We left Panguipulli about 10:00am maybe a little later than expected after the usual chores, fuel, internet, groceries and a few last photos. It is a really nice little town, not particularly touristy.
We were making good progress along highway 203, having just left the pavement for the gravel when at about the half way point we were stopped by a man with a big stop sign who informed us that the road would be closed until 12:00, a 90 minute wait - so much for the early start!!
The road opened on time and we proceeded in a cloud of dust over some very suspect "road under construction" and eventually arrived at Puerto Fuy about 12:40. The ferry office told us - no reservation needed, simply pay on board. So we just waited in the parking lot with a small number of other vehicles until boarding at 1:45. Boarding was a bit unusual - the handlers got us to reverse onto the ferry so that we could drive off forward at the other end.
The trip on the lake reminded us of Alaska, a narrow water way with steep sided mountains all around. Really beautiful.
From the ferry it was 8 km over a road made from river rocks to the Chile Customs station where we exited the country with no problems. There were only two other groups of people at the station. It was easy and not crowded. A few kms more brought us to the Argentine customs house. This time we were the only customers and formalities were straightforward. Two items of note at this border:
This is the first border at which the customs officials wanted to know anything about the contents of the Tiger. He made a list of our computers and cameras, but got bored after that and stopped.
They did NOT ask to see our Argentine insurance!!
We stopped at a campground just past the border post but could not stay there as we did not have any Argentine money and the lady attendant could not work out how much in Chilean or US - at one point she named a sum that was the equivalent in Chilean of US$140 - no way.
So we continued 40+km along a dirt road to San Martin. We only got a brief look at this town before going to a camping ground and we will spend more time looking tomorrow - but this looks like an up market tourist town in the vein of Banff - actually felt a little like Banff to me. Very helpful and knowledgeable tourist office.
Camping Los Lolen on the shores of the lake. We got directions from the tourist information center. Follow highway 234 south for about 4 km to a right turn that heads down hill to the beach. There was a sign at the turn for the camp ground. Clean toilets, and a promise of hot showers.