Day 27 – Paracas to Lima

The last day!
The hotel in Paracas is set on the pacific coast line in beautifully gardened surrounds. The architecture of the facilities and amenities is just fantastic.
It’s the type of project that you just couldn’t get through your local council for approval in NZ anymore. Pity.
There were 260 kms to ride today including two track events. The weather was warm and clear already and the exit onto the main roads was easy.

Leaving Paracas showing more desert and roadside scenery

Then there were, as usual, the long roads interspersed with little townships that popped up along the road side that just go on and on with stop lights that hold back our progress.
Steve has picked up the local habits now. He runs up the inside of the road and beats the traffic to the next set of lights in time to pass about 10 to 15 cars and trucks. Just like the tuk tuks do. Saves so much time and gives us a bit to smile about as we pass our speedier competitors, stuck in traffic.

Chicken farms on the coast line beaches and more desert

We make the time controls in time and carry on up the pacific coastline noting the serious economic improvements to the roads, housing and commercial activities including agriculture.

Pacific ocean on roadside and scenery

Then to our track event, both at the same venue. One a race car track, the other a go-cart track.
These are always good fun, even if we don’t or can’t do well.
Denise loved it. Steve had treated her to a feed of a winns product, an oil additive that assists in lubricating the moving parts of the motor.
She seemed to perform very much better.
Anyway, the last leg of the journey to the Country Club in Lima lay ahead and we weaved through the traffic to get there on time following many other contestants. It was tricky driving to ensure that we were in the correct lanes for the next intersection and road take offs.
And there we are. Ready for the photographs entering under an ERA banner with fanfare and finishing flag unfurled waving the competitors in.
Great fanfare.

The winners of the event Chuck and Pam; and Denise with jubilant driver and navigator under the finish banner

Every finishers team was handed a handle of beer. Much needed driving in the hot Lima sunshine. And much appreciated.
It was early in the afternoon and much to do to prepare the car to be shipped back home.
Some paperwork to export the car but everyone wanting to do this at the same time.
A few more drinks and congratulations and back patting our colleagues until time for the gala dinner at 7 pm.
This entailed a picture show taken enroute by Gerrard Brown the official photographer.
Interesting, funny and highlighting some tricky vehicular situations.
Then the prize giving.
Denise was placed 17th in her class. Not good but we finished with aplomb.
We were awarded the mechanics prize of being “the most self sufficient team” in the competition. Meaning that we required the least assistance from the sweep team mechanics.

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It was Steve’s prize really but we both received a small momento from the ERA.
Lots of fun and discussion over dinner, a few lies etc.
Well it’s all over now.
A great experience and worthwhile. One gets a little worked up from time to time but overall a really great experience.
Thanks for all of the support from those that assisted in getting Denise up and running in NZ and the words of support during the event.
Really much appreciated.

Steve and Corgi.

Day 25 – Cusco to Nazca

Whew!
What a day of travel.
664 kms over the hills and mountains of Peru.
We got up at 4:45 am to have breakfast and be ready to go by bus to the garage to pick up Denise at 6:45 am.
She cranked up well as usual and we were under way @ 6:55.
This was to be a no points day due to the fact that the day was just too long in duration to have events enroute that would make it even longer.
So we set off out of the narrow city streets, easily finding our way to the highway and into the countryside.

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Outside our hotel monastery a native with a baby lama

We weren’t in any hurry today because there were no deadlines or timelines to meet.
Before us, as has become normal, the mountains towered to either side of the road as we travelled through the valleys ascending slowly but surely upward, into foothills and surely into the mountains. The views were as always magnificent. Villages and people activities passed us by as we casually moved on.

