April 2 - 5, 2012, Day 175 - 178, ARGENTINA SOUTHWEST


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DAY 175-176, April 2-3, 2012, Bariloche, Temp 20-12C (380/25,430km)

Back to Argentina and the furtherest south I would make it on this trip, San Carlos de Bariloche.  The town is commonly referred to as just Bariloche a beautiful place firmly nestled in the Lakes District.  A couple days in northern patagonia and then some long straight shots to get back to the centre of Argentina were on my agenda over these next 4 days.

I left Pucon saying goodbye to Conor with the words "Ride Safe" meaning so much more that morning after hearing the news of Kevin's death the night before.  It was said that his accident occurred about 20km from Potosi at the start of his day so 20km was locked in my mind now.  A true point to be aware of on any riding day is the first and last 20km because it takes a couple of kms at the beginning to settle back in to the seat and good concentration at the end of the day after riding big distances with the excitement of the destination only minutes away.

There were a couple options to return to Argentina.  I would have liked to take the ferry crossing a little south, but it was not clear if and when the boat was going, etc.  Instead I rode around Volcano Lanin which afforded me great views of it for at least 50 or 60km.  Unfortunately this route had a dirt section, 10km on each side of the border which was probably one of the toughest spots of the trip.  Big gravel!  Pucon to Curarrehue C6R7T1V8 great sweeps in the forested area.  Ah crap!  Curarrehue to the border I had to drop the tyre pressure to under 20psi to help navigate the huge rocks beneath me like riding in a rocky dried up riverbed (worked well!) C8R2/3T1V8.
Heading to the mountain pass to Argentina

Riding beside the river















Riding pavement to the Chilean border before the gravel began.   The gravel section took all my focus so I have no video and few photos.

video

Let the deep rock begin

Villarrica National Park

under 20psi in the tires no problem
yeah right, but a hell of a lot better
than 36psi!

Really peaceful area
Love that they kept this tree





























Border.  Chile = 3 min to hand aduana and get my passport stamped out.  Argentina = Urgh!  35 min due to about a 10 person line.  Great views of Volcano Lanin from this border post.  Only 5 km down the road I was stopped by a check point.  Not the usual checkpoint.  Apparently two Chilean fugitives were on the loose in the area so I needed to take my helmet off and verify my identity.
Bye Chile
Line ups at the Argentina border

A future explorer sets out to
 conqueror

Volcano Lanin was in my sights for a good 30 min

Out of the trees and the gravel




























Back in Argentina and a little excited.

Like I said views of Lanin from
everywhere
video

After the fugitive check point and the last 12 km of gravel it was magic.  Border to hwy 234 C3R7T1V8. Junin de los Andes to San Martin C3/4R7T3V8, then 45km of extremely dusty small gravel and the last 80km on rp 231 and RN40 riding beside lakes and lakes and lakes including Lake Nahuel Huapi all the way to Bariloche C5/6R7T3V8/9 ("The Road of the Seven Lakes").

Rio Malleo bridge on rp 60



Still able to see Volcano Lanin

The colours flowed once I got back in to the forest
and mountain areas on hwy 234


























San Martin de los Andes

San Martin on a nice lake

Sailing too

Video just out of San Martin.  Lots of cyclists on this section of hwy 234

video

Look at those mountains straight ahead!

40km of gravel that was a bit dusty

Lakes District








Close to Bariloche as the sun drops







































Bariloche = beautiful, touristy and expensive.  Set on Lake Nahuel Haupi in a mountainess setting it's really a place to see, but unfortunately it comes with a cost.  I believe I was there in low season, but it was still pricey.  I stayed at Punto Sur which lacks, but has friendly staff and is the cheapest in town.  Bariloche has a very Swiss Alp feel and boasts many chocolate shops and good restaurants.  It's a tourist destination and a definite stop on your way South in Argentina.

RECOMMEND: Eating chocolate, Tony's Grill and South Bar.

Good views from Punto Sur
Hostel and Most places to be fair.

Main Cathedral
Nice gas station to work at.


Plaza Italia
video

One of many Chocolate shops

Damn!

