Day 7 - Getting Colder!

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South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz » Río Gallegos
March 29th 2010
Published: April 11th 2010
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Petrified ForestPetrified ForestPetrified Forest

Looks like a fallen tree trunk, feels like a rock!
On the road early we stopped to watch the sun rise over the Atlantic, realising that we have never actually watched the sun rise before. Not intently like this, seeing the colours change every few seconds. We stopped at lunchtime at a petrified forest. Volcanic activity 150 million years ago covered fallen trees in ash, starving them of oxygen and prolonging the decomposition process. When rain fell, it filtered through the ash into the trees, replacing organic matter with minerals. This process took 8-10,000 years and today the fallen trunks look exactly like natural wooden tree trunks in their colours and shapes. It is only when you touch them that you realise they are solid rock. Crazy!

Back on the bus we finished our second book in a week and have many more hours to stare out the windows and ponder our adventures to come. I still cannot comprehend how long we have out here, and cannot predict what it will be like to spend a few days off the truck, let alone off our Kumuka tour and travelling on our own. But it’s nice (and refreshing for me) to be able to take each day as it comes.

We arrived at our first real "free camp" at 8ish. Like our first camp, we were just in a field (if you can call it that!) at the side of the road but unlike the first camp this did not have toilets... my first wee in a bush since I was a very young child! We were somewhere near Rio Gallegos and it was bloody freezing! We warmed up with bangers and mash by a campfire... amazing!

Chris´s Corner

Along the roadside we spotted many graves, Lucia explained they were built as memorials (not actual graves) to commemorate those who died in traffic accidents at these points. Whilst we had seen many on our journey so far, she said some roads in Peru and the north were littered with them due to the amount of accidents... exciting prospect! Daniel’s friend had said one road in Argentina was known as "the road of death", not because it was precarious but its long straight nature caused many to fall asleep at the wheel (through boredom) and crash.

Our first stop for the day (Caleta Oliva), a town built around its oil industry, generating a landscape filled with refining pumps and subsequently making Patagonia have some of the cheapest petrol in South America. Perfect place to fill our truck (named Tranquilo)’s 14,000 litre tanks!

The Monumento Natural Bosques Petrificados was a spectacular sight, not the blackened trees I had imagined, but a rock-scape and surroundings to take your breath away, 150million years in the making. It was compared by others in our group to the Grand Canyon.. maybe our next trip?!

On the truck I contemplated being out of contact with the world we know and wondered what was going on in the news, especially with Dia de Las Malvinas (Falkands commemorative day) coming up and being so geographically close.

Additional photos below
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16th April 2010

Hey guys! Firstly, I'm going to say how incredibly jealous I am of you both!! I am sat in the office reading your blog (obviously working extremely hard) and even though it's been mainly driving in the truck so far I'm still so jealous, you have the most incredible trip ahead of you!! Secondly, I can't remember if you said your doing this or not but you guys have to cycle the death road in Bolivia if you get the chance....if I remember rightly you go from Cusco to do it and it's amazing.....SO much fun and incredible scenery.....also gets the adrenaline going a bit as your cycling down a very narrow, very bumpy and rocky road with the most insane drop to your side!! It too has lots of memorials all down it due to the crazy amount of people who died on it due to car accidents (still a death a month due to tourists on their bikes mind you so be careful!!)....definitely worth doing :) Anyway, I hope you carry on having a brilliant time and that the truck starts behaving! Loves xxx
16th April 2010

Death road - no way!
Hey!! glad you´re enjoying reading it as much as I enjoyed reading yours! I was worried all the entries were a bit long and boring but of course it´s for us to remember everything as much as anything else. Have though about death road... i saw u did it and chris is keen... but not sure about me! will have a think! hows work going?? xxxxxxxx

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