Some general scenery between Cusco and Nazca

We knew that there was a mountain to climb, to an altitude of 4554 meters. This was to be achieved in the short distance of 30 kms beginning from 1500 metres.
This entailed some mountain climbing in somewhat the real sense of the word.
Not straight up but long mountain side roads ending every time with a hairpin bend then repeat.
Sounds ok but made difficult with lorries slowly crawling up too and not permitting a passing manoeuvre as he too was crawling around bends too tight for his rig so the norm for them was to pull out wide before the bend to get the unit around. Slow progress.
Nothing we could do to speed up our progress.
Up and up and up.
When we thought that we were at the highest point, we were disappointed as there was more yet to go. Cold, wet sometime, sleet and some snow. Windy too.
Denise carried on, Steve beginning to show some degree of personal discomfort due to the extreme driving requirements. Gear changing continuously.

More scenery enroute

When we finally got to the topmost mountain, it was down in the same manner. Hairpins and mountainside roads. Using the motor as well as the brakes and gears we descended back down to a village or two only to be directed back up to do it all again.
As we went up, the side of the road fell down further and further sometimes falling away 1500 meters into the vales below. Beautiful.
This procedure occurred 3 times. Up then down again ascending up to 4200 meters and 4150 meters respectively.
The last hike was 163 kms long traversing the mountain tops, up and down and around.
Denise served us well though Steve ensured she wasn’t over stressed. She did show some discontent but didn’t miss a beat in the altitude.
We didn’t stop for anytime except for gas twice.
It was dark when we got into our digs for the night.
Exhausted, Steve more so as he was the one in the gym all day working the car. I was just the ballast giving directions when needed.
The last instructions of the day before arriving at the destination was a long rough road drive heading into what seemed to be nowhere. At the end of the road there were two green gates, closed. Hearing our arrival out side a man opened the door in the gate, checked our number and let us in.
Inside was a large compound where all the other cars had already been stored and it seemed like we were last in.
As it happened we were not last as there were many behind us, but we were relieved to stop.
Steve just went straight to the room after checking in, had a shower and went to bed. It was 7:15 pm when we got in and he was in bed by 8.00 very sore and weary.
Slept like a log.
I’m writing this on the day after as the phone battery had run out of life too.
Today we have brief flight over the Nazca lines.
Should be interesting!
Then this afternoon it’s back to rallying albeit for a short run of 218 kms.

Day 21 – Arequipa to Puno on lake Titikaka

Had a great hotel room last night in a town you wouldn’t think would have such a facility.
Great room, great beds, good dinner and breakfast. Could stay there for a night or two.

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At the hotel this morning set to leave

Awake at 5 ish and preparing for a short mileage day of 304 kms.
We are heading north east inland to a place called Puno on the shore of Lake Titikaka at approx 4110 meters above sea level.
We set out on our allotted time of 8:26 am on a lovely cool morning after a good nights sleep.
Its Saturday morning so the expectation is that it will be a little quieter on the roads.
Nothing could be further from reality. It’s unimaginable the buses taxis, bikes you name it, they were all out there.
We refuelled not far from our departure point to ensure full tanks for the flight.
Then set on getting amongst this endless stream of vehicles that honked, flashed lights waved and just pushed in. Chaos that had some order in that it kept the flow moving.
Steve got right into this as “if they can do it then so will I”.
Worked like a charm and we made good headway but slowly.
You have to be cheeky and at one time he headed Denise up the side of the road bypassing the trucks and busses, and our competitors leaving them well behind for the moment.
We enjoyed these moments and lifted our spirits.
As we moved along the density of vehicles diminished and we could get up some steam. That city leg was some 26 kms in duration so it was very time consuming.
We had a deadline to meet at a time control and although this looked quite attainable it’s always dependant on the roads and what the congestion is like.
Into the countryside and the inevitable hills and mountains the roads wound up and through valleys and hillsides on a roads laden with trucks/Lorries. Hundreds of them. And they were busy racing each other!  Perhaps they could see the road ahead better than us due to their elevated cabs but they just seemed to pass even if there was no room to pull ahead of their mates or our cars. They would pull out on blind bends. Fascinating to watch and follow expeditiously but very dangerous.
We followed some on their passing manoeuvres using them as shields to oncoming cars.
Slow traffic had eaten away the time advantage we thought we had up our sleeves to meet our deadline so it was not to be that we got in in time. We were 11 minutes late.
It made us appreciate, once more of the importance of staying as far ahead as possible because you just don’t know what’s up on the road ahead.

