|Snowy roads as we were leaving Ushuaia, Argentina.|
|Torres del Paine|
|Mat & Emily and Torres del Paine|
|Seth and Torres del Paine|
We arrived in Chalten with the intent to pick a hiking trail to do the next day, buy snacks for the hike, and buy a few dinner necessities. That morning Seth had the idea to keep the propane tank inside the Jeep all day so it didn't get cold and maybe it would run better! Then he made a nice little jacket for it to stay a bit warm while we used it outside to cook. It worked! We made double portions of dinner so we could have food for the 16km hike in the morning. However, we woke up late the next morning. Instead of hiking to Lago Torres, we decided on an 8km hike to Lago Capri, which would leave us ample amounts of time to keep driving north after we were done.
|Seths' jacket for the propane tank|
|Mount Fitz Roy from the entrance to El Chalten|
|Waterfall in El Chalten|
|Mount Fitz Roy from Lago Capri|
|Mount Fitz Roy from Tres Lagos|
|Seth at Tres Lagos|
The next morning we stopped by a coffee shop for wifi so Seth could learn everything he could to diagnose our propane problems. First we realized that, although it wasn't a big deal, we had been connecting the hose from the tank to our stove incorrectly. It needed to be in order of connected to the tank first, stove second, and tank turned on third. Also, the few times we had taken the tank off its mount outside the Jeep, it had tipped over, and liquid fuel had gotten into parts it shouldn't have, therefore causing liquid fuel to come out of the tank instead of gas. Lastly, we just simply needed the tank filled. The last time we had it filled was in Columbia, so even though we thought we still had enough fuel left, we apparently didn't. This was all an easy fix after finding this out. We stopped by a local station to have it filled, and went out to a restaurant until the shop was finished with it. It was finally nice to have a tank working, and not have to worry about if we were going to be able to finish cooking before it went on the fritz.
From there we spent a few days driving from Puerto Varas, through Osorno, and Los Angeles, Chile. This is when we started noticing our brakes making strange grinding noises. While leaving a gas station in Los Angeles, Seth took a look at the brakes and realized we needed them replaced ASAP. We looked around Los Angeles for a Jeep dealership for parts, but it was closed due to the weekend. Later that night we rotated the tires on the Jeep and Seth took a closer look at the brakes at a Copec gas station. Turns out the performance brake pads that were supposed to last the trip all needed replaced, and the drivers rear brake rotor needed to be either machined (to fix it), or replaced. This is because the pads were so bad, they had left deep scratches in the rotor that would have destroyed new pads if we didn't get it fixed. Ultimately, we decided to keep pushing north, and timed our arrival into Santiago so we got there early Monday.
|Drivers side rear brake pad|
We also returned to The Pizza Factory we had visited last time, and went to the bar above it called The Red. We walked in the bar and found it to be super fancy, but in a really cool and unique way. There were real candles dripping wax on the tables, funky house music playing, and a dark speak-easy feel to it. There was no such thing as a drink menu here. For instance, when I asked for a mojito that was a bit fruity, the waiter made some suggestions for flavors and liquors that would work well together. It was delicious! No wonder this place was voted the #1 bar in Chile two years in a row! We got back to our hostel hoping for good news about the Jeep in the morning.
|Our drinks at The Red|
|Emily wrenching on the Jeep brakes|
|Llama statue we found on the side of the road|
In the next few days we stayed at Hostel Emilia again, just to get more Kangreburgers. We had purposely not eaten at all that day in order to gorge ourselves in the most delicious burger in the history of man kind. We crossed into Peru on the 17th and drove all the way to the city of Puno on lake Titicaca. We consider it a life achievement to say we have been to Lake Titicaca. And yes, we might have the humor of a 7th grade boy. Unfortunately, Mat had an adverse reaction and did not acclimate very well at all. What should have taken us three or four days to ascend in elevation, we did in one day from sea level to 14,000 feet. Yikes. The hostel we stayed at let us borrow oxygen for him, and within hours he was back to his normal self.
We arrived in Cusco Peru today (the 18th) and we are leaving for Aguas Calientes tomorrow. We will spend one night there, and then the next morning trek up to Machu Picchu! The last few weeks have been full of trials, but all of it is worth it in order to see South America. Next things to check off our list of things to see is the Nazca Lines, and the lost Inca fortress, Ollantaytambo.