Before our departure a friend joked, “So basically you’re going to drive until the car dies and that’s just where you’ll stay?” When Amelia wouldn’t start for more than 14 hours while parked in a remote campsite on the Atlantic in Patagonia, Argentina we thought, no not here!
It’s not all fun and games this travel business and when there is a rash of car problems it can get very trying. Over the last few weeks we have had several car issues including: An electronic starting problem when the car will simply not crank- zero, nada, not so much as a click when you turn the key (fixed twice and now it usually starts but if not it will with a wire jump); A muffler system breech that had poor Amelia sounding like an old jalopy (fixed 3 times and now she’s purring like a kitten); a second flat tire on rough gravel roads when we could neither feel nor hear the flat on which we drove ruining the sidewall (we had to buy 2 new tires with probably 25,000 miles of tread life on the old ones); an intermittent air conditioning problem which slowly raises in temperature, then quits and sometimes starts back up only to drop off again (fixed in Buenos Aires and we hope it holds heading into the heat of Brazil next!)
Siestas are a beautiful thing in Latin America unless one is trying to get something accomplished. We’ve experienced the rhythm and flow of halted commerce in a number of locations. Most recently the technicians at a Chevy dealership announced they would be closing between 12 and 3pm just as they completed dismantling the steering column. Come back at 4 pm, they told us.
The last blow came In Trelew where we were told by the police to park in a secure garage in the city apparently for good reason. Less than twenty four hours later in broad daylight our back window was smashed and a bag with $1,000 worth of clothes was stolen. We were parked in a hotel lot but the gate was open and we were in clear view from the sidewalk. It looks like we’ll be driving Amelia with a temporary Plexiglas window since replacing an 18 year old American model Chevy window is next to impossible in Argentina.
Just thought we should set the record straight. Our journey is about gorgeous landscapes, engaging cultures, interesting people, adventurous activities and daily problem solving. At times we feel beaten but then we have a simple meal in a traditional Buenos Aries parrilla café and remind ourselves how thankful and fortunate we are.