We would like to thank all our friends who have followed us around the world. It has been great to have crossed paths and shared a moment in time. We hope you all have a healthy happy and safe New Year and wish you all the the very best for 2011.
A BIG HUG AND KISSES, LOVE FROM
Chris, Elayne and poor old Victor xoxox
Bahia Blanca : a small city in Argentina on the East Atlantic Coast of South America.
Weather….. Wet cold and windy…12c
14 November Sunday gps w/p number 701 S 38’ 42.202 / W 062’ 20.313
(Our Story starts from Bahia Blanca and reflects back to leaving Brazil and entering Peru ……On Maxxis tyres……. are they performing well?
Just a short note on the Bighorn Maxis tyres ….. Fitted to our Buggy kindly provided by Cesar Calor from n.v.Maxxis Automotive parts and service tyre service Paramaribo in Surinam, for the 2010 ECO CHALLENGE RALLY.
We have traveled 35,000km from Northern Brazil on the( BR 156) to Macapa, Across the Trans Amazonia ( BR 230) , Entering Peru, onto Bolivia( our highest mountain pass to –date 5,050mtrs) IUNI salt flats and the Altiplano some of the toughest roads and tracks yet found on our trip, Chile ‘’The Atacama Desert “” back into Bolivia …Laguna Verde….onto.…Paraguay The Paraguay river into the Chaco, crossing into Brazil the Pantanalls and Igauzu falls crossing into…… Uruguay, into Argentina….. Buenos Aires….RUTA 1-3-5- and RUTA 40…Tierra Del Fuego…….Chile into Argentina so many times we lost count.
FIN DEL MUNDO…
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Cucso the lost camera and Machu Picchu
Posted on June 4, 2010 by adamclash
4 June CUZCO CITY altitude 3600 mtrs
We enter Cuzco the first big Peruvian city it is an amazing trip into the city center. Anybody that has traveled through Peru will know that some festival carnival is in full flight. The police are struggling to direct the traffic from one side of the road to the other demonstrations costume wilding Peruvians are in full swing the colour is fascinating the drums are unrelenting banging away constantly, the costumes are so diverse it is a struggle to see what would be traditional or not. It is pointless to try and deviate from the flow of the traffic, glancing at some of the side streets Victor would struggle to pass they are so narrow and run into steps heading higher and higher into the surrounding chaotic buildings like a huge mud brick quarry all plastered together no amount of navigation aids will help you to reach your destination here.
IT IS CHAOTIC CUZCO at 3600 mts high… Continue reading →
Finally at Cusco
3 June WP560 3587 meters above sea level.
We take a small mountain road and find a great campsite high in the terraces but Elayne is not feeling the best, according to the GPS we are above 3500mtrs. We find some great old stone houses with beautiful stone walls, the stones fitting so well together it was clear to me the traditional Inca stone work skills were still being used. The house is very small and nobody is at home so we take our time exploring the area, as Elayne is not acclimatizing to the altitude so well.
THE NEVER ENDING SCENERY IS ON EPIC SCALE.
We leave our terrace side camp high in the mountains and it’s not long before the scenery changes we climb a huge mountain pass on great roads ( no more major road works to be seen) the scenery is stunning the Andes are here with a BIG BIG BANG…
Snow capped razor edge points towering into an ultra blue cloudless sky the scale is huge and we fell a little insignificant with all this grandeur around us. Below the snow line there are terraces gardens worked by hand the woman toll at altitudes you will find hard to walk let alone work!!!!
Women are the only workers we could see , girls as young as 10-12 working as shepherds keep and eye on their small heard of Alpaca’s their colourful dress and hats you can spot miles away, On every small Plateau Alpacas grazed on a hint of green grass you could barely see, the backdrop of terraces thousands and thousands of stone terraces all made into little kraals placed high along every conceivable possibility to grow crops or graze animals at gradients that would be difficult to walk let alone construct this patch work rockery….only Inca engineering skills could build these that’s for sure.
The road is like a black snake cutting back and forth, endless gear changes bends any adventure motorcyclist would dream about, bends that disappear into the sky as you squint your eyes trying to see where they go. Fighting to regain your vision for the onslaught of the next bend is it left or right as I blink madly. I am even leaning into the bends like a mad motorcyclist ,my shoulders straining to keep from the edge drains which are at least 500mm deep and in most cases either side of the road draining water constantly from the melting peaks…..DON”T DROP YOUR FRONT WHEEL INTO ONE OF THESE BABIES … I THOUGHT…… YOUR STEERING GEOMETRY WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN!!!!!
