Published: December 1st 2009November 30th 2009
We are now in San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina.
We have had a very eventful past few days and our first taste of inclement weather, even some rain!!
The roads have just been incredible, with windy metal roads following the shoreline of the many lakes, with snow capped mountains in every direction.
Zane had a momentary laps of concentration and narrowly missing a deep concrete culvert, the Transalp now with a modified front section and no screen, Zane with a bit of damaged pride and some zip ties continued on his adventure.
We now have David V's 1200 GS on the back of the truck, as it now only has one functioning cylinder.
The other one has been damaged beyond our supply of 'Mend it' after his altercation with a ute, incidentally, the same one we were trying to pull out of the drain, we were unaware of his contact with David at the time.
David was very lucky not to have been hurt. I am sure more details will follow in Mike's blog.
Below is more input from Bones
Day 26 - Puerto Guadal - Coyhaique
Shortly into the ride for the day,
we swapped motos and trucks for a large open boat (after a very steep descent down the hillside into a small bay - good test for brakes!) and took a short ride to a series of caves jutting out from the mainland - “Cueva de Marmol” - were certainly impressive.
The action of the waves had created a number of small chambers, through which our captain navigated slowly, to allow us to admire another of nature’s masterpieces. The blue and white marble structures, disappearing into the deep blue water was just amazing.
(The two hitch-hikers we gave a lift up the hill on the return trip proved good ballast - a win/win situation…………..)
The next instruction on the day sheet said “Ride directly to Coyhaique”.
A mere 240km ride, during which Zane did a forward somersault over his handlebars, narrowly missing a concrete culvert after negotiating a drain……………suffice it to say that the tarseal from Cerro Castillo was a welcome sight, for some.
A late lunch on a converted bus kept us going until we reached our hotel in Coyhaique.
Zane was duly awarded the Medal for exceptional riding skills, avoiding a concrete culvert.
Walking the streets
of this town, it was very apparent that a national and regional election is forthcoming in Chile, December 13 in fact. Election hoardings everywhere - on every post available, most only a couple of metres apart! So many candidates! (Or is it just the number of posters??) I wonder if they’re taxpayer funded?………………. The whole country seems to be covered, town and country alike! And vehicles as well, with flags flying, as well as almost flying themselves, along the narrow roads we are travelling.
While on the subject of roads, it is amazing that all the road works we have come across (and there are many) the biggest number of road cones I have counted on any one occasion have been seven! New Zealand seems to have the monopoly on road cones!
Here, I personally think that each road worker has one cone allocated to them - we have seen 5 or 6 workers on the side of the road with just one cone beside them (even saw a lone Sprite bottle in the middle of the road, marking the spot, on one occasion).
Here we are given the responsibility of looking out for ourselves!
Day 27- Coyhaique
New style Tansalp
Zane with his modified Transalp, look Jen, no windscreen
- Las Juntas
This turned out to be our first wet day, but started in fair weather, with some of us heading to Puerto Aisen, (mainly to sample another coffee or hot chocolate!) before heading north on Ruta 7, the beginning of the Carretera Austral Highway.
We started on concrete with alpine type pastures, with lupins lining the roads, but as we headed higher onto the narrow gravel road, it got colder and the rain set in (not heavy, but very wet!)
There is lots of road widening happening, and Rosco was very disappointed that yet another ’moto challenge’ was being slowly but surely being tamed - by his calculations only around 45kms of this section was as he remembered it from his 2005 ride.
We regrouped at a café for a late lunch, in the small town of Puyuhuapi, nestled at the head of the narrow Ventisquero Fjord, which was founded in the 1930’s. Rosco and I enjoyed a traditional soup - cazuela - made from ’the hen’ and potato, very yummy (esp. when it’s very cold outside! (I know, I know, and we’re not even on motos………….!)
Continued on to Las Juntas, where we found
Our bus driver
Keith taking us for a ride...
our hotel “Espacio y Tiempo” (Space and Time).
A beautiful place, with a very warm welcome. The rain continued as we wined and dined, Ian finding a guitar and entertaining us before dinner.
The Medal was awarded to Gerardo for yet another excellent choice of roads.
Day 28 - Las Juntas - Trevelin (Argentina)
Still raining. Tom made an early start, the rest of us hoping for a break in the rain. We did see some blue patches, but with low cloud, it was a ride into murkiness (is that a word?)
A short time later, Keith and Zane had a bonding session in the scrubbery, which was re-enacted for the camera - it may be cleared for the blog, or not!
We regrouped at an intersection that either went onto Chaiten, where we could view the town that was evacuated and buried by ash from Volcan Chaiten, and subsequent flooding from a river in May 2008, or head directly to the Chilean/Argentina border at Futaleufu.
Unanimous decision saw us head to Chaiten, but fate intervened, as it often does.
About 2km up this road, David V had an slight altercation with a ute, which
The Bus Stop
The lunch bus
damaged his moto (I won’t use girly language here, I’m sure we’ll get a male blog with all the correct info) to the extent that it had to be immobilised on the back of our truck, while David travelled the rest of the distance keeping Michael and Mauricio company in their truck (some people will do anything to get out of the weather!)
The most important thing is that he wasn’t hurt.
At the time, we were following the pack, and had come across a ute firmly stuck, where it had run off the road, trying to avoid Keith, who was minding his own business and making his merry way along with Barry.
We were trying to assist the ute by towing him out of his predicament (to no avail) when Gerardo arrived back on the scene to tell us that David’s moto was “finished”! (It turned out that the same ute was involved in both scenarios - instant karma?)
Anyway, the unanimous decision was made to abort the Chaiten mission and go back to Plan A - go directly to the border. We stopped for lunch at a roadside café, which really was a family’s home -
Carretera Austral Ruination
The destruction of the Carretera Austral
we walked into their dining room, the majority dripping wet, and the three generations who lived there, fed us the inevitable ‘sandwich’, with a treat of ‘special bread’ which turned out to be like a thin griddle scone, hot and crunchy.
We consumed heaps (probably their Sunday lunch), gave the three children Kiwirider stickers, paid and left, stickering the establishment as we exited.
The border crossing was boring in comparision to the morning’s events, with less than 500 metres between the Chilean and Argentinian buildings. It might have warmed us up to walk the distance! Gerardo took the longest to process (mainly because he wouldn’t leave the fire where he was steaming his clothes on the Chilean side!)
We made our way to our destination at Trevelin (a village founded by Welsh settlers) - Cabanas Las Estancia - constructed of mill slab/log cabin variety - well appointed and very warm. Bike maintenance took the remainder of the afternoon, and that evening we enjoyed a dinner some two blocks away. accompanied by more local dogs...................
The Medal was awarded to David for saving his own life, by sacrificing his moto.......
The weather is clearing!
This is how it should be
There are more photos below