On our rest day in Bariloche most everyone worked on their cars in the morning. The parking lot looked like a picnic grounds until you realized all the colorful bags were car parts. Fellow participant, Brant Parson, a air-cooled Vdub guy, agreed to change Stewball's oil and adjust his valves. Jobs that would have taken Ed all day. We can't thank Brant enough!
We crossed the border to Chile. Trump hasn't been here so there is no wall, just beautiful mountains in the background. The Chilean border guards had been on strike the border closed much of each day so we were glad to hear all would be well for our crossing. It went smoothly, if not slowly because Chile is VERY invested in making sure nothing comes in that might corrupt their fruit and vegetable crops. That being said, after passing through immigrations and customs, every car had to unload everything in it and put it though a scanner. This was a very time-consuming process and perhaps since we were nearly at the end of the line, or perhaps because we are old, we only were required to take out one suitcase at the discretion of the guard. (by the way, everyone was warm and friendly on both sides of the border.) The suitcase contained our spare parts so was passed through quickly.
We figured out how to avoid the rough, fast gravel regularities and had planned to do so on day 9. Then we had a second reason to do so: friends, John and Marian had a serious car problem with their MG. The Universal joint was problematic. We offered to follow behind them along the Pan-American highway straight in so John could get to work on his car and have it on the road the next day. Turns out our GPS took us a different way than theirs did, so much of the time we really weren't behind them!
Some things I learned about Chile after two days of driving.
- The Chilean pesos is equal to $674.00. Very hard to work out the exchange rate.
- Chileans are less demonstrative than Argentinians. They do smile at our car but no whistles or shouts.
- Chile has great red wine. (Probably white as well, but no experience here.)
- Route 5 is the Pan-American highway and equal to any US interstate but with frequent tolls of 3,000 pesos.
- Farming is modern but we did see carts drawn with oxen and a farmer with two mules pulling a wooden plow.
We have now traveled from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific and in two countries. After this day off at the sea, we cross the Andes back to Argentina. We will climb to nearly 10,000 feet. Sort of a test for cars and participants before we do the really high one at 15,000. More on that after it is done.