The Wonders of Patagonia
We wake up in the middle of the night, because the tent peg of the front apsis disentagled from the ground and the tarpaulin waves wildly. Moe goes outside and tries to burden the pegs with stones. I am happy that he is not blown away while he is doing that. The calm winds that we felt when we went to bed are long gone. Little time later, the wind dashes violently over our tent.
We are in the middle of the Camino de la Costa, one of the most beautiful paths along the coast of Argentina. It is a challenge for us, but we do not mind in order to have this experience. Early in the morning, we leave our campsite directly at the ocean. Yesterday, a police officer advised us to. The loose gravel and the sand are better to pass after the cold during the night.
And yes, it works, sometimes faster, sometimes slower. The covering of the floor changes as often as the scenery. No problem, we do not need to speed here – otherwise we would come to the end too fast 😉 . Gentle dunes huddle against the rough, effervesce coast and we are riding right though the middle. On some passages, it seems like we would ride through a sand desert. It is kind of bizarre and yet beautiful. We see countless ostriches, llamas and cows on and next to the road. But the funniest are the little birds here. Every time we come closer, they start to run with their little feet. It looks so hilarious that we have laugh every time. Other cars pass us very rarely. Moe and I have to grin by the thought that other drivers will declare us as totally crazy or real heroes. Sometimes, both can be very close…
Visiting Peninsula Valdés
After we are compelled to spend another night in a little park directy behind a gas station, we want to visit Peninsula Valdés. Right now is the best season to watch marine mammals there.
Beforehand, we meet Eduardo at the gas station. He is a particularly friendly Argentinian that has been down to Ushuaia (the most southern city of Amerika) with his scooter several times. This time, he wants to get there in a record time. Naturally, he gives us valuable advice. Another Argentinian joins the conversation and gifts us with his little map.
Then, we start heading towards Valdés. We’re happy that we are travleling with our motorcycle: the distances at the peninsula are so big that one needs a vehicle. There is only wide, lonely steppe in between the interesting coasts. I ride into the only village of Valdés and drop the Tiger for the first time. As I want to park right next to a car, it comes out of the parking space backwards (although it’s clear that it cannot drive out of there). I have to stop jerliky, on a part where there is loose gravel of all places. The back wheel slips away, the Tiger stands too slanting and I can’t hold it anymore – rats! Instantly, some helpful Argentinians from the surrounding cafes run to us, in order to help us picking up the Tiger. I am frustrated. Such a downfall drops self-confidence. The motorcycle is just heavy, I am not the tallest woman and I don’t have much experience. But I don’t want to give up. To be afraid would be wrong. It has to go on.
The tracks on Valdés consist nearly exclusively of deep gravel. It’s not easy to overcome this with our two wheels. It doesn’t take a long time until Moe drops the Tiger, too. Well, today’s score is 1:1 then. Luckily, we have always been unharmed, but every time, some part of luggage gets damaged. Till now, we could fix it with a bit of improvisation. But what if we fall in “the middle of nowhere” and something gets too damaged to continue riding?
We continue with special caution and turn into a nice sandy track that brings us to the coast. It is amazingly beautiful to ride this path while the sun is setting. This is fun! When we arrive, we are rewarded with a spectacular view. Although it is quite windy here, we can describe this place as the prettiest camp spot so far. The remaining sunset is stunning. Sometimes, you can see whales from here, too.
Fighting to see penguins
On the next morning, we look forward to ride the beautiful path again – until we reach the deep gravel. But it doesn’t help: if we want to see penguins, we need to get through. Back and forth will be around 200 kilometres, but we are very decisive. The living animals here were one of the reasons we took the rather boring route down the east coast to the south. I have dreamed for a long time to see penguins in their natural surroundings.
We make progress slowly, but we make it. We feel so contented when we are standing in front of our toddling friends and they get so close to us. They are so cute, we cannot take enough pictures of them. Before we ride back, we visit nearby seals. Sadly, they are so far away that we are not able to see any details, even with our telephoto lens.
Finally, we make our way back through the strenous gravel track. It is really surprising how some cars can drive through it so fast. It is not only that it is really dangerous for themselves; it causes great stir that withdraws us every sight of the road.
We are completely exhausted when we arrive at Puerto Madryn, the closest city. Today is Shrove Monday, we totally forgot about that. Because all hostels are booked up and the city is full, we have to ride to the next camping ground in the dark. On the next morning, we can luckily check in at a hostel. Now, we take two days of travelling break.