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Day 84 – Two Days on Ruta 40: . . .And The Reality

January 2, 2011

Location: Ruta 40 between Perito Moreno and El Bolson, Patagonia, Argentina

Date: Sunday, January 2, 2011

Okay. We’ve established that Ruta 40 is legendary. What it’s legendary for is less clear, but I’ll leave that call up to those with better judgment. What do I know? I liked Notting Hill and wasn’t that impressed with The King’s Speech.

Ruta 40 has taught me something about Argentina, though: there’s a hell of a lot of it. The country just doesn’t end. It goes to the horizon and just when you think you’ve reached the end, it keeps going. Best of all, here in the middle, it’s flat.

And empty. Rarely a building in sight. For over 400 miles (670 km) between Perito Moreno to El Bolson it’s nearly all plains. It’s the width of Nebraska, but with more dirt roads and almost no truck stops. Nothing.

I cannot emphasize that enough. I would fall asleep for a couple of hours, wake up, and it’d be the same scrub brush, the same sky, and a few hills off in the distance that I prayed were different than the one’s I’d seen before. Why is this road famous again?

If the zombie apocalypse comes, people out here won’t notice other than when their satellite TV goes out. Zombies ain’t makin’ a trek over hundreds of miles of barren land on foot. And the people here? I don’t think they get out much.

Even our mid-day stop for lunch mirrored the desolation. There were buildings, but few people. Perhaps the zombie apocalypse has already visited this place, gone, and we outsiders didn’t notice. The town supposedly supports the surrounding ranches and farms. Funny, but never saw any of those from the road.

Getting into El Bolson during a rainstorm didn’t help. Nor did not having any accommodations or a map. Minor problems, really. Bit of a pain in the ass, but I’ll take pain over 12 hours of numbness any day of the week.

GALLERY: Click through to see the most exciting sights of the day: snacks and a Trainspotting-ly clean squat toilet.

Mervyn is a traveler who brings too much, eats too much, and writes way too much.  To learn more, read his overwritten FAQ or flip through the archives.

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