Monday, March 1, 2010

Chos Malal to Malargue - March 1

We had a late start today.  I stayed up late on the internet and drinking a bottle of wine to celebrate the hockey gold...and then we had left a window open in the hotel room resulting in a 4am mosquito hunt...finally getting away from Chos Malal at noon, only to be stopped at a Policia checkpoint.

The cops were friendly and efficient and were very impressed by our accomplishments to date and what lays ahead - wishing me a heartfelt "suerte" together with a firm handshake!

Ruta 40 was a treat for the first 100km's north today - paved and twisting with awesome vistas.  I got a bit carried away in the curves and ended up a long way ahead of Petra.  That was a little stressful for her as she got uncomfortable about our route etc., so from now on she'll take a more active role in the days planning to make sure we're on the same page.  95% of the time we are riding together, but sometimes the road and traffic will separate us.
From Barrancas north to about 10km south of Bardas Blancas, the road is a tough go.  A local had told me the road here was "asfalto roto", I asked him if that meant ripio and hhe said, "no ripio, asfalto roto".  Well, as you may have figured out, that means rotten asphalt - as though the road had been built in 1920, and never maintained again! Crumbling bridges, a mostly non-existent road surface, save for the islands of remaining pavement appearing like mirages in the distance.

Just to make things more interesting -  we were playing cat and mouse with a major thunderstorm all afternoon, lot's of  black clouds, and a lightning show etc.  This was a bigger than normal concern as there were frequent dry washouts and mudslides across the road that suggested things could get a lot worse in a hurry of we got caught in a heavy rain.

We kept at it, and eventually the road turned back to pavement just as the storm caught us - allowing us to turn up the throttle and get away again.

We're in Malargue for the night at a skier/backpacker hostel.  Bunkbeds never looked so good!  Tomorrow we've planned a long haul to Mendoza and maybe beyond - we'll see!

No comments:

Post a Comment