# Moving from Curitiba to Canela

At the end of 2011 on the 11th of November we moved to Brazil and bought some land to set up a more independent and meditative lifestyle. We started in a flat in Curitiba, then about a year later moved to Canela which is the closest town to the land.
 1. Moving from Curitiba to Canela Our power project 2. Moving on to our land Our rural net connection 3. Our first year on the land Our first house 4. Our second year on the land Our second house 5. Our third year on the land Lada Niva 6. Our forth year on the land

Before we can set up on our land we have to move from our flat in Curitiba which was a slight problem since we're in a lease contract until March 2013. Our contract allows us to terminate early but would cost the remainder of the rent. Also we'd need to sell all our furniture and there's also an obligation to have the place fully painted, all this would total about R$3000 minus around R$700 we'd get for the furniture, oven and fridge. But luckily for us we saw some people looking at the place for rent next to us and we said to them that our place here is available if they wanted to sign over the contract - we said if they did this they could keep all the furniture, because if we can sign over the contract we don't need to pay the penalty or get the place painted!

We needed to get a lot of tools for building our new place and putting a fence around our vegetables.

## Day one

We finally got the flat cleared out and cleaned up and got all our stuff into the trailer - which weighs around 1000Kg! (luckily we had some major help from our friend Jennifer and her partner André - thanks guys!) we had numerous problems with contract transfer delays, had to replace the tow-bar because our load was too heavy, and then when we went to pick up the car and trailer from the place that was fixing it, our battery was dead and needed replacing too!

It took over 4 hours to get 110Km because we couldn't get out of Curitiba due to road blocks for a soccer game, and then we were stuck in heavy traffic. Then the engine started over-heating and making bad noises, but we realised that using the low-range gears made things much easier on the engine since we were stopping and starting with a ton of load on very hilly roads.

Now we're at a hotel for the night and the car was sounding much better, so we'll hopefully make 300Km tomorrow.

## Day two

Day two was off to an excellent start, we had a nice breakfast and got on the road early, crossing the border into Santa Catarina before 9am. The engine was getting a bit hot up the many steep and winding mountain roads so we had to stop every couple of hours to let the car cool off a bit, but there were many nice places to stop and take in the scenery and do a bit of stretching and meditation.

After we got about 250km into the journey disaster struck! the clutch stopped working and we had to roll into a gas station (luckily there was one nearby when this started!) after we stopped in the gas station we couldn't start again as there was no way to get it into gear. We looked under the car and saw that there was fluid leaking, and then we saw that the clutch fluid container was empty! There was a mechanic there, but he seemed really dodgy and was talking about there being many expensive things to take out and check so we thought it best to avoid him. The guys at the gas station said the only other option was to get the car towed to the next nearest mechanic about 10km away.

I decided to do some on-the-fly learning from our numerous Lada Niva manuals on the laptop, and soon found a potential solution which was to "bleed" the hydraulics of the clutch system by unscrewing the hose leading out of the master cylinder barrel and then pump the clutch pedal for a few minutes to clear all the air out of the system. Then when pushing the pedal responded with some pressure again, we put it all back together and topped up the fluid reservoir. We also needed to do a temporary solution on the leaking hose which was causing the problem, so we put some insulation tape around the leaky bit and fastened it in place with a twistie from a bag of seeds. This solution enabled us to get about 20km to a decent mechanic who's replacing the hose now (and also flushing out the system again because it turned out the guys at the gas station gave us the wrong fluid!). Here's a picture (taken from under the car looking upwards) of our first DIY repair job, called "gambiarra" in Portuguese - or in my "portenglaise" spelling, "gumbiaha" :-)

## Day three

The mechanic had our clutch hose replaced by about 11am, and showed us the correct fluid to top up the clutch reservoir with. We then went to an auto-electrician he recommended as we'd noticed that the light was coming on that indicates the battery isn't charging. The auto-electrician told us that the alternator needed to be fixed or maybe even replaced and that it could take two or three days. We decided that since we weren't travelling at night and didn't need to have the lights on and we had a new battery that we'd get it fixed in Caxias which was still about 320km away.

This would have been no problem and we were making excellent progress, but then we entered a huge storm with practically zero visibility! we decided it was best to pull over and wait for slightly less heavy patches in the rain to carry on in since we couldn't use the lights.

We finally made it across the border into Rio Grande do Sul, the state of our final destination! but as we tried to start again after stopping at the road toll, the clutch failed to work again! we couldn't believe it, this problem was supposed to be completely fixed now and here it was happening again! luckily we'd read up the night before on how to get by without a clutch (as we couldn't understand how the mechanic had been able to start and change gears without it) so we were able to get it started with a little push from the team at the toll stop :-) but the problem happened a few more times and we had to start it ourselves in dangerously low visibility conditions with huge logging trucks speeding by!

Finally we got into Vacaria, the first city in Rio Grande do Sul, after checking out 3 hotels in the pouring rain we found a nice one called Hotel Ponto 1 that wasn't too expensive and had a good closed parking area spacious enough for our car and trailer, which is where we are now.

Overall we made good progress today with only about 120km left to go, but we'll need to find a mechanic and call the one who did the work yesterday to see what he thinks may be happening. We think it's probably air in the clutch hydraulic system and we'll buy some tools tomorrow so we can do the clutch system "bleeding" procedure ourselves on the road if we need to :-)

## Day four

We had a really nice breakfast at Hotel Ponto 1, they had a huge range of fruit, cakes and biscuits, breads, jams and cheeses and even toasted sandwich makers ready to go! We then went and bought some more tools - a set of fixed spanners, an adjustable spanner, file, hacksaw, needle-nose pliers and side-cutters, and then called our Lada Niva mechanic, Bibe (pronounced "beebee"), in Curitiba to explain all the things that had happened and ask if he had any advice regarding the clutch. He said that it probably was just some air in the system after the repairs and that pumping the clutch pedal to build up the hydraulic pressure should do the trick, but if not there could be a problem with the cylinder. We did that and sure enough the pressure did build up a bit, so we're going to try for the remaining 120km and get these final issues looked at in Caxias :-)

We finally made it to Caxias (pronounced Carsheeas) at 15:22!

There were no major dramas today apart from the usual stressful clutch problems, but since we now knew how to pump the pressure back into the clutch hydraulic system and how to start and change gear without the clutch, and we now had tools in case we needed to do a clutch system bleed process as a last resort these dramas didn't seem quite so daunting as they had on previous days.

We checked a few mechanics and auto-electricians, but decided to call Candido (pronounced Carnjido) who we bought the land off to see if he had any good contacts. He was awesome and came straight out to the gas station we were calling from to meet us and take us to a good mechanic, and he also showed us numerous places where we could get free discarded pallets and other materials for building! The car and trailer are now at the mechanics place and we're staying with Candido and his family for the night before heading to the land tomorrow :-)

## Next

Moving on to our land - I put this in a separate article as it was getting too long!