Friday, February 1, 2013

Day 6: Cochrane – Estancia la Angostura

Day 6, locals have not yet realized that Miji is supposed to be the local fixer. Locals keep looking for Isabel, somehow they only want to speak with her, they say to her: “Disculpe, usted que me entiende…”. It’s like she has been guiding two lost foreigners who don't speak Spanish through Patagonia…

More seriously: we got up extremely early and were ready to have breakfast at some crazy hour; you might think that this would imply that the team leaves early from Cochrane, no, Hadrien’s bike was again ready for some pimping: a new headlight to install, tape on the plate number “la patente”, side-stand which was loosing bolts and cutting the engine power, air for the tyres… 11:30.

So we leave and enter the valley of rio Chacabuco, an amazing natural zoo were guanacos, ñandus, eagles, armadillos, flamingos and other wild animals are living peacefully and are only occasionally disturbed by the motorized tourist like us.

The road is fun, gravel of different sorts, rocks, ups and downs, and ahhh, small water ponds to cross!


This is the first one. Miji & Isa went first and right after they stopped and took the camera to film excited Hadrien. He even went backwards a bit in order to do not miss his first pond. Everything was ready, Hadrien engaged into the water and… plop, plop, plop, the engine stopped in the middle of the pond! Miji was on the ground, laughing… and Isa, she was  desperately trying to pull Hadrien out of the water. Best first pond ever!!!

We later discovered that it was still the side-stand sensor cutting the engine power (it did not like the water). The “Swiss-7”, another group of bikers that we had met at the Zurich airport, overtook us while we were trying to fix the bike.

15:00. Chilean border: We met again the Swiss-7, but this time, we overtake them. We reach the Argentinian border and there, we had the honor to be served by “Sargento Urrique”; who started looking at Miji’s passports like it’s a fake, then started cooking Miji and cannot believe that he has been living in Switzerland for 20 years now and still doesn’t have a Swiss passport. Urrique thinks that Miji has a hidden double nationality and is trying to fake his entry into Argentina. 16:00, Urrique finally opens the border,  we can continue with the still remaining 300 kms.

The Argentinian side was just as impressing. The landscape was marked by rocks and ponds. The valleys looked like a volcano spit up his bits to distribute them randomly. Wherever there was water, the green appeared in a slight line around the ponds.

17:30. Bajo Caracoles, there is no “nafta” (gas) at the station. The gas cistern truck will come in two days, maybe. The motorcycles are almost dry but we still have 200kms to go. So we called Tonchy, the owner of the 20'000 hectares estancia were we had planned to sleep. We agreed to meet mid-way and that he will bring us some fuel. We started driving, the road continued forever with no sign of life…

We drove at a reduced speed to save fuel and constantly surveyed the gauge. Hadrien’s bike was dying in 30, 20, 10, 6, 4, 3, 1, 0, shit … and just there, there was someone on the other side of the road. He walked up to Miji and Miji asked: “Tonchy!!???” He answered: “Yes!”. Yeahhhhhh!!! We welcomed him with cheering 'high-fives' and the team danced in the middle of the ruta 40 like "it's your birthday!" We were saved!!!

21:30, after a tough final 34km of loose gravel road with the sunset threatening to snitch off the light, we finally reached la Estancia Angostura - in the middle of nowhere and surrounded by horses, sheep, chicken and other wild animals. There was no internet and no cell phone reception... so the blog's publication had to wait.


  1. Extasia and the Estancia!
    Glad you made it!

  2. Quelle colorature de la Angosture

    1. C'est facile à lire; mais qu'est-ce que tu veux dire?

  3. Let's hope that the adventurists are not being sabotaged by the Swiss-7!

  4. Happy you made it! This sounds like an adventure now! :) and makes very amusing reading :)