January 2023- Chile/Argentina
We made it across the international border between Argentina and Chile just before sunset. It was a long windy wait, but this cliffside campsite was awaiting us. We spent a windy, yet peaceful night there. Overlooking the ocean was fantastic. And in the night the full moon peeked through the clouds offering us a fantastic show.
In daylight we drove onward along the highway. We found this startling sign, and decided not to cross that fence. It seems we had parked near the gas line property which runs across the southern portion of Chile and re-enters Argentina near where we are headed. Fuel prices in Chile are two to three times higher than in Argentina. So I guess the transfer lines must be protected with land mines.
We found this beautiful insect while looking over the mine field fence. Don’t worry, it is not heavy enough to set off a land mine!
Then suddenly we were back at the border! That’s right, it was time to cross back in to Argentina. You see, there is a tiny sliver of Chile that juts across the tip of South America, splitting Argentina into two pieces. Or you could say that Argentina claimed the tip of South America from Chile. You do the research and let me know how it all went down. Either way, we were finished with Chile for now, and returning to Argentina for cheap fuel and a leaf spring repair shop. Here are some maps with terrible drawings to show you where we were.
You may recall that we broke a leaf spring on the truck a short while back. Because this is a LONG piece of steel, we were unable to get it repaired or replaced in the small towns along the route. But we found a shop in the far south of Argentina that could help us. Meet Elasticos Antonio!
This shop clearly had the materials and the skills to create what we needed! And a cute shop dog named Marcello that had a huge crush on Pacha. He enjoyed hanging out near the warming fire in the break room. This barrel always had a fire and a pot of water on top.
Because the rest of the shop was cold, the internet was fast and the fire was warm- this is where we spent most of our time while we were waiting for the work to be completed.
The skills that these workers had were amazing. They were clearly old-school machinists, with accuracy and attention to detail. The huge metal lathe has been in the family for generations. It was used to produce custom parts for the family race car. For us they pulled out two long pieces of steel and went to work. Once they began heating and hammering the steel for our new leaf springs, we knew the work would be done right!
In the end, we were NOT disappointed. They created two new leaf springs (one for each side) with a metal that was slightly thicker than the stock springs. The new springs fit perfectly into the spring pack and made the truck very happy. We also had all the fluids changed and replaced. Which also made the truck happy. With this service visit we were back on the road towards the southern tip of South America.
The happy truck and camper are showing off the sticker collection!
Up next: a goal is accomplished……..