Sunday, December 6, 2015

The lake district and Patagonia - Las Lajas to Los Martin los Andes

Although this was a short 4-5 hour drive, the contrast between brown, no trees, flat, and then pooooof.. farmland, then trees, then mountains and a beautiful little town at the end of a lake.  Very much like the North Cascades at it's best.

I was lucky to meet these two French travelers in Zapala where I got gas.  They have been on the road for years and are loving the life.  Thy both exude joy and are so much fun to share time with.  They would be great crew on a sailboat.  I gave them my travel card and hope they stay in touch.

I drop them off in town at the grocery store and went to find a campground.  This was a challenge as iOverlander was down.  Finally found this place (see pic below).  I would have never made it back up with low low 4X.

My camping spot by the stream

My place was next to beautiful stream which merged with the lake a 100 meters downstream.  Good thing I didn't have to go over the bridge in the background.
I took a walk to the lake and watched the sunset.
The campground had hot water !!  So for only the second time in a month I didn't take a shower in the truck but used the campground's .  Don't laugh...  it really worked great !!!

From day I left the canyon there is this nagging low fuel pressure issue.  I read online that it might be due to a clogged fuel filter of which there are two on the truck: one user the hood (which I repave with no issues but no results), and the other pictures below under the truck.  The problem is that it's frozen solid and won't budge.  I call bellevue Ford and they say yes it could be a real problem.  So I find a local mechanic (which is a 2 hour story for another day) to "help".

So I follow this guy to a repair shop at the end of town.  Of course the beast can't fit through the shop entrance (see below), and the end of the truck blocks on of the two lanes on the main road leaving town.  So we are working together on the sidewalk.  The mechanic really knows how to turn bolts and gets the who assembly off in no time.  It take longer to get the filter casing open, but with a very large lever arm, and all the strength he has, he get's it apart and .......

OMG look at that filter !!  I am wondering if has ever been changed it is so bad.  It is a bit of a relief though because a filter as bad as this would certainly restrict the fuel to cause low fuel pressure.  I am amazed that this was not change when the oil was serviced. 

The mechanic replaces the filter then proceeds to further break the already broken mounting.  For some reason Ford Motor Company thought it a better idea to mount a plastic part, that received significant torque force, to a metal fuel filter holder.  The result it pictured below.  I removed all the crappy job the mechanic did with the following results.  Nice job Ford !!!  I just hope it last until Ushuaia where Susan will come with a replacement. 

The is Fernando.  We met in San Martin.  He runs a B&B in town.  He graciously let me part next to his place.  This was fantastic !  Internet, Water, and I could 1 block to town.

Fernando lent me his bike.

I ride up the hill.  This area is so beautiful.  Pictures just don't do it justice.   Dirt roads. Beautiful scenery.

I loop around back to the lake... a nice 20k ride.

Fernando tells me about a border crossing just north and a great loop trip through the mountains into Chile and back to San Martin.  I decide to leave the next day.

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