Day 212 – La Herreria to El Calafate, Argentina

Day 212 – La Herreria to El Calafate, Argentina      03/21/11       Mileage: 293

The wind…it hounded me all night and was blowing so hard I can’t believe my tent is still in one piece…score one for Mountain Hardware. So while it did not cave the tent in, it did however fill the inside of it..and cover me with a fine powdery dirt that was able to get by the fine tent mesh. My sleeping bag, helmet…everything had a layer of dirt on it…and my boots were filled with it…just f–king grand. So with the wind still howling out of the west, I broke camp and continued south on Ruta 40. The road surface was loose gravel….which by itself can be slippery, but it’s fine. But when combined with a 40 mph cross wind…it royally sucks. The loose gravel offers little traction, so the wind essentially has it’s way with you, blowing you and the bike several feet left or right at will….whether that’s off the road, into an oncoming truck or into the 6-12 inch deep gravel berms that will throw you down in heap. This goes on for hour upon nerve racking hour of desolate road…and might be the only time on this entire trip where I actually would have preferred to be at work…that’s how much it sucked!

In the misery I wasn’t compelled to stop and take pictures…but I did take these two token shots….

The misery ended with the beginning of the pavement as the wind is then much more manageable. I rolled into and through El Calafate on my way to see the Perito Moreno Glacier….one of the first places I knew I wanted to see when planning this trip. It cost $25 to get in, but the sight before you does not disappoint.

To give you a sense of scale…look at the people at the bottom of the pictures…incredable!

The glacier was calving off into the lake and the sound of 5 story tall ice blocks tumbling into the water sounded like canons firing…it was unbelievable! I stood there and watched (and listened) in awe at what was one of the most amazing natural wonders I’ve ever seen. Afterwards I headed back to El Calafate and found a room, some dinner and a few beers. Tomorrow it’s back on the road south…

Day 211 – Paso Roballas, Chile to La Herreria, Argentina

Day 211 – Paso Roballas, Chile to La Herreria, Argentina      03/20/11      Mileage: 237

With dawn came a great sunrise which I lingered to enjoy before breaking camp and getting back on the road.

The scenery was great and I had the road, little more than a rocky two-track, to myself.

In two hours I was at the Chile border outpost where the officer had me and the bike processed out in 10 minutes.

Quite a nice setting to work for the Chile border officials….

 A few kilometers later I arrived at the Argentina border post and was processed in almost as quickly. Crossing between these two countries, even with the bike, is completely free and aside from the formalities pretty easy.

Continuing on the mountains gave way to more of a desert landscape but it was still enjoyable to ride through.

Soon I arrived back at the famous Ruta 40 where I hung a right and continued heading south. The landscape was now more open and without the protection of the mountains the strong westerly winds were free to hound me at will…easily moving the bike 2-3 feet sideways on the loose gravel. With nightfall rapidly approaching I began to look for a good spot to bush camp…which I found about a 1/2 mile down a rutted 2 track.

Tuna wrap…which I washed down with hot chocolate and whiskey….good eats!

I found a nice spot for the tent, once I kicked the dried cow shit out of the way, and I was once again treated to great sunset.

Another great day on the road south….