The Kindness of Strangers

On Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 5:09 PM, phil wrote:

Hi guys.

I have been here 10 days now.
I’m going to try tonight to get through the border via ‘coyhaique alto’  ( the  ruta  240 )
I have bought cooking oil (my truck is diesel)
Apparently the road block should be opened at 18:30 tonight for 30 mins.
So I try.  I will keep you posted of progress.


lets keep in touch,  us  ‘real’  travellers  (ie  years !!!!)  should really stick together.

There’s also a Belgium couple here somewhere in a huge like really big camping car.   I met them 3 days ago but they were looking for somewhere to stay.

There is a nice quiet camp site at bottom of dirt track that leads to the national parque (which is closed – park not camp)
It’s about 1 or 2 kms out of town northwards.


From: Angela
Sent: 02 March 2012 17:36

Hey Phil-

We’ve been here about 8 or 9 days now, too. We are about 10-20 liters short on gasoline to make it to Rio Mayo. We’re trying to find some, but not having any luck.
How did you find out about the road opening? I hadn’t heard that, but we are wanting to leave as soon as we can. Let us know if you get through, and about the gas situation in Argentina. We have some friends in El Bolson who say there is no gas there either.

Are you heading north or south? We’re going south, so hope to catch up with you soon!

Good luck!

On Sat, Mar 3, 2012 at 2:00 PM, Phil wrote:

i  just bought 158 litres of diesel.  yippee.
i stayed last night this side of border.
jst got here at 1pm.

there is a small village five kms this side of border.
it has a ypf  station.   but no fuel this morning.
opposite the ypf is supermarket.  they may sell you some fuel.

so the big issue is if you can get through the road block.  it is about 3kms from town centre.  i am guessing they will open it again tonight at 6;30. you could drive or walk there and confirm.

i will stay here tonight as i have internet. if you do not send me a message after say 8pm then i will assume you have got through roadblock and heading for border at Alto Coyhaique.

tomorrow i will drive and wait approx 30kms from here  of course with fuel for you ~gasoline.

if you do not arrive with me by  12ish  [ midday ] then i will start driving back towards border to find you.

good plan ?


From: Angela
Sent: 03 March 2012 14:26

This is sounding like a good plan. We’ll ask around about the roadblocks today, and confirm with you later this afternoon.

Where exactly are you? Rio Mayo (RN 40) or Alto Rio Mayo (RN 51 south)…or send your GPS coordinates so we know what our goal is.

Also send us the GPS coordinates of where you’ll think you’ll be waiting.

If we make it through the border tonight, we will stop at the little town (small village five kms past the border) and try to buy fuel. If there is no fuel, we will sleep there in our bus. Then, tomorrow morning at 10 am we will start driving towards Rio Mayo. We are certain we will not make it without fuel.  If we do not arrive by 12, then you will know that we are on the side of the road waiting somewhere between the border and Rio Mayo.

We will send you an email tonight to confirm when we leave Coyaique.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!


From: phil
Date: Sat, Mar 3, 2012 at 3:29 PM

Small town 5kms past border :    S45.55403 W71.51834
Fuel station at Rio Mayo             S45.69055 W70.25615      (where I write this from)
Distances   :      to border                         53.5kms
Border to fuel station   :  121kms

I  will wait approx  30kms  from here  ( is that about right do you think ? )  approx gps :   S45.59679 W70.55459

I can only buy 23 litres of fuel, will that be enough ?????


from    Angela
date    Sat, Mar 3, 2012 at 3:52 PM


I doubt we can make it to your waiting point unless we can get more fuel. We believe we can drive about 80 km from Coyhaique (maybe a little more).

We will stick with the plan to start driving from the border town at 10 am tomorrow. We will certainly run out of gas before 11am. So, if you don’t see us by 11am , just start toward us. No need to wait in that random location since we won’t make it. 20 liters of gasoline should be plenty to get us to Rio Mayo!

If we can get gas tonight, we will drive all the way to Rio Mayo and find you.
When we get there, the beers and fuel are on us!

We have heard that the roadblocks will be open every two hours today for private cars, so it looks like we should get through. We are hoping to leave in the next hour, but will let you know for sure when we do.


from    phil
date    Sat, Mar 3, 2012 at 4:00 PM

See you tomorrow.
Somewhere !!!!
I’ll assume plan is good to go but I’ll check emails again in morning before I set out from here.
Good luck.
By the way – the route to the border is very scenic !!!!  (aren’t they all !!)


from    Angela
date    Sat, Mar 3, 2012 at 4:21 PM

We are leaving now. Can’t wait to meet you in the middle of nowhere!


9 thoughts on “The Kindness of Strangers

  • March 5, 2012 at 12:12 PM


  • March 5, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    I’m gonna rough it on down to Whole Foods and pick out something for dinner! Sounds like ya’ll are breaking out. Good Luck.

  • March 5, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    Brilliant! Your blog tales continue to inspire and brighten my day. Wish we were still travelling!x

  • March 5, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    What a relief, so glad to hear you found your way out. Three cheers for the kindness of strangers. Hip hip hooray! Yippy! Yahoo! Enjoy the rest of Patagonia.

  • March 5, 2012 at 4:21 PM

    A toast to Phil & good karma!

    Take care & have fun!


  • March 7, 2012 at 10:09 AM

    That’s just a downright cool exchange there. Kudos to Phil!! 🙂

  • March 8, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    what a great post. the last picture with the gas can nearly brought tears to my eyes!

  • March 12, 2012 at 4:21 PM

    Hooray for Phil! I’m sure he’ll get paid in full. It’s all about Karma — in more ways than one 😉

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