Going to Ushuaia, Argentina - Question on Route 40

Discussion in 'Latin America' started by strsout, Oct 9, 2013.

  1. strsout

    strsout Banned Camp

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    Hi,
    I'm planning a trip to Ushuaia this summer (South America Summer) in December.
    There is a 'ripio' (some sort of loose gravel) road linking Rio Mayo to El Calefate, named route 40.
    I'm will be doing it with 2up, in an old R1100GS, loaded.
    Any one did it before? If yes, few questions:

    Is there any gas on those 1000 kilometers? the maps I'm seeing here don't show it.

    Is there any hotels on those 1000 kilometers?

    How bad is that road for a big, heavy bike like GS with 2up?

    Tanks
    #1
  2. TeeVee

    TeeVee His mudda was a mudda!

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    plenty of folks have done ruta 40 t up on big bikes. might actually be better considering the wind.

    check here for excellent info. i wont vouch for the accuracy, but it's local so it may be kept current.

    http://rutanacional40.com/EstacionesServicio.asp
    #2
  3. strsout

    strsout Banned Camp

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    Great site. Thank you for sharing TeeVee!!
    #3
  4. Hache_arg

    Hache_arg End of the world rider

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    is doable.
    ALthought consider a few days. It's not easy to ride 250 miles with much wind.
    Also, the ruta 40 is slowly turning into a paved road. But you have chances to do some unpaved

    If you need any help on argentina, let me know.

    H
    #4
  5. Rafagas

    Rafagas Rafagas

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    Your decitions is very good and intertaining , normaly will find more than 50 bike adventurers, hotel, gas station (some empty).
    Your selected route is hard but absolutly posible, your only have to drive whit prudence and common sence .

    Enjoy it..................
    #5
  6. Caldy

    Caldy Live your Dreams

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    Hi,
    +1 to what Rafagas says. I rode it two up with my wife on a loaded 1150GSA about 6 years ago, coming up from Ushuia. Ripio was deep in some sections, but we took it reasonably slowly and didn't have any real dramas. We were lucky with weather and wind (don't get me wrong - it was still windy!)
    With appropriate planning ,we had no issues with fuel. It was a great ride.
    Enjoy!
    Cheers
    #6
  7. strsout

    strsout Banned Camp

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    Cords and Aash and also Rafagas,
    How many days took you to ride it, from where to where?

    Just so I can plan the miles/day

    Thank you
    #7
  8. roadspirit

    roadspirit Been here awhile

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    Hello strsout,

    I did the section from Perito Moreno city (120 kilometers south of Rio Mayo) to El Calafate in December 2012, riding 2-up on a F800GS.

    There is gas in Perito Moreno, in Bajo Caracoles, in Tres Lagos and in Chalten although you will have to make a detour for that. Keep in mind that the gas stations in Bajo Caracoles and Tres Lagos have gas shortages from time to time. One more back-up option if something like that happens, will be Gobernador Gregores but that is also a detour.

    From Perito Moreno we rode in just one day to Tres Lagos, about 480 kilometers, in one day. We were coming from Chile so we had done also 60 more kilometers, total 540 for that day and we did arive at Tres Lagos at night, ~ 22:00.

    224 kilometeres out of the 480 of that part of R40, were unpaved. A few (about 100 if I remember correctly) were "ripio" with lots of deep gravel and washboards and required some caution and a slow tempo.

    The rest of the unpaved sections were pretty smooth, even though at some points it was quite obvious that IF there had been rain, things could be tough for a 2-up heavy bike, i.e. there would be a lot of mud. We were lucky that it was dry. Also, we didn't experience any wind at all !

    Another thing to note, is that there are construction works on the way, they are paving a lot of the ruta 40. So by the time you go there, the unpaved streches will probably be shorter than 224 kilometers.

    Options for accomodation during the night are in Perito Moreno, in Bajo Caracoles (a hostel), in Tres Lagos (camping and hotel), in the "Siberia Ranch" (located somewhere in between, but the place was an absolute shithole and asked us an insane amount of money for what it is, we skipped). Then in Chalten if you take the detour (expensive place).

    Hope that helps a little.
    #8
  9. Manolito

    Manolito Patagonia guide

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    Hi there!

    Absolutely. Know many folks that did that and with heavier bikes


    Yes, you shouldn't have problems getting gas, but i would recommend carrying some extra fuel because your fuel range will decrease due to the winds

    Hundreds of them and some places to camp

    They are paving the road so you might find some work but if you know you limitations and pay attention, you should be OK.

    If there's something I can help you with, just PM me.
    #9
  10. strsout

    strsout Banned Camp

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    John,
    that helps big time. Thank you for sharing.
    If you won't mind, can I ask couple more questions?
    You wrote that you came from Chile to Perito Moreno, 60Kms. That sounds very interesting.
    How did you manage that? I'm checking maps here, and I see a gravel road from Chaiten to Coyhaique, them more gravel over the Paso Huemutes (spell??) then the border and finally Perito Moreno.
    I'm assuming you took that route.
    How did you do the Puerto Montt to Chaiten?
    and how bad is that Chilean gravel road?
    would you save time doing that instead of Osorno-Barilhoche-Esquel-Perito Moreno?
    I see that there is more gravel there, but how nice is the route?