On the road out of Arequipa showing kampong type housing and the many unfinished construction. It was said that the unfinished houses and basic block construction is because people have had land given by govt/council for their use but it must have building on it or it will taken back. We have seen these buildings everywhere, uninhabited, uninhabitable. Interesting.

Onto the Regularity section on a rough gravel road which required an average speed of 45 kms per hour. A short run of approx 5 kms took advantage of the road being level though winding. This enabled us to get a better grip with the methodology of this event planing the speed to distance and getting ahead for a start then slowing down, if you can before the finish. We don’t don’t know in advance where the finish is so this makes it more interesting.
It worked better than in the past. Not good but better.
Back on the road for another 60 km run through little villages and towns on back roads that make for interest if you get time to look up from what you’re doing to observe.

If you enlarge these shots you can see the house lots on the hill sides, and the simple barriers they build along boundaries. It’s very poor and basic. Lots of mud huts and ramshackle makeshift housing. No permits required it seems!

The inters (distances between turns or corners or takeoff points and calibration) are tight and sometimes inaccurate so that when in a township such as in Puno, it can go very wrong and backtracking can be frustrating to reconnect with the planed route. At one point the navigator advised the driver to take a turn left, early, and we ended up on a one way road! No one seemed to care except us but it’s most stressful.
So now at the hotel away from the hustle and bustle to the quiet shores of the lake I sit and write this epistle for all you followers out there.
Thanks for your support.
We had a better day.

Some shots of Lake Titikaka

Day 20 – Arica to Arequipa

This morning was cross the border day, from Chile to Peru.
The hotel was 16 kms from the border control and we left early, 6:45 am to beat the crowds.
The time control for the day could not be established until we all got to the other side of the border and everyone had got through. At the Peru side the process was probably as expected, slow and bureaucratic with a lot of paper shuffling.

Waiting at the Peruvian border

One km away at the Peru side, it was a different matter. All the cars were directed to a compound where paperwork for passengers and cars were to be checked for the Carnet de Passage. This is a means to ensure that the car that is let in is the same as the one that left Chile. We got to Peru at about 8:30 am Chile time but their time is two hours earlier.
The computers went down or slow?
It took something like 20 to 30 minutes per car to get the approval done and car motor numbers inspected. Nuts!!!!
We stood about for hours just watching and talking. What else to do.
We finally got away at about 10:10 am, that’s about a three and a half hour wait.
The first formality of the day was to check in to the Time Control of the day at the autodromo at Tacna.
We immediately partook of two laps around this first class facility with great speed and excitement. Denise loved it and performed really well after her facelift yesterday.
The atmosphere at the track was fantastic with the flags flying and the music blaring whilst the engines roared and the rubber squealed on the Tarmac.
Great stuff!

First track race

The distance of desert in front of us, on the Peruvian side of the border did not end and the first long trek was a 127 km stretch.
The road ran parallel with the pacific coastline which was beautiful but up on the hills it was the same old desert mountains and plains with winding Tarmac roads.

This leg ended at a time control in El Fiscal at 3.06 pm.
Not much to do there.

On for the last long leg to a racecart track in Mostajo. A trek of 120 kms.

En-route desert scenery

Many route book changes that in the latter afternoon required so many short distance inter directions that it became a stressful nightmare. It is Friday evening and everybody that could be was in the road. It was diabolical. Bedlam. Road turns every 80 to 150 meters and having to change lanes on a three way leader road. Stress. Denise was getting hot as we waited for lights to change.
When we finally got to the track the race was short and we had to retrace these short inters back to the hotel we are staying at tonight.
We took one incorrect turn about one km from the hotel that required a lot or recalculation due to the one way traffic layouts in this city. Amazingly we made it in short order, but this type of routing is just ridiculous.
We always make every effort to get into the last time check of the day within our scheduled time. We made it in time but there is just no benefit in us trying as there were “no loss of points” announced by the clerk of the course, due to the traffic issues that were prevalent this afternoon. There are no means of us making headway up the leaderboard if the rules keep changing.
It’s been a long and stressful day today and I can say that there was no enjoyment in getting to and from the track. One cannot take their eyes off the road so it wasn’t a sightseeing trip.
So there.
Laid up in the hotel for the evening hopefully to have a restful night.
Will report in a better mood tomorrow.

