13-01-2006 The long trip

I am writing this in the back of the car. Susana is driving. Gige is serving the mate and Soledad is staring ahead. We passed Rawson some hours ago and since then we passed about 3 curves and 1 gas station. The road is long and straight.

After leaving Buenos Aires we drove for a couple of hours and stayed in Las Flores. We slept in the same hotel as last year and enjoyed the media lunas for breakfast after which we left for the first full day of driving. The landscape kept changing sometimes slowly, sometimes abrupt. The first hours we drove trough a well-watered area full of soya, grain and sunflower fields. We passed various wetland filled with birds. Traffic was quite heavy especially around the towns and it was not always easy to pass all the trucks on the road.

Later we entered the Sierra de Pillahuinco. A beautiful hilly landscape some scattered sunflower fields. Passed Bahia Blanca and entered in a much dryer landscape with now and then some salt marshes. This landscape slowly blended into a flatter landscape. Just before San Antonio de Oeste we officially entered Patagonia. The air was full with a smell that reminded me of wormwood (alsem). The sandy soil was covered with grasses, very small cactuses (I discovered this when I crawled under a fence to make a picture… aiaia) and woody herblike bushes with yellow flowers. The leafs of the different plants had very strong smells.

We arrived late in San Antonio de Oeste and by the time we had dinner it was 12 o'clock: time to congratulate Soledad with her birthday!

The next day we left early. The landscape was sometimes hilly and sometimes flat. All lakes that we saw on the way were dried out or on the verge of drying out. Judging by the colour of the sediment and the water, the lakes are extremely salty.

We stopped in Porto Madryn to visit Julio – a Argentinean limnologist who works there – but unfortunately we could not find him. Instead we had a marvelous lunch in honor of Soledad's birthday. The weather was great and half the town was enjoying the beach, but we still had some kilometers to cover so we got back into the car.

After Rawson we have had 2 small curves. The road is straight and longgg. About 300 km to the next town. Again the landscape is dominated by dry bushes. The last part of the road is a bit hillier and when the hills open you have a beautiful view on the sea. Half way you can find a gas station but we skipped that one. We arrived at Comedoro Rivadavia just before we hit the bottom of our gasoline tank.

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