    Thank you for that extra info. :)

    #10
  11. strsout

    strsout Banned Camp

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    Hi Manolito,
    I will stop by in Rio Gallegos yes.
    Maybe for a night on my way back, so let's keep in touch. I will PM you my email
    #11
  12. roadspirit

    roadspirit Been here awhile

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    Not exactly that route.

    In general, since the northern parts of Argentina & Chile we were heading south going constantly in and out, in and out and so on (Argentina then Chile, then Argentina then Chile ...)

    So, we didn't do Osorno-Puerto Montt-Chaiten, I have no idea about the road conditions there.

    What we did at that part of Patagonia:
    We started from Zapala (Argentina) after returning from CHile once more from the north.
    From Zapala, we followed R40 south only for so little, before turning to R46. We followed that until it intersected with R23 which we rode due south until Junin de Los Andes, then to San Martin de los Andes. From there we followed R234 and then R231 to Villa Angostura.
    Continued along R231 Bariloche.

    Then again to R40 (all paved), to El Bolson, then when R40 intersects with R71 we took that direction which goes through a national park (Parque Nacional los Alerces), with fantastic unpaved sections alongside lakes and forests. Amazing ride. The unpaved road is smooth and easy. Lots of options for camping on the shores of the lakes (we did that).

    Then to Trevelin, then RN259 to Chile.
    In Chile followed R231 until it meets with the famous Ruta 7 "Carretera Austral" and we rode it south to Coyhaique and then to the small village of Puerto Tranquilo (worth a stop and take a boat ride to the marble caves in the lake). Then we circled the lake General Carrera/Buenos Aires on R265 until the border with Argentina. It's from that point that we reached Perito Moreno city and the rest is as described in my previous post.

    Ruta 7 Carretera Austral is a must do. The part in Chile that we did is aprox 700 kilometers of which ~400 are unpaved. Some short stretches (a 100 meters here, a 100 meters there and so on) were technical with lots of deep gravel but if you go slow and with caution there is nothing to intimidate you. It's totally worth it. It's one of the most fantastic places that we saw during our 5 month adventure in south America. We did it in 2 days and under lots of rain. Yet it was simply a pleasure. There are lots of options to sleep for the night along that road.
    #12
  13. GustavoErivan

    GustavoErivan n00b

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    Hi, guys!

    I am planning to go to Ushuaia next summer, too.

    That is my planning, until now:

    24/nov Rio de Janeiro Curitiba 850
    25/nov Curitiba SMMissoes 807
    26/nov SMMissoes Gualeguaychu 821
    27/nov Gualeguaychu Santa Rosa 734
    28/nov Santa Rosa Puerto Madryn 753
    29/nov Puerto Madryn Puerto San Julian 848
    30/nov Puerto San Julian Cerro Sombrero 515
    01/dez Cerro Sombrero Ushuaia 414
    02/dez
    03/dez
    04/dez
    05/dez Ushuaia Rio Gallegos 577
    06/dez Rio Gallegos Puerto Natales 272
    07/dez
    08/dez Puerto Natales El Calafate 281
    09/dez
    10/dez
    11/dez El Calafate Perito Moreno 691
    12/dez Perito Moreno Bariloche 821
    13/dez
    14/dez Bariloche Puelen 620
    15/dez Puelen Mendoza 601
    16/dez
    17/dez Mendoza Rio Cuarto 472
    18/dez Rio Cuarto Santa Fé 430
    19/dez Santa Fé SMMissoes 802
    20/dez SMMissoes Curitiba 807
    21/dez Curitiba Rio de Janeiro 850

    See you.
    #13
  14. Hache_arg

    Hache_arg End of the world rider

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    That part of the road is MARVELOUS. I ride it 1 and a half years ago, and I would do some more riding along that any day. From The border between Trevelin and Chile you can call a La Junta Lodge, and ask them to turn on the water heater for you, and you´ll have a Jacuzzy waiting for you.

    Then you go to Marbel Cathedrals, all along the Carretera Austral, Spend some time around Lago General Carrera, then Labo Buenos Aires, and go trough Chile Chico to Los Antiguos. Eat some meat ( as the 3 crazy adv riders we found on chepo chinese bikes) and then you take back the Ruta 40.

    Good luck, and if you need any help, just tell me.

    H
    #14
  15. o*o

    o*o Adventurer

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    I rode north on 40 last year. Some serious washboard and a dry 'quicksand like' lighter stuff in places for a couple of hundred clicks between Malargüe & Barrancas. I may have missed a gas station in Barrancas or Chos Malal but I had my 9 gallon Touratech tank. Still I almost didn't make it to the station north of the gravel & washboard part of 40. Do not pass any opportunity for gas here and carry extra. :deal

    In this remote part of 40 you will see volcano cones, 'painted' hills and the gorgeous turquoise Rio Grande. Going was very slow due to road conditions. At times 35 kmh.

