Monday, February 27, 2012

The final leg to Isla Tierra del Fuego.

We stayed in Puerto San Julian for three days. The campground was extremely well maintained and in addition to everything else, they had Wi-Fi. My birthday was very quiet. Tom had bought me a pendant and earrings made from Rodocrosita (Inca Rose) which is a pretty pink colored volcanic stone and is the national stone of Argentina and a penguin statue made from the same stone. For dinner, he cooked me a delicious scallop and pasta dish and we had caviar and champagne as an appetizer. We spoke to our family and kids via Skype so the day was very special. I did our taxes. They are now completed and e-filed. A huge task out of the way. A Brazilian couple, Luis and his wife, whom we first met in Foz do IguaƧu, is here so we spent some time exchanging information with them. They have already been to El Calafate and from here will go to Bariloche before going to the beach at Mar del Plata, then to Buenos Aires. The weather has turned very cold. This morning it was 47 degs F. in the RV and we are now sleeping with a blanket and a comforter. We had hoped to make it to Rio Gallegos or Lago Azul to spend the night and cross the border on Wednesday. It was not to be. The town after San Julian is Piedrabuena and there was a protest going on which closed route 3 until about 6pm. The police, gendarmerie and military were out but really did nothing to get the protestors from moving out of the road. What they were protesting we have no idea. Unlike in the States, there were no banners or placards showing evidence of their cause and no chanting. Maybe it is the gas situation. I don’t know what the problem is in Argentina but in all our travels we have not ran into a gas dilemma like they have here. Stations are constantly running out of fuel, which causes long lines with people waiting for hours. We had gone to stations prior that either were out or would only sell it as little but now in Patagonia with stations getting further apart, it is a problem. We get fuel at every opportunity but leaving San Julian none of the gas stations (2 YPF and a BR station) had fuel. The next town about 80 miles (150 Km) is Piedrabuena. The only station is a YPF and they were also out of fuel. So, the protest did not matter since gas was not delivered until 10:30 that night. Yes, we were stuck and waiting almost 10 hours for gas. And then they would only let us get 300 pesos (about 15 gallon) but we think that will get us to Rio Gallegos. Frustrated over the hold up and at a loss to explain why it happens, we spent the night at the station and will continue on tomorrow. Anyone reading this with any insight make a comment. The last night on the mainland before getting on to the island of Tierra del Fuego, we camped at Laguna Azul. This is a crater lake about 6 kilometers from the border. It was really windy when we arrived but Tom grabbed the camera and with Winston hiked up the hill to the lake. Only 5 minutes later the rain started and combined with the wind, was ferocious. Winston got back to the motorhome first panting and soaked; Tom arrived a few minutes later, out of breath and soaked. The wind and rain gusted over the RV all night but we stayed cozy. The next morning was still windy but the rain had stopped, so I hiked up to the lake. The lake is a deep blue and looks deep and dark and cold. The volcanic lava rock crunches under my feet. Standing at the top looking around at the mountains, is beautiful and lonely. I took more photos but did not get too close to the edge in case the wind swept me over. It was so blustery. After breakfast it was time to cross the border into Chile.

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