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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by MissOrganized, Dec 2, 2012.
Where we came from.
Where we are going.
My trusty steed.
Check out the boots Dirty Poodle is sporting in the previous picture. Duct Tape Chic' version 1.0.
Sometimes you have to improvise in the field.
Wow! Never heard about the troubles in Bariloche! You guys should have gone onto San Martin De Los Andes, only about a half hour from Bariloche.
Seems like Summer has not arrived for you all. Weather looks gloomy/cold.
Eons ago, I worked at a Tourist Dude ranch near San Martin. Led a lot of Horse Back tours for rich Portenos. Stunning country for sure ... I hope to get back there some day soon.
Save travels ...
Grifter, Argentina is going through severe economic and political difficulties at this time. And by the way, San Martín de los Andes is about 7 hours riding north of Bariloche, especially if you take the Ruta de Los Siete Lagos.
Thought #1) I HATE rain! Taking this trip in December/January was deliberate to escape the rain and gloom of Seattle this time of year and now we've done more riding in the rain and gloom that we have in sunshine. I'm feeling a little bitter.
Thought #2) We were in San Martin the day before we were in Bariloche and it was such a sweet little town. I would like to have stayed there another night but in the interest of making forward progress and my excitement to get on to Bariloche, we moved on. I remembered Bariloche being every bit as sweet as San Martin but with more spectacular views, a few more streets to wander down and fabulous Chocolate. As Nivs already described I was sorely disappointed in what Bariloche is today, vs 10 years ago.. I guess nothing stays the same for 10 years but one would like to think lovely things can stay lovely.
So instead of staying in Bariloche a few nights we blasted farther south to Bolson. Bolson is great (and the ride here was nice too -- great roads and spectacular scenery!) and we are staying in a rustic cabin with a tiny kitchen a huge dining room table that can easily seat 16 people. Bolson feels very much like a hippie town and especially so after wandering through the artesian fair this morning. Dreadlocks, weed, handmade clothing, drum circles and picnics are everywhere. The only thing missing is THE FRIKKIN' SUNSHIN!E! (sense that bitterness in my tone?) :)
Due to the ongoing rain (ARGH!), I spent a the afternoon reading a book in the cabin and then wandering to a grocery store for some food to cook tonight. Despite the rain, I do like this place and where we're staying
Thought #3) I finally got a new Mate, Bombilla and fresh Yerba. I was a little disappointed to discover that my taste for Mate has dissipated a little. It's a little too strong tasting for me now. I'll still enjoy it, just because, but when we get to Buenos Aires and have the heat and sunshine beating down on us I will thoroughly enjoy the Terere' style (which is using cold grapefruit soda instead of hot water...I know, sounds gross, but I sure used to love it when I lived here!)
Thought #4) I think I need a few more down days than we've been taking. It always takes a while to get into the groove of traveling and I think I'm almost there, but I think a little slower pace might be in order --not slower as in less miles / time on the bike on ride days but perhaps a few more rest days than we've taken so far.
Thought #5) Does anyone find a huge difference between "Vacation" and "Traveling"? I view what we're doing now as traveling. Not vacation. Both are wonderful and have their places but they're very much not the same thing. I haven't really been traveling in a while and I find that I've missed it and also that I've forgotten that it's a bit harder than vacation.
Thought #6) Oh how I've missed and love Argentine Castellano! It's coming back fast for me the other day the owner of the cabin we're staying in didn't believe I wasn't Argentine because my accent was perfect. I'm sure she could quickly tell that I'm not a native speaker as soon as she realized my vocabulary isn't complete nor are my verb tenses correct a lot of the time. However, it's enough to make me happy.
Thought #7) I really thought Argentina would be cheaper. It's not like we're spending tons of money on places to sleep but where the guide book (a 2012 edition) says a specific hotel should be $15 we're finding them to be more like $50 or $60. I wonder if it's just a seasonal difference or if we're missing something.
Thought #8) We packed a lot of stuff. Probably far more than we needed. But so far the only things that we haven't used yet (aside from some spare parts) are 1) a set of dishes/utensils we got from REI right before we left. Poodle and I are uncivilized and eat straight from the pot when cooking on the camp stove. and 2) some of the warmer clothes we brought for colder weather farther south and 3) a water filter that we don't need.
We were in San Martin the day before. Lovely little town. Wish we had stayed there for two nights instead of blasting on to Bariloche. Oh well. Live and Learn.
Interesting thoughts, MissO. On the mate matter. Chileans use quite a bit of sugar in their mate, as well as celery and other things to enhance the flavor. My wife, however (from Argentina), drinks the mate "amargo" and I don't care for that either.
On your thought #7 - insn't there a thriving "street" market right now in foreign currency? I believe it is about 6.5 pesos to the USD. That should help some, right?
Enjoy your trip south and I hope you will take time to dip back into Chile at Futaleufu. The border crossing is fairly easy there.
Different mind set regards vacationers vs. travelers. "Vacationers" don't really disconnect from life/family at home ... are always on gringo money, gringo time and gringo values. "Travelers" tend towards leaving it all behind. You guys aren't quite there with a 6 week stint ... but at least you've time to cover the area you want to see, take your time and enjoy the ride. Super good. Hope the weather brightens up for you.
Sorry for my screw up on the distance between Bariloche and San Martin.
Ages since I was there. I came up on a Freighter from Punta Arenas, through the Straights of Magellan and disembarked at Puerto Mont. Came over to Bariloche from there ... and even years ago I could see it looked like a Ski Resort in Colorado or Utah. We didn't even slow down. We had friends (and a job) in San Martin, so just kept going.
I spent 7 years on the road in Latin America, only "vacations" since then ... but try NOT to be an ugly American ... learned years ago how to simply be invisible.
I too love Argentine Spanish ... the one dialect I could more or less understand after spending so much time with Argentines. "!Escuchame, Che'"
I loved the ritualistic ceremony surrounding Mate; the sharing, passing and re-filling of the Gourde. I have a question: Has anyone ever seen Mate served in a restaurant? I only ever saw it in peoples' homes ... or places of work. Never in a Cafe or restaurant. Did I miss it?
I found Mate stunningly strong ... enough to keep me up all night if ever consumed after Noon. Powerful stuff ... about triple the caffeine of strong Espresso. Locals are used to it ... not as affected.
Pray For Sun!
Buenos Aires will probably be COOKING by the time you get there. Enjoy!
Heading to this area, including Bariloche, in about 2 weeks. Anything else to be aware of? Hopefully issues like these won't persist.
For communication between bikes, we are using Blackbox radios hardwired to a cord. One y goes to the push to talk mounted on the left handgrip and the other y goes to the headset mic and speakers. It is very simple and works very well. We have no experience with other systems, but this setup has us completely happy. We are not carrying working cell phones, and the radios are great when we split up in towns or in separate hotel rooms at night.<?xml:namespace prefix = "o" ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comfficeffice" /><o></o>
We have been riding through huge amounts of rain. 2 of the push to talk buttons failed. We replaced one with a spare, and dissected the failed units. We sliced open the rubber cover at a seam. This revealed a damp circuit board with a simple switch. When we pushed the switch, water came out of the switch. We sprayed WD40 on all surfaces and used silicone self bonding tape to reseal. We also taped the cord end, which is, I am certain, the moisture entered. We have taped the cord end on all 4.<o></o>
I received an unsolicited email from Adam at Rocket Moto, where we purchased the units. He wanted to make sure things were going well Here is his response:<o></o>
Thanks for the update. I am a bit disappointed with the push button issue. If you can give me some sort of idea what you may pass through in about 10 days, I can get another one to you. Frankly this is an issue that I did not anticipate. <o></o>
I can seal another one up here before I send it. Let me know, and in any event we'll get replacements for the faulty one's when you return back home. <o></o>
Have a great holiday and stay safe.
Outstanding service, great products, Thanks a lot, Adam. I think we have the problem handled, but will contact you in the future if we have any more problems.<o></o>
On Christmas day we crossed the border from Argentina back into Chile at Futuleufu.
We left Trevelin and rode on about 30 miles of dirt road (great road -- well maintained) to cross the border back into Chile. The border crossing was easy and then we rode for another several hours on more dirt roads ( Very well maintained) in some of the most beautiful country I think I have ever seen. At one point I very literally had a tear in my eye because it was so beautiful!
Then around 5 p.m. I really needed a break. Despite the fact that it was a great day, it's still lots of vibration to the body and is tiring so I wanted to warm up a little and get some food. So we pulled over to the side to have a break and Nivs rode on a little ahead just to see if there was a better place to stop. About 1/2 a mile up the road he found a house with a sign out front that said "Coffeeshop" which is very strange sign for Chile and especially strange in the middle of nowhere. So we rode up to there (and keep in mind this is along a dirt road, very much in the middle of nowhere. It's not a town and there aren't really even other houses or buildings around. So we go inside...it looks a little iffy. But once we get past the chickens, two cats and a dog to the front door and get inside we realize it's actually a very nice little home with about 5 tables with bright green table clothes (no one is there but us) and a wood stove. It looks icky on the outside but is warm, clean and inviting on the inside.
I ask to the woman who lives there and runs the "coffeeshop" if we can have something to eat. She says yes, but what would we like? I say "Two of us are vegetarians. Could we have just a sandwich with tomato, avocado and cheese perhaps?" She agrees. We sit down and she brings the guys a coke and I ask for coffee with Milk. After a while...it took quite a while..,she returns to the table with two plates filled with sliced (and peeled) tomatoes and perfectly ripe avocados and sliced white cheese and homemade (AMAZING) white bread that is a little denser than normal French bread. She also brings a third sandwich which I hear was delicious that was filled with some sort of meat and an egg and I don't know what else. We were so hungry and it was so good!
After we finished our Christmas dinner we rode the final 30 miles of the day to La Junta where we found a really nice little cabin that had a woodstove in it and a little clothes washing machine so we gave ourselves a Christmas present of clean clothes and a really toasty place to sleep! :)
On the 26th we continued on the incredible Ruta 7 (also known as the Austral) to Coyhaique. Nivs had quite a bit of trouble with his chain falling off so when we got there and found a nice camping spot he and Poodle started to tear apart the chain and sprocket, intending to replace it with the spare part Poodle brought along. Sadly, it didn't fit Nivs bike so the guys rode into town -- hopefully one of them posts soon about how it all went down but the short version is that "when you need help, it's amazing that the right person materializes to help you" isn't it? They found a guy who spoke English who knew all the bike shops in Coyhaique and was on a first name basis with each. Thanks to him we were able to order what we needed and also got to go watch him and his buddies ride some motocross in the evening.
We stayed three nights in Coyhaique waiting for parts to arrive and this morning Nivs got his bike put back together again. I think he's happy to have his bike back and I'm happy to not be riding with Poodle anymore -- Being a passenger is not fun to me anymore and these bikes were not intended for two!
Today we got a late start and only rode 75 miles or so to Puerto Ibanez. Tomorrow we'll head to Puerto Tranquilo where we hope to do a few tourist outings such as take a boat to the Marble Caves and a Glacier Hike. Our plan after that is to cross the border at Chile Chico and then blast over to Buenos Aires and start saving up on really hot weather and beaches to get us through the rest of our Seattle winter.
I can't believe our trip is already 1/2 over!