Day 19 -Iquique to Arica

Stayed at the Hilton last night. Quite a nice pub with really good beds. Slept like babies we did. Very tired.
So we’re up early as is normal around 5:30 getting prepared for breakfast and the day ahead.
We started at 8:56 am into the traffic at Iquique,busy busy!
Had some amendments to plan. How to get out of here?
Tricky manoeuvres and some illegal traffic access, entering the road through a pedestrian crossing, then onto our first wrong turn for the day.
Did a u turn in the heavy traffic and returned to the correct road heading out to the first track event for the day.
Only 19 kms to this track up the side of what looked like a sand mountain then through some really built up commercial and housing areas, very ramshackle and dirty with rubbish everywhere.
On the track we began with enthusiasm, racing away only to take the exit one lap early.
Cheekily we returned to the start and had another go. Much to the delight of the marshals who closed a blind eye to this misdemeanour.
Lots of laughs and good humour.
Then onto a leg of 40kms to a place called Humberstone.
An old saltpetre village and workshop. It’s a tourist attraction displaying the old equipment used to extract the mineral from the ground. It’s still a big industry here but this place looked very delapilated.

Then on to the next leg to Muchas Tabernas through the mountains and the desert. Amazing landscape but absolutely deserted of habitation with the exception of some squalid housing at a billabong on the way. Nothing grows on this soil/sandy surface. It’s devoid of life.
Beautiful in its majestic nothingness.

We were warned before setting out by the police to have sufficient fuel on board to traverse this desert and we considered that we did with fuel in the spare tank.
Fuel usage here is dependent on the type of roads and of course hilly roads require more than just flat roads. On and on we drove until the time control at Muchas Tabernas, had a bite to eat. Transferred the fuel from the spare tank and got underway.
We had another 125 kms to get to Arica and enroute saw that it was touch and go with fuel. There were no petrol stations for the entire trip and we only hoped that there would be petrol stations on the outskirts of the town. To save fuel Steve glided down the hills, hearts in our mouths.
We found petrol not far from the final track event, fuelled up and did two laps at a pretty rough track in a time that is not worth mentioning.
Out of there, to the hotel set right on the Pacific Ocean. An older hotel with decorations dating circa 1970. Ok but nothing to write home about. Such a beautiful spot yet not taking advantage of the views etc.
still it’s a place to sleep with quite large beds.
Today was only a 344 km journey yet it feels as though we’ve had a heavy day.
Before checking in Steve decided that he would change the engine oil. This entailed removing the protection plate under the engine to get to the oil drain. Upon removing this plate he saw that the rubbers on the ends of the front stabiliser bars had been badly compressed and loose. Couldn’t leave this as is so started removing these only to find that the spare rubbers he brought along for just such an event had been given to another competitor to fix a problem he had. So, improvisation swung into gear and he made up some rubbers out of something else’s, fitted them and proceeded to drain the oil. The motor had run for 5000 kms so the oil was quite black.
Hope Denise appreciates the treat and that she looks after us on the road.
Well that’s all folks.
We cross the border into Peru in the morning so up early and get on our way.
Good night.

Day 18 – San Pedro to Iquique

Because we stayed in three different locations in San Pedro a new location for the MTC had been devised. Some of us were at the Tierra Atacama Hotel and the others at the Alto Atacama.
Bulletins for the alterations and amendments to the route book are always difficult to follow,especially when the instructions are wrong or ambiguous.
We got underway onto the main route which headed north west up into the mountain ranges between which lies a desert that is just so dry that, it is said, gets 1.5 mm of rain per annum!

