|Patagonia, ( Chile & Argentina ), December 2014
|A window in Tom's universe.
This is more than a website of photos, it is a place to
share photos, adventures, stories, opinions, and
Tom Ballard Photography
I have a new adventure planned for December 2014... I leave home on December 4, and return home on
December 16. For my friends and family who wish to follow along, I am sitting up this page to help you do just
that.. I tried this model for tracking before, it seemed to work, so I am continuing it...
If everything works according to my plan, the following steps should let you share the trip with me.
1. While traveling, I will be carrying a SPOT satellite reciever/transmitter which will collect GPS signals,
calculate my position , then share my position on a webpage, via the SPOT network. For the techies in the
group, the website for SPOT is www.findmespot.com.
2. I am sharing the daily itinerary that was provided to me by my travel company, www.smartours.com . This
is my fourth trip with this company. First trip was to China and it was great.. So, now I am off to try a fourth
adventure with them. The link for this trip is:
Click on "Itinerary" to see the advertised plan for this trip...
3. By checking their map and looking at the itinerary, you should have a fair idea of what I am doing at any
4. I am not sure how the SPOT map will show the date and the time while I am in South America, so, a quick
search of the internet will bring you up to date...My info says that noon in Chicago is 3 PM in Punta Arenas,
Chile. Maybe this will help....
For a map of my last seven days of travel, click this link: Travel 2014
Note: This trip officially starts and ends in Miami, Florida
Note... I do not think I will have any way to share images from the trip as it happens, but I plan to do my usual
trip report when I get back, so, watch for that later!!! ..... I should have some email service while gone!!!!
Note: The map will only
share the most current
seven days of information.
After a point has been on
the map for seven days, it
is then deleted.
You may have to adjust
the ZOOM to view the
map. Use the slider on the
left side to do this..
To check the date, time,
and GPS coords, for any
given MARKER on the
map, click on the little
balloon at the point, or
click the little "+" sign to
the left of the point, in the
list, called messages.
Also, in the message list,
you can click on the little
orange ball, and the
system will take you to
that MARKER, on the
Remember Mark Twain's Quote, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-
mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad,
wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating
in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”
Photo Sharing starts here... See list below
Dec 04... Traveling to Chile
Dec 05... Adventure day in Santiago, Chile
Dec 06... Today we fly from Santiago to Punta Arenas, then do some exploring of the town.
Dec 07... Today we move from the Strait of Magellan to see penguins, then on to Puerto Natales
Dec 08... Boat tour to Glaciers from Puerto Natales, Chile
Dec 09... Today, our adventure takes us from Puerto Natales to Torres Del Paine NP, and back.
Dec 10... Today we move from Chile into Argentina. Along the way, we stop at a sheep ranch...
Dec 11... Today we visit Los Glaciares National Park
Dec 12... Glacier tour by boat
Dec 13... Leave El Calafate and fly to Buenos Aires
Dec 14... Evita Peron Cemetery, Opera House, Art Town?, Farewell Dinner, Tango Dancing...
Dec 15... Today we check out of our hotel, go on a boat tour, then to airport, to go home.
Dec 16... Today we were supposed to arrive home, but that did not happen!!!
Dec 17... Last Day of the adventure... Arriving home.
The following text is the Original message I put here for family and friends, before leaving!
2014-12-04~17.... Patagonia Adventure!!! This is one place I have wanted to go for many years, and now, I
have been there, and I am now back!!! I am alive, and I am getting well... Nearly everyone on this adventure
caught a cold, plus I even managed to get an eye infection on top of the cold.. Not good, but I have now been
treated, so I am much better! This was my 4th Smartours trip this year, and it turned out to be the worst!! A
fair number of the travelers had traveled with Smartours before, and all agreed that this was the worst
experience so far.. There were just sooo many things that were less than we expected... I would not
recommend Smartours for this adventure. The guides were a problem, the food was a problem, the language
was a problem, and the list goes on.. Really felt cheated on this trip... That said, I met some great people and
acquired some neat new friends, that I would not have if I had not been on this trip, so there was good that
came out of all the challenges!!! As soon as I have time, I will write my usual story, and by reading it, you will
learn what I mean by being disappointed..
I have been blessed to have been able to travel so much this year. And, travel to me means taking lots of
photos and sharing lots of photos, so as to tell the story. There are several types of people who will visit my
site and see my images. There are those you cannot afford to go, those whose health will no longer permit
travel like I do, those who do not have the time, and, there are those who might go if they could get a better
idea of what is really there.. When I am taking the photos, I try to take images that will be of interest to all
these different situations. Yes, the sets are long, but, sometimes that is the only way to really share the
experience.. So, before diving into my stories and photos, find a time when you are not rushed, grab
something to drink, then sit back, relax, and live the trip..
Because I have a few other stories and photo sets to complete from earlier travel this year, it might be awhile
before I get to this one, but please keep checking back for updates.. I will add photos and stories as time
Please note: This trip was supposed to start on Dec 4, then end on Dec 16, but, because of a mechanic strike
in Buenos Aires, we were a day late getting home!!!! Having a strike start while you are standing in line,
getting ready to board a plane, is a unique experience, especially when it happens at midnight.. We were
eventually taken to hotels, but we did not arrive at the hotels until around 0500. Many of us had not missed the
food vouchers that were given to some, so by the time the breakfast buffet opened at 0630 in the hotel, we
were getting pretty weak!!! That said, we did get breakfast at 0630, we did get showers and some sleep, and
we got a buffet lunch at 1230. Then we are able to sneak in another short nap before getting on a bus back to
the airport. Our 8 PM flight actually left at 9 PM and arrived back in Miami around 0530 on the 16th. Several
of us had used American Airlines for travel in the US. We were not sure how difficult it would be to get rides
home, given that we were a day late.. As it turns out, AA performed near magic for us, and got all of us early
flights home.. I got to the AA counter at 0600, and in short order then had me on a 0715 flight headed home..
I had one short stop in Chicago, then it was on home for me.. It worked out great. No problems at all. I think
the same was true for the others in our group.
Photo Collection for the Patagonia Adventure
Photo Collection for this adventure is at the bottom of this page!!!!!!!!