Ruta 40 is a wild stretch of road, but it’s all under construction. The part we’re on is about 300 miles of gravel, but with occasional sections of new pavement that still isn’t open. In a few years it will all be paved, so get here now if you like bumpy rides.
The wildlife is pretty spectacular with herds of guanaco (large relatives to the llama), solitary armadillos and groups of flightless rheas. These are the funniest, as they are skittish when they see a car and run away, looking like giant roadrunners.
We drove south and took a detour to visit the Cueva de los Manos – 9000 year old cave paintings. Mostly hands.
We got pretty excited when they issued us hard hats. But we weren’t allowed in the caves, and could only view the hand prints on the outside walls. While it is really amazing that they are over 9,000 years old, they look like someone with spray paint tagged them last week.
The best part of the cave was running into Paul and Camille , riding motorcycles from Idaho. We talked a for a while at the caves, and realized on the road that we go about the same speed. So, when we reached Bajo Carcoles and there was no gas (they said it would be 15 days!), we decided to stick together. They weren’t sure they’d have enough gas to make it to the next fuel station 240 km away. We weren’t sure we could either. But we could always combine gas and 1 of us could make it!
We drove a few more hours and set up camp at an gravel pit between the old road and the new one under construction. It was incredibly windy so we spent the evening hanging out in Red Beard.