Osorno to San Carlos de Bariloche

Published: March 18th 2012
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Sunday 18 March

Today was the start of the organised tour - Ride to the End of the World, arranged by Kevin Saunders of Glodebusters on behalf of the World of BMW. It was really what I had come for.

Kven & his wife Julia are famus in the biking world for their exploits all over the world. For get Ewan McGreggor & Charlie Boorman, Kevin is the real deal. He holds a world record for the fasters circumnavigation of the globe on a motorbike - 19 days !! To practice he would ride from Cambridge to Madrid for supper, turn round and come home!

We had a thorough briefing from him the night before and the plan for the forst day was for us all to ride together to the border and then make our way to the hotel for the night.

We left at 9 am on the dot. We carried anything we might need on the bike, cameras, pasport, bike papers and change of clothes etc and the bulk of out luggage went in the huge 4x4 pick up.

Once out of Osorno the scenery was to satrt with mucgh like it was at the start of yesturday's ride. Pleasanr green "English" countryide, but as we rode up into the mountains it became much more alpine like and it was a great road for bikers.

Just before 12 noon we came to the border. We had been briefed on the procedure the night before and it works like this. You first have to collect a form that allows you into the Chillean border control. You then have to check yourself out through passport control, then the bike and then clear the Chillean exit. All very bureaucratuc as you can image but it was surprisingly smooth and well organised. You then ride 5 or so kms down the road to the Argentine border and repeat the process the other way round.

The border was in the Puyehue National Park and between the two border posts the landscape was covered in thick white volcanic ash and all the trees were all dead. Last year the local volcano had erupted and this was the devestation. I recall reading about this at the time and knew I was due to visit the region but had not appreicated that we would actually be riding right through the centre of it. In fact I think I had told my Mum we would be nowhere near this area. No becuase I wished to decieve her, but because I had thought it was further to the south. The landscape was quite moon like and I was pleased I had visited. It was quite a sight.

On the way down the landscape changed once again, in fact three times. At first it became alpine again. This short stretched took us the the pleasant town of La Angostura where I saw a signed welcome me to the "Garden of Patatgonia" !! How about that ? I had made it into north Argentine patagonia !! Some of stopped at La Angostura for a bit to eat and a coffee. Once back on the road the landscape flatten and became quite arid and it looked very much how I imaged Arizona to look, certainly it looked like classic cowboy territory. This though didn't last long as the road follwed the northern shore of Lago Nahuel Huapi and I thought it looked a bit like northern Italy.

It was simply one of the best days rides I had ever had.

We, more or less, all came back together as a group as we rode into San Carlos de Bariloche, coincidentially all pulling into the same service sation to top up with fuel. Kven our leader also pulled in and so once everyone was topped up we followed Kevin to the hotel. We had lost two, one of them my room mate, Peter.

Peter hadn't got lost, he just took himself off sight seeing and then went to find a back. Something I must do. San Carlos de Bariloche is famous for it chocolate. I think there is a strong Swiss connection. I am not sure it is a good thing or a bad thing it is Sunday and all the shops are shut !

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