Crossing into Argentina was easy and hassle free, the process took 10 min at each side once we found the border. After entering we rode onto the first town and set up camp. The differences between the countries and people are immediately noticeable. I instantly liked Argentina. This is the last country for this part of the trip but I have to enter and exit the place a few times, 3 times in fact. In the morning we rode out onto the infamous Ruta 40 and headed south for a town called El Chalten. It was a two day ride on gravel roads but I loved every minute of it. Ruta 40 is being paved all the time and the adventurous dirt track that riders seek out is fast disappearing. The dirt road is fantastic to ride (in parts). It meanders through the landscape rising and dipping as it goes. I was able to reach speeds of 140kph in parts. It can be quite dangerous though when you come upon deep gravel, it’ll scare you slow for a few minutes but then the excitement takes hold and off you go again. There is a new road being constructed alongside but the old road is still ride able for now. There is not much to see between towns here, in fact there was nothing to see between towns but you can’t take your eyes off the road for a second anyways. You’re all alone out there for around 400km, running out of fuel or breaking down would certainly be another adventure within the adventure.
The first days ride to El Chalten was appropriately 500km on dirt roads. It was a long and exciting day. All riders were split up throughout the day as we all rode at a different pace. Mark and myself reached the town of Tres Lagos first and managed to get hold of the last 20 liters of fuel (10 each) in town.Without this we could go no further as the next day’s destination was 180km away through more deserted landscape. We found a little hostel with some serious heating, had dinner and called it a day.
The next morning Mark and I headed off to the Fitz Roy mountain range and the town of El Chalten. The road from Tres Lagos is paved and dull so we made good time. Here we met up with Andre again and went exploring the mountain side. We even climbed a little to get a better view of this spectacular mountain range. This is a place most people come to hike for days on end but after climbing Machu Picchu we made a rule to never stray too far from the bikes again. After all hiking is just a fancy word for walking and walking sucks, especially up hill.
The next morning we set off for the Perito Moreno glacier a mere 300km away. What a sight this was. I rounded a bend to be greeted with the biggest chunk of ice I’ve ever seen. It was so impressive I over shot the road and almost rode off a cliff. This 250km square ice formation, 30 km in length, is the world’s third largest reserve of fresh water. It is one of only three Patagonian glaciers that is growing, the face of which averages 74 meters in height. We stayed for about 4 hours watching huge chunks of ice calf and fall in to the lake below causing huge waves. It’s a sight that must be seen if ever you’re out this way. From here we retreated back to the town of El Calafate and camped for the night.
The next morning we set off in search of a mechanic (Andre is with us again). This search has brought us back into Chile to the town of Porto Areanas. We have been here two nights already but ride out tomorrow, once again aiming for Argentina and the town of Ushuaia at the ends of the earth.