Sunday, 31st January, Comodoro Rivadavia: pounced on
Long long driving day. We’re just trying to cover ground now, and are traversing the barren Patagonian wilderness fast. Mike is going great guns, driving hard even though our topspeed is seriously lowered by the headwind and we are buffeted constantly by those winds.
There’s nothing for miles and miles and miles. Except, I’m sorry to report, one armadillo harmlessly crossing the road. Mike, blinded by a visor scratched by months on the road, fails to see him and mows him down. I mourn silently in the sidecar for an hour.
We’ve taken the east coast of Patagonia to get to Ushuaia. It’s the most direct but by far the most boring of the options on the table. The west, the famous route 40 (reputedly one of the world’s most beautiful drives), snakes along the lower part of the Andes taking in Swiss-loveliness in Barriloche, glaciers in El Calafate, dramatic beauty all the way down. The east, less so. It’s coastal and flat. Winds whip across the vast plains and pummel us unremittingly.
We eventually make it to Comodoro Rivadavia, Argentina’s petrol capital. It provides a third of the country’s petrol (Argentina is entirely self sufficient for petrol), driven north to BA to be refined.
As we drive into town, we are pounced on by two locals (“Oh no, Jacksons…” we thought) It turned out that they were a journo and a photographer from the local paper. They were looking for a small story to fill a whole on a slow day, but when Carlos heard our story, he said that it was much bigger than he thought. So we did a full interview and appeared on the front page of El Patagonico the next day.