Today both Alex and me are feeling very brave and we have decided rather then head over to Route 3, which is a Tarmac to the bottom of Argentina we are going off road on the infamous Route 40. I am not sure why we are feeling so brave and as you know my off road abilities are crap and Alex has Andrea on the back of his bike making off roading a tad more difficult but yet we had persuaded each other that we should not be wuzzes and had to the hit the dirt. We packed up breakfast at the petrol station and then to Rio Mayo where Route 40 turns from tarmac to dirt and is dirt for 30km and then new tarmac till Perito Moreno then loads more dirt to Tres Lagos but we still had an opt out clause at Perito Moreno to still head across to Route 3 if we did not like our little off road dirt experience.
We filled up both the bikes and ourselves in Rio Mayo huge piece’s of breaded meat with cheese ham and eggs on it for a late lunch as again we are planning on doing some wild camping tonight.
So we are stuffed to the gills as we gingerly make our way onto the dirt road and to help us with this endeavour the wind is really strong and gusting pushing us all over the place which is all you do not need when you trying to find the smoothest part of the dirt road so progress is slow. There is a choice between a dirt track and another dirt track that sort of being prepared for tarmacking and we swopped between the two finding out that the grass was always greener on the one that we were not on.
I was already regretting my decision and my rush of bravado to do off road stint as we crawled through the dust counting the kilometres off one by one until we reached tarmac again. On one of the cross overs from one dirt track to another there was the dreaded soft sand on hill which I skirted around but in my mirrors I watched Alex and Andrea hit the dirt and they where down. I pull up park the bike so that it will not get blown over by the wind and run back to help the guys up to there feet. Everyone is ok bike is ok adrenalin is pumping but all is well. The first thing Alex asks me if is did I take any pictures and to be honest as I was running to help them I did think about this being the perfect photo opportunity but my caring Phill kicked in first and I helped them first and made sure all was alright before pulling the camera out after knowing that they where fine and it was only a low speed off I now wish that I had pulled the camera out earlier 🙂
So I was not happy on the dirt and I am guessing that A & A where not that thrilled with miles and miles of dirt so when we hit tarmac the decision was relatively easy to make we are hitting Route 3 down to Fitzroy as it has already taken us nearly 2 hours to do 33km so at that speed we would be in Ushuaia in 2014 so its longer distance by tarmac but this is definitely quicker for us.
We stop on the Tarmac part of Route 40 to take some fun pictures with the wind and the signs. I had been teasing A & A when they where looking to buy a Route 40 sticker for there bike that they do not deserve it until they had completed the full length of it including the dirt parts as well however after today and as they had seen Route 40 from extremely close up I said that they had earned it 🙂 and they could buy and add the sticker to there collection.
So the original plan was to head to Perito Moreno and camp there but as we were now heading to Route 3, which was about 200km we decided as we were back on our beloved tarmac that we would try and take a large chunk out of this bit tonight and we headed of for Las Heras where my GPS was telling there was a municipal camp site and fuel.
We got there at about 8.30pm and filled up and we then went to find the campsite which compared with last nights it was a hole and there were gangs of youths that had been drinking all day hanging around which was most off putting so we soon decided that we were heading to the next town even though it was getting late and the next place was nearly 80km away.
So off we headed on the right looking back there was one of the most glorious sunsets I had seen for while the light was amazing and in front of us was the moon a new full moon coming up over the horizon so I did not know whether to look forward or backwards as we where passing through an oil field with nodding donkeys all over the place and it was beautiful and I really did not care on reaching the next place by nightfall as I was enjoying the light so much. I was trying to take photos whilst driving which was not working for me as I kept getting my gloves in the way I eventually decided to pull over to get a shot of the moon over one of the nodding donkeys from a stationery position which sort of worked then in hot pursuit of A & A which involved over taking a police car we had stopped earlier to ask about camping possibilities and they had said there was a Municipal campsite in Pico Truncado. They where doing 90km and they had a sticker on the back saying 110km so a sailed past at 109km waving politely and when they where out of sight I nailed it to catch up with A&A.
Got to Pico Truncado just as the Sun had gone down still a gorgeous pink light show and there was an interesting sculpture of a dinosaur made of old oil drilling equipment that was dying to be photographed.
Whilst we discussing what to do next another a biker pulled up and walked over to chat with us his front tyre had just blown and he was busy calling folks. Alex had an electrical pump so we tried that but his blown front tyre was not staying up. It turned out the chap name was Daniel and he had a car repair shop a couple of km away and if we liked we could sleep there the night. Wow cheers mate so we follow his mechanic who had turned up to help with the puncture and find ourselves in a huge hanger / workshop in the middle of no where and this is going to be home for the night. The office for A & A and the supply room for Philly and it even had a hot shower on the premises. So after chatting to Daniel and looking at his bike we found the reason for the puncture was that he had hit something really hard and dented and broken his wheel explaining why it was no longer holding air so he was lucky to stay upright but it shows how fragile perhaps V-strom rims are on Argentinean roads that both me and Alex had a quick look and check of ours after seeing the damage on Daniels. After offering us dinner we politely declined we where left on our own in this huge workshop talk about trusting and generous spirit this bloke has for letting total strangers sleep in his workshop.
It was quite late by now but I was buzzing at it had been a long eventual day so we had a cup of tea and sat in the office just chilling for while before pulling out the sleeping bags and mats. Earlier Alex was trying to figure out where he was going to put his tent up and I explained that there was no need as we sleeping in the office and store room I blame this brain freeze on the fall and the long day we had had today but it made me giggle.
We finally hit the sack amongst the car spare parts and oil cans what a strange but great day.