Nothing grows here. It’s just miles and miles of nothingness.
It gets quite cool as we ascend to 3500 meters above sea level, yet Denise didn’t miss a beat. She runs so well and with the running repairs on the lay day almost all of the issues have been resolved.
There’s little to report on the 230 km leg as we headed towards the first Regularity, a 3.5 km distance off to the side of the main road on rough dry gravel. Quite good though and the average speed is 70 kms per hour.
Once more the car was put to its paces, but no matter how fast we began we just couldn’t keep up a steady head of steam to allow for any course difficulties. There are always some. We straddled the finish line 9 seconds late.
As we moved downwards suddenly around a bend, there was the Pacific Ocean. What a sight for sore eyes. However we missed the PC at the local Copec fuel Station in Tocopilla due to what the navigator called, the route book inaccuracies.
In an endeavour to find the PC we travelled another 5kms past it and had to retrace our steps using the GPS navigation coordinates but whilst heading back, a flat front right tyre.
Didn’t take long to change and got to the PC checked in only to find that one of the competitors had collapsed on the forecourt as we were refuelling. The two ERA doctors were there within minutes and an ambulance too.
Apparently this is due to the altitude issue and the speedy decent from the mountains.
Apparently she is ok but we don’t really know her condition.
We headed to the next Regularity 6.56 kms in the distance on another side road to the motorway, traversing a steep long hill track with a few tricky bends and double corners. A trap for young players, steep up overlooking the sea and main road. Great run. Steve threw everything at it and was ahead of time catching up with the car in front released from the starters gate 1 minute before.
If nothing else we should have slowed down before the line ensuring the 1 minute spacing between us and the car in front.
Not to be. We were 35 seconds too fast!
What to say?
Onto our time control in El Loa checking out as we should.
We drove quietly for the last 146 kms along the featureless coastline highway towards Iquique. The hills are just huge sand hill, mountains really. Nothing grows on them and beaches are quite nice if you like to live in the middle of nowhere. But also a lot of rocky beach outcrops.

Then onto our hotel for the evening.
Whilst writing this blog Steve just walked into the room to advise that numerous competitors were suffering from altitude illnesses, or the lack of.
Some just collapse.
Of concern, but the ERA doctors seem to have it in hand.
Well that’s the story for the day.
Chiao.

Along the Pacific Ocean coastline. Barren though some holiday homes have popped up.

Day 15 – Miguel De Tucuman to Salta

It rained last night. So the roads were wet upon our start.
Again we started at 8.27 heading from the city straight out to the first and only Regularity out on the wop wops along lightly inhabited areas were the roads are hardly used. We got there quite early compared to others and got underway. The average speed was 50 kms.
Sounds ok but the road was really winding and steep with lots of uphill hairpin bends. Very tight and of course these slow the car down so much. Ok for the get up and go cars but we could hardly get up to the average speed at all. So 1.30+/- minutes and out of contention. Only a 9 km run so not long.
We talk about how the little race cars just love it and that it’s just a hill climb event. Denise is just not made for this type of work.
132 kms to a little place called El Jardin a village who’s Main Street was en-route to our time check. They welcomed us with much fanfare and it was just great.

From there we were asked to sign an advisory note for the next section of 118 kms. They advised that the road for the first 32 kms would be very slippery and that if your car had bad tyres, there is an alternative route.
Of course we took the rough road which began with rather a good surface but after approx 8 kms, the fun began.
It had rained heavily during the night and the roads became narrow like farm roads, very wet and made muddy by the previous cars that had passed through. It was great. We passed a number of cars who were being careful as Denise just hoed in and revelled in the muddy, slushy surface. She slipped and slid like it was ice. Exciting stuff especially as, if you had the time to look over the edge to see how far below the river was if we were to slip off.
It went on and on slipping and sliding through some fantastic scenery though we had to stop to take some photos. Up and down skidding uncontrollably sometimes.
It was really neat. This is what we signed on for.

