FELIZ NAVID, MERRY CHRISTMAS, VROLIJK KERSTFEEST, GESEËNDE KERSFEES
Amigos, we made it to El Calafate for Christmas….on our last drops of gasoline.
The last week was for sure a highlight of this trip. Breathtakingly beautiful, the longest ride so far, all weather braai (bbq), severe winds, wildlife……
We left Bariloche december 16 after a day of maintenance. We drove the curvy route to el Bolson and from there the dirtroad national park route passing several lakes.
We stopped for the night in Trevelin.
Next morning we crossed the border again into Chile, following the Futaleufu river. As usual, the Chileans were very strict with importing the very dangerous Argentinean apples, so they searched our bags.
The customs guy was a bit surprised when he found the blond Bas-mullet in Roger’s bag….. Afraid to find some stockings and high heels as well, he let us through.
A fantastic route along the Futaleufu river into Chile, bringing us to the legendary Carretera Austral. This gravel road built by Pinochet (about 1200 km long) connects the most remote villages in Chile.
We stopped for the night in La Junta and found a little cabana for the night. There we practised our all weather braai (bbq) a bit more.
The teacher teaching, the student making notes….
The Carretera Austral is very beautiful and very green…..that means a lot of rain. So next day we had a cold and rainy start to Coyhaique. You can’t really wait for better weather here, cause mostly….there just isn’t.
But mostly, the sun will shine at some part of the day…and then everything looks colorful again.
In Coyhaique we stayed two nights. We had to do some maintenance on Rogers bike. He had a major oil leakage…..that’s not a real problem….as long as you keep filling her up with oil. But all the oil was leaking on his rear tyre. So….he fixed the gasket as good as possible.
Monday 20th we continued. Some parts of the Austral are paved….and for bikers fun they added some hairpins.
Roger was very happy he didn’t have an oily tyre anymore.
We wanted to take the ferry at Pto Ibanez to Chile Chico and cross the Lago General Carrera (second biggest lake in South America). Because of the severe winds, the ferry didn’t leave.
Next departure was in the evening. We decided to ride around the lake. It started raining. We continued on the gravel road. End of the story…we lost each other on the gravel road, problems on Roels bike, and one of the bikes had done too many kilometers to continue. So we had to turn around and go back to Ibanez again. We tried to take the evening ferry. Still too much wind. Spent the night in the little shitty village and tried the ferry again next morning. Still too much wind. Again we decided to ride around the lake. Flat tyre on Rogers bike….sigh… Somehow it really felt that we were not allowed to go around the lake.
The route was amazingly beautiful. It is hard to describe the area here. At some points it looks like Canada meets Switzerland and Scotland. And at some parts where the lakes are turquoise colored, the Caribbean added some flavor as well.
In Cochrane it was business as usual: cabana and Afrikaanse braai.
Next day we crossed the border again. That ride was epic. On a 200km stretch we only met 2 other bikes and 2 cars. Fantastic scenery with wild horses and guanaco’s.
From the green Austral, we got into the dry Argentinean desert.
Strong strong winds, blowing us almost from our bikes. It is good that there is hardly any traffic, cause at some points we really needed the entire road to keep the bike in upward position.
Dead tired we stopped for gas and a bed in Bajo Caracoles….a tiny village on the Ruta 40, one of the longest roads in the world.
We woke up after a 10 hours sleep (tien punt nulletje). Let’s go to El Calafate. It would be the longest ride so far on our trip. But there is simply nothing in between. The Ruta 40 is partly paved / unpaved.
Along the way we found a dinosaur
A few hundred kilometers riding in gravel with severe crosswinds….again blowing us almost from our bikes. Somehow we missed a gassation (if there was any at all) and finally after 350km dirt we arrived in Tres Lagos.
We really needed some gas to make it to El Calafate. The strong winds must have influenced our fuel consumption badly, we know bikers who doubled there fuel consumption. No gas!!! the gasstation was empty. Now what? There was a pick-up truck with a dirtbike in the back. We asked the owner if we could use the fuel. The gasstation owner had a trike. In the end we sucked about 6 liters from the tanks and Roel still had a 5 liters spare. We decided to give it a go. Our helmet on the tanks, Steve up front, riding 5th gear optimum speed, the others slipstreaming at just a few centimeters.
160 km to go…..going like a train…….120km to go……body starts aching from the uncomfortable position…..80km to go…..still a lot of wind…..40km to go……all three using reserve fuel…….20km to go…..first bike out of fuel……shared the last few liters from the emergency jerrycan….10km to go….El Calafate in sight. We made it. We filled 75 liters of gas for three bikes at the gasstation. Christmas in Calafate and not on Ruta 40. We will stay some days here, do an oilchange, visit the Perito Moreno Glacier and then it’s time to go to Ushuaia. The most southern city in the world…
But first enjoy the good weather in Calafate…
Amigos, this is our last post of 2010. We want to thank all of you who have followed our journey. Thanks for the great comments, emails and thoughts.
Thinking of all of you!
Special thought are with Simon, Sonja, Joris&Marlyn
To all: Enjoy Christmas and have the happiest new year…..
Don’t dream your life….live your dream!!!
Raul, el elefante negro y Esteban