SOUTHERN ARGENTINA

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DAY 1003 SAN MARTIN LOS ANDES – LAGO MACHONICO

START 1O:00 FINISH 16:15 (01/12/17)

DISTANCE 35M RIDE TIME 3H06

I am so fortunate when people are willing to host me. It is such a great help. Especially in Argentina. I am finding it so expensive here………..that my money is going to disappear so quick. I have had to avert to only buying the simple basic foods. I’m in the mind now to get back to Chile as fast as I can.

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I finaly started cycling out of town around lunch time heading South along lake Lacan. Then it was a big climb inland through forests and passing small Mapuche comunitys. Near the top. The forest disapeared and it became very open. There was a river that split in two. Part of it went left and ran out to the alantic ocean. The other half went right and ran out to the parcific ocean. I dropped a little bit and started to pass some nice lagons and lakes. It had been a hot and sunny day. Out of nowhere came a thunder storm.

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I quickly found a place just off the side of the road in some bush to put my tent up. Just in time before the rain came. Tho the thunder was loud…………it only turned out to be a few specks of rain.

DAY 1004 LARGO MACHONICO – LARGO FALKNER

START 9:40 FINISH 11:00 (02/12/17)

DISTANCE 15KM RIDE TIME 0H52

Since leaving San Martin. I am now back on the RN40 at KM 2212. It was way back at KM 4900 and something that I first saw the RN40 after crossing the border into Argentina from Boliva. I am now also passing the route of the famous 7 lakes. So today I just cycled 15km to lago Falkner. I want to enjoy this beautiful area.

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Stopped to see the large waterfall close to the road. Then it was just 2km down to Falkner. There was a large uncontrolled camp ground on the lake edge. Just one camper van near by. I found a nice spot with table and chairs and a view of the lake with a fire pit to set up camp.

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Started by getting the fire going. Did some washing and other little chors while enjoying the view. The lake was surounded by mountians with a little bit of snow still around. I had a Harrier Hawk vist my camp site. They seam to be very common around here.

DAY 1005 LARGO FALKNER – LAGO ESPEJO

START 10:10 FINISH 14:40 (03/12/17)

DISTANCE 44KM RIDE TIME 2H49

was rain in the night. When I looked from the tent, the cloud was very low.

I had a bit further to cycle today to get to the next lake and again I past many lakes along the way. There was plenty of opertunitys for photo stops. I saw the worlds smallest Deer when it ran out in front of me. Espejo lake has a small area near the beach set aside for camping.

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I found a nice spot and built a camp site. Collect some wood for the fire and then went for a short walk along the beach.

There were a few Gease around and a few small goslings as well. The reflection on the water of the mountians was beautiful.

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DAY 1006 LAGO ESPEJO – KM 2072 RN40

START 8:30 FINISH 18:30 (04/12/17)

DISTANCE 58KM RIDE TIME 4H04

Today was a clear, hot sunny day. It must have been getting up to the 30’s I was only going to cycle 15km to the next town Villa La Angostura

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I ended up camping right on the side of the road. It was above the road, So I wasn’t seen. Which was good. It was very sandy and dusty. I was filthy. The wet wipes were hard going when I tried to clean myself up. It wasn’t a bad camping spot. I was up against the farm fence. I cooked a big pot of pasta that went down well because I was staving. In the night I could hear horses running near my tent. When I looked out of my tent I was looking straight at stars on the horizan.

DAY 1007 KM 2072 RN40 – BARILOCHE

START 7:00 FINISH 16:30 (05/12/17)

DISTANCE 40KM RIDE TIME 2H38

No hanging around this morning. I was up at the crack of dawn. Bariloche was only 12km away directly across the lake. In reality I had to follow the lake for 40km in a big U. It gave me great views of Bariloche and the snow capped mountians behind it.The lake was like a glass mirror………completly flat and reflecting the stuning mountains.

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It was piping hot day. After having a quick look around the centre. Very touristy I went and had a picnic lunch in a local park. Then late afternoon I had to cycle a further 7km out of town and along the lake to my warm showers host Miguel for the next few days. He is a avid cyclist. In his spare time he restores old biyicles. He has a mini apartment for cyclists in his back yard. Great little set up with kitchen, bathroom,Tv. Wifi, table and chairs. My first night I didn’t need the kitchen. Miguel invited me over to his house to drink Mata, share a meal and afterwards a beer. It was nice evening talking cycling and Miguel had some valueible information for the roads ahead.

