January 05, 2006 GMT
Towards Carretera Austral

Heading further north on the Ruta 3, I took a short 100 km gravel road detour (who would do this in Europe?) for one of the famous "Bosques Petrificados" (petrified forests).

The naming "bosque" is quite an exaggeration since it's about a few (in this park maybe less than 10) extremely old (150 Mio years) but reckognizable tree trunks, lying around in a complete desert. However, it's amazing - these trees have actually turned to stone but you can still reckognize the annual rings (Jahresringe) and knotholes (Astloecher). Some of the trunks are still 30 m long. Anyway, it's rather interesting for (Hobby-) Archeologists than for the common (philistine) public like me.

After this excursion I stopped in a small kind-of restaurant by the roadside, asking for a sandwich and some coffee to recover forces. However, first thing I had to do was to pose for a couple of photos in front of my "immense" motorbike together with the entire family and then with different family members. Once again I felt like a martian - but this is still better than being robbed, isn't it?

After changing from my direction from northbound (Ruta 3) to westbound (Ruta 43), I had to pass through a short 60 km strech of gravel road and then through the towns of Pico Truncado y Las Heras. These towns usually don't appear on tourist maps, and now I know why. They are situated in a flat and ugly landscape of oil fields with the typical pumps and surrunded by an amazing amount of trash. The soil around these small towns is covered by tiny bushes and there is not a single bush at a 2 km diameter around these towns, that is not covered with plastic bags or other trash. Luckily when having passed these towns, also the oilfields soon end, and you are alone again on the perfect new asphalt highway, heading towards the setting sun. Only once in a while your contemplation is disrupted be a truck moving in the opposite direction.

I was very lucky with respect to the wind. During the preparations for the trip I heard and read a lot of horror stories of people being pushed off the road by the storm or having to stay in the middle of nowhere due to the wind being too strong to drive. I did not experience any of this. Even during my journey towards the West, when the wind should have been blowing directly into my face, it came just from behind and actually pushed me towards the Andes.

Posted by Winne Lichtblau at January 05, 2006 10:47 PM GMT

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