1/2/23 to 1/19/23

We are bringing to life our dream of the Lagoon Route, but we are struggling with a few problems. So far, we have only met very friendly, open and helpful people in Bolivia, a real pleasure.

Globi’s altitude limit

According to the MAN manual, Globi can be driven safely over 2,500 meters above sea level. We have already ridden over 4,000 meters a.s.l. with Globi and have also spent the night over 4,000 meters a.s.l., always without the slightest problem, but of course outside of the guarantee! On the lagoon route, 4,000 meters above sea level is the base level, the plateau is actually always at least 4,000 meters a.s.l. The lagoon route was a long-cherished dream, I just want to have driven it. So we set off and reach the 4,000 mark relatively quickly without any problems. We spend the night at the Laguna Colorada at a little over 4,200 meters a.s.l. and start completely normal despite the low temperatures on the other days. Since we are doing a round tour, we drive back north via different slopes. In addition to the fact that we are often not sure whether we are driving on the right slope, despite GPS, the landscape continues to rise. We already feel on top of the world and yet it keeps rising. When we exceed 4,900 meters above sea level, Globi’s operating software reports that the motor control will no longer work. The diesel-air mixture can obviously no longer be calculated correctly with the little oxygen at this altitude. I get the jitters and press the gas pedal; we roar across the surface at about 80 km/h at this altitude. I really don’t want the engine to stop working because I’m not sure I could start it again. I can’t imagine being happy with a break down at this altitude, where a local comes by every few days! If only we had stayed on the standard route with the many tour operators! But – Globi manages to get us back under the 4,900 mark and can then manage his motor control again. We finished the lagoon route safely and Globi is our hero.

Happy moment

In my hometown there is a marketplace where, at least when I was young, was a vegetable market. I really like these markets with the freshest products from the area, the ambience, and the dealing! After travelling Africa, I missed these markets in South America, they have been replaced by the Supermercados. Here in Bolivia, in Tarija, we were finally able to find such a typical market again, big, and very lively. Gabi bought fresh vegetables – luckily Globi has so much storage space – and meanwhile I was able to follow what was going on and also take a few nice pictures. That’s how I like life and travel.


In Tarija we were invited to an assado by Pablo, Fernanda, Leonardo and Fiorella, a local family. Pablo went into town with Gabi to buy the meat and wine. After that, Pablo was in charge of the grill – typically the men’s work – and Fernanda prepared everything necessary in the kitchen. At the end we sat under a palm tree at the table and enjoyed the delicacies together. We enjoyed being together until the rain came! It was a wonderful experience to be able to be a part of the family life of this family. Something like this is not to be taken for granted and we appreciated it therefore very much.

Technology pitfalls

The heating keeps us busy again! After we changed the heat sensor in Uruguay, one of the heating pumps carked it once again. Since I have changed this pump many times, this is basically not a problem, just an annoyance. I usually take three of these with me as a spare! However, it is important to find out why these pumps break down so quickly. The pressure in the heating line was perhaps too low, because of course the entire pressure is lost with every change and at most because we never refilled the antifreeze. After changing the pump, we run water into the heating pipes until we are at almost 2 bars. Now the problem of antifreeze. I’m building on the roof with cut off plastic bottles a funnel so that I can generate the 2 bars again with the 2m height difference. But it doesn’t work! Gabi then drains some water from the heater and 2 liters of antifreeze actually made its way into the system. After venting the radiators, we can generate about 2 bars of pressure again and the heating is running.

For a smile

On the Lagoon Route. Once again, the tracks in the pebbles split in two directions. There’s no telling if they’ll meet again, so we must choose a direction. We take the left. These tracks lead into an enchanted canyon that is getting narrower and narrower and might probably be ideal for motorbikes. I try to maneuver Globi around the countless boulders in the creek bed, but the canyon is several kilometers long and seems to be getting smaller. Turning back and taking the other way is no longer an option. I concentrate and make a small driving error at a bend at 4,650 meters above sea level. I push a huge boulder aside with the rear axles. Globi manages it, I see the boulder in the rearview mirror moving back to its old position – easily. Then the tire pressure monitor starts screaming and at the same time we hear the hissing of the escaping air. The monitoring device shows us that we have a flat tire on both rear axles at 4,650m in an extremely narrow canyon. We carry two spare wheels with us, but changing two wheels at this altitude is challenging. Our energies are slightly limited at this altitude. In order to change the wheels, we would have to unload Ernstli and there simply isn’t enough space on the side for that. When inspecting the damage, I see that I “only” tore off the two pressure sensors and the corresponding valves. I have valves and pressure sensors with me. Ever since I was angry when I ripped off a valve on a pylon in Argentina and found out that the valves don’t have metric but inch screws, I’m also the proud owner of a corresponding nut and a corresponding open-end wrench. I can remove the defective valves and install the new ones and even get them tight after a while. We can continue and don’t have to stay here for a few weeks until external help comes! Gabi is much more of a journalist than I am during the whole event, she grabbed her camera and recorded everything on video, I didn’t take a single photo!!