Friday, 1 May 2015

San Martin To Neuquen

Saying goodbyes and thank you we headed to the pass to Chile side, as we got further north the ash was thicker, making it to the border was an effort, the ash in places 100 - 150 mm deep.

Our greeting was a closed AND locked gate

P1240763 by twomotokiwis, on Flickr

The Argentine border guard said closed, we asked if he could check further, making a call to Chile side seems they had got a lot of ash the previous night, the Chileans saying it was open but worse on their side so not advisable.

After discussions with the guard and the help of finding local conditions we agreed we were heading the wrong way, our quest to see this part of Chile taken away and our around the block plans changed again.

Back down the road and up to Junin de los Ande we tanked up and made a break for Neuquen to see Victor and Liliana.

The road now amoungst road traffic was impossible, the semi trucks making dust storms of epic proportions, eye watering with grit and no visibility it was going to be a long day.

About 80 km east the dust on the road started thinning and we had better visibility and able to pass trucks and be able to see past them, we even managed to snap a pic making the place look normal

P1240775 by twomotokiwis, on Flickr

40 km out of Neuquen the front tire was loud, wobbling the steering it was apparent we had a flat tire.

Having broken our pump on the Carreterra Austral meant we could not pump it up, I dropped the speed to about 80 km/hr, enough to make to tire standup with gyroscopic force but slow enough if we had an issue we could hopefully stop without being biffed off.

9 km out it was flat, we pulled into a YPF gas station and filled the tire, it was going down quicker so we made a break for it, it lasted 1 km before it popped seeing the rim land on the casing and us wobbling profusely, I contained it just and we road for another 1 km before finding another YDF, this time we decided to change the tube....actually we had no choice

The ash laden air making for a nice sunset

P1240787 by twomotokiwis, on Flickr

P1240788 by twomotokiwis, on Flickr

I did the job in 15 minutes but the last 1 km took its toll on the tube destroying it ripping the valve completely out….rubbish.

P1240786 by twomotokiwis, on Flickr

On our way again we found our way to Victors house substantially late than planned.

I made a small vid which better explains the dust, worth a watch for a larf.

Next up, Doctors, Dentists, Dust & Distress

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