Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Where in the hell is Gobenador Gregores and why am I spending my birthday there?

Day 148 (March 13, 2013)
El Chalten, Argentina to Gobenador Gregores, Argentina
Day's Ride: 185 Miles

After another frosty night in El Chalten, we packed up our gear, said our goodbyes to our hiking friends, and set off for Gobenador Gregores, a small town in the middle of nowhere off of Ruta 40 where Dylan had been stranded for three days due to a gas shortage during his ride south. We crossed our fingers hoping that they would have gas this time as the next fuel stop was beyond our maximum range.

Leaving El Chalten, Fitz Roy loomed majestically in the background as a strong tailwind propelled us to the east and the turn off for Ruta 40.

After reaching Ruta 40 and the small pueblo of Tres Lagos, we stopped at the last gasolinera to top off our tanks. Immediately outside of the service station, the road devolved back into it's natural primal state: ripio!

This section between Tres Lagos and Gobendador Gregores had been rumored to be one of the worst stretches. However, it appeared that a grader had been along recently and we were able to fly! There were also several long stretches that had just been paved or were about to be paved. Dylan commented that the road had improved markedly since he had been here a few weeks ago.

Below you can see one of the freshly paved sections running parallel to the old road on the right:

The XR650L felt like it was back at home in the gravel and the dirt and I found myself flying along faster than I normally would ride on the pavement with Metallica cranked in my headphones. Dylan tooled along at a slightly more sedate pace for the most part; however, on the final stretch into town, he cranked it up and rode alongside of me.

Just outside of town, Dylan stopped and emptied his reserve into his tank in the hope that there would be fuel.

And then we hauled ass down the remaining stretch of ripio. It was actually pretty nice and Dylan made a little movie with his GoPro:

We arrived in town and found a fairly long line for gas at the service station. We pulled in behind another motociclista riding a Harley with Italian plates.

I was extremely impressed! When I had first decided on doing this trip, I had thought about doing it on my Harley but had been talked out of it by several people. In retrospect, I'm kind of sad that I didn't. Seeing someone like this guy who has literally ridden his Harley around the world is very inspiring! I didn't catch his name and I'm sorry I didn't. He was on an older Fat Boy with the 80 CI EVO motor. So cool!

He's actually put so many miles on this bike that the odometer has rolled over!

So impressive! He said he gets a little cold while riding down here and that the ripio is a real bear, but other than that, he was having a good time.

Since it was my birthday, I convinced Dylan that we should spring for a hotel. After stashing our gear, I headed to a Parrilla and treated myself to some Asado. This was overseas birthday number two for me; last year's was in the Sandbox formerly know as Afghanistan. Argentina is a much better place to spend your birthday.

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