After leaving El Chalten and the national park area we ride north on Ruta 40 toward Gobernador Gregores. This next several-hundred-mile section is really just going to be a big push north and east to get to the Atlantic. We spend several days crossing the pampas, which to me are just like the great plains of the central United States. Miles and miles of flat open prairie and scrubland, dry river beds and big blue skies dotted with fast-moving fluffy white clouds. I’m constantly on the lookout for guanacos, armadillos, rheas (ostriches) and birds. It’s a super mellow few days of singing to myself in my helmet…lots of House of the Rising Sun, bluegrass songs, and even my own national anthem. Everyone is glad, especially Brian, that I don’t have a comm system in my helmet nor a recording of any of that.
This stretch of Ruta 40 is undergoing construction, as is always the case on Ruta 40…some version of horrible rough road being converted to paved highway. And we have heard from friends to avoid it at all costs if there is even a hint of rain in the forecast. The clay soil turns to a slick mess in the rain. But lucky for us, it’s bone dry when we come through.
Not much for villages or population in this part of Argentina…so we make use of the few gas stations we find and enjoy a warm cup of chocolate caliente and a bathroom every chance we get.