We slept in this morning after a late dinner (many Chileans and all Argentines eat dinner after 10 pm!) and were on the road by 8:45 am.
Our route again took us along the shores of Lago General Carrera, and the road was once again terrible. Much like yesterday, the road is about 1.5 lanes wide (for traffic going in both directions) with no guard rails, and is pitted washboard. Driving is not only treacherous, it is pure torture on the vehicles as the tires, shocks and brakes are tested to their limits, there were times when we couldn't average 30kph because of the conditions.
The payoff was the scenery - the lake, flowing river valleys and surrounding mountains made for a stunning backdrop and we were literally gasping at every corner. Finally, after 3 hours of bone rattling driving, we were at the Argentine border, the last of the countries we will be visiting. The border process was the smoothest yet - we checked out of Chile, into Argentina and got our new permit within 30 minutes!
The difference in geography and road conditions could not have been more stark - while in Chile, the mountains and green rivers were omnipresent, while in Argentina we were in the arid plateaus, much like Montana or Wyoming. The roads were like glass, and we were able to set the cruise control at 140 kph in some spots, so that by 5:00 pm we were ensconced in our little hosteria in the dusty town of Gobernador Gregores.
Tomorrow is a short 4 hour drive to the trekking and climbing mecca of El Chalten, where I will prepare for a 4 day climb to the worlds second largest ice cap glacier (I depart on Thursday). Bob will likely do some trout or salmon fishing as well as take in the local scenery as well.
We will check in tomorrow...
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.”
- Mark Twain