Sunday 2nd Today was the day we changed direction. We have been heading South mostly on the RN 40 for nearly 2 weeks but it was time to head back to the East Coast. This meant leaving the mountains and the sensational scenery of the Lakes district that had been entertaining us greatly. The shortest way to the East Coast was to head for Sarmiento on the way to Comodoro Rivadavia. We have always found new roads to be interesting and although very different, the two days spent getting to the coast was no exception. Much flatter and drier, the road was pretty good and we started to see a number of animals not sited elsewhere.
Rhea’s, also called Choique’s are just like our emus and frequent similar desolate country. Guanaco are very much like llamas and alpacas, with striking brown and white markings. They also share alpacas’ curiosity as they watch us pass from the roadside. We’re still working on getting a decent photo. We came across a small armadillo on the side of the road and stopped for a closer look. Great looking animals, they are obviously quite common and not road wise as quite a few end up as road kill! Tom and Jen watched condors soaring above some cliffs a couple of days ago and foxes, wild cats and a few unidentifiable animals have been sighted.
Heading South now, we stopped off at Monumento Nacional Reserva Natural Bosques Petrificados, in short, an amazing area of petrified trees – big trees that were knocked down during a volcanic eruption near by, completely covered and over time changed to rock (this is a very simple explanation of a complex process, but I guess you’re not reading this blog for it’s scientific explanations, so be happy!). 30 – 40 metre long trunks, up to 4 meters in diameter turned to rock and lying broken up on the ground – pretty impressive.
The landscape around this area was quite amazing – flat topped mesas and buttes, salt lakes and strange landforms amongst an enormous painted desert – not bad at all!
We hit the coast at Puerto San Julian and caught up with some correspondence, banking and washing before heading to Rio Gallegos, the capital of the state of Santa Cruz. As we speak, it’s 10.00 o’clock on Thursday night and the wind is howling. Our troopy is lurching from side to side but we’re warm and safe inside – we hope!