When you do a trip like this, even one that got shifted a bit as this one did, you research the climate of the countries to try and hit nice sunny warm weather as much as possible. Despite what hardy souls will tell you, and I am sometimes one of these, camping in the rain, specially when backed up by wind, is not as much fun as camping in the sun with about 24oC and no wind. However I was prepared for bad weather in many ways as our local climate in Scotland is very variable even in summer. The key things we have to get us through the bad weather patches are
- Nelson himself is the key thing, he has been designed so we can both sit inside when it is cold and windy and with the roof lifted we have some space to move around, we often have hosted other overlanders with roof top tents in these situations and particularly the ladies really prefer it to RTT travelling. The most comfortable is with one person in the front and one in the back, but four fit in pretty well.
- We have central heating, really, our diesel heater is really powerful and warms up the whole car quickly making changing out of soggy clothes at least bearable and keeps us cosy at night and in the mornings, we can just set the target temperature and let it work away even at altitude thanks to the special kit I fitted in Iran.
- I have very cheaply made thin insulating panels for the canvas sides of the pop roof, these greatly improve the heat retention of the top of the car and coupled with the insulation of the car itself and window blinds all round really help to keep the heat in once temperatures drop below freezing as we saw in Bolivia.
- Cooking inside is a real boon, we only have on hob and a small sink but in a bad weather day one pot cooking is great and endless cups of tea or soup can be prepared.
- The upstairs/downstairs sleeping system allows both of us to spread out in our own space with enough charging points and comfort to wait out the poor weather with a good dose of iplayer movies or box sets.
- Finally the awing we have with extra pegs, guys and adjustable tilt to the roof allows us to create an external space with a wood burning stove in Scotland or a asado/ground fire just outside, this is often our configuration if we are stationary for a few days and the awning with the sides is surprisingly warm with the wood burning stove.
So cold and wet weather can be managed quite effectively but its still not our favourite and I had hoped that we would not encounter any Scottish style weather on the trip but my luck had to run out sometime and that time was in the lake district of Chile, below are two pictures of nelson set up in scotland in the campsite near Pucon we were in ‘full scottish” mode with the addition of a Chile style asado or barbeque for heat.
This made for some moody lakeside photos over the next few days and a very exciting drive into Argentina on a very remote back road border which is only open in the summer. The road on the Chile side was really super, very well prepared forestry commission style roads (for the UK folks) or good ripo as they call it here, very little traffic and a friendly and efficient border crossing. Lee took over at the border and it was all change on the Argentina side, in place of smooth ripo we had muddy and rutted tracks compounded by steep downhill gradient and rain. At one point Lee had to catch a downhill rear end slide that had the back step out a foot or two, luckily she is experienced enough now not to brake and steer her way out of it but their were a few curse words spoken in fear along the way. I took over and gently we slid our way down to the town of San Agustine for a well earned day off, some sunny weather to dry everything off and some good food after a few days of camp food under the awning (camp food is actually great, and we really enjoy camping its just in the wet and the wind it is a bit wearing !