26/27/28/29 June

Trip Start Jun 22, 2013
1
7
35
Trip End Aug 27, 2013


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Flag of Brazil  , State of Rio de Janeiro,
Wednesday, June 26, 2013


26/27/28/29 June

Today we all met up, those that were going on and this who would be leaving; there were the usual tears as those who were leaving said their goodbyes and overland romances ended with promises to meet up again

There are just 14 of us going on, 3 more than I knew about (I still have got everyone's name yet, but it will come)

I was to get my first view of the truck (he/she has a name BOB) it is a Scania truck and well laid out, and can carry 24 people, it is laid out so conversation, talking, card games are very easy, even a fold down table up front, there is a kind of flat area to either have a kip or just watch the world approach, the floor panels all come up for food storage and storing cleaning kit, it is a lot better thought and laid out than I had expected or seen on other trucks

It will be the usual thing of musical seats just so you can’t get too comfortable in one place (all the seats have seat belts fitted) but I don’t see or have any problem with this

The entrance/exit is central to the truck and folding steps come down

I am very impressed, the seats are comfortable and as there is only 14 of use there is lots of room on board, the seats come up and we can all store our big bags and kit under them (but as usual kit, bags, flip flops are scattered all over, it all rather chaotic and untidy, but everyone knows who and what belongs to everyone, I have a complete under seat store for myself (as does everyone I think)

I am on the fourth cook group, which I am happy with as it will give me time to find out how things go and give me a day or so to settle in

Well we are all aboard now and setting off to Paraque Nacional Da Serra Dos Ogaos, near Terespolis, it is a camp ground near a National park, the mountains along the way are quite spectacular, and very different from other trips, we stop for photographs, which I think everyone is happy about, rather than trying to take pictures from a moving truck

We stop at a tourist place to get maps and a pee break (I thought that Spanish was the national language here, well I was wrong, it’s Portuguese and they look at you with disdain if you use it) I got a couple of maps, but can’t read them, but it gives me an idea of our route and what is in the surrounding areas

We haven’t really got far to go, just 150Km, but it’s up hill all the way, so the truck grinds its way up, there are road works and rock falls along the way, which takes time, but it’s not a drama, we will be there for 2 nights in tents, it’s a lot cooler and damper  the higher we go, but the mountains are covered in jungle as we go, there is a  lot of bare rock, where nothing grows, but eagles and vultures soar

We get to town then start going to the camp sites, the roads are small and twist and turn, a lot of smart homes line the way with high walls and metal gates, dogs herald our arrival as we carry on, we arrive at a security gate which slides open for us, then Collin, drives to our camp are, quite a feat considering the size of the truck and where he has to take it

We arrive at a large grass area, dotted with trees, this will be home for the next 2 nights, Danny gives me a quick rundown on the key and security arrangements and shows me where 'stuff’ is kept in the lockers under the truck (cooking, cleaning kit  and dry food)

Tents are given out and set up, I get my orange tent out, it stands out from the other green tents quite a bit, even now there is a lot of dew on the ground, so it’s going to be a damp night, the temperature has fallen so coats and jackets start appearing

The cook group has been selected and we will be off to do a cook group shop soon (once kit and tents are sorted), we are in a valley, which does explain the damp, drop in temperature and early sunset

We all set off to buy some food, we all go along, some to look round, and some to buy the next’s days cook group food, some to buy lunch or snacks

It is quite a walk back to the town and the cobbles are slick with damp and it’s all downhill

We all chat along the way, telling each other what to expect, where they have been or just general chat

We arrive in town and the shopping starts, we get meat and chicken from a butchers (a lot different from the usual I have seen on trips) behind glass and refridgerated, some really good cuts of beef and pork on show, after that we go in search of a supermarket for tinned and dry foods, I go in search for tomorrows lunch, no mean feat, it’s all in Portuguese)

Everyone has done all the shopping, and are festooned with bags, Danny suggests to take all the bags back to the camp site by taxi rather than take it all back up hill, so it all goes in the back and myself, Danny and Peggy pile in, we arrive at the camp site and unload, there is an awful lot of bags to get up to the truck, but it’s done with no dramas and no breakages, piled around the table to let everyone pick their own bags out when they arrive

The tents are very wet now, it hasn’t but it looks like they have been in a downpour, the temperature is very cool, the dogs are welcoming us with their barking and howling, which goes on best part of the night, there are a few strays wandering about

Our dinner this evening consisted of a chicken and rice dish, it was rather bland but was spiced up with a bit of pepper sauce, and there was plenty of it, this was followed by cake (VERY unusual)

After that is was wash up and clean up, most chipped in, some sat around, some tidied kit and bags, some sat on the truck, some went to their tents

As we had cooked on gas, there was no camp fire to sit around (would be rather silly sitting round a gas cooker) we all went to our tents for the night

