Saturday, January 29, 2011

Day 22 - Malargue - Mendoza.

Distance travelled (by bike): 3725 miles

Leaving Malargue, and deciding to wait till the next town to fill up the auxiliary fuel tanks was a mistake. As we rocked up in the next town, a strangely familiar sign greeted us - no fuel. Doing some quick mental arithmetic, we calculated that we should be able to get to the next town and fill up there. It was getting hot, not wanting to hang about we asked a local the quickest way to route 40. This would have been excellent insider knowledge cutting valuable miles off the journey, sadly 20km down the dirt track he raid split, this the local didn't tell us, with no signs and no confidence in the gps we elected to turn around and follow the map.
As we turned of the main road onto more dirt tracks with desert either side, the fun began. The road was straight, as far as the eye could see, what you couldn't see were the ripples and bumps in it. After 60km through the desert the road weaved into a tunnel, on exiting we found ourselves on the top of a dam, with crystal blue water, been so hot the temptation to jump in was amazing, however the security on the dam had other ideas and off we drove.
On passing a sign telling us the next town was 50km the fuel light came on, Shane laughter, i winced. The idea of pushing a bike loaded with 200kg through the  desert was not appealing. On we drove. Then out of nowhere the bike stalls, and then again and again. After 40km Shane's really laughing, nearly resigned to the fact that we will have to push the bike. Both praying we steam on. Having found the ideal speed to power the bike, with all the weight its was carrying, whilst having some degree of control when driving through sand was 60mph on we went…as the bike continued to cut out we started to pray. Our prayers answer we saw the town, with the bike cutting out Shane shouted to turn around he'd seen the petrol station, 'sure its got fuel?' -'might do', so we turn around. Turns out it has no fuel, i'm furious…but turns out 1km down the road there is a fuel station. Setting off and gunning the engine, it cuts out, we cruise into the petrol station. The tank is 16 litres, the fuel pump said 16.4 litres when we had filled up.
Slightly delirious with todays adventure over, we head onwards to Mendoza. Having not booked anywhere it takes 7 attempts to find somewhere to stay, but it has a pool and cold beer…two very happy boys.
the dam in the middle of nowhere

other side of dam

the middle of nowhere, where the fuel light came on

the fuel station that answered our prayers

on the dam - very hot

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