DAY 6 – 1/18/12 PUYEHUE VOLCANIC NATIONAL PARK --> ESQUEL, ARG
460 km / 70.4 kph mov / 148 kph max
11 hrs tot / 6:30 hrs mov / 1 Border Crossing
This morning we had our first camp breakfast of coffee/coco and oatmeal and we were on our way to the border crossing at 0930. When we got to the Chile exit building, we were waved to the front of the line. We got our 2 copies (out of the 4 to begin with, we had 2 left) of our temporary vehicle import permits stamped at customs and our passports stamped at immigrations. The whole process on the Chile side took about 30 minutes. Not bad. The Argentina customs/immigration was another 10 km down the road, with the actual border in between.
The road between the two borders was very scenic, but the amount of ash from the eruption 8 months ago was surprising. It was plowed to the side of the road in large banks like snow.
The Argentina border process was even quicker at only about 15 minutes. From here we on our way in Argentina. We stopped at the first gas station we came across and had to wait in line for about 20 min. We found there was a country wide gas shortage and this would probably be the norm.
A little further on we were on Ruta 40 Sur, where we bypassed the resort city of San Carlos Bariloche. Ruta 40 was beautiful pavement and about 90% traffic free, and the occasional bus or truck was easy to pass. There were occasional Argentina police check points, but we were always waved through without stopping.
About 30 min from our destination for the day, Bill said his right eye had internally filled with fluid and he couldn’t see out of it. This didn’t sound good. So we set up camp at a hostel & campground in town and made plans for him to visit an ophthalmologist in the morning.