Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Termas Del Arapey.
The 525 mile drive from Santa Teresa took us three days. We camped overnight in Melo and Tacuarembó at the municipal parks. Most of the larger towns have camping areas in the park and there is usually room for a motor home. Our destination Arapey is well known for its thermal mineral spas and we had been told there was an excellent ran department (state) park. We were not disappointed. The park had a 3 motel, a 5 star hotel and a huge camping zone that had electricity, water and sewer hookups plus Wi-Fi throughout the whole area. There were 10 thermal pools, some enclosed and some outside and they are open 24 hours a day. We found a campsite close to the Rio Arapey Grande which borders the park. There were plenty of areas for walking Winston and we were able to let him off leash by the river. The pools are amazing, not too hot, in the mid 90’sF and very relaxing. The first three days though, it poured with rain which did not stop us from enjoying the thermal pools but made other activities hard to appreciate. Like sloshing through the mud to exercise Winston. Luckily, he is a fair weather dog and does not like the rain so walks were blessedly short although the pile of towels from drying him off was getting quite substantial by the time the rains stopped and the sun finally emerged. The other major thing that happened between Tacuarembó and Arapey was a rock from a truck ahead of us must have bounced up and completely shattered the window in the over cab. We did not realize anything had happened until we arrived and parked at the thermals. Since it was raining, Tom simply secured a tarp over the front until we can come up with a better solution. Also, we use that area for storage so much of the items were saturated and for now there was little we could do except wait for the rains to stop. There were lots of RVs, mostly from Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil but there was a contingent of 8 motor homes from Germany. One couple had been travelling South America for six years. The German RVs resemble tanks on wheels with Mercedes truck engines, custom bodies having few windows, large tires and well, sturdy. On our third day, the sun came out. Relief. I had lots of laundry waiting to be done. It has to be washed and rinsed by hand and then hung out to dry as there are no lavanderias in town. Everyone is in the same boat and by late morning, all campers have washing lines full of clothes, sheets and blankets. Tacky but what can you do! Tom, meanwhile had emptied the over cab of all our things and had lain them out to dry. He also devised a makeshift window from some plywood we had stashed under the mattress. Fortunately he always makes sure we have a variety of nuts, bolts and screws on hand. After he took the tarp off and starting measuring the window, other campers starting drifting over, offering suggestions and help. We are going to try to replace it in Montevideo and if not there then we will wait until we get to Buenos Aires. Not with tempered glass but with an acrylic, plexiglass or similar products that will better withstand the journey. Until then, it is the wood covered with plastic taped in place in case we have more rain. Chores completed we spent our remaining days enjoying the pools and walking Winston by the river.