I mentioned I got the red beer bottle at the tip of Chile in South America.
That bottle actually came with quite a few pretty amazing memories. I have had that bottle for many years. I got it on a trip that I took down through the Americas when I was in my early 20s.
I was part of a loose caravan of travelers that decided to drive in old beater vans down through Central America and South America all the way to the bottom of Chile.
We took sleeping bags, camping gear, camp stoves, and various other basic necessities that we would need on the trip that would probably last for several months.
I had my camera and my sketchbook also. Those were the things that I wanted most along on the trip so that I could record the unique aspects of the landscape and the people and the terrain.
That trip turned out to be unforgettable. Memorable in almost every way. They were several vans that went down and a number of people in each van. If I remember right, there were about 12 of us that actually left California altogether. I think by the time we got to the end there were only six of us. We had a lot of deserters.
But that didn’t matter. We didn’t care. We were very loose and easy about the trip. There weren’t expectations. There was just a core of us that wanted to get down to the bottom and the rest of them went by the wayside and that was fine.
It took a long, long time just to do the driving part of the whole trip. Some of the roads were decent and some of them were miserable. I don’t know how many flat tires we had. We only had one or two small fender benders when it came to accidents. So we really lucked out in that department.
We charted a very loose route and we followed it very loosely. We were able to see some spectacular things that we actually planned to see and then we also saw a lot of sites that we just happened on. So those ones were very serendipitous.
We got along fairly well. There weren’t too many of us that rubbed each other the wrong way. We worked out a pretty easy and fluid relating style and design of living on the road in our vans.
It was good to have the camping because it gave us a bit of an escape from the vans.
I got the red bottle like this. . . .
It happened on the night that we decided we had officially reached the southernmost point that we could reach. There was a dirt track that we stumbled on, and we followed it back to where it ended: in front of a bar made of corrugated iron, painted all red.
We went inside for a few drinks, and I had beer out of a red bottle. I knew I had to take that bottle with me. I had to. Turned out there was no drama taking it. I just asked and they said, sure.