First couple of days in Chile, getting to Ruta 7
Feb 11, 2011
|We left Puerto Deseado and crossed the desert to Chile Chico and then Camped at the boarder at a small little town called Antigua. It was hot and windy, surprise. The wind was down a bit so it was hotter than normal, in the low 90's. We did see some guanacos and a bunch of Rheas. The climate was rather dry and so the thorn scrub plants were rather short and sparse compared to our drive further north. Paco is cranking, we are averaging about 60mph, and on the straight a ways almost 70. I did get the oil changed before we left Puerto Deseado.
This is a great little story. I found a mechanic that would change my oil through the part store. The assistant mechanic drove from his shop and we followed him to the small garage of Carlos. This took about a half hour, including the time it took me to find the correct oil filter. Remember Poco's engine doesn't exist in Argentina so we had to get a Golf/Passat filter... I had mate with the guys while we talked and the assistant changed the oil. The only sad part about this was that the oil, Synthetic, cost almost $120.00 US. Carlos was a character and we had some fun trying to communicate. Karla took off and walked through town and checked out the tower of the church which was also the Light house for the town. HOLY LIGHT..... ha ha. The oil hadn't been changed since last year and boy did Paco like that. He ran so cool across the desert that I couldn't believe it.
Gas isn't a problem but sometimes you have to wait for the tanker to fill the station. We still carry an extra 5 gallons so that will get us about 80 miles or so.
Before we left for Antigau on Lago Argentina, we had a great lunch on a little point on the Rie(inlet) And we were treated to swimming Megellanic penguins, feeding.
The wind was down and we sailed across the desert and made it to Pierto Moreno at about 4:30pm. We got to Antigua around 5 and decided to camp the night in Argentina then cross the boarder into Chile in the morning.
The transmission was still slipping and I really needed to crawl under and check out the linkage. So that was my first project in the morning. Mean while we toured the little town and found that we had just missed the Cherry festival at the end of January. This is one of Karla's favorite summer fruits, every summer when we traveled in the US with the girls we always seemed to buy more cherries than was good for us, if you know what I mean? HHHE hee. But we had to get rid of all of our plant life before we crossed over into Chile. That evening we found a beautiful Malicon and had a toast to the wonderful time we have had in Argentina. This was of course along Lake Argentina.
Antigau had a nice municipal campground for $7.00 with bathrooms, hot showers, electricity . We had a late dinner and enjoyed the balmy night. The elevation was just around 1500 feet.
As scheduled, in the morning I crawled under Paco to find that yes, the linkage was miss adjusted. So I fixed the throttle cable with Karla helping. Wow, did Paco have more power than we were used to. It seemed that we were actually not working on full throttle, when we thought we were.
Well we had too much Argentina money with us to keep held up so Karla went gift shopping. I helped of course, but she had the last word on what we finally got. A Mate bowl, straw. We also went out to lunch. Finally we got to the boarder to cross into Chile.
First Immigration, then to customs(aduana) for the checking out of us and Paco. Then to the Chile side for immigration then to the customs(aduana) for checking in of us all. Then one last step, we had to unload all of our gear and have it scanned, at the same time a guy went through our car and checked for any plant products... tomatoes, onions, and even some spices... After about a half hour of us filling out papers and going through the process we were in Chile and Chile Chico.
I wanted to get a fishing license and Karla wanted to stock up on groceries, and wine. No license was available. We went shopping and got a bunch of fruits and veggies,,,, especially Cherries. We went to the information station and got some great maps of the Caraterra, and some info on where to camp. We didn't have any Chilean money so off to the bank. And we needed some gas, so off to the station. It looks like gas is going to be expensive here in the Austral of Chile, $1.50 US a liter, at 3.8L per gallon that is almost $6.00 a gallon.... ouch. So like a friend of mine told us when we visited Norway, don't try to convert the value of things or you will ruin your trip. So that is what we will do here.
We then drove to a small campground on the Lago Carrera, (that is the name on the Chilean side of Lago Argentina). A great little site right on the lake for about $7.00. No mosquitoes, a surprise for as much swamp that was around...
Finally in Chile, wow. We got rolling the next morning along the huge lake to finally make it to Puerto Bertrand. This is on another lake that is a beautiful deep turquoise... We camped along the River that night for free. One of the most beautiful campsites Karla has every been. We were finally on the Caraterra Austral, Chile's Ruta 7.
I am writing this in an internet place in Cochrane. We hope to get to Villa O’Higgins, via Tartel in the next couple of days. This countryside is absolutely breath taking. The clear blue water, the snow capped peaks all around. I never did get a license and fished anyway. Caught a little one this morning, rainbow with a little parachute ant. What fun.
Pictures really take a long time to download so the photos for this section will have to wait till later. This part of Chile is like Alaska in may ways. the road is totally dirt and the best I can do without shaking us to pieces is about 40mph. And by the way the tranny is working much better. Dad keep those prayer coming, for we have about I month of roads like this.