October 2006

Lago Caburgua with Vulcano VillarricaLago Caburgua with Vulcano Villarrica

Scratches on our tire - accident Santiago de Chile

A bang, a rumbling at the side - what was that?

It is almost incredible, but a car driver tried to squeeze in a third turning lane where there were only two. Much too fast, as so often in Santiago, and offensively. The driver did not manage to get round the curve and scraped against the tire of our rear axis. Robusto came off undamage, but the other driver's front bumper was hanging down and his hood was somewhat reduced in size.

He called us names and blamed us for the accident. The police were called. Quietly and relaxed we let the traffic come to a complete halt and took pictures from all sides.

After the police arrived, we were asked to clear the site of the accident immediately and to stop a bit further on, on the left-hand side of the road. Nothing was taken down in evidence, nor were the facts in any way recorded. After the policeman had taken down our particulars, we exchanged them. The policeman asked us to come to the police station within the next 3 to 4 days. We explained to him that we believed it was not our fault, that we had taken pictures of the unambiguous accident situation and that we were leaving Chile the following day. That was it. The culprit was angry and left without even saying goodbye.

Earthquake Chile

It happened when I was sitting in the driver's cab of Robusto and was playing with the GPS. Brigitte was on a walk with Amigo. All of a sudden, everything was shaking and rattling. I looked into the back mirror to see who was out there, shaking Robusto. But I could not see anybody.

Four Chileans, sitting close by at a garden table, told me that this had been an earthquake. Chile is an earthquake-prone country. Most of these earthquakes, however, are just minor ones, they hardly wake you up at night, sometimes leaving you wondering, whether you have just dreamed of an earthquake or whether it had been a real one.

MAN convoy Santiago de Chile

After our yearly check of Robusto conducted at MAN in Santiago, we have been allowed to camp at MAN in Santiago whenever we visit the city. The site is well protected by security guards. We have become friends with one of the owners, Maurice. One day, Maurice asked me, whether I would like to come along to pick up one of 25 newly arrived TGAs from Germany, from the port, which is 90 km away. He did not need to ask me twice!

I was thus allowed to drive a yellow TGA 28.350 with automatic gear shift, as the second vehicle in a long line. It was quite a view to see all these trucks on the long road behind me and it was great fun.

Snow in Chile

We had planned to drive from Santiago (Chile) to Mendoza (Argentina). We had better left the day before - because the heavenly snow cannons thwartet our plans. The roads were closed. Together with hundreds of other trucks we had to endure over 24 hours at an altitude of some 2000 meters. It just kept snowing. The heating was running all night and we felt very comfortable. The following day, the sky was dark blue again. At midday, people started rushing and we continued our trip. Hundreds of trucks were winding their way on the Tremola from Christo Redentor. Among them also ourselves.

At the border, we - as a so-called "bus" - were allowed to drive past the long line of waiting and standing trucks and were thus able to leave Chile quite quickly. The official exit as well as the official entry into Argentina, including all the paper work, was located some 15 km further along the road. Crossing the border there took approx. 4 hours because of the great number of buses and their passengers, which of course came first.

Paso Pehuenche

After shopping and checking the internet in Mendoza, we drove around Paso Pehenche and wanted to return to Chile. Due to road construction work and too much snow left on the pass road, we were not able to do so. We had to drive a detour of some 1000 kilometers, and to take a route further south to return to Santiago.

Ricardo from Chile

After Chos Malal on the RN 40, we camping right next to the road. The situation was like in Namibia: Endless cattle fences along the road and hardly any possibility to drive off the road into the countryside.

The next morning, we met Ricardo, who is travelling on his small 4WD camper. He convinced us, that it was too early to drive back to Santiago and offered to show us the volcanic landscape und national parks in the Pucon area. It turned out to be a fantastic drive through the Jurassic mountains with its volcanoes. The weakest bridge was signposted with a weight limit of 2 tons. But it was only some 3 meters long. We even crossed bridges with weight limits of 6 or 8 tons, and with the time were quite relaxed while doing so.

When shopping for food in a "Wild West village", Robusto unfortunately tore down a power line. The head of the local electricity board asked us to drive on the left-hand side of the road while in the village, since all the cables over the main road were hanging down on one side. We didn't mind.

In the Conguillio volcanic park we found a beautiful site for an overnight camp at a lagoon. When driving on a closed track, Brigitte and I got stuck in a snowfield. It took us half an hour of snow shoveling using our hands and wooden sticks to get out.

El Camino Interlagos on the following day was quite demanding too. It was very narrow and overgrown by trees and bushes, which made crossing almost impossible. The landscape is beautiful, but it was a hard day, which we ended in a natural hot spa and on a camp site in the dark forest.

The four-day-roundtrip with Ricardo impressed us very much. At times, Robusto exceeded the official weight and height limits, but we soon learnt what the real limits were. We spent the last night on Ricardo's construction site. It was wonderful, located above Pucon, with a fantastic view to the Villarrica volcanoe.

Photos

Chile: October 2006