The Final Frontier(a)June 7 in Chile
Maya is dictating this part of our trip as we have to be in Chile a minimum of a month prior to her (and Jo's) flight home so, despite desires to stay longer in Argentina, the fact that the pass was open after a few days of heavy snow meant we had to go for it.
The drive down the Chilean side was a very different - it's soooo steep! I remember this road really clearly from our last trip and driving it myself was even more intimidating. You've never seen a road switchback like this - even Chris Froome would be having kittens! The ice on the side of the road kept you alert, but you couldn't help but stare at the awesomeness of the terrain they'd somehow built this road though.
We stopped off for a few hours in the town of Los Andes, trying to sort out the basics (money and SIM card) plus we had to restock on fruit & veg as you were allowed nothing through the border. The next day we continued down and were soon in Santiago, and unbelievable we had another noise eminating from the front end of the van (argggh).
We dealt with Maya's stuff first and got that clock ticking, then off to yet another mechanics. They found a problem and sent me off to search the part shops to find a replacement 'idle arm' (don't ask - I might just bore you with the answer). I eventually returned triumphly, just as everything was closing for the day. After an exceedingly unglamorous night at the local petrol station we returned and they installed the new part. Immediately on the test drive around the block I knew it wasn't any better so back we went. Next we replaced the shock absorbers but still it wasn't sorted. Finally we found one of our newly replaced ball joints had some play so again I went off part hunting. Fortunately this time I didn't have to ship from the states, but when it was installed the following morning (after another unglamorous night) there was still some noise. The mechanics were at a loss and were shutting for the weekend, but stressed anything remaining wasn't serious so we had little choice but to head onwards (later update: the noise seemed to diminish over the following few days, and the work was all done well and needed - it's just frustrating to be still dealing with this).
I don't really have any photos for this blog so I've just added a selection that sum up our time in Argentina (i.e. a lot of eating & drinking!)Read more