can highly recommend the book I read („Der Traum meines ganzen Lebens“ von Werner Biermann,Rowohlt, Berlin 2010) or another biography on Alexander . He is a very interesting character: he has always on his journey and later back in Europe critically written about and actively denunciated slavery, the role of the Catholic Church in the Conquista and the destruction of the Inca culture and others in South Amercia by the Conquistadors.

It is amazing to see how people have adopted for example the religion here as it was brought to them by pure violence. A lot of „Spanish“ buildings we see today were built on the ruins and from the remains of Inca temples destroyed on purpose so that it is a wonder that we can still see some of these achievements of the original people all over Central- and South America today.

Ferdinand Porsche …

… würde sich vermutlich wundern wenn er sich in México, Mittel – und Südamerika umsehen würde.

Ich muss jedenfalls täglich an das Buch denken dass ich unterwegs über Ferdinand Porsche gelesen habe:“Die Porsche Saga“ – ein spannendes Buch nicht nur für Porsche Fans.

Täglich sehe ich hier mehrere bei uns sogenannte „Käfer“ in mehr oder weniger gutem Zustand und in relativ großer Zahl auf den Straßen in Kolumbien , Ecuador oder Peru.

Porsche war ein genialer Ingenieur und Entwickler der bereits 1895 – 1899 Fahrzeug mit Elektro – und Hybridantrieb baute !

Porsche entwickelte den „Volkswagen“ nach den Vorgaben von Hitler als ein Auto für jedermann das nicht mehr als 999 Mark kosten sollte und in großer Stückzahl gebaut und verkauft werden sollte. Dazu wurde eigens ein neues Werk nahe der Stadt Fallersleben auf einem (enteigneten) Grundstück errichtet auf dem das Schloß „Wolfsburg“ stand und bis heute steht. So zieht sich die ganze Geschichte des Volkswagens durch die deutsche Geschichte was höchst spannend ist. Insbesondere auch da bis heute die Nachkommen von Ferdinand Porsche bzw. die seiner Kinder Ferdinand „Ferry“ Porsche und Louise Porsche verh. Piëch in dem inzwischen zweitgrößten Automobilkonzern der Welt die Strippen ziehen und größte Anteilseigner sind.

Man muß wirklich kein Autofan sein um diese Geschichte spannend zu finden !

Height …

Quito – Ecuador

My first experience with height in South America was when I flew from Cartagena to Bogotá. I left Cartagena in shorts and t-shirt with pure sunshine and 35 degrees celsius.

I got off the plane and it was at least 15 degrees less, no sunshine and I suddenly realized that I wasn’t at sea level last anymore but at 2650 m above it !

Not only was I suddenly freezing after weeks or months of heat but I was suddenly short of breath when moving , especially when I took the tram up to the Montserrate at 3200 meters.

After I drove out of Cartagena some days later I reached a campground in Medellin at 2600 meters so that I had to get my down jacket out again and was happy to sit by the campfire with other travelers ! I slowly got used to the altitude and was keen enough to ride my bike from the campground to the tram station and back – 15 km up- and down – pretty hard at that height.

Leaving Medellin towards Ecuador I was driving at altitudes around 3000 meters all the time , crossing a pass at 3770 meters and finally entering Quito at 2850 meters the highest capital city in the world.

I not only got used to the height and moderate temperatures but also to the vast flora around me with lush green where everything was growing, pants that I knew and others I had never seen before. Many I had only seen in botanical gardens so far were just growing along the roads here !

I was therefore more than surprised after driving down from over 3000 meters in Ecuador to the border post in northern Peru at almost sea level finding myself surrounded by desert and heat.

As I continued south I followed the Peruvian coastline and the panamerican highway which is surrounded by desert all the way to Lima and even further south.

But , once I left the coastline towards the mountains from Nasca to Cusco I was suddenly climbing up to unknown heights entering a plateau at 4500 meters above sea level where I could hardly walk for some meters !

In Cusco our camp was at 3600 meters and it was really hard sleep the first night or be active at all. After a couple of days when attempting to walk the uncounted stairs up the Machu Pichu mountain from 2600 m to 3060 m the real challenge was there ! Very exhausting !

Meanwhile I am kind of used to heights around 3500 m which is the „normal“ altitude around here. The past 2 days we were more or less constantly driving at 4500 m with a maximum altitude of 4850 m , the highest point of this trip so far.

Currently at Titicaca lake at 3800 meters .

Theo is doing great at this altitude. We are going slowly up the several turns like yesterday from 3500 m constantly up to 4850 m and we were still able to pass the busses and trucks that reach maximum speeds of 30 km/h here. Of course it is not like driving at sea level and the whole rig is about 4.5 tons , so that is hard work and I am glad we are doing this good with no major problems ! Good car ! Keep going !!!

Solo …

„Viajando solo ?“

„Are you traveling alone ?“ A question I was asked several times these days, last time at the Peruvian border today so I thought I might as well write something about this issue.

Yes, I am traveling solo and that was more or less my decision.

I am traveling solo at least most of the time . I had „visitors“ along the way : my sister „visited “ twice and we traveled to Alaska and around the southern US so far. I met her again in Lima this past weekend and we are traveling together again through southern Peru and Bolivia. Petra visited twice so far – in Florida an Mexico and I hope we can arrange another meeting at the end of the trip. My father visited and we traveled from Mexico all the way across Central America to Costa Rica together. Finally I am still waiting for my son to visit and it looks like we will meet in Argentina at the end of this trip.

Still I am traveling by myself most of the time. When I decided to go on this trip and i finally had the chance to in fact do it there was no other option than going by myself. Petra had to work with no option whatsoever to get a longer time off. I did not want to wait any longer for several reasons .

So why not travel solo ? You can do whatever and whenever you like . There are no limits . Eat , sleep, drink, go to bed , get up .. just ask yourself what you want to do. There is also time to think things over and reflect . Your life before the trip, your life in the trip, your life after the trip …

You will also learn about yourself , how you react in certain situations , how you manage situations not common or known before …

After all you will end up knowing more about yourself and your life than ever before.

It will also make you more open for other people be it fellow travelers or local people you will meet. You will be much more ready to get in contact when traveling solo. I met so many people along the way. Some just by chance , others I met „online first“ and later in real life and some only online. I very much appreciate the „Panamerican Travellers Association“ a group on Facebook as an information source , but also as a possibility to meet people .

On the other hand you can appreciate things much more when you are traveling with somebody . It is just more fun to have fun together (with someone you love at the best!). It is in fact nice to be able to share all the nice things along the way and the good moods.

Traveling solo has also some practical drawbacks. It is difficult to drive and navigate at the same time. So your much more dependent on GPS systems as you cannot look on maps while driving. The whole day is very much filled with getting organized in your camper, driving, finding another camp, doing the „household“ , keeping up with your logbook, gather travel information, taking care of the car and all the technical stuff etc. I am very busy doing all that and I realize that I keep forgetting things or that I just cannot manage to do everything in the time given. So some things will be taken care of insufficiently. Further more I realize that I don’t do or cannot do certain things because I am solo. Traveling with a trailer as I am doing is not as easy as just driving a car. It requires certain skills and still it sometimes requires a second person who can help to rank. The same is true for off-roading – there are certain limits to what you can do when you are alone.

After 3 days of driving without a cell phone signal I was asking myself what if I had a car breakdown or if something was happening to myself out in the middle of nowhere. So I bought a „spot gen3“ sat tracker for safety reasons.

So – traveling solo has pros and cons. After one year of more or less solo travel I think I am not a solo traveler „par principe“ . I would rather share the joy in the future !