forks in the road the cookbook

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  1. Quick facts
  • Total days on the road: 586
  • Currently in: USA
  • Miles Driven: 36821
  • Countries Visited: 17
  • Days Camping: 389
  • Days Indoors: 202

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Argentina

The long awaited country of Argentina! We arrive from San Pedro de Atacama in Chile and hit the Ruta 40 and head south to Mendoza over a few weeks. From there we cross back into Chile to don’t re-enter Argentina until we are in Patagonia. We head south to Ushuaia and visit Tierra del Fuego, and then north again up the Ruta 40 and across to Buenos Aires.

This is where we list our trip updates and shenanigans. We also publish information on border crossings, our budget, accommodations, campgrounds and wifi and internet availability.


Uruguay to Argentina at Concordia : Border Crossing

Written by Kobus on May 6, 2013

This article is part of our Border Crossing Report series.

Uruguay to Argentina BorderBorder name: Salto or Concordia
Closest major cities: Salto, Uruguay to Concordia, Argentina
Cost for visas: $0 (Not including previously paid reciprocity fees for Argentina, see note below)
Cost for vehicle: $0
Total time: 45 minutes
Date crossed: Saturday March 30, 2013

The Steps

  1. Drive past the out-of-commission Uruguay border buildings, over the bridge and keep going, past the welcome to Argentina signs until you finally see the border buildings across the road. Park wherever.
  2. Go into the building on the left. Get stamped out at the first counter, Uruguay immigration.
  3. Hand over your Uruguayan vehicle permit.
  4. Go to the Argentinian immigration counter. Hand over passports and reciprocity receipts (if required). They will be returned with a small slip of paper that records the number of people in your vehicle. This is your ticket to leave the border area.

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Patagonia Budget Recap

Written by Jared on April 28, 2013

This article is part of our Budget and Money Report series.

Our per diem expenses cover food, lodging, gas and other supplies and travel costs for three people. We travel in a 1997 Toyota 4Runner, tent camp in paid facilities roughly 70% of our nights and eat less than 10% of our meals in restaurants. This budget does not reflect personal spending money, which is mostly used to buy souvenirs and booze. We don't track this money, but we do know we have not come close to spending our budgeted amount of $10 per person per day.


I'm going to try something a bit different for this budget recap. For two reasons: first, our esteemed, much valued and irreplaceable budget book flew the coop somewhere around our second ferry crossing of the Strait of Magellan. This leaves me with a three week gap in the records that cannot be reconciled, meaning a per diem breakdown is impossible to calculate.

Secondly, and much more importantly, Argentina is a financially screwed up country at the moment. Yearly inflation is estimated to be around 50% which has hugely devalued the currency. To compensate. the government has enacted a series of policies to attempt to stabilize the Argentinian peso and keep stores, money changers and banks from increasing rates and prices faster than citizens can keep up with. Quite a few of these policies are unpopular and are viewed by many as being ineffective.

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Bariloche to Buenos Aires

Written by Kobus on April 27, 2013

Giant Metal Flower in Buenos AiresStart: February 28, Bariloche
Finish: March 23, Buenos Aires
Pounds of meat devoured in one sitting: 7
Times Luis did the dishes: 1

Three days after the self-inflicted meat coma that resulted from the Badass Bariloche Bovine Bonanza we head to the Argentinian lakes district for a little fresh air and maybe some salad. We finish the last photos for the upcoming cookbook and haul it to Buenos Aires to get some pages added to passports and visas for Brazil.

We spend nearly a week in a amazing apartment with our totally famous friends Luis and Lacey from Lost World Expedition. And finally meet up with Ruined Adventures before gorging ourselves on the best steaks and miscellaneous cow innards we have had on our journey thus far.

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Southern Argentina and Tierra del Fuego Campgrounds and Hotels

Written by Jessica on April 4, 2013

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How to Host Your Own Badass Bariloche Bovine Bonanza

Written by Kobus on April 2, 2013

02 badass bariloche bovine bonanza

Start: February 28, Bariloche
Finish: March 4, Bariloche
Number of Overlanders Gathered: 24
Pounds of Meat Roasted:  66
Hungover Mornings Endured: I don't remember

It was nearly two months ago when we began planning what was to become the first annual Badass Bariloche Bovine Bonanza. Emails were sent, facebook messages posted, twitter feeds spammed. Overlander all-calls sent There's gonna be a party in Bariloche!

Maybe it was the time of year, or the location, or the fact that totally famous people were going to arrive (Yes, Luis Enrique Getter was there). Nine different rigs turned up, 24 hungry people, some on their way north, others south. Even Stephan and Swantje, who had less than 10 days to get to Montevideo to catch a flight home. Crazy, yes. Epic, absolutely.

And so, rather than recounting this event in it's fully glory, we've decided it's better to make an instruction manual for all of those en-route. May the Badass Bariloche Bovine Bonaza live on, forever!

