Friday, February 1, 2013

Ruta 3

After making the ferry crossing from Tierra del Fuego, the direction of travel has been more or less northward.  For the past couple of days, there has been unremitting wind and many, many kilometers of pavement.  As expected, my Karoo tire is rapidly losing its tread.  There were times when I actually felt that the wind was going to blow the bike over.  I had the throttle cracked, and as leaning hard into the wind (on the straights), and Blondy would not come over 80 kph!  I estimate some of the gusts to be close to 60 knots, although that could be hot air too....

That hair is blowing straight back...so there.

 We stayed at this frontier hotel less than a week ago, as it is very near to the Argentine/Chilean border crossing.   I have lost count of how many times we have crossed from Chile to Argentina and vice versa.  The route has provided the best of both countries in Patagonia, and the border officials are accommodating, although one told me that I needed to learn more Spanish when his colleague forgot to give me a proper form...(it is always the foreigner who is stupid)







On the ripio, not only is the gravel a struggle, but the truck traffic blows up tremendous dust clouds.   The truck drivers are courteous, and respect that motos are having a tough time on the gravel.


The plan is to ride up the Ruta 3 into Brazil, if I can get a visa for Brazil.  The road is paved and in good shape, with considerable construction and improvements going on.  There is lots of petroleum development in this area, and traffic and costs are increasing significantly...in the past couple of days, we have ridden close to 1000 kilometers of flat, unremitting plains.  I will be rolling into Beunos Aires on a bare tire, thats for sure.  There are lots of sheep, everywhere, and along with them, the wandering packs of uconoas.  (Thats not how to spell their name, but the poor interweb is bugging me, and impacting my memory cells..)  Lots of road kill on the straight stretches, with a dead uconoa about every 10 kilometers or so.  I would not want to hit one on the bike, as the males are as big as a good sized deer.


Flat, flat, and more flat...with wind to keep me awake...




Before autos, the local ranches and farms relied on horse (or oxen) power.  A local cafe that we stopped at for a break had a collection out back.  The wheels on this one were taller than me by a foot or so....





The cafe was cooking up a sheep for the day...



I had a very interesting conversation with the chef.  He used to ride motos, has ridden bicycles all over South America, and he has walked 4600 kilometers in Argentina.  Considering my musings about walkers in a former blog, it was very interesting to hear him talk about taking 12 days to cross a desert, and the last two days without water.  He had clearly overcome some heavy duty fears and anxieties on that particular jaunt, and it was very interesting to listen to his philosophy about the differences between those who travel, and those who don't.   

Here is a map of today's landing, on the east coast of Argentina.   I think I can see Africa from here...


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