1/20/23 to 2/10/23
The lagoon route left lasting marks on our equipment, but Bolivia rewarded us with a sensational farewell slope. Gabi changed at short notice color on the way, and we left Bolivia overjoyed. Bolivia has become one of our favorite countries.
Cold and accumulators
As reported in the last notes, we really liked the Lagoon route, but not all of our devices did as well. When we tried to start our laptop, it stopped responding at all. On the road, however, our life is on our laptop! Of course, we back up our data – once a month. The battery was dead, the thin laptop transferred the cold directly to the battery and it got more or less frozen. After a long investigation and warming up the computer, we found that the battery is completely discharged and cannot be recharged even after twenty-four hours loading time. No problem, we thought we could run the laptop on electricity only, though plugged it into the charger and behold, it wouldn’t start. The laptop obviously needs the battery for the start-up procedure, which then releases the charging current from the socket. Now we had a problem. We do have a small replacement device, but it cannot save any data. Our data from the last save is on an external hard disk, but the current data that has not yet been saved is of course only on the laptop’s solid-state drive. In Cochabamba we found a PC doctor who had screwdrivers as small as a watchmaker and could actually open the laptop. What emerged amazed me. Apart from the well-known screen and keyboard, the laptop consists of about 2% the computer, 4% the SSD, 2% the fans, 2% the speakers and 90% the battery. So that means my laptop innards are 90% dead, pretty much a total loss considering the thing is about five years old. On the internet I was able to find the battery as a replacement right away, it ships in the US for USD 49.90. The laptop would still be worth fifty USD to me. Unfortunately, none of the providers deliver to Bolivia. The manufacturer HP was kind enough to connect the battery to the BUS of the computer with a plug, so that I could easily disconnect the battery. As soon as the battery was disconnected, I was able to start the laptop again – while connected to the power, of course. The procedure is a bit cumbersome because the HP always loses the date and time, of course, but at least it’s possible. Our electronic life is saved.
In Villazón we turned east onto Ruta 28. Only with the help of a taxi driver we managed to leave the city in an easterly direction. Intelligently, the east and north bypasses are being rebuilt with large roads at the same time and it is not possible to cross the construction sites. After the police check when leaving the city, we went directly into a narrow and very deep gorge. A road that I took under the wheels of Globi only after a little investigation and queries with a local truck driver. Gabi walked! It is definitely not a Globi road, overhanging rocks and steep, very narrow switchbacks. After the gorge we set up our camp for the night on the other side. The next day we drove on Ruta 28, which runs north along the border with Argentina and is a little over 100 kilometers long. It crosses a number of valleys with some challenging slopes and winds its way to over 4,300 meters above sea level. But the view and the solitude, the beauty of the landscape was exactly what we are looking for on our travels, a sensation of nature. The road was a beautiful leaving present from Bolivia, we warmly recommend it to all travelers to Bolivia.
While visiting the village of Yamparaez near Sucre, we met an elderly Bolivian woman at the hairdresser’s who was accompanying her grandson. My photographic eye immediately recognized her as the perfect model. For once, I asked for her permission before I took a picture. She was shy. Thanks to Gabi encouraging her and she obviously being proud that I asked her, she finally agreed. During the shoot she was shy and embarrassed like a young girl and extremely sweet. Since she had no time to prepare, the photos turned out to be very authentic and I think her sympathy can be felt in the photos.
Fortunately, we were able to repair our Webasto diesel heater at the beginning of our journey in Uruguay. And it then ran well about ten times during our way to Bolivia. Unfortunately, the same error as at the beginning came again the next time we tried to start the heating: Temperature sensor shows impossible temperatures and the heating no longer starts. Obviously, our heating simply likes to eat up temperature sensors, although we always supply it nicely with diesel! We cannot carry out a new repair because we can’t find a suitable temperature sensor anymore. From now on we will be traveling without heating and consequently also without hot water. As wimps, this is a drastic thing for us, but we are learning to deal with it. Most of the time it’s warm enough outside, so our freshwater tanks aren’t really cold either. Maybe we will mutate into real campers.
For a smile
Our Globi can level itself independently in almost any terrain, so that Gabi’s oil doesn’t run out of the pan when frying, or at least doesn’t just stay on one side of the pan. The drain in the shower is also much nicer with a level floor – luxury, in fact. One day I notice that liquid is dripping on the foot of the leveling plate. The system must be able to hydraulically lift the tonnage of Globi. So, I immediately analyze that we have a problem with leaking hydraulics. Longer clarifications and photos with the manufacturer Toni Maurer show that the leak could be a complicated issue, since the shaft sealing rings in the support itself obviously have a leak. It seems that we’ll have to top up hydraulic oil on the way! However, during one of my daily inspections, I discovered that the fluid was not hydraulic oil, but plain rusty water dripping from a broken heater hose. We can easily fix that ourselves on the spot! The heating system is pressurized to two bars. We need to cut the hose, shorten it and reattach it with a new hose clamp. No problem if it weren’t for the pressure. We don’t want to lose any heating water either, since we don’t have the opportunity to top up the system with two bars here in the middle of nowhere. So, Gabi takes over the part of sealing the cut hose with her finger until I have finished the other work steps. Of course, the place of the fracture is not easily accessible and there is effectively only room for one human arm, but we need room for three. This creates a confusing crowd of arms. I cut off the hose and Gabi tries to press her finger on the end of the hose, her whole body suddenly changes color, she is now rust-colored! Before, Gabi’s face was still tanned, during our repair work she appears more reddish with clear color spots, the facial expression wasn’t really happy either, she also doesn’t see well anymore because the glasses are also stained red. Result: we got it patched up easily and Gabi immediately took a shower afterwards.