Urban Boondocking

When changing the oil in Sorata, and giving everything on the underside a good once over, we noticed the drive axle boot was leaking grease. We must have jinxed ourselves. A week earlier, Logan boasted “We haven’t needed a single maintenance stop in over 10,000 miles.”

Something must have been hungry for rubber with a side of grease

Luckily for us, there was an outstanding Swiss expat mechanic stationed at our next stop, La Paz. Ernesto is famous among the overlanding community and for good reason. Only when overlanding the PanAm, can you camp in a mechanic’s garage and share the space with fellow overlanders from Switzerland.

Camped out in Ernesto's spotless garage

After replacing the front axle drive boot and clearing up a few other minor issues, Ernesto gave the Beast a clean bill of health. In fact, his exact words were, “With a new car like this, you will have no problems. You drive slow, take good care, you’ll have another 100,000 miles easy.” You know it’s a good sign when your mechanic refers to your overloaded eight year old vehicle as new.

When we weren’t camped out at Ernesto’s we enjoyed all the camping amenities at the Oberland Hotel. We ran into some familiar faces and had a ball exploring this enormous city with our overland friends.

Popped up with company

It's a happy Oktoberfest at Oberland Hotel

Tom and Jan invited us to attend a Cholita’s Wrestling match, the name alone was enough to sell us. It’s just like it sounds. Women dressed in traditional Bolivian garb wrestle everyone form the referee, to beefy spandex clad men, and even a werewolf. Chicken empanadas come filled with bones for throwing at the Cholita nemesis, and kids squeal with delight as they hurl their empty coke bottles into the ring. Booing, hissing, and cheering on the hometown girl was a perfect over the top ending to our stay in this crazy city.

They're no Cholitas but they've got gusto

Not to be confined by the ring, moments later they tumbled into the audience

When the werewolf appeared, every child ran screaming for the exits