24 - 27 Feb - Driving in the desert void
Trip Start Feb 09, 2014
18Trip End Apr 08, 2014
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Have covered great distances. First crunched through Buenos Aires province to Carmen de Patagones/Viedma on Monday Feb 24th. Very helpful director of Museo Historico Jorge Bustos who kindly provided a version of Musters book annotated by a student, (Ray Balmaceda) in1960s as part of his PhD. Saw remnants of old fort that Musters prob visited. Jorge thinks Musters must have been working for GB government as he was travelling on half pay from the Navy. Navy wouldn't have been paying him for nothing. Must investigate what the Navy's half pay arrangement was.
Spent night at holiday resort of Las Grutas - end of holiday feel in a sort of wild west Weston-super-Mare: hotel kept front door locked in case miscreants got in and wanted our payment upfront in cash
Tuesday 25th: Visited beach at El Condor - miles of rock and sand with no one there. Also sealion colony at Punta Bermeja, La Loberia - you can't get too close as they clear off but apparently 900 pups have been born. You can hear the constant roar of the males above the noise of the waves.
Wednesday 26th: a mammoth day driving east to west across northern Patagoniag Ruta 23 from San Antonio Oeste to Bariloche, arriving at midnight. Last section of road was unpaved and bone rattling but very scenic in fading light as passing cars and lorries put up clouds of dust hanging like smoke in the air. Saw ostriches and a baby armadillo. Followed in Bob Chaworth Musters' footsteps, as well as George Musters, by visiting the place Musters, consisting of a derelict railway house in the middle of nowhere. Found a number - seems to have been halt 42. House looks like it has been occupied not so long ago as signs of modern concrete and a plastic pipe from a basin. But clearly now used for dodgy purposes by delinquents, though god knows where they come from. Also visited the monolith memorial to Musters near Ingeniero Jacobacci. Beautifully situated on a crag, with views across the barren plain. The lady in the local museum said that the monument was placed there because there because there was an archaeological site of indian artifacts and that a cap badge of Musters (now in Leleque museum) was found there
Sadly the lake has dried up and the lady in the museum said that they used to get snow but no more. May be global warming - at Los Menucos where we had lunch the waitress said it hadn't rained for 5 years. One frustration is that my spanish is so poor - great help having James Goodall as a translator, not to mention driver as well, although I have contributed some time behind the wheel.
Thurs 27th: a bit of a rest day in Bariloche. Just as well as I am approaching a clean pants crisis (lack of). Bariloche is extraordinary - very popular tourist destination for argentines on enormous Lake Nahuel Huapi - a sort of argentine alpine town on a hill with many wooden chalet style buildings and chocolate shops.