border experiences

Sat 13.2.2016

I stand up very early to reach the ferry back to Punta Arenas. Everything is packed and my last egg is boiled because I can’t take it over the border to Chile. The sun is shining at 8°C and I’m fighting with the wind. Reaching the Argentinean border at 10 a.m. I’m in Chile at 10.30 a.m. giving me enough time. But my GPS is not working anymore. It re-boots all the time. Not important for now because I know the way and following Alex’ and Heinz’ hint I turn right 60km ahead of Porvenir into a nice small road which is open only in summer time. It goes up and has bends, too. But it is getting damned cold (4.5°C). It’s time to reach warmer areas. Even though I don’t know if I really like the 40°C in Buenos Aires.
After taking out the SD-Card and re-booting my Garmin works again. Good news. Earlier than expected we reached Pta Arenas at 4.15 and immediately I drive to Alejandro for my new tire. He says if I leave it there I can pick it up at 6 p.m. because he has to wash the bike completely before it can enter the hall. Then I asked him just to take the back tire and I take it off.

He agreed and just washed the tire in a way that it looks new. After 20 min all is done – except he is not accepting credit cards. So, the next Shell station has an ATM and I got actually money. After fueling and buying some fruits, vegetables, cookies and wine in the supermarket I’m heading to the North. Just in time before I come to the rainy area I turn right along the rain border.

on the way to Río Gallegos (Arg)

on the way to Río Gallegos (Arg)

Speedometer at 120km/h I reach the Chilean border at 8 p.m. But different from the other borders I have to drive 600m further to the Argentinean side. In the moment I arrive there a nice officer tells me that I can park my bike in front of the “pare” sign next to the door. A big sign is telling me that I’m not allowed to import dairy products. Well, I have to think now what I will do. First I leave Chile myself at counter 1, then I enter Argentina at counter 2. The 3rd counter is for Flecha leaving Chile and finally the 4th stamp I get for Flecha entering Argentina and – what I never had before – a declaration if I import fruits, vegetables, dairy products etc. I put an “x” under “yes, I do” but the officer who wants to improve his German either didn’t realize this or I have an official authorization that I can import it. Now I have all 4 stamps on my route card and I’m going back to my bike. Fully dressed I ask an officer who is thoroughly checking a car if I can pass. He is just asking for the route card which I hand over. Then I can pass without any control. That was close! And I have dinner and breakfast for tomorrow. 20km ahead of Rio Gallegos the standard police control. And, of course they ask me to come into the office. My thoughts are that they now have realized that I pout the “x” on the other side.

Hospedaje Elcira, Padre Zucarino 431,02966 Río Gallegos

Hospedaje Elcira, Padre Zucarino 431,02966 Río Gallegos

Contrary to my opinion they just wanted the same as usually hostels and camp ground owners want from me: my passport number, from where I’m coming, where I want to go and my nationality, that’s all. Puh! My Navi knows one B&B which is recommendable and I got the offer immediately to put Flecha to the patio. Very nice.

Sun 14.2.2016

Of course there is also a police control if you leave the city. All can pass except me. The young and grimly looking police officer (I think they have to look like this) is asking for my passport which he is investigating thoroughly. Only the page with my picture for at least 20 seconds and then another 30 seconds for all my stamps in it. Finally he is asking me if I’m English! I don’t know what he did but I kindly answered “no, alemán”. Then I could pass. Amazing. The next kilometers are very boring

and after 200km I make a pause in Comandante Luis Piedrabuena. In the meantime it has 16°C and sunshine.The last 30km are gravel. I reduce the air pressure and my blood pressure increases. The concentration is gone and more than once I’m near of falling down. Happily I reach the camp ground and built up my tent in the wind shade of a tree.

Mon 15.2.2016

At 4 a.m. I got awaken by the wind which comes now from the west and not any longer from the north. So, no protection anymore and the tent fights with the wind. (the red bar should look like the other: in parallel!)

heavy wind on camp ground La Paloma way to Bosque Petrificado

heavy wind on camp ground La Paloma way to Bosque Petrificado

But it keeps standing. The Bosque Petrificado is very interesting especially if you know that it is more than 150 million years old when South America and Africa are together and the Anden didn’t exist. Volcanic eruption and humidity started a process of silification and ended up in petrification. In combination with the strong wind it is today visible for us. Very impressive.

My next stop is Comodore Rivadavia where Flecha is reaching the 30.000km mark. The only camp ground is next to the RN3 and near the airport. Not the best conditions for a

on the way to Trés Cerros RN3

on the way to Trés Cerros RN3

silent stay. But I don’t feel well and hence I decide not to drive further. Not sure if it was too much sun in the morning or something wrong I ate, in the end I vomit and could fall asleep.

Tue 16.2.2016

Today I drive only a few kilometers in order to convalesce. In Camarones at the coast I find an affordable hotel and sleep in total 12 hours. The silence is gorgeous.

Wed 17.2.2016

I feel much better and drive along the coast line on a beautiful dirt road.

On the next 130km only one car comes towards me on the whole way to Punta Tomba

Punta Tombo panorama

Punta Tombo panorama

a peninsula that shelters 210.000 pairs of Magellanic penguins, the world’s biggest population of this species. The landscape is marvelous.  A walk is doing good. Even Guanacos and mice can be seen in the national park.

Now I’m heading to Puerto Madryn where I find a nice hostel which was recommended in both my Navi and my handbook for South America. Unfortunately they don’t accept credit cards as well as the last hotel didn’t. And one bank after the other didn’t issue any money with my cards I have (they have all the Chip). A strange feeling not getting any cash. Finally somebody in the hostel knows the problem and shows me where I can find the Santander Bank which gave me always money in the past. And that I have overseen.

Thu 18.2.2016

And in point of fact I found the bank and got money. I said good-buy to Fabricio who is traveling on a Vespa. Incredible, but for sure only on paved roads. The rest of the day I stay in the hostel washing my cloths and maintaining the site. Then it starts to rain. A good decision.

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