A 25,000 kms drive around South America - Oct/Nov 2001

Starting and finishing on Copacapana Beach, Rio de Janeiro. Driving 25,000 kms through six countries: Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Chile and Uruguay. One hundred cars: fifty classics and fifty 4x4's.

Day 54 - Guaruja - Rio de Janeiro

We set off at 9am to drive along the coast to Paraty. For us, it is the last day of driving! The others will arrive in Rio tomorrow. It was a long and quite wet drive. We arrived at Paraty at lunchtime. It is quite a basic primitive area, but the centre of the town has attractive colonial-style buildings.

We parked near the Refugio restaurant, where the Rally are having lunch tomorrow. We met the advance car again and the local Brazilian guide. We had a very good lunch there under a great brass double-revolving fan, which was most welcome as it was very hot and humid outside. It started to thunder after lunch as we walked around the town. There were some nice shops, but we had very little time. We went to buy diesel, but our credit cards wouldn't work. At last Colin's went through and we were able to leave at 4.15.

It was raining and stormy. We had a quite tiring and emotional final 4 hours drive to Rio. We followed the Roadbook via the coast road, including cobbles, to Barra, Leblon, Ipanema and, finally, Copacabana and the Sofitel!!

We felt slightly shell-shocked as we checked in. I can't believe we've made it. We met Colin in the Horse's Neck bar in the hotel and had 2 Caipirinhas each. We then went down to the restaurant next to the hotel. John Brown has arrived from England and Tim went to speak to him.

John has had bypass surgery and we are amazed he has been able to travel all this way. We had supper outside with Colin. It was raining but there were canvas awnings overhead. We were tired and went to bed at 2am.

Total distance driven 342 miles.