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Ushuaia to Bariloche: Dirt Roads and Free Beer

Written by Kobus on March 16, 2013

01 header

Start: January 29, Ushuaia
Finish: February 28, Bariloche
Number of Overlanders it Takes to Change a Light Bulb: Five
Flat Tires on the Ruta 40: Too Many
Armadillos Seen: One Half

Fresh off the Antarctic ship, we spend a few more cold and windy nights in Ushuaia trying to get caught up on work. Then we head in a new direction for once, north! We meet up with old friends for a day of arts and crafts, then carry on to some serious day hikes in Torres del Paine and Fitz Roy.

From El Chalten we drive back up the worst of the Ruta 40, withstand a few more torrential downpours before being told of free beer at a campground in El Bolson. We race up north, for (mostly) free beer, enjoy another (mostly) sober work day before heading to Barliloche to prepare for a huge overlander gathering.

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The Great Lamb Roast of El Calafate

Written by Jessica on February 16, 2013

corderro patagoniaStart: January 15, Puerto Guadal, Chile
Finish: January 29, Ushuaia, Argentina!
Meals of Lamb Eaten: Nine
Terrible Campsites Endured: Two
Antarctic Cruise Tickets Purchased: Three

After a stunning few weeks on the Carretera Austral we spend a relaxing work day in Puerto Guadal and then race to El Calafate for a lamb roast with the reunited crew from Thanksgiving. We camp at a few terrible places, brave the Ruta 40 dirt roads and arrive in El Calafate a day early to get the lamb preparations in order.

Then, we book our last minute Antarctic cruise and race south to Ushuaia in time for one last workday before boarding our ship to the seventh continent.

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Chile to Argentina at San Sebastian: Border Crossing

Written by Jessica on February 10, 2013

chile-argentina-flag

This article is part of our Border Crossing Report series.

Border name: San Sebastian
Closest major cities: San Sebastian, Chile and Rio Grande, Argentina
Cost for visas: $0
Cost for vehicle: $0
Total time: 20 minutes, plus 20 minutes driving
Date crossed: Saturday January 25, 2013

The Steps

  1. Stop at the Chilean border building just on the other side of San Sebastian.
  2. Go to the immigration counter and hand in your passports and tourist cards. The official will stamp both and return your passports.

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Chile to Argentina at Chile Chico: Border Crossing

Written by Jessica on February 9, 2013

chile-argentina-flagThis article is part of our Border Crossing Report series.

Border name: Rio Jeinimeni
Closest major cities: Chile Chico, Chile and Los Antiguos, Argentina
Cost for visas: $160 reciprocity fee for US citizen (pay in advance!)
Cost for vehicle: $0
Total time: 30 minutes
Date crossed: Wednesday January 16, 2013

Notes

Reciprocity Fees: Argentina recently changed their rules for collecting reciprocity fees for US, Canadian and Australian citizens. Fees were previously only collected if you entered via a major airport. Now fees must be paid online and in advance for all border crossings, including land borders. Go to this website, pay your fee and print the receipt. Take this with to the border. The current fees are: $160 for the United States (valid for 10 years), $100 for Australians (valid for 1 year) and $75 for Canadians (valid for one entry) or $150 (valid for multiple entries).

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Northern Argentina Campgrounds and Hotels

Written by Jessica on December 27, 2012

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Northwestern Argentina Wifi & Phone Report: Worse than Expected

Written by Jessica on December 26, 2012

This article is part of our Internet and Phone Report series.

Northern Argentina Service providersGeneral availability: Medium
Quality of bandwidth: Low
Frequency of internet in campgrounds: Low
Frequency of internet in hotels: Unknown

Areas Visited

We spent four weeks in Northwestern Argentina. We crossed from San Pedro de Atacama Chile and essentially drove south along the Ruta 40 to Mendoza.

Overall Availability

Internet availability is surprisingly low for a country I would otherwise consider first world. There are still internet cafes in most towns, although the hours they keep are very sporadic. Most places close for a very long siesta between 1-5pm every day.

Campgrounds rarely have internet, but there is so much camping available you can't really complain. Usually in large cities one of the municipal camping areas will offer wifi.

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Northwest Argentina Budget Recap

Written by Jared on December 20, 2012

This article is part of our Budget and Money Report series.

Our per diem expenses cover food, lodging, gas and other supplies and travel costs for three people. We travel in a 1997 Toyota 4Runner, tent camp in paid facilities roughly 70% of our nights and eat less than 10% of our meals in restaurants. This budget does not reflect personal spending money, which is mostly used to buy souvenirs and booze. We don't track this money, but we do know we have not come close to spending our budgeted amount of $10 per person per day.