To me this was my first day proper on the trip and a long time since I had slept in my tent and now I relived the contortions of getting undressed and in and out of my sleeping bag; the dogs were still barking and howling as I went to sleep

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I was awake at 2:30, I heard a cock crowing, Jeez, another one that has no idea of time, but it seems these are jungle fowl, as there are no chickens or hens kept nearby, so I try and go back to sleep, again I woke up at 4:30, that dam cock again,

When it was a proper time to get up, the local dogs had paid a visit and gotten into the rubbish bin and it was scattered everywhere, Peggy and John were in the process of picking it all up, and John had even had put the kettle on (GOOD man)

As expected the tents were soaking, washing was wetter than it was when it was hung up, and the sun was trying to rise up to brighten up our valley

The cook group emerged, it was cereal and pancakes for breakfast, and each person emerged they got stuck in, there was plenty of them (a change for me from the other homemade muesli and burnt toast I had on other trips)

Today is a free day, so some are off on a trek up the mountains in the National Park, so are just going for a walk, I’m off into the town to have a look around, then come back and have a shower (YES, hot water and proper toilets) then I am going to sort my bags to make life easy for me while we are ‘on the road’, making sure kit I need and use most is on top, I don’t want to be sorting out my bags every time I need something

I came back from the town, there wasn’t very much to see in either one but it was okay having a look around. I got through the gate  and went to the truck, it would seem  the dogs have been back, there is washing pulled off the lines and bits everywhere, there is one left, making his mark  on a tent, so I just lobbed a stick at him and put the stuff back on the line and cleared the few land mines they had planted (I am glad to say they don’t like orange, so my tent was fine)  I had a walk round the others they looked okay but I don’t know if they had been ‘marked’ (or pissed on)

No one else is back yet, so I am off to get this shower while the sun is still shining

It was a great shower, plenty of hot water, so I just sat around and watched the various bird life fly by, and enjoyed a coffee and some fruit, the birds are just too high to take any decent photos, but watching the black vultures soaring is good as they use the thermals to gain height, the parrots are noisy as they start roosting, it seems to get dark here very early and the temperature does drop quite dramatically

The dogs have come back to see if there is anything for them to eat and scrounge, but a simple wave sends them away

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It’s just a case now of wait for dinner to be prepared and eat that, clean up and prepare for our departure in the morning, sometime

I think it will be another wet night, so a wet tent and a bit chilly in the morning and packing away a wet tent isn’t very enjoyable, still it’s another hostel so hopefully time to dry it out

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28 June

We were up at 4:30 this morning, ready for a 6:30 departure, all went we, even though it had rained all night, not heavy but that drizzle type that wets everything, my tent stood up well to it, no puddles inside

We loaded up after breakfast and moved off, next moment there was a lurch and the truck came to a standstill, we all got off, the left wheel was up to the wheel nuts in the ditch, so we tried pushing it out that never worked, so out came the shovels and an attempt at digging it out, the truck just seemed to be sinking deeper, so Danny went off to try and find a tractor/digger to help pull the truck out, Collin crawled under the truck to try and clear so of the mud from underneath, we went in search of rocks and stuff to get under the wheels, the digger turned up, and cables were connected and the first attempt was tried, nothing, not an inch, so the shovels were out and more digging around the wheels to try and straighten them out and give a straight pull,

Everyone got muddy but we put the sand planks under the front wheels, packed it with rocks underneath them and another try, still no good, it weren’t going any where

So a another truck was sent for, this was a  ‘man sized wagon’ plenty of cables, shackles and chain, the ground was really soft from the rain, so it was even going to be hard even for this to pull the truck out

Well, cables were connected to the chassis and to the tow truck and just to be really certain, he anchored the tow truck to a tree and put chocks under the wheel, he started to pull out truck out, it moved so slowly, but it was moving, the front wheels didn’t turn though, the mud was sticky and slimy as it fell back into the pit where the wheels had been, the tow truck pulled it a good 10 yards to make really sure

The ground was really churned up, and drag marks where the front axle had dragged in the mud were visible

It had taken over 4 hours to try and dig the wagon out, even with the mini digger, but it took half an hour with the big tow truck

There was a cheer of those that had stayed behind, others had gone into town to get food or just gone for a walk

Danny and Collin were pretty much covered from head to foot in mud, but they carried on putting kit away, sorting the tow truck before going off for a shower, they had really earned their pay today

I have never seen Collin or Danny without a smile or a grin on their face, nothing seems too much trouble (even crawling under the truck with a shovel, they really are a couple of nice lads

Those that needed it (most of the blokes) went off for a shower to get rid of the mud, all the tools, shovels, cables, spanners were put back, even the cook gear we had got out to make coffee,

The truck was moved (reversed) back to the front gate and everything set up again

A bit of a late lunch was made up and Danny told us we would be staying here another night, so it was tents and kit out again, I didn’t mind it gave me a chance to dry out the outer of my tent, (it don’t take long to do that with my tent)

