Trip Start Jan 01, 2001
Trip End Dec 28, 2010

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Flag of Venezuela  ,
Tuesday, January 27, 2009

We moved from the main gate at 6 as requested and parked just down the road whilst we had breakfast and then set off for the town of Merida. To get there meant huge climbs up and down again and so we knew we needed more fuel, we also knew that the fuel was going to be nice and cheap. What we did not know is that there are not many garages, at least in this area who sell diesel. We drove past several that had petrol but none for us. Eventually as had happened a couple of days earlier we ran out of fuel again. Similar once more we had been told that their was a fuel station about 5 kms away. Mike went off once more on the moped to get some whilst I stayed in Kirsty. This time I did get worried because it took 3 hours before he returned, it seems their was no fuel station for the first 23 kms and then that one had no fuel and was petrol only in any case. He then had to get to the town of La Grita, passing 2 more petrol stations, before he found a diesel outlet. It was obvious that the fuel he could get in our container would not be enough so he then had to drive around the town trying to buy another container, in the end he had to make do with a 5 gallon water bottle used for the water fountains. He then got the fuel and was told he was not supposed to carry fuel in an unmarked container, this was no problem but he had to pass 3 police checkpoints to get back. Obviously he made it and having got started we drove back to that town. At the garage we stopped and took on some 200 litres of diesel at the vast cost of 9.8 Bolivares, just under ten pounds! We then continued towards Merida once more. By now the road, which is one of the main carriageways, was getting a bit narrow although still two way. It was also climbing up to about 10,000 ft again, mainly in a series of hairpin bends, it was usually about 2-300 metres between bends and some of them were so tight that we could not turn around without backing up. In addition to the road narrowing, as usual there had been a number of places where the road edge had fallen into the valley making it totally one lane. These points they tend to mark with the word Peligro (Danger) Painted on the road in yellow paint about 100 metres from the drop itself. Anyway on we went and got over the peak and started down when there was a loud bang and the air went out of one of the back tyres. Mike decided to drive about 4 kms further to get to a point where we could safely park and change the wheel. To change the wheel we have to take almost everything out of the garage so that we can winch down the spare, not an easy or quick job but one he has done before. As soon as we started to take the burst wheel off we started to get an audience and just as we had finished a crowd in their 20's arrived in 3 cars. They all started to watch as well and at this point I shouted "are you just going to stand and look", as it was a couple of them could speak some English and said they would help winch the wheel down. To cut it short they were very helpful and after about 2 hours we were ready to drive again. This time we were still going in the same direction but decided to stay at the town of Bailadores, which is where one of them lived and told us we would be able to stay on the road outside his house(N8.19.12.54 W71.49.39.95). Today it was an early finish, we stopped at 5 pm and needless to say Mike was shattered. Originally the group had asked us to go to the house for food and drinks at 8 pm. In the end they decided we would not bother, that is until 8pm when they came knocking on the door for us. We eventually told them we were sorry but too tired and had already eaten and so went to bed.
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