Friday, March 25, 2011

Day 162 (442km): Been there, done that.

We are officially no longer Taking the Road South. We have come and done all the things I wanted to do in the south: Ruta 7, Perito Moreno Glacier, and Torres del Paine. But wait, we've missed Ushuaia? I have nothing against Ushuaia, it was our planned destination before all the unpleasantness in Peru but after losing so much time waiting for the bikes to be fixed, I just can't justify the somewhat lame riding it takes to get to Ushuaia. I'd rather spend my time tearing up Peru than going all the way to Ushuaia just for a picture. Maybe next time. Such utilitarian thinking.
A beautiful sunrise
Today we said goodbye to Torres del Paine but not before Alberto was blown into the ditch and almost had to bail on our way out of the park. I had noticed that the wind was so strong it was blowing quite a bit of water off a small lake we were passing. Then I looked ahead on the road and Alberto was driving in the ditch. He said that the wind blew him across the road and into the opposite ditch. He fought it as much as he could but it was gravel and stronger than him. Alberto is just happy to ride, and crash, and ride.
We had a rainbow leaving the park
One last parting shot
We were out of the park by 9:30am and there was a chill in the air. Today seemed exceptionally windy, and it reminded me a little bit of the Crows Nest Pass (in Alberta). It made me glad I didn't live in a place that was so windy all the time.
The lagoon with flamingos
Bye bye Torres
The wildlife experience
La Gringa imitating the torres
Enjoying the moment; As far south as we are going to go on this trip
We grabbed a hot snack at a little cafe at the border. Thankfully leaving Chile was a lot faster than entering it. We were in and out in less than 10 min. On to the Argentinian side. We saw some poor backpackers hitchhiking in between. Wish I could have helped you guys out. When we arrived at the tiny Argentinian office three bus loads of tourists were checking in. The place was jam packed with people. Yikes! I concluded that since there was only three vehicles outside there wouldn't be that many doing Aduana. So Beto went to go see what the story was with the Aduana window. While he was pushing his way through the people, not easy bulked up in riding gear, a Chilean driver got in his face. He was saying that the line started way back there and that you go to Immigration and then Aduana. At first Alberto took this calmly and said I just want to ask the guy a question. So he continued on his way but this guy wouldn't let it go. He kept telling him to get to the back of the line. Alberto, getting annoyed, questioned the guy on if he worked for Aduana. Then a woman (one of his passengers presumably) chimed in. He does this every day he knows what's up. At this point Alberto was sick of the shenanigans and very firmly said I just want to talk to the Aduana person, and then walked off.
Alberto wants to add that these annoying people were unmistakably Chilean due to their accents and attitudes.

When he got to the Aduana window the friendly guy we'd met a few days ago when we came through the border greeted us like we were long lost friends. In your face annoying Chilean driver! He was happy to give us our paper work to fill out while we were waiting and he even offered to store our helmets while we waited in line. He asked us how we liked Chile, and when we confessed that it was expensive. He agreed saying it was TOO expensive. We had a good laugh together. It took us a while to get our Immigration paper work in order and everyone else, including the annoying guy and girl, were long gone. When we were finished with Immigration the Aduana guy had our paper work ready to go and they even made me a fresh cup of authentic mate tea. The metal straw is a little warm on the lips but it really heated me up. I've had mate tea in Canada, but this was stronger. Very tasty. We left the Argentinian office with big smiles on our faces. The Aduana guy here enjoys his job waaaay too much and if border officials in Central America were this friendly the world would be a better place. He was wearing Alberto's helmet and distinctive green goggles around the office at one point joking around with people in line. He had fiesta music going on in the background, loud, and was partying it up. Just loving life.

Back in Argentina it was very windy. Windier than normal. My neck was dying! We had planned to stop off at a gas station we saw on the way down. Turns out it was closed for lunch and with the crazy wind I was not into waiting around for it to open.
I found D&A's sticker at the gas station
This puppy is awesome
We ended up running out of gas, both of us, while we were detouring to El Calafate to get gas. That wind kills the gas mileage! While we were stopped at the gas station I convinced Alberto we could easily make it to Tres Lagos today, so that's what we did. I remembered seeing a nice sign for camping when we came through last week and hoped that was the case.
Using the emergency gas
The crazy wind continued. When we arrived in Tres Lagos we found a nice campground (the only one in town from what I can tell). It was sheltered from the wind more or less too. Good score. We were being lazy and ate dinner at the restaurant instead of cooking. Sometimes I just don't feel like cooking and today was one of those days.
Camping in Tres Lagos

1 comment: