Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Ride Report #7: San Martin de los Andes to Bariloche

I have been a bit out of touch, due to a disgusting computer virus that turned my system into mush. I paid a chap in Bariloche some pesos to get me off to a fresh start so that I can keep the blog rolling and stay in touch.

The ride from Mendoza was a bit different than I expected, with more dirt, less peaks and more time. I like to do a bit of research, ask some locals, get a map and go. I enjoy the surprises. It's a balance between researching too much and not having any surprises and doing too little research and missing something spectacular.

As Frank and I arrived in San Martin de los Andes it was clear that we were now entering the land of tourists. Chocolate shops and tshirt shops in faux swiss buildings in between two mountain ranges nestled at the end of a clear blue lake. This was the start of the "Road of the Seven Lakes" route that leads into Bariloche and down to El Bolson. I knew we were due for some great scenery and some lakes, but was unaware of this particular route, which we ended up on by default. Another pleasant surprise.

We found a decent hotel in town, which seemed to cater to those over 70, and headed out for an affordable meal (not easy in tourist town). The next day we headed south for Bariloche, stopping where and whenever we pleased for photos or dirt riding.

We met some nice American girls at this fantastic little lake.

After 40km of dirt we made it to Villa La Angostura, an EXTREMELY touristic town, for a coffee and decided to keep moving both being unable to handle the cheesiness. We got word of a camping spot just out of town and decided to check it out, as it was perfect weather and we were up for a change of pace. We rode down this dirt rode along the stream onto the lake. AMAZING!!! One of the best camping spots of all time! So we found a spot next to the water, and headed to town for supplies.

We ate steaks, tomatoes, onions, bread with butter and drank red wine. Simple, but perfect.

I was in charge of scavenging for wood and relied on my caveman instincts to break down the logs. Good fun.

My rediculous US Marine issue knife came into handy with breaking up the small stuff.

I was previously unaware that this area is known for the fishing, but met this friendly Argy and he let me cast a bit in this magnificent setting. But no bites.

I slept on the beach under the thickest, brightest and most impressive sky of stars I have EVER seen. Words do it no justice.

Bariloche from the other side of the lake.

Best hostel view in history.

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