Day 201 – San Martin de Los Andes, AR to San Carlos de Bariloche, AR

Day 201 – San Martin de Los Andes, AR to San Carlos de Bariloche, AR      03/10/11     Mileage: 126

In the daylight my stealth campsite ended up not being so stealth, but it was still free and nobody bothered me. I rode back a few miles to San Martin de Los Andes to have a better look around and some breakfast which I found and quaint cafe.

I really like San Martin…I wish I could spend more time here…but I need to keep moving south. The road to San Carlos de Barlioche from San Martin passed by some spectacular alpine lakes and the scenery was great despite the light rain that was falling.

More lines for gas…..and this station is in a very wealthy resort town….so it’s not a money thing….

I saw these maps for sale and it dawned on me I just crossed another off my life list….to go to Patagonia…

Looking acorss thelake to San Carlos de Bariloche…

I rolled into Bariloche mid-afternoon and found a hostel thanks to another biker who came up to me and told me where he was staying. Brian is from the UK on his BMW F800 and is doing nearly the same trip as me…it’s hard to believe we didn’t bump into each other until now! I settled in and tried to update the blog but the internet at the hostel was pretty bad. At night I wandered out for a look around, some dinner and a bit of fine chocolate which is one thing that Bariloche is famous for.

San Carlos de Bariloche at night….

Day 200 – El Zampal, AR to San Martin de Los Andes, AG

Day 200 – El Zampal, AR to San Martin de Los Andes, AG       03/09/11      Mileage: 397

I lingered a bit in camp this morning to write a bit for the blog and enjoy the nice setting over a morning coffee.

Packed and rolling south on the dirt I recall laughing inside my helmet at just how fortunate I am to be right here right now….man I’m lucky bastard. The scenery was great and always changing and eventually I hit the pavement again which allowed me to ramp up the pace.

I used the last of my pesos to buy gas in a small town I passed by…enough for around 2 gallons. I was now out of money again until I can find someplace to change my dollars, which I figured I could do at Las Lajas or at worst Zapala.

Nothing but skin and bones….  Actually, that hide might make a nice rug…

 Well, when I arrived in Las Lajas the bank was closed (I guess bankers keep the same shity hours everywhere) and all the businesses appeared to be closed…maybe the power was out…not sure, but the place was half deserted. My next chance was Zapala which turned out to be a half descent sized town. I went straight to the bank but it had closed at 1pm…despite the fact that it was 3pm and still FULL of people. Those poor fookers have been in there waiting for at least 2 hours now! WTF?

Here’s a picture of the “closed” bank and all the people waiting and waiting….crazy.

I asked a nice gentleman in a suit where I could find another bank, money changer….anywhere that would change dollars. He said I could try the gas station, but he didn’t think they would either. He offered to change what he had on him which was a nice gesture, but he barely had enough for 1 tank of gas, so I thanked him and politely declined. I went across the street to a restaurant and as luck would have it he would take and change dollars…sweet! So I had a lite lunch and paid with my crisp $100 I’ve been carrying from the motherland. So now with a full belly and half full wallet, I set off to get gas. The first gas station was out of gas, and so was the second. So I was told there was one other gas station in town, and when I arrived…this is what I saw…

Yes folks, that is what an hour and 15 minute gas line looks like. And no, this picture is not some third world banana republic or the US in the 1970’s, this is modern day Argentina. WTF?! It’s weird, some towns seem to have plenty of gas, others almost none…haven’t figured that one out yet. So now with a full tank to burn, I continued south battling the west winds the entire time.

I rolled through the quaint town of Junin de los Andes and then I was on the hunt for a stealth campsite. It proved pretty hard to find as there were cattle fences that ran on both sides of the road…or I would have just ridden off into the bush. I kept rolling and searching and eventually came to the super cool lakeside town of San Martin de los Andes. Wow, what a great little town…too bad I had to roll through without stopping. Fortunately a few miles further I found a descent little stealth spot just off the road. Tomorrow it’s on to San Carlos de Bariloche where I’m going to splurge on a room and have a long overdue shower.

Parting shot: Rolling in the twilight….