Time to move on again, and this time we have a place to be and people are waiting for us. Friends from the road, Markus and Karin, have asked us to pick up some parts for their bikes and bring them to Mendoza, Argentina, just over the border. And our friends, Toby and Chloe, have a few tidbits they could use too. So we load up on bike and trucks goodies and hit the road. Roberto rides with us out of Santiago. Not only does he help us by leading us out of the city much faster than we could do on our own, it’s just good to have him along for the ride.
Then off we go toward Los Andes, the town, and then up into the mountains.
We pass a couple of toll booths and checkpoints and keep watching for the Chile side aduana/customs and migracion/immigration offices. But so far we are told to keep going.
We ride through several avalanche tunnels as we climb higher and higher to Los Libertadores Pass.
And on we go…
Eventually we get to a grouping of offices that I think must be the Chile side, but a guard at a guard shack says no, we need to keep going.
We keep climbing higher and higher and start to see snow as we climb.
We pass through the tunnel.
We see the sign marking our entry to Argentina….and now I’m getting nervous. Not only will we likely have to turn around and go back to Chile, using time and fuel, but we could get fined for entering the country illegally with our bikes if we have passed the aduanas.
But we still haven’t gone as many miles as the guard had said, so on we go. And we finally hit a checkpoint where we are given two small white tickets to turn in at the aduana/migracion offices.
We get a peek at Aconcagua to our left, the highest peak in South America and one of the highest in the world.
And finally, to our left….there it is…..a joint station for processing both sides of the border, Chile and Argentina’s aduanas and migracion offices all in one.
It’s the first border I’ve ever crossed where all 4 offices (2 for each country) are housed in one building. But it’s pretty simple. You can tell from the design of the place that it must be incredibly windy and that they must get a lot of snow here, because you and your vehicle wait in line for your turn at the booths. We get processed by the Chilean booth first and then move on to the Argentina booth….
And then it’s official. Even though we have already ridden a few miles into Argentina before the border, now we are legal!