Wednesday, December 8, 2010

In Patagonia

From Santiago, there were vineyards as far as the eye could see. A very good bottle of wine costs $4.26. Beer is cheap as well. You can get one litre for under $2. The country roads are a nicer ride than the toll roads with fields of wildflowers, trees and livestock. There is lots of farming and rows of agriculture, from cherry trees to canola.  Fuel is expensive! We are paying $1.50 per litre at best and it gets more expensive the further you head south.

Grif’s knee is getting better slowly. There is still a bit of swelling. My neck and shoulders ache from the riding but I am hoping my body will get used to it!

The Chileans seem to like gourmet hot dogs! These can be found anywhere, and are called hot dog completo! They are hot dogs with lots of avocado and mayo smeared all over it… try to imagine, there is more avocado and mayo than the hot dog itself, they fill up the space between the rest of the bun and the dog… then add ketchup and mustard! The pizza is so amazing. All hand made with lots of toppings! Of course you can’t forget the picante sauce!

We travelled to Los Varas and stayed at a campground just east of town. It has a beautiful blue lake, beach and views of surrounding snow capped volcanoes and the Andes. It is our first night camping… but its $35/night. The location is amazing, with clear blue skies and a beautiful back drop.

Next we travelled on gravel in Chile today, making our way up to Entre Lagos, the last town before crossing into Argentina. The Chilean gravel (ripio) roads around the lake were under construction, with deep loose gravel  it was slow going. We made it to the Chilean Argentinean border in the late afternoon. We met up with Yuki, a Japanese guy that bought a Honda 150 in Santiago and is travelling around SA. He had problems getting into Argentina as his insurance only covered local Chile and was not international. Yuki had to head back to the Chilean border at 630pm and hopefully was able to buy the correct insurance and continue.

The first views of Argentina were spectacular. Wildflowers - pinks, purples and yellow - and mountains everywhere! The first little town reminded me of Banff, quite touristy and lots of shops! It started to rain, so we geared up and made it to Bariloche by 8 pm.
We left Bariloche and travelled to Esquel. We had our first taste of wind as the land became quite barren with no trees! The last 80 km was brutal, pushing the bike sideways with gusts well over 40 km/h. Our average speed was 66 km/h, slowing down for oncoming traffic and cars passing us. We were quite tired, so we found a hostel and went out for pizza and beer!! My favourite!

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