We leave Victoria and have a scenic ride to the border of Argentina – we have included another 700 kilometres in this country to take in a loop of the lake district in Patagonia – and before we know it we are back! We “hoop” down the pass onto a vast, dry tussocked plain – a huge herd of sheep, goats and horses crosses the road and the stockmen wave out to us – emotions are certainly starting to run high as these images start to become our “last”!
We have been on and off the famous “Ruta 40” – one of the longest roads in the world – which stretches 5,000 kilometres from the top of Argentina to the bottom! In some areas it is paved, in some not and a lot of “overlanders” – especially North Americans – like to do it in it’s entirety.
The weather is perfect for riding – fresh without being cold – and the clear, “big” skies are just amazing – there’s not a cloud in sight!
We come in to San Carlos de Bariloche around a large, glacial lake – surrounded by the magnificent Andes mountains – a good place for a break from the bikes and do our last “planning”.
Bariloche is a popular ski and hiking destination – known for it’s Swiss alpine architecture and it’s chocolate – with lots of shops in the main street offering yummy free samples! It’s very early autumn, the colours are just starting to change and you can tell that the first snow “dump” will magically transform the craggy peaks!
We decide on a “day-ride” down to El Bolson – a “hippy” town known for it’s artisan market – and where most of the country’s hops and fruits are grown – the road both ways is superb!
We head out of Bariloche after a nice break – the wind is howling as we head round the lake – but it you get in it’s “lee”, it’s not so bad!
The “pass” road between the borders is a beauty – although we are stuck in low cloud and a misty light rain – and there are lots of big bikes going both ways (all Argentinian and Chilean plates). This is the lucky last “land” border crossing on our journey – they are all a test of patience and endurance!! We head in to Osorno to sort out a loose wire on Paul’s bike.
There are many things to like about Argentinian food – but especially the empenadas! They are very simple really – but often that is the best! We are most partial to the “carne” (meat) ones – a very basic recipe (sort of like a cornish pastie) – just so light and delicious!
It’s definitely “a sign” of something when the beer in a country is more expensive than the wine!!
We are in El Bolson on a Sunday taking in the local markets when we are approached by Dawn and Gus (Gustavo) from N.S.W! They live 11 kilometres from the famous Robertson pie shop on the Macquarie Pass – we know it very well – and tell them how we “inhaled” our first pie there and went back in for a second!! Gus was born and raised in Bariloche and they are visiting family – we will definitely catch up with these guys again in Australia!
Tip of the Day
It doesn’t pay to check in “first” to a hotel if you want to leave early – the morning becomes a waiting game and “musical cars”!
On Two Wheels
On the ride back from El Bolson to Bariloche, we overtake a solo rider on a BMW Dakar 650 – then he waves to us having a picnic lunch beside the lake. When we arrive back at our hotel, the BMW is also checking in – to the same hotel – we are destined to meet up! Marcus is from Berlin, Germany, has hired the bike out of Osorno, Chile, and is on his way back from a trip down to Ushuaia. We have a great night sharing stories with this like-minded individual and really hope our paths cross again some day.
HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE!!!