Perito Moreno to El Calafate - 428! Miles
I was expecting today to be an easy and moderately boring as I zipped South down Ruta 40. According to my map, roughly half of the miles today would be offroad.. With that in mind, I wasn’t planning on riding that far.. maybe stopping for the night in the uninteresting town of Gobernador Gregores.. tops 250 miles.
After about 2 hours of riding South, I passed a really small town and saw 2 guys on an R1200GS pull into the gas station. The passenger appeared to be holding a front wheel from a motorbike, so I figured I’d stop to see if everything was okay. This is how I met Marcelo and Rogerio from Sao Paulo, Brazil. It’s turns out Rogerio’s motorbike had gotten a flat tire about 100km further South down the road. Unable to repair it on the roadside, they brought the wheel here in hopes of fixing it.
The gas station attendant came out and said there was no one here who could fix the flat and that they would need to ride all the way back to Perito Moreno.. another 200km and 2 hours back North. Lucky for them I stopped and had everything needed to fix a flat.
Within a few minutes, we had the tire removed and old tube pulled out. The tube had a huge chunk missing from it.. maybe 3″ in diameter. Not sure what caused that but it definitely wasn’t patchable. Since Rogerio was riding the same motorbike as me, an F800GS, we had the same size wheels. Thus I was able to use one of my spare tubes to get his bike back on the road. Talk about lucky circumstances! They called me their “Alaskan Angel”.. haha.
Rogerio and Marcelo are also on their way South to Ushuaia and planned on stopping in El Calafate tonight. I wasn’t going to make it to El Calafate till tomorrow but since it was still early and the road so far was all newly paved, we continued onwards only stopping for gas in Gobernador Gregores.
The road South from Gobernador was where the dirt started. It’s mostly a good dirt road so long as you stay in the tracks/ruts. Otherwise the gravel can be pretty deep which requires a bit of finesse. What makes things more difficult is the persistent 40+mph Patagonian winds that blow you all around.. This makes it nearly impossible to stay in one track for any considerable length of time. Nothing overly difficult but it wasn’t a relaxing ride.
Once into the nice touristy town of El Calafate, we stopped at the nicest hotel I’ve stayed in on this trip.. I’m pretty sure it was a 4-stars.. and they absolutely insisted on paying for my room. What a nice bunch of guys, right!? 😮
Later on around dinner time (which is no earlier than 11pm in Argentina), we went to a nice Parrilla restaurant to chow down on some fine Argentina beef and wine. Saúde!Tomorrow it’s off to see the Perito Moreno Glacier.