The Plan

As I may have mentioned before, Bariloche is within Patagonia, but this categorization needs some clarification. To be more specific, Bariloche is the gateway of Patagonia, the front door, the appetizer, the preview, just the tip, just to see how it feels. After 3 months of teetering on the edge, I’m ready to see how it feels.

One week ago, a friend arrived. For those of you who don’t know, Tyler “Indy” Matz was present during a previous trip to Colombia. In the spirit of adventure, tax evasion, cheap beef and lots of wine, Indy agreed many months ago to visit me in Argentina for a little exploration.

As I am writing this, it is 2:13 in the morning. Surrounding me are electrical accessories, cluttered papers, an open guitar case, several empty bottles of wine, piles of laundry and a large map with, among other things, an unusual assortment of cartooned marine life. More importantly however is the map’s web of red. Roads, bridges, highways and byways. Streaks of gravel and asphalt that lead into the heart of Patagonia. Among them, Ruta 40.

Ruta 40 is the most famous of Argentina’s highways, stretching from the country’s armpit, northwest of Buenos Aires, all the way down to its toes in Tierra del Fuego. It has been rated by National Geographic as one of the world’s most scenic drives, plowing through the heart of the Andes’ eastern slopes. The road is our plan. Beyond knowing that, we are fantastically unprepared.

Our steed is a Volkswagen Gol, the smallest and possibly worst kind of vehicle to take on a gravel road into the middle of nowhere. It has balled tires, a tiny engine and two-wheel drive but the seatbelts work and the antenna is very erect, which has to count for something.

We have two weeks to complete the journey, leaving in the morning and heading first for Chaiten, a small town on the Pacific coast of Chile that was all but obliterated by a volcano eruption in 2008. The volcano is the second biggest reason we are headed to Chaiten. The first reason being that my tourist visa expired three days ago and Chaiten has the fortunate position of being a very close Chilean city where I can leave Argentina and renew said visa.

After Chaiten, the route will be decided on a spontaneous basis, dictated by coin flips and local advice. My hope is to update the blog with regular trip updates, but without knowing where we are going, I cannot promise regular access to the internet. As for now there are bags to pack, electronics to charge and prayers to say. Ruta 40 is waiting.



~ by Hutch on April 10, 2011.

One Response to “The Plan”

  1. You guys be safe… take lots of pictures, and see LOTS of cool things!

    Looking forward to your return, so don’t screw it up and get thrown in some smelly, over-friendly South American slammer!

    Have fun guys!

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