16.01.17 Malargue, Argentina to Chos Malal, Argentina
Ripio, ripio, ripio was the main item in our day today!
As we left the apartment this morning, the owners told us that in about 100 km there was roadworks meaning about 20km of Ripio on Ruta 40 and we should take ‘much care’.
That prediction was somewhat correct, and somewhat incorrect. The roadworks began about 70km into the journey, where Ruta 40 just disappeared, and we were taken onto diversion after diversion of gravel, mud or sand interspersed with a tiny section of tarmac.
This section lasted for 40 km and took about an hour and a half to ride. Then there was a section of false hope, lovely black tarmac that I must admit did look a bit raggedy around the edges. This was about 20km, before we were plunged back onto the horror of another 50km of full on Ripio, corrugated road surfaces that shook us about all over the place.
In this area, where one region joined onto another we were travelling through beautiful lakes surrounded by mountains, but essentially what looked like pretty inhospitable lands, so there were no houses, no villages, no places to stop for a rest, just us, a few other vehicles, and heaps of dust.
We made four stops throughout this ride to check on bolts, spokes, tyres and anything we could think of to make sure they were holding up to the strain of being shaken so much.
As we drew toward the Nequen region of Patagonia from the Cuyo region above, a vision appeared before us; beautiful blacktop, with proper edges and yellow lines down the middle. We wanted to get off and kiss it! Fabulous. This carried us the rest of our way, with a head wind to add to our fun, to our destination, Chos Malal (sounds Indian?).
In Chos Malal we headed straight for petrol, where there was a queue of 10 or so cars before us. It’s hard to imagine living out here, the landscape and surround is still harsh, hot and very windy, where you have to wait until things arrive, you don’t just have everything there, when you want it.
As ever, the people are extremely friendly, we had a very warm greeting in the supermarket, and at tonight’s apartment.
We are now in Patagonia, the region of Argentina that contains the furthest point South in the world that you can visit by road, Ushuaia, our destination. 1,700 miles from where we are right now.