A Travellerspoint blog

Overlanding principals...

sunny 20 °C

For those not familiar with the concept of overlanding the 5 principal guidelines are participation; co-operation; consideration; open mindedness and flexibility. Having spent the past 12 days travelling south perhaps I might be permitted to add another one here - it also helps to lack a sense of smell! Let’s face it when you’re locked away inside a tin can (converted truck) with 16 other bodies hurtling south on the bumpiest road built there isn’t much chance that you’ll be smelling roses anytime soon! Having said that the great thing is you do get used to it after a while but when you see the sheer look of horror on the shop keepers face as you stroll up to the counter armed with a sugar rush (enough candy to blow the minds of a year 10 class) it does make you think for a moment.

And so with this in mind we did the unthinkable last night and booked ourselves into a hotel! Having fantasized about hot running water and clean sheets for weeks now I finally succumbed and might I just add….this feeling of guilt is wonderful! After consigning 2 weeks of a beard to oblivion I was shocked to see a dashing young face staring back at me from the mirror….(whilst some poetic license is allowed here I’ll agree with you that perhaps dashing and young are pushing the truth ever so slightly). 2 showers later I think I might be slowly returning to normal.

Weather permitting tomorrow we set out at the crack of dawn to trek in the stunning snow covered Fitzroy Mountain ranges from our base here in El Chalten.

Posted by Rosscopico 08:30 Archived in Argentina Comments (1)

Route 40 (Ruta 40)...

semi-overcast 20 °C

Now some people will really try and put the frighteners on you when they tell you all about their experiences on the infamous part of Route 40 (also referred to as Ruta 40), the section through Argentinean Patagonia from Bariloche to El Chalten…so I’ve decided to set the record straight here!
The section we’re travelling on forms part of an ancient route that stretches more than 5200 kilometers from the Bolivian border in the north down south to the edge of the world. The route is legendary amongst bikers the world over and was ridden by a young 23 year old Ernesto (‘Che’) Guevara and made famous in the recent movie ‘Motorcycle Diaries’.

As we headed south covering the 470km stretch for the day we passed one solitary biker - clouded in dust sitting astride his motorbike eating a sandwich we shared a smile and a brief wave and then he was gone fading quickly into the distance as we trundled onwards. It’s probably worth mentioning that some parts on the unpaved highway are so bumpy that I’m convinced I left quite a few marks in the roof of the bus with my head and am now 2 inches shorter…..dare I add seat belts are advised! Having said that did I mention the views? Route 40 is desolate and one of the bleakest places I’ve ever visited but in a strange way it also has a magical beauty to it too which seeps under your skin and stays there!

Posted by Rosscopico 12:15 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Argie Bargie

sunny

With international tensions rising by the day as Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner continues to assert Argentina’s right over Islas Malvinas (Falkland Islands), it was only a matter of time before Leigh and the other 3 Brits in the group were going to get caught up in their very own international dispute! And so after seamlessly exiting Chile’s border control with barely a hiccup we met what can only be described as a tsunami of bureaucracy at the Argentinean border....according to the rather official man our Overlander transport (British owned truck called Gus) didn’t have the right paperwork....and so Gus was effectively being impounded!

Stuck between Chile and Argentina, in effectively ‘No Man’s Land’, we did what seemed obvious and dug out ‘Bus’ (our resident football) and had a kick around. In the hours that passed and beyond the reach of officialdom we reveled in the novelty of our new found ‘outcast’ status until the reality of the situation finally hit us…what would happen to the ice-cream stored in Gus’ refrigerator! Spoons at the ready that disaster was quickly resolved! ;) Finally after a few hours and numerous calls to the embassy in Buenos Ares the border officials had to admit defeat and release us...a compromise was reached and we were dropped a few km’s across the border at the next town…Gus with a stroke of luck would follow us the next day!

In short it would appear that they aren’t as pleased to see Prince William down south as the rest of us are!

Posted by Rosscopico 10:16 Archived in Argentina Comments (0)

Mystery solved...

sunny 22 °C

Tent pegs – a fiend or a friend - please discuss! Having almost broken his toe stubbing his tent pegs in the dark I’m sure our Swiss companion would disagree but I’m happy to say he’s now making a full recovery though that wouldn’t be the case for our midnight visitors if we managed to catch them in the act. Curious? Well then let me proceed. Returning to our tents following a group dinner late one evening we noticed in the dark that most of the pegs had been removed and carefully dumped in a pile by one of the tents. Annoyed by the stupidity of the act we duly replaced the pegs and settled down for the evening. Waking the next morning we noted that once again we had been paid a visit during the evening…..naturally enough our suspicions centered on the quiet 80 year old man camped by the lake side……as we warmed ourselves up that cold morning at the prospect of forming a lynch mob we spied the familiar sign of another overlander truck tucked away behind the trees……the penny finally dropped! Our suspicions were confirmed later that morning as our driver was approached by a rather sheepish looking tour leader…..Having broken the unwritten rule of camping they were now fair game….as we amused ourselves inventing ever more sophisticated ways of revenge ranging from turning tents into swimming pools and reversing the fly sheets we learnt that they had decided to leave and head north! A very smart move indeed! ;)

Posted by Rosscopico 11:10 Archived in Chile Comments (0)

On the road to nowhere...

sunny 26 °C

If there is one lesson I’ve learnt during our time on the road it’s that taking directions from strangers has it’s perils! Fair enough it may sound harsh I know but there is logic behind this. Having hired a couple of mountain bikes in Pucon we set off west to find a beautiful glacial lake some 15km away from our campsite. ’Take the first left and cross the bridge…you can’t go wrong” she said in her best English with an innocent smile. Two hours and umpteen left turns later we’d still not found the road let alone the bridge so somewhat exhausted we decided to rest up under the shade of a tree by the river to enjoy a spot of lunch. As I slipped of my helmet Leigh, in one of those moments of clarity, turned to me and said I think the bush is singing! Naturally enough my first thoughts were that she might have caught a spot of sunstroke along the way but as the gentle breeze shifted I too could hear the sweet dulcet tones of music. ’Could this be heaven’ she asked? ‘Definitely not’ I added…’there’s no way the big fella’s going let Liam Gallagher and Oasis through those pearly gates before us’. At this point a couple of hippy trekkers emerged from the bushes off to our left complete with guitars……fearing that we were about to get caught up in some sort of impromptu bush concert or homage to ‘Wonderwall’ we beat a hasty retreat leaving our corduroy clad friends to the river.

Returning back to the main track and still feeling a tad foolish for failing to reach our goal we shortly came upon 2 breathless German girls who promptly stopped us in our tracks. ‘Zis is the way to zee lake, nein….you will show us, Ja!’ In the ensuing conversation we managed to work out that they too had sought directions from some locals only to spend the past 4 hours hopelessly looking for our lake. However with the lure of a beer now stronger we decided to head back for Pucon. Later that night whilst out strolling to Dinner we came across our ‘lost friends’ and discovered that they had indeed continued on following our encounter…cycling another 30Km….but did their dogged determination pay off and they find the lake you ask….in short Nein! And so the moral to this story is ‘Sometimes dogged determination doesn’t quite payoff quite the same as a cold beer’
Auf wiedersehen ;)

Posted by Rosscopico 10:18 Archived in Chile Comments (1)

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