After such a wait for gas we finally hit the road, our destination; a little town called Gobernador Gregores. A small town that route 40 seems to detour to include. We had a couple goals; get an oil change for Alfonso and try to find some wifi after El Chalten’s had been so non-existent. The drive was fairly uneventful so Becca and I started a Harry Potter audiobook (The Goblet of Fire, duh) to help tick away the kilometres of this lonely stretch of highway. We did also deal with about 80kms of gravel in the middle of no where, which adds pretty significant time to the drives. It ended up turning a 300km drive into a 6 hour affair, and somehow Ivan and I managed to refill the gas tank with a bad jerry can and the top half of a pop bottle in gale force Patagonian winds.
With no where to be and no timelines, the drives are a fun part of the adventure. One of the more exciting parts of the drive that day included finally seeing an armadillo! We watched a little creature scurry across the road and then I slammed on the breaks while the rest of us basically jumped out of a moving car to chase after the (surprisingly fast) armadillo. He was a lot cuter than we expected him to be!
We arrived in Gob Gregores (as it is called by highway signs) and found a YPF (Argentina’s main gas station). The YPFs have been good to us, since you can usually camp for free and normally have fairly nice bathrooms. Once in a while, they’ll have a free shower, and some pretty good wifi. We pulled in with high hopes to find out the wifi wasn’t working, so we went to explore the town for mechanics, wifi and beer. After successfully finding 2 of the 3 (it was Easter Monday, no mechanic was open) we settled into Alfonso for a lazy afternoon. Dinner was empanadas at a restaurant close to the YPF and after dinner Becca exclaimed that she was going on an empanada strike. I guess that’s fair, they’ve been a staple in our diets for a couple weeks now.
The next morning, we found an amazing bakery that had good wifi and even better pastries (although the coffee was absolutely barbaric – Becca). We spent a couple hours in there testing their various sweets and stealing wifi to catch up on our blogs and social medias (as the kids are calling them).
Then the real adventure began, which was attempting to get Alfonso an oil change. Honestly the whole story is kind of boring, and includes a lot of google translate, purchasing an entire 10L bucket of oil, and having a guy explain how to siphon gas out of the car (we really aren’t sure how we got there). In the end, a very helpful though somewhat reluctant maintenance shop owner pulled a huge bus out of his hanger and let Alfonso pull in to the back of the shop. The shop owner did the oil change himself while we waited, and at the end of the whole debacle used his own oil and didn’t charge us a penny. We gave him a beer that we had tucked away (a full litre beer, we aren’t that cheap) and he happily accepted. Thank goodness too, because we had about $30 worth of pesos between the lot of us as the bank wouldn’t let us withdraw cash (and absolutely no where in this town did someone accept credit card). Needless to say, by the time the second morning in this town came around, we were really ready to keep movin’.