Bariloche to Zapala and a few challenges for Blue B

Not a challenging day today (we thought). A scenic drive along the seven lakes route from Bariloche to San Martin de Los Andes, winding our way around aqua blue lakes, the Andes always in the background and as a bonus the roads were paved.

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Blue B had other plans for us.  For a few days Ross has been having issues which he felt he had resolved after long hours working under the bonnet whilst we were enjoying the sights of Bariloche.  Blue B hummed along nicely for the first 100 or so kms when we heard Ross’s posh British voice announce over the CB “Sorry guys I’ve lost power – am pulling over”. Fortunately there was space for our convoy on the side of the road just outside San Martin de Los Andes.

This time it looked more like a fuel blockage, the experts gathered and Blue B was again the centre of attention.  It was decided to split the group and we, along with Peter Carthy (Green Car) and the Herlihys (Shiraz) stayed back to assist whilst the others headed off to Zapala.

The day was beginning to heat up and this was the first of many road side pauses as Blue B struggled to get fuel through.  The guys rocked her from side to side, cleaned filters, replaced fuel pumps, topped up with spare fuel, got rid of old fuel and various other attempted fixes.  In the end after gallantly struggling another 100 or so kms it was decided to get out the tow rope for the last 60 kms.   Navy car took on the role and together we made it to Zapala a good two hours after the first group.  Ian said it was a little unnerving looking in the rear view and seeing a blue car tailgating him at 100 km/h.  The last long hill was really steep so it was back to 2nd gear and keeping a watch on the engine temperature.  Daytime temperatures have been in the high 30s and expected to get hotter as we head North.

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After all the work on Blue B the problem was not resolved and some refreshed drivers would need to look at her again in the morning.

At our debriefing that evening there were two groups, those who were trying to understand Blue B’s problems and provide a fix, and the rest of us who wanted the answer to the more important question “Where were we going to eat!”

We wandered down town with Ros and John Bastian and were assisted by a helpful local who discovered us studying a map on a street corner.  We explained we were looking for dinner (at around 8pm which is far too early for most Argentinians) but he provided us with a name and location and off we went.  Los Familias Restaurant was empty when we arrived, but we were welcomed, and soon we were tucking into traditional fare of grilled meat (and chicken), potato chips, salad and washed down with  a very satisfactory local Malbec.  The vegetarian of the group was very happy with her vegetable crepes and mushroom sauce.  By the time we departed at around 9.30 the restaurant was beginning to fill with locals and really buzzing.

A short drive tomorrow – but first Blue B must have her fuel problem sorted out.

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