Day 207 – Futaleufu, CL to La Junta, CL

Day 207 – Futaleufu, CL to La Junta, CL      03/16/11      Mileage: 237

It was raining on and off in the morning and it didn’t look like it was going to stop. We had breakfast and waited for it to let up, then packed the bikes and headed west for the Carretera Austral…a remote, mostly dirt road connecting the towns in the far south of Chile in Patagonia.

The quaint if not so bustling town of Futaleufu…

The scenery, when we were able to see it through the driving rain and low clouds, was spectacular. Some of the rivers were a turquoise blue that I just could not capture with my camera.

You can actually see the rain coming down in these pictures…

We pressed on through the rain and cold but eventually cried uncle and sought refuge in a small rustic coffee house on the Austral. We were chilled to the bone and drowned like rats, and thankful to be out of the weather. The owner stoked up the wood stove and made some hot tea and coffee while we listened to the rain pounding on the metal roof.

We tried to dry our gloves by the fire as our hands were suffering the worst from the cold.

Fresh steaming gloves hot off the stove….

We sat down and laughed at ourselves and thought at moments like this…why can’t we be like normal people and go vacation in the Caribbean and sit on the warm beach…washing down conch fritters with fruity rum drinks. Well, that was a good laugh but it was only a temporary relief from the misery ahead, as the rain if anything was only getting worse. So we thanked our host for her hospitality (and heat) and we put our gear back on and went back out to finish what we started. The owner gave us the name of a friend in La Junta that ran a hostal, so that was now our goal. Needless to say I did not stop to take many (and by that I mean any) pictures, partly because the scenery was largely shrouded in rain, fog and clouds, but mainly because I couldn’t be bothered with stopping to take the 10 minutes it would take me to get my soaking wet numb hands in and out of my drenched riding gloves to work the camera. We finally arrived in La Junta and ended the misery when we found the hostal.

The owner turned out to be bat shit crazy, and we would have told her to shove it and left were it not such a pain in the ass to re-pack the bikes. Over dinner we had some laughs (mostly at her expense) and shared stories from the road, the craziest of which I’ll summarize here. Back in Quito, Ecuador… 5 men armed with guns and knives broke into the apartment where they were staying, held them at gunpoint, made them get down on the floor and tied their hands behind their back…then robbed them. HOLY SHIT is all I had to say…in addition to they are lucky to live to tell the story…

Advertisements

Day 206 – San Carlos de Bariloche, AR to Futaleufu, CL

Day 206 – San Carlos de Bariloche, AR to Futaleufu, CL      03/15/11       Mileage: 237

After running some last minute errands, I packed the bike and pointed the KLR south out of town. The scenery was epic, the weather was fantastic and all was right with the world.

I stopped for lunch in the small town of El Bolson which had a nice vibe and a great setting below the towering nearby mountains.

 Even the gas station in El Bolson had a nice view…

A month ago I would have stayed just to have a better look, but I need to keep pushing south if I’m going to beat winter to Ushuaia. On the far side of El Bolson I caught up to 2 other riders and we pulled over to chat. Kyosti and Joachim are a father and son team from Denmark and have been on the road since August and also started in NY! We were heading the same direction so we saddled up and hit the road together.

We stopped for gas in Esquel and then continued to the Chile border, passing more amazing scenery along the way.

Crossing the border back into Chile…

We found a nice little hostal for the night in the tiny town of Futaleufu just over the border and then wandered out for dinner. There were only 2 restaurants open so we chose the one that had a pretty extensive menu. We sat down and began looking at the menu and noticed X’s next to many of the items on the menu. We asked the waitress if the X’s indicated that they did or did not have that item as it was not clear…and neither was her answer. So I order lasagna, which did not have an X, but the waitress said, “no hay”…which means they don’t have it. Next I tried ordering a burger, which did have an X next to it…but she said, “no hay”. Joachim and Kyosti tried ordering as well with similar results. I asked if she could just tell me what she DID have and we’ll choose from that. So, she went to the kitchen and returned 10 minutes later and said they have lomo (meat) with potatoes or soup. I asked what kind of soup, but she didn’t know and once again returned to the Kitchen to find out. Tomato soup, perfect…I’ll take it. Joachim and Kyosti went for the lomo and we added a round of beer to the order. 15 minutes later she returned and said, no hay lomo. We started laughing hysterically…and they amended their order to tomato soup as well.

Our “no hay” dinner….

So, with a menu of at least 50 items on it, it came down to they had tomato soup, bread and beer….which was fine with us and we got a good laugh out of it as well. Such is life in the remote area’s of Patagonia…

Day 202 – 205 – San Carlos de Bariloche, AR

Day 202 – 205 – San Carlos de Bariloche, AR      03/11-14/11      Mileage: Local miles

I spent the last few days mostly getting caught up on the blog, running errands and drinking my body weight in cheap (but very good!) Argentinian wine.

 The hostal had a pub downstairs and it was always full of partying travelers, so that was good time! They also had a big traditional Argentinian assado Friday night which was great. 

Meat, it’s whats for dinner….  😀

I took a day trip on the bike out to tour the west end of the lake on some spectacular roads, passing by the famous Llao Llao Hotel which is situated in an amazing setting.

You can see the Hotel Llao Llao on a hill in the middle of the picture….

I’m not sure what kind of birds these are, but they were big!

The famous Hotel Llao Llao

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Llao_Llao_Hotel

I also went up to have a look at the Catedral ski area and rode to the top of Cerro Otto with a great panoramic view of the whole area.

The view from the top of Cerro Otto…

Bariloche is a great place to relax and spend some time for sure. I also bumped into Alex yet again, which would make it the 4th time in 4 different countries. He saw my bike out front when he passed by and stopped in to say hi…too funny!

I also went to the Honda dealer to borrow a 27mm socket and breaker bar to change out the drive sprocket, rear sprocket and drive chain as it was starting to show signs of significant ware.

 They offered to wash the bike for free, didn’t charge me for using their tools and moved some of their bikes out of the way so I could use their patio to work on my bike…..great guys!

Looks good as new!

Tomorrow it’s back on the road south and back over the Andes to Chile to ride the Carretera Austral…