Breaking Parts in the Pouring Rain
The Twisted Andes Adventure continues in the south of Chile for the 6th day. We hit the road south early so we could take in two trails that lay 200 miles away in Linares. The local wheelers met us and guided our caravan into the foothills of the Andes Mountains. This is where the twisted part comes from; the deep ravines switch back and forth, causing the axles to flex in opposite directions. Smooth and steady is the technique here while punching it only when necessary.
The Las Cruz trail wound around the mountains in slippery style, especial since it had started to rain. The decomposed granite formations made the twisties more fun with both looseness and grip. Rolls and breakage marked the end of the first trail, as we hit the second trail just as the rain began to pour. Trail two consists of a deep slot in the hillside barely wide enough for a full size 4x4. Even smaller rigs bounce side to side like pinballs while grasping for traction in the soupy mud, steeply climbing into the hills at night with the ground level over the cab roof is as challenging as it gets. The lack of visibility and slippery slopes caused another roll, one that took hours to recover.
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On the seventh day of the twisted Andes Adventure, we rested – sort of. The plan was to regroup and rebuild after drying out from the night before. The night run had taken its toll on vehicles and participants alike. Broken windows, crushed cabs, busted axles, and even a bent Hi-Lift jack were counted as casualties.
The group departed on separate schedules as a restful day, so they could find spare parts and fix the carnage in-route. Along the way we stopped at Salto Del Laja, a beautiful waterfall and resort in the Andean foothills. But as always the weather conspired with the night to slow us down. Heavy rains and a jeep with no wipers caused a slow trip to the town of Cunco, nested near the Andes amid lakes, trails and snow.