DAY 1008&1009 BARILOCHE REST DAY

You might not think it is relaxing. This morning I mowed the lawns for Miguel, which he aprichiated. I enjoyed doing it. I took my time between writing my blog and doing internet stuff, having lunch and a drive into town.

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My two night visit ended up been 3. I walked the 7km into town and got the bus back. Completly forgot in argentina everything closes in the afternoon for 4 or 5 hours. Frustrating when your trying to look for rechargible battres and you only have 45 mins to do it. Then the que for the Atm was 35 mins……….what was surpose to be a quick trip, ended up taking all day.

DAY 1010 BARILOCHE – KM 1951 RN40

START 11:30 FINISH 18:15 (08/12/17)

DISTANCE 88KM RIDE TIME 5H39

I have two days to get to El Bolson and my next Warmshowers host. So this morning I was taking it easy and making the most of my little apartment. Had enjoyed cooking up a few meals I normaly wouldn’t on the camp stove. I was delayed even more when Miguel invited me over to drink Mata with him and his son. It was nearl mid day when I finaly got away. I was close to the danger zone. The when it gets that I forget about cycling for the day and end up staying another night. Miguel had already said I could stay longer. So it was tempting.

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Dispite the late start I still got in a good days cycling. I was pretty pumped and went hard out. It was pretty nice cycling out of Bariloche beside the lakes. It was certianly a nice day for it. What made the senery so much more beautiful was the wild flowers growing beside the road.

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I had two good climbs and was rewarded with two good enjoyible down hills. At the end of the secound one I stopped before the next climb and camped beside the river for the night.

DAY1011 KM 1951 RN40 – EL BOLSON

START 07:00 FINISH 09:30 (09/12/17)

DISTANCE 38KM RIDE TIME 1H55

Was a cold morning when I apeared from the tent. It was overcast and cloudy. To be fair it was early in the day. I was packed up and cycling before 7am. I skiped breakfest with the idea to have it 10 or 15km down the road. After I finished the climb I didn’t want to do last night. Wasn’t to bad. Once that was done it was pretty much all down hill to El Bolson.

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I arrived at 9:30 am. Stopping in a local park and had some breakfest before going to my warmshowers host Marisa. When I arrived at her door. I thought it might be a bit early for a Saturday morning. She was very good about my early arival. We started with a Mata. We had a good chat. Then it was time for some lunch. After lunch Marisa took us for a walk up to the local miridor over looking El Bolson. Great views.

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The reward for our little climb was a cold beer down in the town. There was a bit of activity. With a prade of drummers and dancers coming from one end of town and then a group of Bolivans celabrating a festival.

DAY 1012 EL BOLSON REST DAY

Today was a really hot day. We were going to cycle to the lake. We canceled that idea. For a more relaxing day. In the evening I got my taste of another Argentian Asardo.

It was such a beautiful clear evening,

DAY 1014 EL BOLSON – ARROYO WALTER

START 10:00 FINISH 12:45 (12/12/17)

DISTANCE 31KM RIDE TIME 1H53

After a really nice stay with Marisa. I cycled on a few more km. It wasn’t a big day. It was nice and easy.

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I had another warm showers host. Marino and his family live on a 10 acher block. Which use to be a bit of a commun back in the early 90’s Theres a eco house and a main house which they are now renervating. They also have a urt which I have kindly been able to sleep in for the night. IMG_0021

 

DAY 1015 ARROYO WALTER – ARROYO LEPA

START 8:00 FINISH 15:50 (13/12/17)

DISTANCE 70KM RIDE TIME 4H18

The RN40 is starting to detererate as it leaves the mountians and forests and returns to the big open deserts. I had a nce tail wind today. Which pushed me along nicely this afternoon.

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Dispite been so dry. There is water about, coming from the glaciers on top of the mountians. I stopped for the night next to a river below the road bridge. I put my tent up near some bushes for a bit of shelter. Close by was a pick up parked up, slightly hidden in the bush. Think they had stopped for a sleep. They were soon on the move. A car arrived on the other side of the river. They must have had a new toy. Soon after there wa a gun shot. I ducked down in my tent………..a little concerned. Then there was a volly of 4 or 5 concetive shots. I was now even a little more concerned as I didn’t know in which direction they were firing. Thankfuly they had there fun and that was the last of the gun shots.

DAY 1016 ARROYO LEPA – ESQUEL

START 7:30 FINISH 11:30 (14/12/17)

DISTANCE 36 KM RIDE TIME 2H48

The first 30km were pretty easy this morning. The wind got up and it became imposible to cycle. The wind was so strong I couldn’t controll the bike. It was very dangerous. Even when I got off and pushed my bike I was nearly getting blowen over. When I reached the road works it waas impossible to see with the dust. I had struggled for 5km.

