La Paz – The highest capital in the world

La Paz is not typically a traveler’s highlight. It’s a giant city located at ebbing altitudes between 12,000 – 13,500 feet. Most travelers use it as a stop over on their way to other parts of Bolivia.

Having been here for over a week now, I have to say that we really like it. La Paz is great!

Of course, the place we’re staying makes all the difference.  The Oberland Campground and Hotel is a revolving door for overland travelers, mostly all European. One of the things we were most excited about when we arrived was that Coen and Karin from Landcruising Adventures were posted up here. We’ve been following these guys for years. They are in an elite class of overlanders. They’ve been on the road for ten years, having driven through Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and South America. They are pros. The real deal.

The famous Cruiser

After hearing about our pathetic entrace into La Paz with no GPS, Coen quickly set out to fix the problem, and by the end of our first night our GPS was fully operational, with maps not only for Bolivia, but also Argentina and Brazil.

We had a couple of really fun nights hanging out with Coen and Karin. We really connected with them.

Unfortunately, they are heading north and we are heading south. They flew to Europe for a month, and when they return they are off to Peru. Will we see them again? I don’t think they’re gonna stop traveling, and I know we aren’t, so the chances are high. We’ll see. Maybe Africa?

There were a bunch of other Euros in and out of the campground as well. Check this cool rig out. This young French couple has been rocking it counter clockwise around South America. We’ll see them again for sure.

And of course there are the Kiwis. These guys are heading to Alaska. Will and Rochelle, good game.

We had one connection when we arrived in Bolivia. Our close friend, Arlene Burns, hooked us up with Jose, a La Paz native. Turns out he is a rock climber to boot! I was pretty fired up to get out there and climb. The local rock doesn’t “look” very stellar, but it actually climbs quite well.

One of the other reasons we’ve been waiting to get to La Paz was to see an American trained doctor. We haven’t mentioned this yet, but, back in Cusco, Peru, Soleil was diagnosed with very mild hip dysplasia. We’ve been pretty worried about it, because, frankly we didn’t trust the doctors in Peru (with Lima being an exception). Stevie went to 4 different doctors, though, and they all said the same thing independently. They prescribed Sol this special “diaper” to wear at night to fix the problem, but I never felt fully confident.  We couldn’t find any information about the Freijka harness online, which was unsettling to say the least.

Stevie tracked down a doctor in La Paz through IAMAT (International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers) who I felt was going to be legit. Our plan was to have him diagnose the problem from scratch, and if anything at all was wrong, we’d jump a plane to the US. I have to tell you, I was super nervous leading up to this. Sol didn’t seemed too fussed about it though.

Step one was to get an Xray. We had had an ultrasound in Cusco, but the Xray was supposed to be more accurate.

In classic South American form, just getting the xray turned out to be an all day affair. Nothing is easy down here. It’s just not.

We finally got the xray and then took it across town to the specialist. By this time it was almost 7pm. The good news is that he saw almost nothing wrong. Her hips are off by one degree. Very minor. We’ll keep her in the harness and continue to watch it. We’ll do another checkup in Sucre (Southern Bolivia) in a month, then another one in Argentina the next month, then one when we get to the US in August.

So, that’s what we’ve been doing in La Paz. We’ll hang a few days more, and then head south.





New Video:


Are you serious? I’m gone climbing for ONE afternoon, and this is what I find when I come home and download the camera.

Click Here To Watch

Unbelievable. Just 3 questions for my lovely wife…

1) What the hell are you teaching our daughter?

2) What happened to Sesame Street?

3) Honey, I thought ‘BEAST IT’ was our special thing???



  1. Melissa says:

    HI had hip displasia when i was born…i had to wear one of those braces that looked like what Forrest Gump was wearing in that movie. She is lucky she only has to wear that thing at night. Good luck!

    • Well you turned out beautifully, all limbs in tact, so that’s very encouraging. Thank you 🙂 See you and your GORGEOUS babies in 3 months! Whoopee!

  2. Poor Sol! Does she seem to be in pain? Or is it just how she’s holding her legs that tipped you off? My mid-wife pushed us right to chiropractic after delivery (well, not RIGHT after) and said how much birth can effect their alignment. I’m curious to know if chiro is something that could help Sol or is it more than that? Then I have to wonder how possible is it to get that kind of treatment where you are? Great pics though and I hope Sol is all smiles! XO

    • Hey Hoop. She doesn’t have any pain, and she has perfect mobility, no clicking. I took her to the pediatrician in Cusco at 5 1/2 months for a tiny dry cough she had (turned out to be the dry cold weather) and the doctor noticed that her fat rolls on her thighs weren’t lining up, so he recommended an ultrasound, which indicated a minor sublaxation (or something like that) in the left hip. And from there I cried, went a little crazy, and turned over every stone looking for a trustworthy doctor. This last one from IAMAT in La Paz seemed pretty knowledgeable. He said that she didn’t have to wear the harness anymore, but we’re making her wear it for a couple more weeks. Better safe than sorry. Poor Sol hates it. Good thing she won’t remember this little episode in her life.

