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Author Topic: Mr and Mrs Three Dawg's South American Adventure  (Read 595 times)

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Offline Three Dawg

Re: Mr and Mrs Three Dawg's South American Adventure
« Reply #20 on: May 06, 2020, 09:56:13 pm »
Sooo, Ruta 40. Argentina's iconic road runs down the eastern side of the Andes for 5000 km from La Quiaca to Patagonia. Unfortunately much of it is paved today, but there are still some tasty bits that aren't, and today we were going to have a 300 km full day on probably the best bit, from La Quiaca to a roadhouse called Pastos Chicos near Susques. It is one of the very best days I have had riding my GS. Fast in places, tricky and slow in others, the scenery was never less than epic. No traffic other than the odd mining vehicle, it felt truly remote, and it was here we expected our altitude to top out - quite something as we'd been riding at 12000+ feet since Ollague.

La Q to PC

No, me neither.



Stop after about 100km to empty the fuel bags.  Those things are so useful.


You just know you're in for a good day when it looks like this...


What is this dwelling made of - looks like an upside down 'coil pot' like we made at school in art class.





There is some water, even out here.  There were a few streams to cross and cool off the boots.



Church was in decent shape, rest of the village a ruin.  Looked like something out of a spaghetti western.


This little fella was the only living thing we saw in the village.



Apples, nuts, slurp of water and good to carry on.



Just great riding. Less traffic than Namibia - just the odd vehicle from the mines.



The highest point I saw on my GPS.  14662 feet is 4408 meters.   I think we'd been higher, but the electrical connection was failing, so I was turning it off to save the batteries for the end of the day when they might be needed to find our accommodation.


This is Rob's GPS which shows that we were descending at the time..


Getting towards beer o'clock now.  Sensibly the beer comes in litre bottles, saves a rapid reordering.



It took as seven hours or so (whatever Google maps said) to reach Pastos Chicos and I was done in.  The altitude was partly to blame, your energy just gets sapped so easily, especially off tarmac.



Plenty of evidence of previous visitors stuck to the windows.



When we arrived at Pastos Chicos I threw my gear into the room and headed straight to the bar for an ice-cold Salta beer.  Pastos Chicos was a bit of a dump, although the staff were cheery, but they had cold beer and gasoline, so the two main requirements for motorcycle touring were covered. Stand around too long and someone will probably slap a sticker on you...


Our next stop was the town of Salta, presumably the home of the beer I was supping at Pastos Chicos.  Unfortunately this meant rejoining the tarmac.  We were photographing some more salt flats when a German (or maybe Swiss judging by the 'CH' on his pannier) dude rocked up on a Triumph Tiger looking for fuel.   Judging by his waistcoat he'd been on the road a while.



Still, being on blacktop wasn't all bad - this road descended about 10000 feet in no time.


We had a couple of days in Salta.  It's a charming place with many colonial buildings and a busy square lined with restaurants.  All very civilised.




Interesting Buick - right hand drive - maybe an import from Australia?


Salta was a great place to take a break from the bikes, but after two nights we were ready to continue our journey south towards the Chilean lakes and Patagonia.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2020, 11:02:08 am by Three Dawg »

Offline Three Dawg

Re: Mr and Mrs Three Dawg's South American Adventure
« Reply #21 on: May 23, 2020, 02:34:58 pm »

Heading south I was struck how many of the villages in Argentina reminded me of France 30 or 40 years ago. There seemed to be less inequality here, in sharp contrast to Chile where lots of people live in shacks out in the sticks. They (the Chileans) have plenty to protest about, but Argentina has problems too with spiralling inflation. Still, silver lining, our holiday was getting cheaper even as we rode. 

For some reason this place in Guandacol reminded me of some of the places we've stayed in Africa - it was on a farm, and beer on arrival on the verandah was just what was needed.  Lovely hosts gave us some big bags of their own raisins to keep us going on the road.  Perfect.

Not much of interest on this bit - just scrub and mountains in the distance.

Mendoza, famous for it's wine is a fine city. It was stinking hot on the run in to town - 38 degrees according to Rob's on board computer. Mrs 3D celebrated here birthday there at a fancy restaurant. Total bill, including wine for the four of us? About 36 quids... This meal was the exception in terms of quality, I'm afraid generally the famous Argentinian steaks weren't up to much, but the empanadas were great.


Further south the going was pretty easy with the boards on the Ruta 40 signs ticking down.  Mostly tarmac, we just settled into a steady cruise on easy roads with little traffic.

We arrived in Zapala in torrential rain which completely flooded the road to our accommodation.  This was on top of disagreements between the two GPSs about exactly where we were supposed to be staying  which meant I wasn't at my most relaxed when we arrived.  Fortunately I found out that beer was available when I went to find the owner to apologise for being a grumpy dickhead, so it ended well.  The following morning we were woken up at about 6 am by two KLR riding arseholes who went up and down the stairs stomping around in their boots about a million times loading up their bikes.  I have seen removal trucks filled with a lifetime's worth of posessions in less time.  So back to square one in terms of my mood then. ::)

Fortunately the weather had turned again and once over the hills  south of the town we were able to get back on to the gravel in perfect conditions.  Happy happy.

Monkeying with tyre pressures.

The Battlestar Galactica cruises through having just lost its possum scraper, happily not needed as we encountered no possums, although I think I did run over something that looked very much like a pangolin. :-[

Another roadside shrine.

Or possibly just some creatively arranged fly-tipping.

Truckers often build these shrines to keep themselves safe. This one was going a bit far really.

And here we are in the very Germanic town of Bariloche. Famous for its Nazis and earlier fugitives such as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. At least the Germans left a fine brewing legacy. We came fairly close to running out of gas on this day; a mis-read map saw us hitting 235 miles before we found some. As it happened that was 19 litres to fill my bike, which meant I was getting around 55mpg. Not bad two up and loaded.

Bariloche. Nice place and clearly showing the influence of German settlers and also full of shops selling Gore-tex to hardy mountaineers. It was absolutely Baltic though - a wind that whistles through the Andes isn't going to be balmy, I suppose. Has a terrible effect on the bladder to - judging by these sculptures at least.

The German influence extends beyond the architecture, there is a strong brewing tradition in Bariloche and many good pubs. We didn't hold back, that would have been rude...

We woke up on our second day to find our street cordoned off and some sort of protest going on. Turned out it was the second anniversary of the police shooting of an unarmed Indian (Mapuche?) lad. I suspect the lady shouting at the riot cops was his mother. Very dramatic, but the rocks were thrown only at the police who hih behind their shields, squirting papper spray on anyone who got too close.

So, that was Bariloche: Beer and rioting. Bit like a Saturday night in Manchester then. Next we were heading south into Patagonia proper now via the town of Trevelin which is notable for it's Welsh settlers.  We made the decision to come off the main road and ride through the Los Alerces national park - a good move as we were back on unpaved roads as a result.

Some nice hard packed roads through the park.


« Last Edit: May 23, 2020, 02:39:18 pm by Three Dawg »