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I was sheltering behind a road barrier and a women stopped and asked if I was ok. She had gone past and then came back. She was going the wrong way……….otherwise I would have taken a lift. A few kms later when one of the road workers stopped I did kindly take a 25km lift to Esquel. I am now just 75km away from returning to Chile.

DAY 1017 ESQUEL – KM 22 RN 259

START 10:30 FINISH 15:15 (15/12/17)

DISTANCE 43KM RIDE TIME 3H19

It was a good easy run to Trevelin 22km, mostly down hill. Trevelin is a old Welsh colony. I meet a Richard Williams. The town has lots of Welsh things. I had a little look around before heading out of town on a dirt road for the 38km to the border.

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At 3pm it started to rain. I stopped straight away and put my tent up on the side of the road. I got in my tent to shelter from the rain. It rained all night. To pass the time I fixed punchers. I got another one on the dirt road. It was to wet to cook, so I just had a cold dinner.

DAY 1018 KM 22 RN259 RETURN TO TREVELIN FOR REPAIRS

It was still raining when I woke up………….I waited for the rain to stop, When it did. I jumped out to cook a hot breakfast. It had snowed in the night and the mountains were covered in fresh snow. Only to discover I couldn’t prime my stove. What a pain and what to do. I decided to return to Trevelin and get it sorted.

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Didn’t want to take the chance and go on to Chile. So I packed up in the rain and then went out to the road and hitched a ride back to town. I lucky got a ride pretty easy. It was a bit stressful. I was in such a rush because the shops close at 1pm and don’t open again till Monday. Couldn’t get my stove fixed. So had to buy a new gas Butane stove. Lost any infuasium to cycle to day will just look for a place in town to camp. I spent the afternoon at the gas station before heading off to find a place to camp. I ended up camping in the grounds of a historic site. It was quiet enough even though it was close to houses.

DAY 1019 TREVELIN – ESQUEL

START 11:00 FNSH 13:00 (17/12/17)

DISTANCE 23KM RIDE TIME 1H18

My planned route south has been thrown into termal. Yesterday morning there was a huge landslide that hit the Village of Villa Santa Lucia. At the junction of the 259 & the 7 (Carreatera Astural) Terrible 14 people have been killed and 8 missing. It is thought one of the dead is sadly a cyclist. The Road is completely block and there is talk the road could be closed for 3 weeks. I am only 100km away fro Villa Santa Lucia and I was due there in about 3 days time. I won’t be going now.

Instead today I will be cycling back to Esquel and tomorrow head back on to the RN40 for the long boring road south for about 400km before I can cut back onto the Carretera Astral. I spent the morning at the gas station doing some planning before cycling quickly back to Esquel. My Warm Showers host Jorge and the Family were surprised to see me. I explained what had happened and they were quite happy for me to put my tent back up in there back yard. You wouldn’t believe it. The family went out in the afternoon and they invited me along to visit Jorge’s parents on a small farm in Trevein. It was a nice afternoon. Pick some strawberry’s, drank some Mata and ate some pastry’s.

DAY 1020 ESQUEL REST DAY

I was just getting ready to leave. My tent was down and I was having some breakfest. When. I sudenly decided I still really wanted to cycle the futalufu to Vila Santa lucia route. I have been looking forward to cycling this for so long. On the spere of the moment decided to go back to Valparaiso to surprise Helen and spend Xmas & New year. So I checked with Natalia I could leave my bike and started looking for buses. In the end I found a 19 hour bus from Bariloche to Santiago for $100 VALPARASO DEC 2017 2017-12-18 001Strange to think I will be heading backwards tomorrow.

DAY 1021 ESQUEL – BARILOCHE

Trying to save some cash I decided I would try and hitch the 250km from Esquel to Bariloche. I started with a fairly lenghth walk back to the main Highway. I had the thumb out and after about 5km I got picked up by a fruiter who was going to El Bolson to pick up some Berries. He drove like a mainac………….he drives the route once or twice a week. We were delayed at a police check point for some time when he had some difficultie with his papper work. I got dropped 12km before El bolson……..The next ride was a bunch of drunk guys…………I only rralised once I got in. I think they only picked me up becouse they wanted a cigarette. I insisted they drop me off only a short distance away………..After walking out the otherside of El Bolson.

