PATAGONIA, ARGENTINA

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Argentina is a part of any trip to the southern Andes because Chile splinters to smithereens down south, and ferrying a truck gets to be an expensive proposition for 3-5 sea journeys.

After this road trip, I am convinced the longest distance between two points is a Patagonian road, and the longest of these are in Argentina.  The country is roughly a million square miles, and I am pretty sure I saw most of these.  Alaska, my previous champ for sheer vastness is about two thirds as big.

From the lovely Lake District, dotted with volcanoes, and (you guessed it) lakes of varying degrees of hugeness, the road veers off to the Atlantic, and then back to Chile and meanders in between.  Sometimes on gravel.  Lots of gravel.  This part of Argentina is in the “rain shadow” of the Andes, and is extremely dry.  Empty too.  Gauacanos, rheas and a few fox are the few wild critters one sees.  There are a handful of estates scattered here and there in wet draws, with no fences save for the ones lining the road.  Not just for a few miles, or a few hours, but for days.  I have no idea how they gather the few sheep, cattle and horses I saw.

This sort of emptiness reminds me of southwestern Wyoming, multiplied by about 10,000 times.  It gives one time to think about life’s important questions, such as “Where in the $^@# are we???”, “Does this road ever end????”, and “Our spare can of fuel better be full”.

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