This entry has to be split in two, so much to show it deserves two entries.
Going in to the day little did I know how it would unfold, to use the words simply mind blowing, is an understatement.
As yesterday was a rather late one, I decided I would at least have the complimentary breakfast, a buffet breakfast of stale croissants, packet coffee, orange juice that tasted like cordial and small pieces of stale bread, ohh and some ham and cheese, great complimentary breakfast, eggs, and proper coffee was to be charged to the room, god knows what they wanted to charge, I managed to find a few fresh croissants and bread, made myself a ham and cheese sandwich and off I went.
The mission for today was to get through to Puente Del Inca, maybe they had opened the pass by the time I go there, ohh and to try and get a coffee.
It was 9am, I drove around Mendoza CBD for a good 30min and nothing, I mean nothing was open, not even the kiosks, I realise everything starts later in the day here, but 9:30am and still not a sign of life anywhere, ohh well water it is.
On to Route 40.
I had my first experience putting fuel in the car, converted, $2.45AUD per litre, and we thought we had it bad, all gas stations here are non self service, you have to give the attendant the keys then pay at the pump, and cash only, great there goes my receipts.
Gas tank full, car stocked with travel supplies and Uspallata awaits.
Driving past Potrerillos Dam again I wanted to capture a different view looking back down the dam towards where I took the shots yesterday.
The day before I noticed the sign in the below image and knew I had to go in and explore, Brenda can attest to my ‘exploring’ in to private property 🙂 hey I just want photos nothing more.
A mere 200m from the main highway and there lies a little resort, ‘Cabanas’ they are called, very cool, very peaceful, but wait there is more, as you traverse the steep rocky incline of a road there are abandoned homes, well they look like homes, then all of a sudden i see people, there is nothing else here, no shops, for 100km in either direction nothing, and there are a people here, living their lives, this country continues to amaze me with how many people live and so simply.
I also found a cool little hut, this area looks like it may well be a ski resort town of sorts, but this place doesnt look like it has been lived in for quite some time, then out of nowhere a horse appears, to me random, but as the day went on not so random.
Tunnels and mountains, crazy big
All of a sudden, Poplar trees appear, you know you are coming in to the outskirts of Uspallata.
The day before I noticed what looked like an abandoned village, i made me way off-road for about a kilometer, I couldnt believe people used to live like this, then all of a sudden a horse appears out of a stable, then dogs, then people, wow, I stopped to take a shot of the horse but nothing more, who knows what locals think of tourists, I wasn’t prepared to find out, I wasn’t going to be stupid and rude and get out and walk around taking photos like a dumb tourist would, so I took off, again its crazy how these people live and so simply, no technology, they have electricity and running water but that’s it, very humbling.
Poplar tress line every street as you drive in to Uspallata, at this time of year its quite stunning, the bright yellow against the brow/grey rock offers a great contrast.
Now, Puente Del Inca, as I mentioned in my previous entry, no go, apparently yesterday was one of the last days of the season before it all closes down due to the weather, I tried to take a photo of the Policia but they didn’t look to impressed so didn’t push my luck, having said that, I had come all this way and was determined to try and get through some how especially considering they were letting some cars through, I wish I spoke the language to get my way past the guys with guns ;).
I checked my GPS and there looked to be a road that met up with the highway about 10km ahead, found my access road and away I went, about 10min in and I came over a small ridge and a river blocked my path, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! that put an end to my chances of getting through.
As the road is a major route to Chile, trucks make the long journey, however, as the road was now a no go zone the trucks were halted in their tracks, all lined up in a holding area, I don’t know for how long, but there were hundreds of them,
Driving back in to town I noticed this little tyre shop, I had seen it the day before but taken no notice, I later found out the only way through was with snow chains, and this guy was doing a roaring trade, I sat and watched for about an hour, he was on his own and probably 20-30 cars came by put in their order and he started making them, i wasn’t prepared to do this, especially with a rental.
It was getting close to 4:30pm by now so I needed to get moving back to Mendoza, I could either go the same way back or use the other road, looking at google maps the ‘other’ road got me back in to Mendoza, looked a little more twisty but that’s cool, I had plenty of time and the road I came in on was a good road, so it should be the same right? shouldnt take to long right?, ohh how wrong was I, I had 130km to travel, I left at 4:30pm and didnt arrive in to Mendoza till 9pm, click here for the second part of this epic day of adventure.