Wind is a very interesting phenomena and we have been experiencing it in spades. Yesterday we planned a little excursion up to El Chalten to look at another Andean gem--the Fitz Roy massif. A short 200+ km putt up, overnight in a nice hostel, and then back to El Calafate today.
The wind howled most of Sunday night, but eased up by dawn. We were on the road a little after eight and headed east out of town with a good tailwind. All hell broke loose when we made the left turn north on to Ruta 40. We now had a direct, gusty crosswind of at least40-50 mph (60+ was forecast). We hugged the center line of the road in order to have an empty lane to use when the strong gusts hit us. After about 5 km, Ross pulled over in the wind shadow of a small hill to consult with the rest of us; it was unanimous--we turn around and head back to El Calafate. A big 4WD tour vehicle pulled up next to us and offered to drive in the left lane and protect us from the wind, but we declined the offer, got ourselves turned around and headed for the barn.
Once back at the hostel we regrouped and decided to take the bus which left at 1300. We eventually boarded a very nice motor coach and left right on time. All went well until we got to the police check point on the edge of town. The road to El Chalten was closed due to the high winds!! Back to the station, fares refunded, rooms procured at the hostel and El Chalten abandoned for this trip.
What’s next? No gas in town now due to the lack of tankers that were also stopped by the road closures. We used 70 km worth of gas on our outing yesterday; there might be gas 160 km down the road, or we may have to go all the way to Rio Gallegos…… If we drive about 50 mph, we think we can stretch the fuel and make it all the way. We may have a quartering tailwind which will help--stay tuned!!
PS I'm working on a Top Ten List of Things You Always Wanted to Know About Wind and Motorcycles--I already have 15 things :-)