How long we will be in this town is not known yet. We ran again into another mechanical issue which has to be fixed (see Passepartout chapter for details).
The road going north east is two lanes. I thought it would be full of trucks (and it is in phases) but there are also a surprising number of passenger cars travelling to this far away corner of Brazil. The road still goes up and down over hills. Initial we drove at a height of around 150 m but later on we reached 600 m. In Caceres we crossed the Paraguay river again. It was still dominant, vast flowing and wide. Slowly the scenery changed. Still endless fields of soya and what we assumed to be small cotton plants and rubber trees, but now there are also stretches of left over native forest on the left and right side of the road giving it a bit of a jungle feeling. There are some large tracks of land set aside for the original inhabitants. It is not clear by driving by what they are doing with the land. Still living as they always have done or adapted to more modern lifestyle.
After 500 km it was time to look for a place to setup camp. Jamaliah had spotted a site near to a waterfall of the BR174 in Nova Lacerda. That sounded attractive as Rudy felt the need of a cool down. The temperature was between 30/35 deg. It became a letdown. The road up to the plateau is in the process of being graded. The weather was turning bad on us and rain clouds were appearing in the sky. The waterfalls are only reachable by a 10 km narrow sandy track. After much driving up and down the road and feeling the drizzle starting we found a local motor driver who showed us the turnoff. Having ultimate confidence in Passepartout we took to the sand road after locking the rear differential. It felt like a long 10 km with at the end soft sand and mud pools to get through. When we arrived Jamaliah immediately wanted to turn back. However it was getting dark and started to rain. The risk of getting stuck on the track in the dark was high. Besides we came so far to see and camp at the waterfalls that turning immediately did not feel right. Rudy had a quick peek at the waterfall and what appeared to be the remains of a water channelling system to a now defunct small hydro electrical plant. It did rain hard 20 min after we arrived so we were happy that we were not on the track.
The next morning we had a nice drive back to the main road and were relieved that this adventure ended well. Driving further North, we saw not so many small towns and petrol stations. After 270 km we passed through Vilhena and stopped for shopping and lunch. Some 50 km out of town we suddenly heard a rattling noise from under the car, as if we had a flat tyre. After several stops and checking under car, we could not find the source of the noise and decided to turn back and find a mechanic. We limped into town. The mechanic had a quick listen and, after I showed him the 2 large ball bearings I found when removing the carter protection, he knew that the Constant Velocity joint on the left front axle was gone. Unfortunately it was Friday evening and the garage was closing till Monday. We drove to the first hotel we saw and stayed the night. The next day we searched for a better one because we may have to stay there till after Christmas if the CV joint cannot be repaired/replaced.