Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Rio Gallegos to Peninsula Valdés

I saw this little guy scurry across a barren stretch of Argentina's Ruta 3. I assume it's an armadillo!


Camped in the brush along Argentina's Ruta 3 just north of the turn-off for Valdés Peninsula. Rode out to the park, paying the 35-Peso entry, continuing on to Puerto Pyramides, only to find the municipal campground a virtual slum, crowded, littered with trash, occupied by apparent "squatters".

I was so disgusted, that even though it was 10:00 p.m , I turned around and left the park. Tried to demand my money back at the gate, but heard the usual story: “there’s a problem.” I asked for the ranger's supervisor’s name. Not that it would do any good.

Another useless 60-mile detour. Passed 44,444 miles on the way out. Not the celebration I had intended. Perhaps it was best to pass on the Valdés Peninsula after all. When I asked where I could see the whales, the ranger said it's not the season.

I chose a spot along the highway that was screened from north-bound traffic by tall bushes. I didn't want to be spotted. As I set up my tent in the dark, there were frequent silent flashes in the cloudy sky. Judging from the winds, however, I guessed the storm would soon be upon me.


Crawled out about 8:30 this morning. Cold, but at least I slept. The knee very sore. Everything more difficult when it's cold. Slow to pack up.

A day focused solely on riding – over 850 miles. I’m now about the same latitude as Puerto Montt. I may not need my electric vest tomorrow, but it was good today!

Early on, just north of Rio Gallegos, I passed a south-bound R1200GS with two aboard. Waved and started to pull over, but they kept going. I followed for a while but they showed no sign of slowing, so I turned north again. I wondered though if it were Brad?

Rain in the afternoon, then I cleared the storm only to find Ruta 40 type cross winds, but these were coming off the Atlantic! (So curiously, it was again from the right side. I hope this doesn't wear out the right sides of my tires!)

In Trelew, I needed some food. Asked a service station attendant where there might be a nice restaurant nearby (expecting he would recommend a sandwich or pizza shop.) He sent me to "Eloisa", a white-linen-type restaurant. Not exactly what I was searching for.

Across the street, on a corner, was the "Mi Ciudad" cafe, which seemed to be doing a good business. It's mainly a bar, I found, but I was able to order a pizza. Unfortunately, it was terrible! I'm beginning to think Argentina doesn’t know pizza. Still, I ate half, merely to load up on the carbohydrates.

Along with the pavement, songs have returned. I'm at ease riding again (save for the battering wind.)

Some interesting wildlife along the highway today: many guanucos (grazing the shoulders), rheas (related to the ostrich), pink flamingos standing in shallow ponds and even a small armadillo.

Its eyesight is apparently not too good, but when it finally noticed me hovering above, it "took to ground"

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