Monday, 16 January 2012

San Luis to la Serena Chile

Friday 13th  January.

Abit slow to get going. We called into the middle of the city to get some money. Joe managed to navagate us out of San Luis with out any hiccups.
The country side north of San Luis was back to being dry and arid with adobe type houses and very poor agricultural land. We saw mules and lots of old vechicels. Stopped at a service station and the manager who owned three bikes was very helpful and gave us tips on fuel and access to the Valley of the Luna National Park.
We rode approx 450 km today and nded up at San Augustine -Fertile valley. We stayed in a campground which wouldn't make a top ten holiday park ie the swimming pool was green the toilets were a bit yucky and there were ants and large frogs every where.
At midnight a party started for a 15 year old girl. The music was cranking and went on tell 4:00am. I got and walked the three hundred metres to the party and let myself in. About 50 young people and a few adults were dancing. Not that much alcohol involved . A huge birthday cake was on the table.So if your in Argentina at motorcamp in the summer don't expect to get  lot of sleep.

The next day we left early and went to Ischigualasto NP which was about 80 km away. We had tto pay to get into park and then we had to follow the Park ranger around in convoy. The park is famous because it resembles the moon. Dinosurars remains were found there. Unfortnately the ranges whole presentation was in spanish. So we got hotter and hotter and couldn't ride out tell the end. Some nice scenery though.

El Submarine.

We tried to ride through the NP and take a short cut but got turned back after 11km. The rode was have power cables put into it and a guard would not let us through. So we had tto make a 150km detour. Shit.

A small Police station on the way to Valley Union.

 By 6:00pm we started looking for a camping spot and we found a creek near the base of a hill we followed the creek up for 400 metres and found an old hotel that was badly in need of lots of TLC. The property had a guy acting as a caretaker and he allowed us to stay for $7 NZ. The place had a few flies inside and was pretty dusty. The water was of dubious quality. I cooked what little food we had left while repaired his first puncture. A thorn in his worn rear tyre.
The cooker was an element which you poked a wire into the power point  to get electricity . Another hot night in a dusty room.

15th January.

We knew it was Sunday because the caretaker was listening to the Catholic radio station and the sermons and hymns were being played. Nice ride out and over the hill to San Jose de Jachal. Narrow pavement with some pretty good engineering skills to build the road.

 Topped up with just enough food for the day so we didn't have to throw any food away at the Chillain border where the SAD (MAF -NZ) check makes you through away food and meat etc. The store where we got our food also had the Catholic morning radio station on. Flies in the store and shelves weren't that well stocked and dirty. But lots of people in store so it must be okay ?

Our exit point from Argentina was at !700 metres and we only had to wait one hour. The border control staff were all seated at tables under the shade of trees. We had a climb to 4750 metres to get over the Agua Negro pass.

We got up the valley to what we though would be the pass, the road then doubled back and climbed another 1000 metre, the road narrowed and was wet in places from snow melt.We both felt drunk from the altitude..Took some photos and kept going.
We ran into a Swiss couple we met south Chile Chico 4 weeks ago. They were less mileage than us so we will probably run into again soon when cross back in to Argentina in a few days time.

We got down to the Chilean border and had a line of cars going around the corner to the entry point. Most of the people waiting were from Argentina. We expected a delay of 2 hours we were there for 7 1/2 hours A posy of people had words with the officials It was interesting to see how people dealt with the delay .Car horns were blasting in unison. We were told that the road had been closed the day before, so there was more traffic than normal. Some of Argentine people thought it was all political. Chile Vs Argentina. .It wasn't all bad we met some nice people.

Turquesa,Nazareno,Paula and Ramiro just before it got dark.

16th January,

We managed to find a camp site in the dark by the stream running out of the valley. Joe slept under the stars which were crystal clear. I wasn't so keen and put my tent up. We had peaches and oats for tea at midnight.

We had a fantastic choice of oats and jam for breakfast or oats and crackers with jam,  and ants if you needed protein.

Lots of vineyards clinging to some pretty infertile land as we headed down toward the ocean.

We are now in la Serena I'm waiting for some rubber cushes for my rear wheel which fingers crossed will be here tomorrow.


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