Sunday morning we made a plan. We decided that we should try to push on to a larger town with, hopefully, a mechanic who might be able to give us a little more guidance. The car was driveable, after all. So after breakfast we packed up and headed out. Wolf had puttered around in the engine that morning, trying to figure out a few DIY fixes, so we gave it a shot, heading out of town. We made it about a mile down the road before the issue came back. After a quick chat weighing our options we decided to turn around and see if Diego could help us out. One thing Wolf thought would help was replacing the oxygen sensor, which seemed to be a popular solution to our problem in the online community. With impressive foresight, Wolf had thought to bring a new oxygen sensor with us, but we didn’t have the right tools to do so. We first stopped back at the hotel and borrowed a wrench from the owner (we brought a decent amount of tools with us, but just not the one we needed for this job) to see if we could change the part out ourselves. Brute force wasn’t enough to make it budge, so we made our way back to Diego’s place. We knocked on the door and found him hanging out with a few buddies, enjoying a Sunday afternoon which we were about to ruin.
Eager to have our detour behind us, we grabbed hot showers and said goodbye to our neighbor:
Friday morning the sky was a bit bluer. But it seemed the road south was no closer to opening. The gas station attendant told us that the police had asked her to let everyone know that the road was still closed and would likely remain closed until Monday. Monday… three full days away, which would put us pretty well behind schedule….
We had debated over breakfast that morning about how to tackle the day. There are exactly four ways to leave La Junta. The road south, continuing down the Carretera Austral was not an option until the road opened, hopefully by Monday. The road west and out to the coast would mean waiting a week for the next ferry – not really an option. Driving north would take us back the way we came, which didn’t seem to make much sense. To the east, about 100km down an unpaved road, was a border crossing into Argentina at Lago Verde. We weren’t excited about exiting the Carretera after only a day, but we really didn’t see any other options. Since the weather hadn’t improved and it was still raining, we weren’t convinced that the road would open by Monday. And waiting until then to come up with an alternate plan didn’t seem wise to us. So, we decided to try our luck with crossing to Argentina, hoping we could cross back into Chile at the next border crossing south of the landslide.
For me, day two at Iguazu Falls was the best day yet. It was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been; I’m so glad we decided to stay a second day.
The Iguazu River forms a border between Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay, so you have lots of options in this area. We stayed on the Brazilian side, so the first day it was easy bopping around on the local buses to get to and from the national park. Day two we planned to travel to the Argentinian side which meant we had to take the international bus across the border.