There were many unannounced water spillways too so there was something of everything.
On one incline a car (road car) got stuck in thick mud. It held up many others and we got stuck in the same spot. But a couple of runs at it got us up and over and on to more of the same.
The entire 118 kms of this section was “rough road”. We laughed at the thought that many others would not get through. But in the end all who took it on came through ok.
With all this laughter and enjoyment in our cabin, we became aware that we were low on fuel. We had not anticipated that this road would be so bad for so long and the wheel spinning and slipping and sliding was guzzling the fuel.
Suddenly the thought of running out of gas without any spare on board, it was going to end soon.
We were following a couple of other cars who may have had spare fuel but couldn’t contact them to ask whilst they were on the move.
One car, a rover, stopped and the team got out to relieve themselves. we quickly pulled up alongside to ask for fuel assistance. They had a can of spare and they agreed to allow us to have some. We took around 4 litres and left one in the can.
We were elated and carried on as if all was to end well. However 8 kms from the petrol station we ran out of fuel again.
Stopped by the side of the road we flagged down the car behind us  who offered to tow us to the station, rather than syphon fuel out of his tank.
A kind gesture and gratefully received.
We eagerly filled the tank at the petrol station and Steve gave Denise a clean with a hose behind the building. She deserved it. Performed like a Trojan.
What a neat experience. From the dreary Tarmac road drives to this fabulous country trek.
On to our hotel, but still to do a couple of rounds around the Autodromo Martin M Deguemes. Again a neat little track in the middle of nowhere.
A lot of fun!
So after some dreary days at last we have an exciting and thrilling experience.
Loved it and hope for much more.
Tomorrow 510 kms and climbing to over 4000 meters. Altitude will affect some or all of us somehow, be it the cars or ourselves. Will report in due course.

Day 14 – La Rioja to Miguel De Tucuman

A bit of a non event day today though we were to travel 516 kms. The journey is to get miles up to see some of South America but on these roads, which are good, the distances become tedious. It’s really hot. The wind is hot and the scenery is much the same although it got somewhat greener as we got further north.
There were meant to be two regularities today but the first was cancelled due to the track being too rough for the “road cars”. These are the only places, rough roads, that Denise can get points on if they are rough!
Nevertheless we pushed on northward on these long Tarmac roads to the next Regularity some 260 kms which was held on a sealed road and the average speed was to be 80 kms.
We thought the road would be good but it was steep with lots of bends. Great for the Porches and race cars but we didn’t even get to 80 kms on the entire journey.
Then onto our hotel.
Not an enjoyable day today. Just road travel.
Not an eventful day.

Some scenes today. Looks what I imagine Mexico would look like

Denise worked well all day. Didn’t miss a beat. Great car.
Not for this type of journey.
Our placing currently is 18th over all, better than the last reported placement.

Day 13 – San Juan to La Rioja

Our first track event was at the Autodrome El Zonda, just 14 kms out of San Juan.
It was a long racetrack and had a good road surface.
Of course Denise is not built for this but she gave it a damn good shot. Compared to the others we didn’t make the grade, but a great ride.
Boy was it hot today!
Clear blue skies over country that is just so vast in size and in geographic character that it’s hard to imagine just how it can be governed from a capital city.
Desert, mountains volcanic upheavals and recent earthquake rubble, in uninhabited areas of course.

The people when you do see some on this route are so poor, living in mud huts and growing what will grow for subsistence.
Yet the roads, some dual carriage ways are empty of vehicles. Why they were built? Military? Maybe.
It’s because of this that a Regularity was held on a piece of mountain highway overpass in the Lunar Valley that was obviously very seldom used and was a neat place for this event. The average speed was 70 kms and it was a perfect challenge speed. Denise did so well.
The temperature would have been an arid 38-40 degrees c.
She (Denise) started a little hot but soon cooled and purred up and around this spectacular price of highway.
The navigator shouted out the numbers and Steve did his best to respond. It worked well for once. At the finish line we were just 5 seconds slow. But it’s the best we’ve done for a while.
Great stuff!