    I stayed in one of 3 hotels in Barrancas and there are 3 "restaurants" where you eat what the family eats or beef. When I was there I learned what melanaisa was because that was all they had. Good! Wine was a sweet jug wine.

    Between Malargüe and Barrancas plan on carrying gas. You may not find gas until you get to Chos Malal where I foolishly skipped looking for gas.

    To the north of this stretch near San Rafael is a friendly hostel where I was the only guest. It is called the Tree House Hostel run by an American and his argentina wife. It is on Highway 143 at kilometer 497. wifi was pretty feeble if working but beds good and the owners cooked and shared dinner we bought at shops across the street.

    Have a great ride!
    #15
  16. El Forko

    El Forko On the road

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    strsout

    Rode the 40/7 last Nov-Dec...

    You MUST ride Ruta 7 in Chile. And you MUST cross from Baja Caracoles to Cochrane - can't remember the name of the pass, but you´ll see it on the map. Did it with a couple riding 2-up on a GS1150. Gravel all the way, stunning and virtually no traffic.

    Don´t rely on the gas stations on Ruta 40. They routinely run out of petrol. Carry as much spare gas as you can. And I couldn´t for the life of me find the gas station in Tres Lagos.

    If they are still in the process of re-surfacing the 40, and it rains heavily, expect some of this......

    [​IMG]

    Low front fender + Ruta 40 mud = going nowhere!!!

    Enjoy - it´s a really great route (if you aren´t getting hammered by crosswinds!!)
    #16
  17. El Forko

    El Forko On the road

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    Those are some HUGE distances!! What are you riding?

    - 800km+ on Ruta 3 is a seriously long drag - it is the most monotonous road I have ever ridden.

    - Ushuaia to Rio Gallegos in one day is pushing it - 2 x border crossings and a wait for the ferry.

    - El Calafate to Perito Moreno (691km on Ruta 40), that is probably NOT doable. Took me 2 very long days to do Chalten to Baja Caracoles (see photo above). If you get mud or strong winds on Ruta 40, it´s gonna be slow and hard work.

    - Bariloche to Mendoza (1200km) in 2 days will be a lot of riding. That stretch of the 40 is relatively slow.

    When I was down that way in November last year, I was lucky with the wind. I had a couple of really tough days, but I managed to keep riding. If you get super strong Patagonia winds, you may not be able to ride at all.
    #17
  18. Misery Goat

    Misery Goat Positating the negative Super Moderator

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    Ruta 40 is not as difficult as the hype will lead you to believe. Manage your gas and keep an eye on the weather and you'll be fine. I expect the southern sections of 40 are mostly paved by now as I saw lots of construction when I was down there in 2011-12. I suspect I rode what are the last of the dirt sections of ruta 40.
    #18
  19. GustavoErivan

    GustavoErivan n00b

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    Thank you, El Forko. I am riding a Kawasaki Versys650.
    About the distances, I have a few days to manage, if I failure to keep this schedule.
    #19
  20. NomadicOne

    NomadicOne Adventurer

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    I'm in Bariloche now after having ridden mostly Ruta 40 from Cafayate down.

    I've found these sites to be good resources:
    Ruta 40 Official Site - great interactive English map showing paved/unpaved section and gas stations. Click on the English tab, Map tab. Click on the "+i" to open up the Legend and you can click on all kinds of things to see where things are located (e.g. Gas Stations, Paved, Unpaved roads, Loose animals)
    Ruta0 website - Great for putting in start/end points and looking at road conditions on certain stretches. Info about the area you're passing through and potential accommodations.

    Malargüe to Barrancas - Two stretches of gravel. The first one is easy. The second one is as Jay (o*o) described. 50km with lots of ripio (loose gravel) and quicksand like lighter stuff. The 50 km stretch ends 40km before Barrancas where there's a gas station to the right just pass the Neuquen (province) welcome and inspection point. It's not well signed so look for it on the right (heading south). I didn't see any gas station at Chos Malal close to the highway and didn't go into town to look. There is an old one off Ruta 40 but it's not in use. With the wind and my speed, I was getting a bit concerned about whether I would make Zapala without using my extra gallon reserve but made it to the gas station in Las Lajas (57km from Zapala).

    I've seen many ADVriders and people in Ride Reports say there's lots of paving/construction going on and that the entire Ruta 40 will be paved within a year, this year, last year, etc. I read somewhere that Argentina just decided they will pave the whole Ruta 40 for tourism but this will probably still take a couple of years and some sections get beaten up so much by weather I think it would quickly turn rougher (badly maintained asphalt can easily be worst than unpaved roads). Still if weather is okay, wind's not too bad and you take it easy on the loose gravel, sand, mud it doesn't seem too too bad.
    #20