Saturday, February 28, 2015

Two days without Fuel
The past few`days have been a mixed bag of events. We made it to Punta Arenas via Porvenir OK and booked into a delightful hostel called Hospidaje Miriam for two nights. I met up with Gerardo, a Chilean who was the guide on a trip I did back in 2013. It was good to catch up, share his news and hopes for riding in Alaska later this year. It is possible, with some orchestration, that we might be able to meet up there. Our recommended exit from Chile into Argentina was via a crossing called Casas Viejas (houses for the elderly) which for a while I thought was a wind up by my Chilean friend. But no, there was the name as bold as brass on the street sign. No sign of old folks homes either. The ride to the crossing was as cold as hell – we left Punta Arenas in 5 degree temps and my fingers were so cold I could not fill out the immigration forms. Thankfully it warmed up as the day wore on.
We got to Esperanza only to find the gas station had just run out of petrol. So ended a 400km day with a night in a scungy hostel. All next day we waited at the gas station until finally and after dark the tanker replenished the tanks but by now it was to late for us to continue so night two in the same hostel same sheets and towel also. Colin gave the place a D-8 rating, a passing reference to the size of the bulldozer needed to knock the place down.  For three days the wind blew and blew and blew 'til you wonder where all the wind is stored. And it was strong wind too. Finally we left for el Calafate directly into the wind and it stayed with us for the next 170km. Sixteen km/ltr was the best my bike could manage.
The road to Calafate was a great ride with some magnificent views of the Andes. En route we stumbled upon a guy on a scooter with all the gear necessary to tour and camp. The guy had ridden all the way down from Colombia – and here's us thinking we were the hard ones.
After our woes in Esperanza (which incidentally means hope) re fuel, we were to strike it again with Colin waiting in a queue for over an hour to fill up before we headed out to the Perito Moreno Glacier. All told today we had spend 6 hours doing just 170km. I have been to the glacier before so the magnitude of it was no surprise but for all that it is an incredible sight. What with park fees, lunch on site, fuel, diner and a room it was working out an expensive day. Least it was fine and it is starting to warm up to a balmy 12 degrees.

D-8 accommodation in Esperanza. You should have seen the dunny

Our man and his scooter - from Colombia

Perito Moreno glacier

She's a big sucker

Somewhere in Patagonia

Seems we need to be prepared for wind

No half measures down here

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