We headed off to a gravel road some 14 kms from the track and this was a nasty 16 kms of gravel road that was punctuated with many really rough dips created by water courses during the rains.
This was Denise territory and she loved it. Scalped a lot of cars and left them far behind.
No points in this but it was just natural for her to romp all the way to the Tarmac.
Then on through some eerily spectacular countryside that shows how Mother Nature rules.

On to what turns out to be hundreds of kms that takes hours to traverse through desert flat-lands, hot with just nothing but a great road and desert plants, roads as far as one can see and you get there, more of the same; then to our second track event 5 kms from our hotel for the night.
This is good fun. Our times will never meet the set track time but twice around a sealed surface track as fast as you can go is neat.
Then onto our diggs. A little town called La Rioja set in the middle of nowhere. It’s good. Rooms good with aircon. Need aircon. So hot outside.
Denise performed so well. Other than park up, we just locked her up and walked to our rooms, she’s set to go in the morning.

Day 12 – Vina Del Mar, Chile to San Juan, Argentina

We had a lay day yesterday at a beautiful resort hotel and the first thing was to resolve the problem of the excess oil, and the oil pressure.
We got some advice from  our audience which concurred with Steve’s thinking and he proceeded to drill a hole in the rocker cover and tapped in a brass fitting. He then fitted a rubber hose onto the fitting and put this into a plastic drinking bottle next to the one that took the rubber tube from the breather tube.
Checked the cylinder pressure and found that 2 and 3 had lower pressures.
Put all parts back together and started her up. All well. Oil pressure better than before and consistent.
Test in the next day’s route.
We had an earlier official start to a dirt/gravel road Regularity.
We fill fuel at the first available station and check the oil overflow innovation. Except for some smoke/smell emanating from the engine bay for a while there was no oil collected in either bottle. Oil pressure strong and consistent and the engine temp good. All’s well.
Before Regularity start we were advised that the average speed had been lowered from 60kms to 50kms average.
We commenced this stage with plenty of gusto but the average speed was unattainable. We again ran into slow traffic, to pass and then just decided it was not worth putting pressure on the car unnecessarily. So again the Regularity ogre strikes.
It was a relatively good track very corrugated but enjoyable ride.
Onward then to the Chile/Argentina border.

Stunning scenes up to the Andes Range

The journey through the pass in the Andes is just awesome. Steep mountains and snow capped mountains were stunning. We went up and up. To over 10,000 ft from sea level in the morning.

The route would have been snowed-in in winter and would have looked ever more spectacular.
This border was to be closed today as staff went on strike for  some reason. The ERA organisation pleaded/begged or borrowed to have it open for us. Otherwise we were to spend another night at the Sheraton. It was opened for us but the bureaucracy is just too much. We spent some two hours shuffling paper. We have to do this again when we cross into Peru. Sacre Bleu!

Waiting at the border

After passing through we proceeded to the next passage control and we took the original planned route through the mountains to San Juan.
A rough road we were told. It was. But again spectacular. Just unbelievable views and the road windy and interesting.

Down the other side into Argentina

Then another 140kms of tar to the hotel. There was no way that we could keep up to our allotted arrival times but we’re advised by the ERA that there would not be any penalties for being late.
On one stop at a fruit and veg inspection post, Steve had a quick look around the car and found that the left rear wheel bearing seal had seeped some oil.
To be safe, at our return to the hotel, he put in a spare just in case.
We’ve got two tracks and one Regularity event tomorrow. So, we need to be prepared.
We are buggered. Steve especially. Driving Denise is no ordinary task. It’s not easy and concentration is paramount.
The navigator made a few errors today which although were not serous, were none the less unnecessary. But Sh…t happens.
The one way that we can gain points is by natural attrition.
A number of cars have pulled out for various mechanical reasons, and although it seems mean to gain points this way, it is a rally and reliability of equipment wins the day.
Buenos noches.