Argentina: Ruta 40 Avoidance

Route: Corcovado – Rio Pico – Gobernador Costa

Leaving Corcovado on ripio road 44, I finally feel very happy in Argentina. It’s a much, much more interesting (and challenging) option as the paved main road Ruta 40.
This is what I’m here for. A rough gravel road, no traffic, and mountains to the left and right. The range directly to the left is bathing in the sun, but snow and wet snow is being dumped on the Andean peaks to my right.
I’m in between.

The wind blowing from the north west brings some sparkles of wetness towards me, but never much. The weather is improving during the day.

DSC08528
Looks rather wet up the mountain
DSC08530
No wifi, good !

DSC08534
DSC08556

DSC08564

The first 20 kilometer are relatively easy and I start to think the two locals who warned me the road is difficult and steep exaggerated a bit.
But then comes the pass.
A Lance Armstrong podcast and Lady Gaga’s ‘The Fame’ and ‘The Fame Monster’ albums later, I reach the top.
I pushed my bike 80% of the climb. Nothing to be ashamed about. Pushing a heavy, fully loaded touring bike up this steep hill, the road consisting of big lose stones….. think not many people are up to cycling it all the way.
But it’s beautiful here !
Desolate landscape, not a sole in sight.
Only 2 cars passed me after Corcovado. That’s still 50% too much, but I can live with that 😉

DSC08582

DSC08595

DSC08596

DSC08604

DSC08606

I camped near the Lago Guacho (yes Guacho, not gaucho), which was a bit further from road 44 as anticipated and made me plough through some snow fields, slush, mud and ankle deep water pools and had me made my bike lift over fallen trees.
I saw some old foot prints in the snow of only one other soul who’s been here after winter. It’s going to be a cold, but definitely quiet night.

DSC08631
Lago Guacho

DSC08637

Next day, my progress wasn’t slowed down by a hard climb, but by the quality of the ripio road. Stones as big as fists thrown in loose sand. My bike is bumping uncontrollably from left to right, all over the road, gusting wind helping a hand sometimes.
Once I leave the large Lago Vintter behind, it’s blowing straight in my back, but still my speed mostly is about 7 or 8 km/hr on the bumpy, surface. I had to work real hard all day in order to have he next village, Rio Pico in reach the next day before siesta time.

DSC08665

DSC08670

DSC08672

DSC08678
The big stones, making progress slow, and torturing the bike and bags. My stove, my laptop, everything is torn apart by the bumps all day.

DSC08680

Today, zero cars passed me.
I saw nobody ! 😀
And I had a brilliant camping spot in a grassy field, nicely protected from the wind.
Some snow in the morning, but the sun came out soon enough, dried the tent and I as back on the road by 10:30 am.

DSC08696

DSC08709

I estimated I ‘d need 2 days to cycle down towards Governador Costa, back at ruta 40, but I had such a formidable tail wind, I arrived there at 15:00 hrs, having started north of Rio Pico, wow !!.
With such favorable conditions, I should have continued, but the supermarket’s siesta only finishes at 17:30, and I need to buy more provisions for the long stretch south into the big nothingness.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s