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I wasn’t having much luck. A lady stopped for me and said she would take me a few km up the road where I would have better luck. She was right. She dropped me next to the police check point where the cars have to go very slow as they pass the speed humps. Sure enough someone stopped for me very soon. Katerina was going to Bariloche for the night. Her and her family run a hostel near the lake near El Bolson. Katarina spoke good english and the time passed quickly. At one point she had me making the Mata………….. I got into Bariloche around 4pm. Wasn’t to bad. There was a lot of police on the street guarding suppermarkets. There had been a call for the poor to go out and help them selves. I was greatfull for Miguel , my previous warm showers host here, to give me the use of his apartment for the night.

DAY 1022 BARILOCHE – VALPARAISO

I got on the bus at 2pm and it was a really nice drive out to the border. The border was busy and it took us over a hour just to pass the Argentinan custums. All the bags had to come off and some passangers had to go off for a very thour seurch. Thank fully I wasn’t one of them. Once we finnaly got out of Argentina we had over 20km of no mans land to get to Chile. It was bags off again and after over 2 hours at both borders we were on our way.

I slept ok on the bus. I paid a little extra to be down stairs with a indervidual seat. We arrived in santiago around 9:30am. Walk across the road and got on the next bus to Valpo. When I got to Helens. Danilo, Helen’s brother got a surprise when he came to the door. The next surprise was for Helens mum when she came home. The best surprise was for Helen when she got back from work. It’s the secound time now I have turned up unanounced.

 

DAY 1023 – 1044 VALPARISO

I arrived in Valpo at a very busy time with everyone getting ready for Christmas. It was Christmas Eve before we knew it. On the 24th we had a nice family meal in the house followed by opening of presents. It was really nice to be somewhere for christmas for a change. Even Pancha the dog and Anggie the cat had presents to open.

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After Christmas I went back to winebox and worked for a few days. Grant had me fixing up tables for the New Years party and building some units for a sink in the Bodaga.

With New Years aproching it became a very full house with the arrival of helens friend Blair from the States and one of Helens uncles and all his family. At 10pm we sat down for a big meal with lots of bear, Wine and Pisco sours.

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Then just before midnight we all went up to the terrece to get ready for the fireworks and to welcome in the New Year. It’s a really great view from the terrece. You can see all the coast. Valpo is very famous for it annual fireworks display and extreamly popular. People were everywhere. Over 50km along the coast they have 18 lunch sites……….all synchronised. It was a pretty awesome display.

 

Afterwards we celebrated on the terrace while watching everyone out on the street also celebrating.

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Happy New Year 2018

 

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New Years day was a slow one. In the afternoon we all went to the beach for a few hours. Lot of people had the same idea.

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Few days after New Years Helen, I, Blair and Danilo with Puncha the dog went for a hike to a near bye waterfall. When we arrived after a walk around the lake and through the forest. I was really taken aback at hour grand it was.

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DAY 1045 VALPARAISO BUS TO EL BOLSON

It was well worth coming back to Valpo. What a mission and a half getting back to the south. 4 busses and 3 days later I was back with my bike. Left Valpo at 5pm Friday. Had to change bus in Santiago for the over night bus to Bariloche. Got here and the next bus to Esquel was fully booked out. So took a bus to El Bolson, which left me with 170k to Esquel.

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I had fantastic weather going back over the Andes. Perfectly clear and got a good look at some snow capped volcanos. I arrived n El Bolson at 9:15pm on Saturday…….29 ½ hours after leaving Valpo. My previous warm showers host Marisa was kind enough to put me up for the night. Even kinder she invited me with a friend to go for pizza and beer.

DAY 1047 EL BOLSON TO ESQUEL

Sunday afternoon jumped back on the bus for another 4 hours to Esquel. When I arrived the family was out. I got straight in to putting my tent up and repacking my bags ready for tomorrow. Will be cycling back to Chile.

DAY 1048 ESQUEL TO FUTALEUFU CHILE

START 10:00 FINISH 18:00 (15/01/18)

DISTANCE 62KM RIDE TIME 4H48

Back on the road……….for the first hour I went hard out. It is not much fun cycling the same road twice. I got Trevelin in pretty quick time. My butt was really feeling it. On the way to Trevelin I was run off the road by a on coming overtaking car. He was intent in overtaking 3 cars at once and came straight for me. I had no choice to ride of the road or be hit.

 

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After trevelin it was back on the dirt road for a 40k ride up to the border. I started to get lots of friendly toots. I reached the border around 5pm.It was pretty straight forward. Tho on the Chile side had to find the serial number for my bike. First day back on the bike I was left pretty exhausted. I cycled just 2 km away from the border and put my tent up on the side of the road for the night.

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