Vacationing in Pucón Chile and an introduction to monkey puzzle trees

I want to clarify something. What George and I have been up to is not a vacation, it’s a lifestyle choice. We thank our lucky stars most days for the opportunity to explore, but we’re not lounging around every day either. Whatever you are up to, it seems to be human nature to keep busy and find new things to stress about. For us there is the daily routine of packing/unpacking, making meals on the tailgate and hours/days spent working through the laundry list of things to fix on the truck, planning what the heck we’re going to do next, and more recently shipping the truck home.

So, sometimes it is nice to have a tiny break from the ever present feeling to move on to the next thing. When George and I got settled in Pucón Chile, I think we both took a big sigh of relief. There was water, sun, sushi, many barbecued dinners and most of all great time hanging with los Juntos!

After the holidays, we backtracked a little to visit Conguillo National Park in Chile known for the very active Volcan Llaima which erupted in 2008 and the Monkey Puzzle Tree (Araucaria Araucana). I didn’t really think about the curious name of the tree until arriving in Conguillo. One look at the tree and it is clear that any monkey that attempted to climb one would be puzzled by the spiky branches.

The park was simply outstanding though with lakes, great camping and wonderful hikes.

Continually driving with someone means that you quickly exhaust your preferred available music and start to explore the underbelly of each other’s tastes. We made it to deep into the bowels of George’s musical tastes on our second night in Conguillo. As I prepared dinner, he selected some Megadeath which made me want to scratch my eyeballs out. I vetoed metal in the car after that night.

I think this is the point that we started to rely heavily on podcasts to get us through the long drives. Podcasts were a very welcome change because we were heading to the beginning of the Carreera Austral and 770 miles of mostly gravel road.

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