I can’t believe it, it is cloudy! And it has only 13°C. But looking into northern direction it looks fairly good. The following road is one of the most beautiful ones I drove so far in Argentina and when the sun comes out the landscape becomes even better. Arriving in San Martin de los Andes I make a pause with a coffee and a cake before I’m heading to Junin de los Andes which is more boring than described in the handbook.
After 15km the dirty road begins (RP23). And immediately the fun comes back.
Mostly along the river Río Aluminé the scenery is picturesque. Only possibilities for the night are rare. I find a small trail going up the hill and ended up in a very nice place.
Actually when it was already dark the owner comes by with his 4×4 and I asked him humbly if I can stay for one night. Immediately he agreed and we talked a little bit before the stars and the moon are saying Good-Night. What a wonderful day!
In the night it dripped a bit however when I get up in the morning the sun shines from a cloudless sky. Full pleasant anticipation I drive back to the Ruta Provincial 23 (RP23), which is so diversified that I wished it will never stop.
I arrive in the village Aluminé and fill my water bag in the river. Just back a Pick-Up stops behind me and the driver says that he saw me on the other side of the river and thought that I might have a breakdown. I’m speechless, say thank you and wish him a nice day. Somewhen the road ends in the tarred RN245. I stop on the roadside and before I could start filling up the tire’s pressure man stands next to me asking me if he can help me with my breakdown.Amazed I thank him and tranquilized he drives on. I’m really impressed of such a huge helpfulness! Again I take the little graved road RP21. Finally the RP26/27 bring me to the Mapuche district and their ski resort in Caviahue.
The landscape again is worth seeing and slowly it becomes dark. I find an appropriate place for my tent next to the street.Luckily only a few cars driving along in the night and I make a camp fire!
Although it’s higher than 1.200 m it was not cold in the night and the sun increases the temperature quickly to more than 20°C steigen. Onwards on the RP21 I reach El Cholar, and from there on the RP6 to Chos Malal. Back on the tarred RN40 an eldorado of bends begins. Unfortunately it end 100km ahead of Malargüe and road works begin. Fully concentrated I don’t care how the surrounding looks like. A little variety offers an impressive Canyon.
Even a mouse is there (who finds it?). In Malargüe I find a cheap hostel in the center.
I take the RP222 to a nice valley into the direction of Las Leñas, a well-known ski resort.
As expected the village is not nice but shows a marker to the Valle Hermoso (the beautiful valley), that can be reached by a 25km dirty road. While a let the air out of my tires I figure out that my rear mudguard wakes horribly and is getting hold only by one bolt. At the moment I can do anything. wackelt wie ein Kuhschwanz und nur noch von einer Schraube gehalten wird, da eine andere Schraube samt Halterung abgebrochen ist und die Plastiköse für die dritte Schraube ausgerissen ist. Na gut, im Augenblick kann ich es nicht ändern. Through tight bends and water passages it goes up to almost 3.000m.
On the way back I’m not sure if I should go straight to Mendoza or if I should take the boring way to San Rafael in order to visit the Cañón de Atuel. Finally I decide to go there and won’t get disappointed. Via Nihuil I reach the canyon followed by a 50km road along the river. Gorgeous!
At the end I must realize that Felge has another issue. I have lost a bold which holds the dash panel including the front spotlight. Now, only one bold holds it. Time to come to the garage in Mendoza. Again I follow the advise of my Footprint Handbook and find a nice and clean hostel in San Rafael for $150..(www.trotamundushostel.com.ar).
The way to Mendoza is so boring and I’m happy to reach the BMW dealer at 3.30 p.m. Unfortunately the mechanics is already gone and I have to come back next morning at 8.30 a.m.. I find a good accommodation in Alamo Hostel with a nice patio including a pool.
Here I will stay for the next four nights.
On time at 8.30 a.m. I’m at the garage and after half an hour all what needs to be done is in the computer. I can pick the motorbike up at 4.30 p.m. – and I can pay with credit card, so no need to search for cash! The service costs €280,- at which € 100,- is for oil and filter and € 60,- is for drilling out the broken bolt. Al in all a fair price. And a cleaning for free like in Germany:-)
The first I do after breakfast is to go to the barber. Now hair is cut and beard is gone.
Afterwards I spend some time on Flecha’s mudguard. I glued the broken plastic part and could finally fixe it with the three bolts. Now it looks again nearly new.
Really challenging to start drinking wine at 10 a.m. because you usually don’t spit it out 🙂 So, we are all hungry after the third visit and get a fantastic lunch at Cava de Cano.
Satisfied and full we drive back to the city, drink a cup of coffee together and hold a siesta then. Tomorrow I will drive to Santiago to visit Beatriz and Fernando again. A good plan after I have seen that it will rain in Mendoza and Salta on the weekend while in Santiago it will be still sunny.