Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Fast Run South
We have been on the road non stop for a week now and are in Comodoro Rivadavia on the East coast of Argentina with just over 2500 km behind us. The first few days were a tiki-tour to route 5 ex Valparaiso. Route 5 (Ruta del Sur) is a toll road running the length of Chile and with its 120kph speed limit you can cover distance quite quickly. Many tolls later we turn left for Entre Lago and our last night in Chile. Chile at this latitude looks much like NZ so there is little of note to comment on and the road is frankly quite boring. The lady running the hostel in Entre Lagos was extremely welcoming but as usual I had no clue as to what she was saying even when she spoke louder.
The exit from Chile was easy but entry into Argentina was problematic because the Chilean customs should have left me with their cancelled import document to hand to the Argentinians. I got through well enough but my riding companion was not so lucky and was held up for ages.
Queueing at the bank in Bariloche
The ride over the Andes was cold and wet and I was well relieved to get to Bariloche. I think I slept for 12 hours, not helped by having picked up a stomach bug a couple of days back. Bariloche is the Queenstown of Argentina and the most expensive accommodation to date. It's a really nice town on the edge of a lake but touristy as hell - just like Queenstown. And our hostel was by far the best we have stayed in as well. Oh, and the woman spoke perfect English.
Watch out - dodgy food.
Next day the first stop was Teka for fuel and an hour waiting in a queue for our turn at the pump. We struck these queues on a number of occasions in Argentina.
Queueing for petrol - again
You don't pump your own gas here, an attendant does it and you pay him/her. Half the pumps were idle due to lack of attendants.
By days end we were well into Patagonia and overnighted
Gorbernador Costa

in a dusty wind swept non descript town and listened to the wind howl past the building all night. It takes a special kind of person to live down here. On the map there are recognisable names of towns from a trip I did with a bunch of others in 2009. Then, the sole purpose was to ride Patagonia and "enjoy" the experience. Now we just want to get through as quickly as possible.
The dreaded desvio (by-pass)
The following day the notorious Patagonia winds hit us side on as we headed to Comodoro Rivadavia on the east coast. The one saving grace is that on gravel roads the wind blows away the dust from the vehicle in front. So far the roads have been tar seal but when they need maintenance the Argentinians run a bulldozer down the side of the road and that becomes your by-pass. Sometimes they go on for a number kilometres and they aren't exactly smooth. No wonder their poor little French cars are so beat-up - this is Lada country.
Patagonia scenic overlook. Yep - nada.
We are taking a day off in Comodoro Rivadavia because we have been on the go since we got off the plane over a week ago. For all that we have done less than 3,000 km and still have another 4 days to go before we reach our destination in Ushuaia.

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