Tuesday, 13 January 2015

0178 Back on the road again.....

0178  Back on the road again…..  13th Jan 2015

Damien dropped Janet and I at the airport on Sunday night – Janet to catch the midnight horror to Queensland, and me to Sydney and then on to Santiago.  I tried to get into Premium Economy for the long Sydney to Santiago sector, but the flight was fully booked.  So instead I upgraded both Janet and I to Business Class on our respective flights to the east coast because……Why not ?  I got a just -renovated plane with full lie flat seats, so slept the whole way to Sydney !! We had all been out for a very good hamburger in Scarborough on Sunday evening  before we went to the airport, so I didn’t need more food while on the plane !

I had a 6 hour layover in Sydney, but that went quite quickly and I was able to get a shower and a bit of a sleep while I waited.  The long flight to Santiago is not a fun flight – For some reason due East / West flights (like Aus to S Africa or Santiago) seem to be much harder to recover from than flights that go north or south as well.  I thought I had scored an empty seat beside me that would enable me to stretch out, but at the last minute they moved someone into the seat to give more room for a family with children sitting elsewhere.    Rats !!!  But got some sleep, and arrived safely in Santiago.

Had a brief hiccup with customs on arrival because arriving by plane they do not give you a copy of the arrival document to hand back in when you leave – Apparently they do not ask for it when you leave by plane.  But when you leave by road they DO ask for it – luckily I knew this already, so I had to go to another office to get a copy of the form otherwise they might send me back to Santiago when I try to leave from Patagonia !

My other concern was whether Troopie had survived 3 weeks in the car park at the airport – Answer, Yes, no problem ! So that was a relief, and once I had got my luggage into the car, I set off.  Even though it was only 5000 kms since the last service, I had decided to get an oil change and service done in Santiago as this should then enable me to go the rest of the way in S America.  So on the way across Santiago to the camp site, I found a Toyota dealer and booked Troopie in for the next morning, and then found a supermarket and bought some supplies.  I go to the campsite by about 6 pm and was exhausted – It is the same campsite as Janet and I stayed in before Christmas, and is the only one I know of around Santiago – Unfortunately it is about an hour out of town.  By the time I had unpacked my bags and repacked the car, it was 9 pm, and I fell into bed exhausted, setting the alarm for the morning so I could get to the Toyota dealer in time.

Tuesday 13th Jan.

Woke up feeling pretty good, and set off to the Toyota dealer.  Bit of a hiccup as while doing the service, they found that the front brake pads were very worn, and unfortunately they do not carry Troopie pads in stock.  This surprised me a little because the dealer in both Panama and Peru had them – And annoys me a little because I could easily have brought some back with me from
Australia if I had known.  My fault.   So it looks like I will have to go to a possible non-Toyota source in Santiago and hope they have them – If not I will have to order some through the Toyota dealer and wait in Santiago for 3 or 4 days for them to arrive.  Hmmmm.  But like all the other Toyota dealers I have used from Alaska south, Bruno Frtisch were excellent – Friendly, efficient, and willing to do things on short notice to a car which they do not usually handle in
Chile.  Just a shame they did not have the brake pads I needed.  While they could not fit non-Toyota parts, they directed me on to a non-Toyota place just up the road who could help me.   So with a serviced (and very clean after they washed it for me) car, I headed just 10 minutes up the road to find Central Frenos (Fremos being brakes).  It was easy to find, and was a big place, and after 5 minutes looking in their files, and a quick inspection of Troopy’s brakes,  they said they could get them in straight away, so I said “Go for it”.  They skimmed the discs which had a few waves in them, and then I set off to a nearby shopping mall for some lunch – By now it was 2 pm.  Found a Taco Bell in there so had some Chileano-Mex – And it was actually pretty good !!  Wandered around the enormous Mall for a while in order to waste some time, and then back to Central Frenos.  It was about 5 pm by the time the pads arrived and were fitted and I had paid the bill, so I decided to go back up into the hills to the same campsite again.

On the way up the hill (Ruta de Volcan – Volcano Road),  there was a bit of a traffic jam due to a small scrub fire beside the road – Very small by Aussie standards. By about 7 pm my jet lag had caught up with me, and after a bowl of instant noodles, I fell asleep fully dressed !  I woke up again at about 9 pm. Did the washing up (only one bowl and a spoon !), and straight back into bed where I slept almost straight through till 8 am the next morning !!   I was tired, but also relieved that I had managed to get Troopy serviced and the brakes fixed OK. 

Pics are here :-  https://picasaweb.google.com/117739775480775657932/0174UrgentRepairsInSantiago?authkey=Gv1sRgCIGg9vX9r-jcbA#

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