So it’s a case of hang about here, go on a cook group shop (I’m cooking tomorrow) and a bush camp tomorrow (yes there was a change in plans, well it is an Exploratory trip)

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Congohas 28 June

We were up early again, hopefully we would make it out of the front gates this time, it was a bright, sunny day, if a bit chilly (but everything is high, most of the houses seem built on hill sides

We made it through the gates and we were off at last, it was a good campsite we were leaving behind

We set off, there would be a stop along the way, just to break the journey up a bit

We were stopping at Congohas, there are statues that were carved by a guy that lost his legs and his hands (no idea how or why) but he carved these statues, he hard all the carving tools strapped to his arms, it was his lifes work

This is at Basilica Church, Congohas

There are small crypts with more carvings in them, but these have been painted, they are all about Christ, the crucifixion, the last supper, they are all wood carvings, the paintwork looks okay, but the figures look sorta creepy to me


We spent 2 hours here, but after you have seen the Church, the figures, there isn’t much else to do, and so we met back up early and went off in search of our bush camp

It seems we are trying to get as high as possible (I think to see what weather is coming our way)

So the truck grinds its way upwards, and I am really surprised, there is no bouncing or crashing about in the back here, (it’s either down to Collins skill or the truck or a combination of both)

There were storm clouds on the horizon and heading towards up, but looked like they would pass us by (I didn’t want to put away a wet tent again)

We found a nice area and parked up, as I am on cook group I set my tent up and start getting the gear ready for dinner, putting the kettle on, getting tables, washing bowls out

While we prepared dinner, everyone went off to watch the sunset and trek up a hill

It’s a sausage casserole for dinner, and I think we over done it on the sausages, we got 4Kg of them, still I set to browning them off, the others prepare the vegetables, looking in the pan, I know we have gone way over board with them, still ,I hope everyone is hungry


I sliced the sausages up into bite sized peices, then we slung the veg in, and then just let it simmer for a while (always better to overcook it than under cook it, dont want anyone getting ill on this trip)I was surprised how little fat there was in these sausages, but everything smelt really good
 

I made coffee while all this was happening


Well it was all cooked, over did the rice as well, too much, still they can put some milk, a dollop of jam and they got a dessert


Well everyone came and dug in, there was lots of thank you’s, and people did go back for seconds and thirds, but it didn’t really make too much of a dent in the amount left of both the casserole and rice, so we decided it would make a very good breakfast, so it was put away and we washed all the kit up, and being a bush camp, everything was either chained up or put away, we tried to light a fire, but the wood was awful, it just wouldn’t burn or even smoulder, so that was about it, everyone went off to bed,


I got up about 3: am, the sky was cloudless, and the stars very bright, but I was the only one to see them (again) a shame they don’t know what they missed

It was up for breakfast, some decided they wanted porridge for breakfast, I don’t mind the preparation, it the cleaning of the pan after, still a lot went for the sausage casserole (I think it got better over night) quite a few enjoyed it, along with a bowl of porridge, but we still had lots leave, unfortunately it was thrown away, I guess it was too much in the end for everyone, regardless of how good it was, still we had done a great dinner and breakfast for everyone


So it was a slow start to the day, we had plenty of time, so everyone put away their tents and the kit, we still managed to leave before time


We are off to a hostel for the next 2 nights, so we shall see what that brings and where we are

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Sorry about the late posting, there was no internet, but I hope you enjoy this part of the blog

There should be enough to read, videos and pictures to view
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Comments

Anne on

Well what can i say you really do some really good photos and the video i did put comments on the ,so you get dogs there did it get any of your stuff

derrick241
derrick241 on

nope the dogs didn't get anything from me, I just shouted or lobbed a stick at em, but its the constant barking all night

daryl on

Really looks like this will be a great trip. Oasis seem good operators. Those mountains look cold, just all the bush looks really really cold. Rodney makes a good mascot. Really enjoying it great pics.

mmbcross
mmbcross on

A good start to the journey. Looks like you have a congenial group and excellent driver/escort in Colin. You've done the easy parts. Just wait for the Amazon!

rossport
rossport on

looking good mate good food decent camps and company, hope the hostel is as good

greekcypriot
greekcypriot on

From the little we know Derrick I don't think he will have any trouble passing through the Amazon, Martin. His whole life seems to be an adventure! Wow, Derrick thanks for sharing all this with us. It really seems to be another interesting trip and Rodney a great fan of yours too. Have fun.

Jim on

Looking like a great trip Del- pictures tell the story, too. Good write up -thanks

derrick241
derrick241 on

So far it has all been pretty good, even getting bogged down wasn't a real drama, it all got sorted and we went our way after the truck was pulled out

colin on

glad you got it all documented derrick! especially the bogging ;)

travelmonster
travelmonster on

A promising start, sounds like everyone is pulling together with the truck.

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