16 Feb 2012, Bariloche to Esquel, Argentina
Bariloche must have a micro-climate of its own because I opened a window and it was still warm last night, walked to the car park carrying all my stuff pouring with sweat, packed away heated gear left at 0930 out of town by 1000 started to get cold then drizzle through the mountains winding roads steady flow of traffic so lots of overtaking, freezing now thinking of stopping and putting on my heated gear, arrived in the La Bolson area hundreds of camp grounds and tourist attractions, took a wrong turn somewhere and got lost, stopped at a Tourist Info place and got a map and directions back to R40 put on heated gear while there, continuous drizzle.
Arrived in Esquel stopped for gas filled up and bought a gas container as well have been looking for one since Santiago, Nokia and Google cached maps showed me to the hotel, checked in at 1410, 307km in 4:40hrs, so far all hotels in Argentina have bidets, wandered around the town in a drizzle, completely deserted as it is a ski resort and this is summer.
17 Feb 2012, Esquel to Caleta Olivia, Argentina
Very narrow bed, turned hit my head against the bedside table corner, small cut but lots of blood on the sheet hahahaha. Left at 0720 in a drizzle, freezing and my gloves were not connected properly so hands cold, overcast and wet, wet, wet got to Tecka and filled up, rain eased except for a few spits now and then making good time sitting on 105-110kph very little traffic now long straight stretches with some rough bits, arrived at Sariemento long queue waiting to fill up, so far there has been a queue to fill up at every gas station in Argentina, crazy in a small country town.
Oil wells around here, about 50k’s out of Comodoro Rivadavia it started to rain again and it became hilly, altitude now at sea level before it was a plateau at 800m most of the way, there was a road block, some locals with a grievance had blocked off a major roundabout with burning tyres long queue of cars and trucks at all entrances rode to the front but they would not let me through chatted to some truck drivers, they suggested I drive around on another road to bypass the road block, so went back and had a look but it was a very steep hill with a sandy track leading up not a hope of making it to the top without falling off hahahaha, they also said go on to Caleta Olivia it has good hotels, as it was still early decided to ride on instead of stopping at CR, block opened up at 1400 road now follows the coast and is bumpy arrived at 1445, filled up and checked in at 1500, 635k’s in 7:40hrs. This is an oil town big statue of an oil man in the centre. Bought a steak and cheese roll at a deli and after I had eaten it noticed the expiry date on the packet was 15 Feb and today is 17 Feb, so far so good hahahaha.
18 Feb 2012, Caleta Olivia to Rio Gallegos, Argentina
Left by 0720 in a drizzle, cold and miserable, road works with wet dirt leading out of town not nice then drizzle until about 1000 saw a petrol station at Fitz Roy but too wet and cold did not stop, then Tres Cerro stopped and joined the queue but looked like I would be there for an hour so left after 7min, bike chewing up gas must be a headwind even though I am sitting on 105kph, slowed to 90 then 80kph and got to San Julian and there was an even bigger queue extending onto the highway, hahahaha enquired and rode into the town but the gas station there was out of gas stopped at the side of the road and emptied the 5lt container into my tank, should make the 120k’s to Piedra Buena if I sit on 80kph slow and steady and got to PB at 1300.
Just as I rolled into the gas station huge queue 4 lanes wide they ran out of gas, asked one of the cops at the road block and he said get a room in town, another guy said ask when the gas is coming, so went and joined the queue and asked around one guy said gas would be here at 1700 in 4 hours hahahaha no choice but to wait, got a roll and a coke, Buenos Aires guy and his wife turned up on a Harley coming from Ushuaia chatted in Spanish some YPF tankers rolled in and filled the tanks one moron had left his locked car in the queue right at the front and disappeared and we had to go around him filled up and 6lt in the container got going again at 1430, not bad.
Sat on 120-30kph cars were passing me, saw small herds of llama like animals and a couple that looked like miniature emu’s weather cleared after PB and blue skies all the way hope it stays that way, forecast looks good.
Got to Rio Gallegos at 1440 went past a YPF gas station with a small queue found the hotel and then thought I would fill up, saw an Esso and stopped and was shown the queue it went around the block hahahaha, decided to try again tomorrow early morning, this gas shortage is totally primitive and like one guy in the queue said “Only in Argentina” checked in at 1715, 714km in 9:55, two hours wasted with this gas problem. Went for a walk, another town nothing to see.