      Wishing you the best!

  3. Good to see those pictures. Great memories (still a bruise on my leg though :-)). Thanks for sharing those evenings together. See you on the road, one day, somewhere.
    Good to hear Sol seems to be doing okay. Good luck with the next check-ups!

  4. Nonituyas says:

    She is always in my heart.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I’m a periodic follower of your blog and happened upon it today while on a conference call. Both my sister and I had hip dysplasia – it tends to affect first born girls more. We both turned out just fine after wearing that same brace almost 40 years ago. One interesting aside is that years later I came across a book called “Where there is no doctor” while living in Africa. It notes that the condition is more likely to correct itself in developing countries where women wear their babies since babies have their legs spread around their mom’s back or front. Maybe give your daughter some extra baby wearing time?

    • Hi anonymous,
      thanks for the comment. We’ve been wearing her in one of those front carriers daily and I think you are right. They help a ton! 🙂

  6. I had the same thing when I was a baby and had to wear big leg braces that I don’t remember. The only problem was I could walk at 9 months because of them!

    She won’t remember, and she’ll be fine. You guys are doing great!

  7. Sol is in our prayers. She will be fine, she’s an outlander. Nothing a little duct tape and kiss can’t cure. Love you guys, welcome to the most terrifying job in the world; parenthood.

  8. Jackie says:

    So glad everything is ship-shape!

  9. Mark Hudon says:

    Oh jeez, give me that little baby and I’ll rain kisses down on her!

  10. Sara Gepp says:

    Glad she is OK!!!!

  11. That’s great news about Sol!

  12. Shannon says:

    Aw, sweet little Sol. Glad things are looking good. Give her a big hug for me, please.

  13. Cat Severson says:

    That harness is good treatment, and also in the US they can prescribe a set of shoes with a bar going between them that the baby can sleep with at night. Of course that is more costly. The good news is that hers is mild, which can resolve as she grows. And she looks wonderful!

  14. Ursula says:

    Yes they can be and also bring so much joy. Happy she is doing well

  15. Sara Vander Hill Taormino says:

    “stressful” is an understatement my dear! Glad to hear all is good!

  16. Wow. Scary is right. So happy to hear everything is looking up!

  17. Heather says:

    Glad things are looking good! Getting a baby an X-ray is not a fun experience. I feel for you.

  18. Madrigal Madri says:

    Gracias a Dios !!!
    Todo mi cariño para los 3 .

  19. Anonymous says:


  20. Anonymous says:


  21. Nica says says:

    Hello ,
    Soleil is getting big these days.
    Tell sol i love her

  22. Jonathan says:

    Tree/Stevie (and Soleil)-
    Regarding hip dysplasia, our younger daughter had a fairly significant case of it that went undiagnosed for longer than need be–6 months. Everything turned out fine, though, and will probably do so for you as well. We (ok, mostly my wife, let’sbe honest) were just very diligent about using the harness we were provided and it cleared up by 12 months. Just keep after it and Soleil should come out the other end just fine. If you’re interested in talking to a Dr. in the US to review the x-rays or anything, let me know. We apparently found “the guy” in Washington DC. Bonus is he’s in the same practice (Georgetown) as Dr. Brent Wiesel, and Brent’s dad.

  23. Cathy Hearn says:

    Hey Stevie & Tree & Sol!
    Marina was in a harness when she was little. Mild hip dysplasia, common in 1st born girls. She was in a pavlik harness from ~4 wks to 5 mos, then a rhino til 8 mos. She’s fine as of last spring & still has check ups for followup.
    Any concerns or ?,or just need to vent, don’t hesitate to message me.

  24. I noticed you went rock climbing with one of my closest amigos, Jose Camarlinghi (Andean Summits). I would consider him one of the best guides in Bolivia for all things alpine and overland 4×4 routes, especially on the Altiplano. Make sure you talk to him about your planned route options south through Bolivia!



    • Hi Sergio,
      Wow, that’s crazy, you know Jose too! He is a great guy. We will consult him on our planned route. Thanks

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