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Why is this road so empty?

The wide open road heading into Paso San Francisco.

We made our way through northern Argentina more quickly than expected. Since we’ve had the opportunity to explore Salta, Tucumán, and Mendoza on previous trips, we basically made a beeline from Brazil to the Chilean coast. We crossed into Chile via the little used Paso de San Francisco, which included more than 100 kilometers of unpaved, extremely bumpy and winding roads through the Andes…an adventure that explains why we had the road virtually to ourselves.

Emerging from Paso San Francisco into the Atacama Desert in Chile

Emerging from Paso San Francisco into the Atacama Desert in Chile

Now we’re slowly working our way up the coast of Chile, where many of the beaches are wide open for public use, fishing, and camping. Having the opportunity to pitch a tent on a peaceful beach with the waves breaking and the sky overflowing with brilliant stars is extra special. And after subsisting on a diet of yogurt, crackers, canned tuna and mouthfuls of desert dust for a few days on the road, we were ready for some tasty camp food.

Playa Cifuncho Camping

I was first introduced to hobo pies by my high school BFF during a camping trip in Assateague Island, Maryland – another spot I highly recommend for some quality beach camping. When she whipped out her hobo pie maker, I admit that I did not believe the hype. It’s basically a square, sandwich-sized pie iron and I prepared myself for the equivalent of grilled cheese. But after devouring deliciously crispy mini pepperoni pizzas pockets and polishing off a S’mores sammie oozing melted chocolate and marshmallows, I was thoroughly convinced that I needed a hobo pie maker, stat. (Thanks Suzie! I should have never doubted you).

Hobo Pies

There’s really no recipe needed for a delicious hobo pie and experimenting is half the fun. The basic requirements are the pie iron (which you can purchase at camping/outdoor stores or online), some non-stick cooking spray, sliced bread, and of course, a campfire. Just grease the pie iron with the cooking spray, make your sandwich with your ingredients of choice, lock it up and stick it in the fire. Cooking time varies depending on the strength of your fire, but I generally check within a minute or so in case I want to adjust the positioning to reduce the potential for burnt toast. Simple, right? And something about cooking on a campfire just makes everything taste better.

With the limited ingredient options that come with traveling through South America, we’ve played it somewhat safe thus far. Toasted ham and cheese with a slice of tomato is a good bet for a quick and easy breakfast or lunch. For dinner, turkey, cheese and tomato sauce with some freshly ground black pepper hits the spot.  But I dream of making delicious Reuben Hobo Pies, or pies stuffed with brie and strawberries, or maybe some peanut butter banana chocolate goodness….but that will have to wait til we’re back in the homeland.