After a few short trips to test the truck we now went for a week to the mountains. I will post the photos later as well as some detailed information, but for now here is the general report. The good news is that we had a great time, saw some incredible landscapes, survived very well a week in the truck, and didn’t really want to come back home. The truck itself behaved really well, no problems at all. We drove it to over 3000 m (10, 395′) of elevation the day we went to Laguna Blanca, on about 40 km of dirt track through the desert, then 30 km further up a 4×4 track. The 4×4 track wasn’t very difficult, but required lots of twisting of the chassis. That brings me to the camper section that suffered some minor damage due to the extreme movements. The main vertical panel of the wardrobe unit came separated. I will have to replace the wood screws and bolt that panel instead. Some of the rubber seals I had installed on the tailgate came unglued and I will have to re-glue them. Nothing very serious. Otherwise we discovered that dust still finds its way in somehow, so I will have to seal the hardtop better by filling all the gaps I can think of with spray foam, as well as continue improving the seals around the tailgate and hardtop back window. We managed about a day and a half on battery between two recharges. Since we carry about 2 days of water that is about how long we can stay away from civilization.
The trip was from Mendoza to Uspallata where we stayed a night to fully charge the secondary battery. Then we went north along the mountains to El Leoncito national park. The park has a basic campground that isn’t really setup for tenting any more than for RVs. There are trees and shade, as well as picnic tables, but not much level space to park a vehicle, and not much appealing space for a tent either. On the other hand the washrooms are first rate, well maintained and with hot showers! There is no fee to enter the park, camp, use the washrooms/showers, hike, etc. From there we went to Barreal, a small but fairly nice town in the valley. The municipal campground is charming with lots of shade, and again clean washrooms and showers. We stayed a night to charge up the battery then drove to Laguna Blanca before coming down for another night in Barreal. After that we started the drive home through the city of San Juan and back south again to Mendoza. Watch for the next posts with detailed reports and photos!