Sunday, 22 May 2011

the only time I have been grateful for a traffic jam!!

Today would be the first day that I actually started heading back to Buenos Aires though I was retracing my steps of a couple of days before and knew that the lorries were bad and some of the road conditions terrible. To top it all I hit a traffic jam about 5km into the ride and it was not moving at all. In fact people were out of their vehicles and the few cars that were there were parked beside the lorries just to get a bit of shade. It was roasting. Since there was absolutely NO opposing traffic I decided to ride up the other carriageway taking to the hard shoulder when I was approaching bends. 10km later I eventually came across the cause of the jam. A lorry had left the road and gone down a bank and was now being recovered by 2 cranes. But there was a car width gap. So I made an executive decision and decided to ride through it. Hidden behind a truck was a Policia Rodovaria Federal vehicle and they were indicating that I should stop but I would rather stop on the other side of the obstruction and so rode on pretending not to see them. They started up blues and twos and came after me so I pulled over and played the innocent gringo. They were really not pleased, at this stage I am conscious not to upset my American friends, they asked me rather gruffly if I was American. When I said no their demeanour changed completely and the one guy that could speak English very politely asked me for my papers and then started asking me about Daisy. Capacity, how fast, why only an off`road tyre on the front and not on the back etc etc. After 10 minutes they sent me on my way telling me I should be more careful:-) The traffic had been stationary for an hour so I now had a couple of hours of clear road in front of me. Hooray! I then passed 10km of oncoming stationary lorries. If we assume that the average truck is 25m long and that they stop 5m from the vehicle in front and that the number of cars in the queue was negligible. That means that in the 20km long queue of stopped traffic there were 666 lorries that had arrived in the space of an hour. So if you were to stand on the side of the road for an hour 666 lorries would pass you. I hope that puts into perspective what I have been saying over the last couple of days. The volume of freight traffic is enormous!!
I was right I did not overtake another truck until I turned off that road and start to head south down the eastern edge of the Pantanal. Farmland on one side and national park on the other. It was much closer to the Pantanal that I remember. The last time I was here I saw Armadillo, Caymen, Giant Anteaters but the only wildlife I saw was armadillo road kill and 2 wild kids on a motorbike who were determined to race me. I did not have time to scrape up their remeins so I politely declined. I did see a flock of Rhea grazing in a field and one of their distant cousins was determined to add itself as a trophy on the front of Daisy.
Tonights rest stop is Coxim. A small town with a great feel. The craze here seems to be to put as many speakers as possible in the boot of your car and to then park it on the high street and compete with similar vehicles to see who can be the loudest. I like it here!!

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