It had to be bad luck! For so many technical problems in only four days, there can be no other reason. True, driving conditions are terrible on the Southwest Circuit: the worst bumpy dust roads ever and salt simply eats up cars. In four days we drove no less then 35 to 37 hours. Our jeep was in a very good state when we left. For that, Tupiza Tours has a very good reputation, which in my opinion they deserve, no matter what happened.
On the first day, we had a flat tire … Well, this can happen! At night, Don Gerardo, our driver and guide, repaired the tire in the village where we slept with almost no tools.
On the second day, while driving up a hill we heard a loud noise and the engine started smoking: the cooler fan had literally exploded. Yes, that does happen, too, it seems! We drove back slowly to the closest village, hoping to find spare parts. In the middle of the desert, sweat dreams! But Don Gerardo, in less than 1.5 hours, recreated a new cooling fan using a piece of rusty iron! In the beginning, we shook our heads watching him working along. At the end, believe it or not, it worked …
Well, then came day number three. After driving one hour in the morning, flat tire! Don Gerardo changed the wheel in no time, we just drove on. Just after lunch? A second flat tire! Well, this is far less funny, since we had, as in any car, just one spare tire. It took only 40 minutes for Don Gerardo to repair it. Unbelievable!
After that, we thought we had seen it all. No more than one hour later, another big bang … Don Garardo gets down, opens the hood, looks at us and just says: “Finido!” The newly created cooling fan had just gone right through the radiator. In the middle of the desert … Luckily, a second car of Tupiza Tours was only a few minutes behind us and could take us to the next village, with no less than 10 people in the vehicle. There we waited until the next morning for a new car, which was sent from Tupiza, forcing another guide to drive all night long.
So after that, we were sure the fourth day could and would just be easy. Actually, we only had a fourth (!!!!) flat tire, but nothing spectacular. At the end, the joke was: “This is not the car, it must be the group!”
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