Friday, March 19, 2010

Ride Report #8: Bariloche, Argentina to Osorno, Chile

I was sad to leave the fantastic town of Bariloche, and more importantly the people I met there, but I have much more to see and was both excited and nervous about crossing into Chile. I left under another massive blue sky and grand white clouds, but within 20 minutes of departing, as I followed the other side of the lake, I was riding head on into a storm. By the time I reached Villa de la Angostura it was pouring. Luckily I invested in the proper gear. From Angostura I climbed straight up to the border, alone, on the newest and most well maintained paved road yet. But with this much rain it was like ice, with no wear to give it texture and grip. On a sunny day this would've been bliss, but today, a challenge to stay up.

I made it to the exit of Argentina and went in to fill out my paperwork, getting every sheet stuck together from my completely drenched exterior. The girls at the desk giggled because I looked like I was from Mars, and was probably the only person they had seen that day that was silly enough to ride.

After you leave Argentina there is a 30km gap before reaching the Chilean customs office. This section was dense, green Patagonian forest, and I stopped wherever I pleased. The rain let up, but the thick cloud cover did not, preventing my view of the volcanoes in the area. But it forced me to focus on my immediate surroundings, which I didnt mind.

I was alone and in love with this particular spot in the world.

By the time I reached the border at the top, it was absolutely DUMPING, and my helmet lens was fogging heavily, but I took it slow and laughed it off.

Dropping down onto the Eastern slop of the Andes into Chile means more green fields, a completely new palette of scents and fast smooth roads.

The perfect way to punctuate a cold, wet day of riding seemed to be with a dip in a thermal pool next to a stream. The old folks and I had a good dip and made for a completely mellow ride down into Osorno, Chile where I would stay the night in a home/hostel that smelled of stew and potatoes and old things. But they let me park the moto in the front walk way so we both slept well.

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