Sunday, December 10, 2006

Locusts, Imprisoned Armadillos and Good Roads
Thursday 30/11/06 - Friday 1/12/06

We headed off up Routa 40 again, but taking it easy thanks to the impressive side winds. The one notable thing about the road today was that it was infested with locusts. They just looked like leaves floating about behind the michelles rear wheel in front of me but on closer inspection, they were in fact locusts. Millions of them! They were jumping about all over the road and getting squashed under our tyres, I've really never seen anything quite like it.

We stopped for lunch by a deserted derelict building in the middle of nowhere as it provided some shelter from the wind. After we finished eating and had a wander about, we could hear a strange scratching noise coming from a oil drum which had a board weighed down by a heavy stone. Andreas and I took a look and lifted the makeshift cover and peered in. And peering back at us were 3 armadillos, one of which looked pretty dead. Thinking this was a tad cruel, I kicked over the barrel to let them out. One immediately ran away, the other stayed in digging about in the soil while the dead one turned out not to be dead but was barely alive. Michelle gave it some water which it seemed to lap up however it didn't look to great. We headed off and left them to their own devices, wondering who and why someone would lock up these creatures until they died.

It was a fairly dull ride as the landscape had resorted back to a bit of pampas again so the plan was just to cover some miles when we stopped to chat to a couple of large overland vehicles. You could be forgiven for assuming it is only Germans that do overlanding in Argentina however Andreas had a chat with them and we were told of a decent route over to Chile and the Carreterra Austral, where the scenery is supposed to be great and there is less wind - we were off. We stopped the night in a crossroads hotel called Bajo Caracoles which was quite literally the only place for miles around.

The next day, we headed off along Routa 39 to follow the route we'd been told about the previous day. We stopped off at Lago Posadas for a bit of lunch which was quite a pleasant little place. Realising we should have taken the turn off before Lago Posadas, we found what we thought would be a shortcut from the lake back over to the road we needed. As soon as we got on this track, and it was a track, it was the start of a tough but fantstic riding day of enduro riding consisting of steep rocky hill sections, narrow tracks and generally stunning scenery. Don't you just love it when a happy accident takes you off the beaten track. At one point, we came accross a gate which was locked, however realising that the fence to the side wasn't in great shape, we took a plank lying rearby, flattened the fence with it and rode over the plank.

Off-road kings and queens

Cool landscapes

We made the remote border crossing by late afternoon and after the usual formalities and a cute but lively small dog stealing michelles glove, we set off once more into Chile. As we were pretty knackered after the days riding and we were evidently not going to make it back to civilisation today, we found a pleasant spot in this beautiful valley by a stream to set up our camp.

No comments: