Monday, 13 February 2012

Rio Gallegos To Buenos Aires

Sunday 5th to Saturday 11th February

Patagonia covers the first 2000km from Tierra Del Fuego towards Buenos Aires & the journey along Ruta 3 is not exactly exciting with miles of straight roads & barren scrubland, the wind however has picked up & we have two days of riding at about 30 degrees from vertical. 
I did say that this last part of our trip would be a breeze but after 2 days of this we feel like we have done 3 rounds with Mike Tyson, keeping the bikes on track is tough on the arms & shoulders.

At Comodoro Rivadavia we find several garages have no fuel so we have to queue for around 10 minutes, this is an oil town & we end up paying over the odds for a very basic Hotel, supply & demand economics do not always work in your favour.
Leaving the following morning we see the reason for the fuel shortage as some workers from YPF form several picket lines, we never did find out any details of the dispute but we always fill up when we can.

We stop at Trelew for lunch & visit the Museum of Palaeontology where Bob has to fend off an attack from a Titanosaurus before we head to the coast & Puerto Madryn & our stop for the night.

Puerto Madryn is a pleasant seaside resort so we stop for 2 nights, this was where the Welsh settlers found in Patagonia first landed in 1865, it’s also the kick-off point for whale watching tours that this area is famous for, we however are out of luck as they move on in December.

Holliday makers sit on the beach the same as anywhere in the world, the temperature is however hotting up every day as we head North, we are once again back to the Airflow suits as it’s +25 & the winds have finally abated.

We try to search for interesting places to visit on route but it’s surprisingly difficult in this area, this is Carmen de Patagones where we finally enter the region of ‘Buenos Aires’ after over 2000km of riding through Patagonia.

This is a small colonial town (that’s a first for some time) with Viedma on the other side of the Rio Negro where we are staying, a short ferry crossing is required for our brief visit to see the sights.

Our search for some more interesting scenery takes us to Sierra De La Ventana with the only hills for hundreds of miles that rise to around 1300m, once again we stay for 2 nights as Buenos Aires is now only 2 days away & the ship doesn’t sail until the 22nd.
Our Spanish has now improved or so we thought, I ordered what I believed was meat & got fish, we should not have put the phrase book away just yet!!

Unusually for South America this town has a railway & we take a walk along the line, there is only two passenger trains a day but we hear a whistle in the distance & have to quicken our steps as a goods train comes into view.

Stations look the same the world over, I guess everybody copies a proven design from the UK?

Sierra has a small bowling alley so we have a ‘friendly’ competition, Bob wins the first game & me the 2nd, Dave blames too much Alcohol for his performance (we only had a few beers).

Having left Patagonia the barren landscape has changed to huge fields & intensive modern farming as well as large herds of prime Argentinian beef, unfortunately the roads are still flat & straight so not a great ride.
Why is it that if you grow Sunflowers at home they vary enormously in both height & the head size but farmers can grow millions & they all look uniform, amateur v’s professional I guess!!

Our final stop before the Capital is Los Flores another small town with several parks & lakes, we are once again impressed in how they keep their old cars going in daily use, here we find an AutoUnion from the late 50’s, it looks in good nick as well.

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