February 16th, 2013
Leaving Las Grutas
We woke up this morning after a pretty good night’s sleep. We were both relieved to have found the nice spot in the sand dunes to spend the night. I knew the first few days were going to be the hardest, but I was disappointed that Las Grutas was such a pit.
We packed up and headed out for another long drive down to Camarones with a stop at Puerto Madryn in between. I thought we were faced with another 900 km day, but right out of the gate I realized my mileage calculation was wrong and it was only 600 kilometers. Yeah!
The driving got a lot easier too. Not nearly as many trucks and the road quality was much better.
The weather turned gray and raining pretty quickly and by the time we reached Puerto Madryn, it had really been pouring. Puerto Madryn was a nice little city/town with a very vibrant little downtown. As in all Argentinian cities, there were a lot of speed bumps.
Cris had told us that all of the gas stations take credit cards. We have discovered this to be false. Hence, cash has become an important thing to hang on to. We stopped at the ATM in Puerto Madryn and discovered that (a) you can only take 1000 pesos out at a time ($200) and (b) they charge you $20 for the honor. Cash conservation will be a trick from here on out.
The other thing we have discovered about travelling in Argentina is that there are tons of agricultural inspection stations. The big problem with this is that it makes it hard to stock up on supplies for any length of time because they take all your fresh stuff. We are hoping now that we are down in Patagonia proper, the number of inspections will decrease and we can keep a few days of food with us.
We had lunch at a restaurant called Mar y Meseta. It looked like a nice place and had a good review. They had internet as well, so we uploaded a few blog posts and sent out a few emails to the rest of the world. We started with a seafood soup and a salad and they were great. I ordered some fish and Susanne ordered some “Camarones al ajillo”. They were terrible. Both the fish and the shrimp. Bummer. Oh well.
We headed up to the supermercado to get some supplies. Wine was key on the list. The store has everything and the tires are stocked right next to the baking supplies, which I now realize is the obvious order to put things. The good news is that the wine is quite cheap here and in general food is pretty cheap. The bad news was that it was Saturday and everyone does their shopping on Saturday. The line to check out snaked around the entire length of the store and it was a big store. Bummer.
We headed out of Puerto Madryn toward Camarones. We gassed up in Terlew and Susanne took over the driving. The second she took over it started to rain and we hit a huge pile of trucks. She is learning the art of passing, but I felt bad because my driving had been so easy
We got to Camarones about 6:30 and headed out a peninsula toward Cabo Dos Bahias where there is a big penguin colony. We found a great camping site and set up for the night.
It was pissing with rain and we discovered our van leaks……badly. Gak. After a few glasses of wine, a few trips up to the top of the van to try and come up with a leak solution, we got the brilliant of idea of supporting a bucket under the guilty vent. Yeah! It worked.
Life is good. We have a great camp spot and tomorrow we are taking a down day to hang out and check out penguins and guanacos.
(sorry not too many pics, forgot my download cord for my camera in the car and was too lazy to go back and get it; I’ll up load some later)