Mendoza, the Rio Grande, and our bikes start to fall to bits!
After a fun day of hooning on mudflats and failing to bribe police with toffees we rolled into Mendoza late afternoon. We had again found a decent hotel (it had a lift!) at an unbelievably good price of $60 NZD including breakfast!
We were dirty and sweaty after a days riding and mid 30s temperatures by the time we arrived and after a hour or so we were out exploring and finding an outside table to sample some wine!
We had only planned to stay in Mendoza for one night but we loved the city and the relaxed vibe and ended up exploring and staying for 3 nights.
We had to get more cash and this time ended up going to a little room behind a row of pawn brokers to change our American dollars!
On the 27th February we headed south again down the ruta 40.
There was section of road that we had to tackle along the Rio Grande that was notoriously bad for deeper gravel and sand sections, it was also incredibly remote if anything did go wrong. Bec was nervous after seeing a video of a lady who had come off quite badly a few weeks previously.
The road was rough in places; not only deep gravel and sand but also savage corrugation that rattled the bikes and started doing damage to our front mudguards.
Bec had to stop twice as the fuel cans she was carrying rattled loose and then about half way through Nicks chain came off so we had to pull over and sort that out in temperatures in the 40s!
Nature called and we needed a toilet stop and had to squat behind some of the nastiest thorn bushes we have ever seen! Ouch!
The scenery was beautiful with lots of little volcanos and this vast expanse.
The gravel road only lasted for 80-90kms but the fact we had to keep stopping for repairs and water meant it took longer than expected so it was another 7pm finish by the time we rolled into our accomodation at Chos Malal.
We were asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow!
The following day we crossed back into Chile at the small border crossing of Paso Pino Hachado and ate our pack up lunch overlooking the valley before crossing the border again ...with no food that could be confiscated!
We also saw our first Chilean Pines ...or Monkey Puzzle trees!
Our destination that night was Villarica and some dear friends that we hadn't seen for over 10 years and had always threatened to visit one day!