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8 July 2013 / leggypeggy

When a shortcut isn’t all that short

Roadwork, Brazil

Work on the road less-travelled

You know the thick red line on a road map—the one that says ‘take me, I’m the main road’? Okay. Know the thin grey one that says ‘I’m narrow, maybe dirt, but certainly passable’?

We took the thin grey line the other day. It was going to cut out about 30 kilometres, a major town and a long stretch of messy roadwork. Locals told us it was tarmac and safe to use.

Brazil, Sponge Bob

Crossing a basic bridge

They were right—up to a point. It started out tarmac and then petered out to dirt. But wait. It will be tarmac soon, because plenty of messy roadworks were underway here too. Beyond them were dirt/mud, narrow bridges, steep grades and increasing rain.

After chatting to a local school bus driver, Colin decided it made more sense to turn back. Sponge Bob weighs 16–17 tons and would be ridiculously hard to pull out of a ditch if he slid backwards down a slippery road.

So we lost about a third of a day’s drive, but a shortcut always has its bonuses.


Top floor is for drying clothes

The scenery was gorgeous—plenty of farms and coffee plantations, interesting roadwork, bird’s eye views into homes (the top floor is for drying laundry) and an encounter with a school bus.  And guess what? Kids on Brazilian school buses are as boisterous, rude and cheeky as kids anywhere else in the world.


Our day was destined to be full of delays and hiccups. We arrived in Linhares—a couple of hours short of our original destination. We pulled into the swish-looking CasaGrande Supermercado to shop for the day’s cook group but it wasn’t open for business yet.  It will be impressive when it’s completed, but we had to do our supermarket shopping across the road at the old CasaGrande.

Then, after chatting to the locals and making a phone call, Colin and Danny discovered that the campground we were heading to was no longer operating.

Sponge Bob

Not such a tight squeeze when the sign is down, a bit of roof is upturned and it’s daylight

Turned out it didn’t matter! One of Brazil’s ongoing demonstrations was planned for tonight in Linhares and we wouldn’t have been able to get through the crowd and blocked roads.

So we back-tracked for about 40 minutes to a lovely campground that made us feel super welcome. They even took down the entrance sign and bent back a section of roofing so Colin could get Sponge Bob through the narrow gateway.

The final bonus of the day was a delicious version of carbonara for dinner. A great day with adversity overcome.

Brazilian countryside

Shortcut countryside


Leave a Comment
  1. lmo58 / Jul 8 2013 11:42 am

    I’m glad you had such a good adventure even if it did involve a bit of backwards, forwards and sideways. Reminded me of when I got bogged on the Atherton Tablelands recently. Very beautiful countryside too.


    • leggypeggy / Jul 8 2013 7:36 pm

      We were so glad we didn’t get bogged. That happened last week. Stay tuned for pics and story.


  2. revellyrobinson / Jul 8 2013 9:33 pm

    As frustrating as it must have been it still makes a good blog post!


    • leggypeggy / Jul 8 2013 10:28 pm

      These things aren’t really frustrating — just good blog material.


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