The truth is that our extra fuel canister made of plastic was leaking, so Lance was smelling of gasoline, which was the first problem. Every time we wen to bed, we could smell the evaporations of the gasoline, so we had to get rid of the extra fuel canister. The second problem was that the fuel gage was not working, and third we didn’t know how many liters the tank could hold. To get rid of all three problems we decided to run Lance dry. We did this between Villa Cerro Castillo and Puerto Rio Tanquilo. Our extra fuel canister was holding 10 liters, and we are doing about 9 km/liter, which gave us extra 90 km, but there was 120 km to Puerto Rio Tanquilo. Lance had already 550 km on the clock since we last time filled up gas, so to be on the safe side we bought 5 liters of gasoline at the local hardware store in Villa Cerro Castillo, before leaving towards Puerto Tranquilo.
Now we just had to drive…
About 60 km before Puerto Rio Tanquilo Lance ran dry
After filling Lance in Puerto Rio Tranquilo, and doing some additions calculations we are pretty sure that the tank is 65 liters, and doing 9km/liter is not a problem, giving us a range of 585 km. What we also found out is, that the fuel gage will turn on the light, when the fuel level is getting really low, giving us an indication, that we can only go 50-70 km before running dry. Now we could finally get rid of the leaking and smelling fuel canister!
From Puerto Rio Tranquilo we drove towards Chile Chico following the southern shore of Lake General Carrera/Lake Buenos Aires. Again we met a couple of hitchhikers on our way, this time out in nowhere. So we picked them up to give them a ride to Chile Chico. They were from Germany – nice to meet you
View across Lake General Carrera
After 170 km on gravel we arrived in Chile Chico. We wen to the local tourist information, and got more information about the cave of hands (In Spanish “Cueva de las Manos”), that should be located just 25 km south of Chile Chico. We got a map over the area and the hike, that would take us to the Cave of Hands. Also the nice lady at the tourist information, told us about a lake full of flamingoes 50 km south of Chile Chico. More excited about the flamingo lake than the Cave of Hands, we bought a little bit of food and found a place to wild camp by the Lake General Carrera.
The next day we headed for the flamingo lake, driving 50 km south on a small gravel road
When we finally came to the lake, we were not sure if this was the right lake. The location was right, but no flamingoes. After looking around we did see a single flamingo standing several hundred meters away. What a bummer ! The flamingoes are still on our bucket list. We also visited the Cave of Hands, but you have to wait a few days, and read more about it in the next post. We have visited the Caves of Hands in both Chile and Argentina, and put together a great post.
So from Chile Chico we crossed the border into Argentina and headed towards the Cave of Hands. As soon as we got on the east side of the mountain range in Argentina, the landscape chanced to dessert.
The the change in Landscape new animals started to show up (Guanacos in the left picture and a rhea (emu) in the right)
The emus were everywhere, and Lance tried to hunt one of them down on the road, but it got away (right picture)
The rhea is a flightless ratite bird native to South America. Other ratite birds are the ostriches and emus. The rhea can grown up to 1.7 meters (5.6 feet) in height and weigh up to 40 kg (88 pounds). Their wings are large for a flightless bird, 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) There are two different kinds of rheas: (1) rhea americana and Darwin’s rhea called rhea pennata. The rhea’s eggs weigh 600 grams (21 ounces), but is still only half the size of an ostrich egg. It can reach speeds of 60 km/h (37 mph), so no wonder Lance was having a hard time catching up on the gravel road.
Not all the Guanacos were that lucky, and several places they have been caught in the barbwire fence
The guanaco is native to South America and are found in high numbers in the region of Patagonia (Chile and Argentina) and in the antiplano of Peru, Bolivia and Chile. Only a small population exist in Paraguay. They can run at 56 km/h (35 mhp) over steep and rocky terrain, and are also excellent swimmers. The guanaco stands between 1.0 and 1.2 meters (3 feet and 3.1 feet) at the shoulders, weighs 90-140 kg (200-310 pounds), and their lifespan is 20-25 years. The guanacos are one of the largest wild mammal found in South America. In the area of Tierra del Fuego the guanacos are being hunted for the meat and skind, so we are hoping to find guanaco meat at a butcher.
The last 300 km we drove in Chile was on gravel, but to our surprise, when we entered Argentina the road was paved again
Still the condition of the road varied, and we had to keep an eye out for potholes
For the first time we felt the wind of Patagonia – it is really difficult to take pictures of windy conditions
We got to the turn off towards the Cave of Hands, and headed down the gravel road into the dessert. We wild camped just 15 minutes before the Cave of Hands, so we could get on the first tour at 9 am to beat the crowd.