After an amazing couple hours in the park at Torres del Paine, we headed north crossed into Argentina without much trouble and drove north along Ruta 40 past El Calafate and El Chaiten. We reached Tres Lagos and discovered that there was a barricade at the road going north. There was no sign that the road was closed so we decided to drive around the barricades and continue. We did see one vehicle coming south but it was a big 4×4 vehicle and after hitting the unpaved section of road we realized that we had made a mistake… the road was totally muddy and impassable with our van without large tires and four-wheel drive. We reluctantly headed back south, we needed more money and Mira’s blanket was left in El Calafate so this seem like a logical place to go back to.
We arrived in town and went back to our old rental, they didn’t have room but they did have Mira’s blanket which was a great relief. We also figured out our old friend and hitch-hiker Rachel was in town. We met up with her and chatted the night away; so fun meeting up with our traveling friends. We did figure out that the Ruta 40 would not be opened anytime soon and so we were forced to back track all the way to Rio Gallegos before heading north along the coast road on the Atlantic side of Argentina.
After grumbling about this major detour we set our minds to the task and drove for our second and third days of 10 hour and nearly 700 km driving each day. We stayed in Caleta Olivia on the first night and then made it to El Bolson only one day delayed. We did drive 2,360 km (1,500 miles) and an extra 867 km (546 miles) out of the way, I had Caroline do the math for a school math question. It was interesting to see the Atlantic coast in Patagonia, but the Argentine Steppe was otherwise flat and uninteresting.
The van was very steady and did have any problems, we will likely get a break job and a tune up in Mendoza but otherwise the car is great!