Axle woes

15th May 2013 by Helen

Driving in Torres del Paine National Park

Driving in Torres del Paine National Park

After being lulled to sleep by the wind crashing through the trees and mercilessly rocking our Landy below us it turned out to be a fairly warm night.  This happy state continued this morning as we watched the sun rise over the mountains of Torres del Paine, the thermometer bravely reaching 9.7C.

It turned out to be a glorious day, with rare bright blue skies and the occasional fluffy white clouds over Torres del Paine National Park.  We took a walk in the sunshine, sat and had a picnic and finally set off again, mid afternoon, for Puerto Natales, just down the road (a bit).

The scenery was glorious and from all angles we could see the blue skies lighting up Torres del Paine.

But the joy was soon to turn to a pain of a different kind.  A pain for Landy in fact.

Rounding a bend in the road the rear axle suddenly snapped, steering became compromised and we headed straight off the road, over a ditch and a thornbush, before coming to a halt some 10 metres from the road.

A little shaken but otherwise unharmed we inspected the damage – a broken axle tube on the left hand side, small dent in the propshaft, a bent nearside trailing arm, tyre wall damage to rear right hand tyre but tyre still inflated, slightly bend rear outrigger offside, axle breather disconnected, snapped nearside halfshaft and the rear nearside tyre blown (for non UK readers nearside refers to the left, offside to the right).

Paul debated the possibility of an emergency roadside bodge that would get us out of the park, but first we would need to inform the park authorities of our unorthodox ‘camp’.  Ultimately though we opted to pack an overnight bag and hitch a lift / catch a bus into Puerto Natales and arrange ‘recovery’.  Just as we were about to set off a large van pulled up and offered us a lift all the way to Puerto Natales, which we gratefully accepted.  There we were dropped off outside a couple of hostels, one of which was open, and where we found the owner Alejandro speaks excellent English and knows the local recovery service.  A quick email to friends in Chile put us in contact with another local, Pablo, with a Land Rover, who was able to recommend mechanical support.

One Response to “Axle woes”

  1. Hunter and Will Headapohl says:

    Well, You DID nurse Landy almost all around the world. This one seems big. Much worse than the unfortunate horse in Mongolia! Keep calm and carry gather money. Your California fans. Grateful you are both okay. Will and Hunter

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