Entrance to Civico Square

Saw a couple of these mountain life savers

Giant Easter Egg under wraps

Civico Square in Bariloche where they were building the world`s largest Easter Egg.

video


Views from Bariloche on to the Lake










Huge steak!  400 grams, 14 ounces

Spot the German in this photo at South Bar.  It's not the
girl from Liechtenstein (1st person I've met from there)










































DAY 177, April 4, 2012, Neuquen, Temp 9-18C (440/25,870km)

Due North. At this point in the trip I was feeling road wary and happy to begin making my way to Buenos Aires for a rest, warmer weather and the company of friends I had made on the way down.  Basically I had been travelling south for over 5 months straight, wow.

Midday out of Bariloche and through some pretty gusty sections to begin the ride and that continued for most of the day.  Ruta 40 to Ruta 237 was amazing C5/6R7T1V8/9 great fall colours, valley and river riding.  Ruta 237 started with a couple curves and then 300km straight C1R7/8T2V6/7 views of Rio Limay between dust storms.

Bye Bariloche

Foothills of the Andes, heavy wind







Last Curves for days

Feet up and cruising

Windy enough to blow up signs

A road block I decided to ride through.  They gave strange
looks but I just continued with my tourist badges flying.

Where there is Wind and Dirt
there will be Dust.

In to Neuquen which must win the award for most traffic lights on a hwy bypass.  Made my way eventually to Punto Patagonica owned by the lovely Mara.  Good thing a friendly neighbour from the community where the hostel used to be let me know the new location (change your website Mara!)  Good to meet the Marco family and thanks for the pizza!

RECOMMEND: Isidoro for lunch and friendly service, Punto Patagonica for a sleep and all you can eat breaky.

Neuquen, I can never say it right.

A very common food, Milanesa =
Schnitzel in English or German

Isidoro

Good cheap wine ranging from $4 to $15 a bottle at most
supermarkets in Argentina.

The Marco family feed me like you
would a strange animal or alien  you
found of the road.

Marcito who always looked like this was touring with
the family and his bicycle

Most of the guests enjoying dinner
 and the foreigner










































DAY 178, April 5, 2012, San Luis, Temp 10-21C (780/26,650)  Bumble passes 50,000km!

A good sleep and good breaky and I was back to straight riding all the way to San Luis which turned out to be a pretty good little town.  Neuquen to hwy 151 C0/1R7T1-4V5/7 prairie with the odd oil well.  Hwy 143 to General Alvear C1R7T1V6 a sprinkle of trees.  Ruta 146 to San Luis was much of the same for the rest of the day C1R6T2V5/6 with a HUGE MILESTONE as the bike clocked 50,000km!  Congrats Bumble Bee.

Not sure why, but they really don't want you to pass here

Me, desert and power lines
Looks pretty straight, next turn in
209 km, what?

Oil Territory



Low Riders in General Alvear

High Riders too

Once again sneaking through when
I'm not supposed to.

50,000km








Celebrating 50,000km, a true appreciation of what happens to the mind of a solo rider.

video

San Luis, I found the only hostel in town that I knew of and hoped for the best as I had to park the bike on the street over night.  Only two big dorms, one for girls and one for guys, but the place was good and there were only 12 of us total so space enough for everyone.  I expected to have a quiet night as I enjoyed my roast chicken and a bottle of wine while I watched "Sons of Anarchy".  Then Karl and the rest of the Norwegians invited me for a drink.  Why not?  6am return...


RECOMMEND: Finding some Norwegians to drink with at a local Karaoke bar in San Luis!

Rolling in to San Luis it seemed a little rough

May be the prison had something
to do with it?

Or the funeral procession?

Or the Gas line ups

The Cathedral of San Luis

Nice central plaza, may be this place ain't so rough

I'm really proud of this dinner, $12
including the bottle of wine.

I love Bon o Bon chocolates!

The Norwegian team - Toren, Ane, Karl and Oyrind (not
in photo)

At Picarlo Bar for Karaoke and
other entertainment 
Sort of a variety of talking, joke telling and karaoke.  Here's a video of some singing if you like...

video

Next up - Central Argentina...and some gun play?

Other Stuff

Ah, Latin America where you can get away with trademark
theft.  Optimus?


Another roadside pray station.
Always in Red 


Colon or Colon?

1 comment:

Tyler said...

Great pics man! Thanks for the good blog :)