Beneath the hulking smoking Volcano Ollague, I stood gingerly kicking the front right tire on of our Toyota Siena van. The border agent had informed us that one of our tires was flat just minutes before. I was stuck in no man’s again between Bolivia and Chile. We had successfully exited Bolivia and were waiting on the customs agent in Chile to get a new temporary import permit for our van. They apparently were on a shift change. The agricultural agents were very helpful and tolerated our children and all their games. The last 60 miles of the road out of Bolivia were particularly rough and bumpy, so it was not that surprising that the tire was flat. It looked like the tire was slowly leaking air, I almost thought we could drive to a repair shop just outside Ollague but the customs delay prevented that. I decided that I should change the tire there in no man’s land, I was almost all the way through and I sheared off one of the bolts on the axel arrrgggghhh.
Once I put on the skinny spare we were off but with only 4 bolts, it should hold until we get to a big city to fix it. Our custom agent signed off on our import permit and we got directions to the nearest place we could fix the tire. After finding a nice man to fix the tire we were back to four full tires. We pulled out of town and got an up close look of the volcano for the next 30 minutes, it was smoking out of the southern side, we were informed that it could erupt at any time. It’s good that we didn’t get marooned at the border. Fixing a tire at 12,000 feet is not for the faint of heart.