We have a total of 120 days on the books between Chile and Argentina. Like most overlanders we'll be crossing back and forth between the countries several times over the next four months. To make our our next few budget recaps useful, we're cutting Argentina into two separate articles and publishing a third to include all of our time spent in Chile, with one exception. The three nights we spent in San Pedro de Atacama after exiting Bolivia and before entering Argentina are included in this recap.

In order to make life easier for us, our Chile and Argentina budgets are identical. However, as we've come to find out, Chile is quite a bit more expensive than Argentina. It may prove to be a challenge to stay on budget. Ideally we will be quite a bit under budget in Argentina to make up for cost overruns in Chile.

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A Thanksgiving to Remember

Written by Kobus on December 18, 2012

Me and a pig head. Delicious, delicious cheak meat.

Kilos of Pork Consumed: 23
Shopping Carts Demolished: 1
Hours Spent Roasting Pig: 7
Hours Spent Debating Method of Roasting Pig: 12
Nationalities Represented at Thanksgiving: 5

Porkapalooza, Pork-o-Rama, The Great Argentinian Pig Roast, Porksgiving, Porkfest, Operation Pork-off 2012. We don't really have one name for what happened this Thanksgiving. Nailing it down to one specific term just doesn't seem fair.

What do you get when you put eight overlanders in the same campground with entirely too much alcohol a mere three days before Thanksgiving? A master plan so convoluted, so genius and so stupefyingly delicious that even now, nearly a month later, still has us shaking our heads and dreaming nightly of disembodied pigs.

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Mendoza: Do we ever have to leave?

Written by Jessica on December 10, 2012

blue in Argentina

Start: November 13, Londres, Argentina
Finish: November 20, Mendoza, Argentina
Consecutive Nights Camping: 26
Walmarts Visited: 2
Nights Spent Grilling: 7

From the rainy town of Tafi de Valle, we head back over the mountains and work our way ever southwards. Our goal of having epic charcoal fires and grilling ridiculous amounts of prime Argentinian beef continues unabaited.

We hit Mendoza extra stinky and ready for a few days break. And rendezvous with some old and new friends, we sample entirely too much wine, a load of unhealthy yet delicious foods, and start planning our Thanksgiving feast.

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The Ruta 40

Written by Jessica on December 4, 2012

Grape vines at a winery near Cafayate, Argentina.

Start: November 6, Salta, Argentina
Finish: November 12, Tafi de Valle, Argentina
Cute puppys almost adopted: 1
Wines tasted: I don't remember
Argentinian tents setup 20 feet from ours: 12
Flat tires repaired: 1

From our northern hideaway in the hills we head south to the city of Salta. Ready to stock up on supplies. After all it has been nearly three weeks since we'd seen a supermarket. We set out to find a decent-sized propane tank for our stove, since we haven't been able to buy the one pound tanks since Ecuador. A task that seemed easy, and yet took two days to complete.

Fueled up and stocked up we hit the famous Ruta 40 and enjoy some nice dirt roads for a change. The meat situation is a amazing, and camping incredible. Argentina knows what's up! Better yet, we soon hit wine country and spend several intoxicated afternoons pretending to be much more sophisticated than we actually are (Jared stayed at the campground).

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Hello Argentina, Where Have You Been All My Life?

Written by Jared on November 27, 2012

The Valley of the Moon in San Pedro de Atacama.

Start: October 29, San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
Finish: November November 5, Tilcara, Argentina
Countries To Date: 15
Pounds of Beef Grilled: 6
Hours Spent Waiting in Line at Chilean Border: 2.5
Rodeos Seen: 1

To say we were a bit giddy during this week would be an understatement. After a rough (but rewarding) three days in Bolivia's Southwest Circuit, we were ready for some first-world comforts. Paved roads, supermarkets, good food and campgrounds with a list of amenities that goes beyond toilets and showers that are hot four hours per day.

From Bolivia we crossed into Chile and drove to the tourist town of San Pedro de Atacama. We made the decision to skip the remainder of northern Chile, much to my exagerated disappointment. The Atacama Desert stretches for hundreds of miles along Chile's western coast and includes some of the driest and most desolate climates to be found on Earth.

Instead, we opted to cross immediately into Argentina and make our way slowly south towards Mendoza and wine country.

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Chile to Argentina at Paso Jama: Border Crossing

Written by Jessica on November 26, 2012

This article is part of our Border Crossing Report series.

chile-argentina-flagBorder name: Paso Jama
Closest major cities: San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, Susques or Salta, Argentina
Cost for visas: $0 (See reciprocity fee update below!)
Cost for vehicle: $0
Total time: 2 hours in Chile, 1 hour 15 minutes in Argentina (on the start of a holiday weekend)
Date crossed: Thursday November 1, 2012

Notes

  • The Chilean border offices are in San Pedro de Atacama, there are no offices near the border. If you entered from Bolivia's southwest circuit, you are returning to the same offices where you were stamped in.
  • Insurance is mandatory in Argentina and is NOT available for purchase at the border crossing. See below on how we arranged insurance.

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