Patagonia, the last leg

left Osorno and see volcano in distance

Here we are in southern Argentina.  We are finally further south from the equator than Vancouver is north of the equator.  We left Osorno, Chile 4 days ago and crossed the border in the Andes into Argentina.  After dealing with the formalities at the Chilean border we had to drive many miles through the mountains before coming to the Argentinian border.  The pass we went through goes by the Puntiagudo Volcano that erupted around June 5 last year.  The ground was still covered with lots of ash and the trees haven´t yet recovered from the eruption.

volcano backdrop dead trees forground

Mary blessing the mountain

from the ash rises new life

more from ash mountain

We spent the night in San Carlos de Bariloche, a ski destination in Argentina.  The scenery was quite nice, similar to the Swiss mountains.

beyond the ash came the lake

bits of Swiss

more scenery

wanna ski in Bariloche?

From there we set out down the famous Ruta 40.  The road is listed as one of the 10 best to try.  It´s very long and we are only doing a portion of it now.  The part we are doing isn´t the most rugged like some other parts further north and the gravel roads further south.  Since we skipped Brazil the ride south is happening much sooner than planned so we decided to head east to the Atlantic coast.  This zigzagging will allow us to see more varied terrain in Argentina as well as burn up a few days before reaching Tierra del Fuego.

HOWLINGWEEND ON HALLOWEEN

1200 km of brown nothing and wind

Yes the famous winds of Patagonia that we´ve heard about have not disappointed us.  We heard the crosswinds are strong and incessant.  Here it is Halloween Day and we got to experience the famous winds.  Our ride was almost 5 hours straight south on Hwy 3.  Most of the that time was spent leaning sideways like when I make a turn around a corner but we did that just to compensate for the horrible wind and keep the bike going straight. We had to concentrate for hours just to keep the bikes in our own lane.  It was further complicated when having to pass a truck, negociate corners, avoid ruts and potholes, and watch behind you for speeding vehicles wanting to overtake us.  As you pass a semi, the moment you’re beside it  the wind is blocked by the truck so your bike is no longer needing to lean heavily into the wind.  Then as you come out past the front of the truck the wind is back and want to push you off the side of the oncoming lane.  How much fun is that! One time I was leaning my bike to the right even though the highway was curving to the left.  Sometime there were bumrs or small hills to the side of the road that would either block the wind momentarily or channel it down the road. When it blocked the wind it was a nice break.  I cherished those brif moments when the wind ceased even if only for a minute or two.  When the highway curved it changed the angle of the wind sometimes and we’d get either a tail wind or head wind.  Tail winds were god sent and I relished in them. Below are two videos showing just how powerful these winds can be.

 

http://youtu.be/9Q_R47-tRPw

 

We tried to keep our speed at 110 km (faster when passing) and made pretty good time but what a dreadful time it was.  I sat on the bike thinking, “Why would anyone in their right mind choose to come here voluntarily?” and the answer of course is because of the adventure.  They want to climb to the top of the mountain.  I had to crane my neck for hours and at time,and even with my visor down, the wind blew through the edges of my visor and would push my sunglasses into my face.  I imagined the skin on my face was being pushed like the faces of astronauts in those picture of them experiencing g-forces. (okay, a little exagerated).  Anyway I´m glad to say we arrived safe and sound in Puerto San Julian.  I´m not looking forward to rest of our journey southward through what may be even stronger crosswinds, colder weather and possibly rain.

on a side note, Yes, the toilet does flush counter clockwise

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6 comments on “Patagonia, the last leg

  1. フィッティング ブログの誰 この話題について外検索する} {見つけてください。あなた予告 たくさんその事実 困難(あなたと議論するために、その、私は真ではないでしょう匟AHA)| 必要たいを。あなた間違い置く新しい トピック上のスピンが年間にについて書かれてthatsの。 ニースもの、単に 偉大!

  2. Jamie says:

    Great photos and loved watching Hector roll along with the sage brush. Congratulations on making your destination! What an accomplishment and one excellent adventure!!

  3. Stephen Tidball says:

    Congrats on making it to the end of the world. The champagne must have been incredible. Stephen T

    Sent from my iPhone

  4. lflavelle says:

    Laughed out loud at You Tube video of sagebrush and human blowing down the road. Wonderful photos of mountain spires, volcanic ash. The riding sounds very demanding in that wind. I pray for perfect balance for all of you!

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