Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Friday 18 November to Thursday 24 November 2005
Fri 18 Nov - 195 miles today to Esquel through more spectacular mountain scenery.
Sat 19 Nov - 180 miles today and most of it was on dirt road. We had to cross the border back into Chile to get onto the Carretera Austral (the Southern Road), a very remote region with only one dirt road running through it. The scenery is mind blowing. Huge snow capped mountains and azure blue lakes.
Sun 20 Nov - We woke up to rain and it rained all day. We only got to see maybe half of the views, but it was still awesome. Zig zagged the dirt road over high mountain passes and through almost jungle like scenery, past gauchos herding sheep and cows. Another great hotel, next to the river, with a huge open fire. Good for warming us up after a cold and wet day.
Mon 21 Nov - Weather was totally opposite today. We stayed dry the whole way. About 112 miles on dirt, with even more amazing scenery and roads. We have a journalist with us from RiDE magazine who is going to write about the trip. We stayed in log cabins on the lake, surrounded by huge mountain peaks.
Tues 22 Nov - A bit of a rest day as only 85 miles of dirt and a border crossing back to Argentina. We are really getting used to the borders and in Chile and Argentina they are quick and simple so that lots of us are happy to do them on our own. Still more great roads. This past week in Patagonia has been really amazing, with unbelievable roads. You have to be prepared to get off the beaten track.
Weds 23 Nov - Everyone was a bit nervous today as we start the infamous Ruta 40 down south. We did 204 miles on dirt: sometimes compact dirt, which was quite fast, sometimes deep gravel. We stayed on an estancia that night in the middle of nowhere, where we had a whole lamb roasted for us over an open fire.
Thurs 24 Nov - Another 210 miles on the dirt. Today was hard going with lots of gravel and some tricky bits. But finally we hit the tarmac again. All of us made it in one piece. It was a great challenge. We are spending 3 nights in El Calafate to rest up and prepare for the final week to Ushuaia.