Elayne is glued to the Altimeter and we watch the meters tick away higher and higher we climb Victors engine starting to chough and splutter black smoke starts pluming from the exhaust pipe down to third, then second the road now looks like something from scary fair ground ride. Always the same scenario just as we approach another summit a gaggle of trucks packed together bellowing black diesel smoke from their exhorts crawling together grinding their way higher their first gears howling as we crawl past them just edging in front before another killer bend approaches. The bends are hard to explain multiple switch backs as I watch our rear tyres hug tight as possible as I glance in the side mirrors, I pull hard right on the steering wheel knowing there is only 1.5 mm of steel holding the steering together …..We are at full lock and just make it round a bend which looks like a few ZEEDS….SSSSSS….. AND UUUU”S STUCK TOGETHER….. CASCADING FIGUER EIGHTS….I look over the edge to see what …..It is a clear shear drop with no barriers the consequences where obvious.
Our temperature gauge for the engine indicates we are getting warmer as we start to climb again the electric fan kicks in we are crawling up in second gear for the last hour. Elayne calls out the Altimeter 3000mts the highest we have been for along time, but the road still snakes higher and higher into the sky.
I am sweating at the wheel trying to steer softly around the bends knowing my steering is hanging on by 1.5 mm of steel. I take the bends wide as possible trying not to turn in to hard on the steering and put much undue strain on the steering yoke. It is a perfect day crystal clear the sun brilliant but with little heat as the ice cold wind blows through the Bug we are pretty cold for the first time even with all our cold weather gear on. Our plastic windows are rolled up we can see for miles and miles the valleys below every detail is perfect the vista is breadth taking in every sense of the word. Several old Mercedes Trucks approach from the submit down they come towards us they are crawling down their Brakes are smoking the smell is everywhere they are clearly overload the air brakes hissing on and off as they pump the brake pedal, their low gears screaming away on the steep decent a slapping tyre beats the bitumen as a retread is peeling away from one of the trucks rear tyres. They all blow the horns as we pass each other with us crawling up they wave smiling chewing their coca leaves, sometimes there are 3 or 4 occupants stuffed in the truck cab all of them waving and smiling as if to recognize our endeavor to make it here, they strain their necks heads popping out of the side windows of the truck cab to checking every detail of our funny little car their faces straining in their rear vision mirrors as cold becomes to much for them .They pass us and we watch them not more than a few meters from each other the newer truck in front we are sure he was providing the emergency brakes for the ones behind??/ They disappear around the many bends and we see them occasionally popping in and out of the mountain as they descend lower and lower. Elayne has made an interesting observation THERE ARE NO TRUCK EMERGENCY RUN OFF’S…….. CRIKEY YOUR RIGHT……I REPLY…..we did not see one on this pass or any other pass through- out Peru???????
4000mts Elayne calls out as she now has the Altimeter removed form its dashboard mounting tightly gripped in Elayne’s hand…….. “ we are still climbing Elayne calls out “…..but now Victor is just hanging on to second gear and chugging but I cannot hold the gear and pop first gear into the fray and hope that will do the job. We have no power but the gradient has not changed that much …..WHY ARE WE GOING SO SLOW …. Elayne is eager to get lower ……I try to explain you can press your foot down on the accelerator pedal it does nothing, in fact its better trying to lift your foot off as much as you can so that poor old diesel can swallow some high Andean air.
4700mts Its higher than our highest pass in Tajikistan ……we arrive at the top of the pass which is over altitude 4760mtrs and pull over, I climb out but Elayne is finding it hard to breath and opted to say in the car. I leave Victor’s engine running the electric cooling fan in full flight the air is thin and I struggle to climb up several hundred meters and survey the unbelievable vista …….HEAVEN……cannot be to far away. Nudo Ausangate alt. 6396 mtrs is clearly visible one of the highest mountains in this area. I stand in ore 6396mtrs with many others still well over 5500mtrs to the left and right of Nudo Ausangate they are just beautiful huge mountains the sky is a perfect blue the suns angle is creating shadows from their relief making them look even more impressive if that was possible,…. YOU COULD REACH OUT AND TOUCH THEM….. I spot to large birds far off in the distance …..Are they CONDORS?????…..I could not tell but they sure looked great anyway.
I return to Victor slowly puffing and panting trying to explain my possible sighting of two Condors and the wonderful view…..I really can’t breathe Chris you will need to get me down as soon as you can. Elayne does not look well and after all that humidity and heat she has suffered for months it is now for sure Altitude sickness and she looks terrible. The wind is freezing it cuts right through like an ice cold knife sending shivers down your spine, you can’t stop your jaw from shaking, we have not adjusted from our Hot Amazonian Jungle Climate, and I to feel the cold biting through something I have not experienced for a long time.
We climb back in to Victor to face the decent but to what Altitude I was not sure, Elayne was not looking well at all as we pulled back onto the road this time hoping our brakes would not boil and fail , and with no run offs making the decent not the most inviting journey. The road is something else to see as you glimpse over the edge on another hair pin bend watching the road snake down way out of sight AS IT WRAPS ITSELF AROUND ANOTHER PRECIPICE and another ,the tightness of the bends ever increasing as the buggy’s steering geometry struggles to navigate around these bends……oh for power steering…BUT THE CUTTER BRAKE WILL HAVE TO DO……….My shoulders are killing me as I try to balance the pressure on the steering keeping in mind the problem I have ,wrenching on the cutter brake left then right bend after bend thousands of bends.
Down we go Elayne is transfixed to the Altimeter and does not seem to care about the magnificent scenery and the smell of burning brakes waft though out the car a strange combination of ice cold air and cooking brake pads. I keep raving on about the landscape and what a contrast it is from all the Red dust and vivid green jungle scenery ….but Elayne is not in her chatting mood her head is dropped into her scarf and woolly hat pulled hard over head she just wants to get lower below 3500mts. I keep asking her if she has any pains in her head or feeling any strange feelings she cannot explain ….she nods NO just get lower as soon as you can. I keep my decent speed to the maximum/minimum if you know what I mean knowing my motor bike size brakes were way under sized for the eventual final weight, they were always marginal on the flat, but this pass will put them to the limits.
I stop several times to let the brakes cool down as I did not want to get them to hot but toke the opportunity to always find the best photo spot to stop. We approach a small village and pull over along side the village square, but we are still above 3500mtr, but Elayne feels a little better as she spots some food stalls……IT’S A GOOD SIGN I THOUGHT ELAYNE FEELS HUNGRY…. People have gathered around us some eating and placing their babies on the front guards for that all famous picture, their is one very old worn mobile phone camera clicking away they share the mobile phone camera with several family members all wanting a picture with the new arrival. We walk over to the food stalls as people hunch over eating packed around small wooden tables with piles of cooked trout rice and potatoes in large aluminum pots and pans. Just a few ……Pesos…………and we have a great hot meal tasty Trout and potatoes some rice. The Massive snow capped mountain scenery surrounding us as we savor the last morsels of food.
Peruvian women are in sharp contrast their colourful costumes and those all famous hats keep our eyes working overtime as they walk around babies on back eating their trout and spinning wool all at the same time. Most of the houses were small mud brick some only with plastic windows. Elayne walks back to the Buggy as a thousand hands are exploring every nook and cranny 6-7 young boys and girls pressed hard up against our zipped up closed plastic windows each side trying to see into the little alien car, the crowd parts as Elayne try’s to climb back in to her seat being joined by several children with terrible snotty noses wiping the nose residue along their cuffs and across their faces, it all seems fine to them. This was an occurring theme as we visited many other villages throughout Peru……VERY SNOTTY NOSES.!!!
It has been one of those days your eyes darting from one beautiful view to another only the smell of your burning brakes, bring you back to reality. It…. Really is visual overload but poor Elayne is trying to keep a brave face the altitude being another hurdle she will have to endure while we battle a way across the Andes to Cusco ( 3600mts)
A little background: We constructed the Buggy in 2006 with a small budget our objective was to keep the construction simple using an 091 gearbox, Porsche drive flanges and 4x 730i Bmw cv’s which we retrieved from a scrapyard junker which had 380ks and they are still going ok????
Our front torsion leaves we have bent into propellers and still swapped them to the opposite side and then bent them the other way i am not sure we could do this again hahaha?? Bilstein shocks are 8” front and 10” rear and now completely stuffed and are currently ineffectual.
Our power plant is a Ford/ Mazda Diesel 3ltr which I purchased on ebay for Aud 220.00. I fitted new rings mainshaft bearings std.and that was that it and is still running fine.Morrie Williams from the Victorian off Road Association helped manufacture the adaptor plate and lots of other good parts which have worked well. Dean Williams his son re built the original 091 with Albins gears sets which has worked for the last 90ks but the mainshaft bearings failed plus the 4th gear according to Rancho was flaking.
We have traveled through 43 Countries crossing the Pamirs in Tajikistan at 4680 mts and crossing into Norther Afghanistan which we believe is a first for a 2wd Buggy.We also covered most of Mongolia having to obtain special permits to travel close to the Chinese boarder. The Buggy made a big impression in Iran and Syria where we were shadowed by some secret police. We have driven into a minefield, met a local Militia group in the mountains in Tajikistan, been tracked by a Drone in the Negev Desert in Israel and shot at in Portugal and Alaska. We also managed to skirt the Algerian Boarder across the Western Sahara across the Atlas Mountains We arrived in Nova Scotia heading to Newfoundland crossing the Labrador hwy across Canada up the Dempster to Inuvik, the Dalton Hwy to Deadhorse the top of the world Hwy,the Denali Hwy, Cassiar Hwy and many more off road treks.
We have slept in our roof top tent for over 2.5 years and have temp ranges from +45 to =20c and our Australian tent is still in good condition.
We have another 250,000 ks still to cover and hope to zig zag most Continents in our homemade buggy.
Victor the wonder buggy runs a full compliment of LAT engine and transaxle lubricants and an upgraded Rancho transaxle. www.ranchotransaxles.com