Thursday, 12 March 2015

0227 Puerto Madryn to El Condor

12th March
Long straight roads through the pampa !

I spent two nights in Puerto Madryn because I just needed some time to do things.  I had tried to get Toyota to give me an oil change but for the first time on this entire trip, they were too busy to help me.  I was quite surprised, because all the others have fitted me in despite being busy – Interesting !  So I ended up at a little “Lubricentre” where all they do is change oil and fluids.  Funny little place, with just a pit to drive over rather than a hoist, but they know their business – It’s all they do !  Within an hour they had changed the oil, checked all the other fluids, greased all the nipples on the prop shaft and steering, and blown all the dust out of the air filter.  $100 for labour and 10 litres of oil – Not bad !  After that I went back to the camp site and just had a day doing things……More laundry (Man, that never stops !!), trying to clean some of the dust out of the inside of the car, getting the blog up to date, and of course chatting to several people who came over.  One very nice Brazilian, Daniel, in a Land Rover – When you meet some of these people you just wish you had more time to just get to know them better – Some great people out there.  Have a great trip, Daniel, especially next Saturday with the Land Rover guys !

This morning I packed up and headed north.  And I have to say that it was not exactly the most exciting day of the trip !  I have to be careful here, because it is all relative, and whenever I think that a day is a bit uninteresting, I have to remind myself that here I am driving along across the Argentinian Pampas, meeting new people every day, and trying to speak a foreign language, meanwhile munching on local empanadas for elevenses.  How can that be uninteresting, or even boring ?!!!!!  C’mon now !  Then I can appreciate the day more fully for what it is !

Leaving Puerto Madryn I found a little memorial with a Welsh dragon on it, and it seems to be about a ship that landed here from Wales on the 28th July 1865, and then there is a list of names, including a lot of Evans’ and Lewis’ and other Welsh names – I am presuming this is commemorating the first lot of Welsh settlers who came out here ?  Maybe my Welsh friend Huw knows more about all his lot’s history and can let me know ?!!!

After a quick visit to the Panaderia for some of their yummy fresh bread rolls, it was out of town and heading north.  If you look at the map, you will see that basically today I went due north on a straight road for about 250 kms, then I did a 90 degree turn and drove east in a straight line for another 200 kms !!  The only thing I can say about the scenery is that after the arid scrub of further south, today it slowly got greener. And by the end of the day we had trees ! And rain – It actually rained this afternoon !

Saw some flashing lights ahead and it turned out to be some incident involving a motorcycle – there were 2 or 3 other bikes there, but only one off the road, and no car involved – So whether he had got blown off the road or something, I don’t know. 

I had been looking for a supermercado to get some supplies, but all the little towns I passed through were too small to have any where worthwhile.  I finally found a supermercado in the bigger town of Viedma, and was able to get everything I needed, so I am now stocked up for another 4-5 days.  In Viedma I then turned right, and got off Ruta 3 and went 25 kms down to the coast at El Condor, where I knew there was some camping.  As I pulled in to the little town – or more a village – flocks of galah-sized parrots took off from beside the road – Hundreds of
them. They were eating seeds beside the road, and took off up onto the electricity lines when I passed.  Interesting colour – I would call it “military” !  A kind of camouflage green on the outside, but when they flew they were a kind of mustardy yellow under their wings.  So not bright and distinctive like Aussie parrots or Honduran McCaws, but interesting nevertheless – If only because I haven’t seen a parrot since way back up the road !  It served to remind me that I am getting back into more of a tropical climate again as I head north. 

Pulled into the little camp site, by which time it was almost 7 pm, so I barely had time to cook my sausages and get cleaned up before it was dark and time for bed.

The map shows me tomorrow will be similar to today – North for about 200 kms, and then east for another 200 kms !  Heading up through Bahia Blanca to Mar del Plata.  I am starting to think that maybe I have time to go up to the Pantanal in Brazil, which is a wild area known for its scenery and wild life.  I will have to start reading a little more about it and see if it is feasible. 

Pics are here :-

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