08 February 2012

Pure Patagonia

Location: San Carlos de Bariloche, Rio Negro, Argentina
Estimated distance ridden since Colombia: 16,000 km
different Argentine border crossings: 9
most extra fuel carried: 16 litres
midnight roadside carb cleanings: 1
culvert camping count: 2
Southern highway (Carretera Austral) towns that begin in C:  Caleta Tortel, Cochrane, Chile Chico, Coyhaique, Cisnes, Chaiten, etc etc

all you can eat (AYCE) lamb, chicken, and steak?  yes.  i threw in the towel after a wimpy 4 hours. definitely have not been riding a bicycle recently...

glacier perito moreno flows out of the southern ice fields.

it is massive, and the cross section shows how it has scooped up rock and folded back over itself over the ages.

when chunks fall off (called ''calving'') it makes a huge splash.

thanks to a lifetime of stupid gum ads, i felt an overwhelming desire to brush my teeth.  the other tourists were either jealous or disgusted, not sure which.  after reviewing this photo, i decided maybe i should stop storing my toothbrush in with the wrenches.

getting ready to carry fuel for the next 700km without functional gas stations...

the sky is always amazing along Ruta 40.

evening solo cruising in the loose gravel and washboard along Ruta 40

around 11pm, after dumping in the last of my reserve fuel, my carb blocked up and i cleaned it on the side of the road.  20kms later, i tucked into this culvert for the night.  i used the moto to deflect the wind.

the real reason people ride the famous Ruta 40 is to access the Andes, like this beautiful Ruta 41.

with some irrigation, the farmers make the earth green.

paso roballo, the argentina gendarmeria nacional.

this is the chilean side of the border.  about equally tranquilo

shadows sweep across the valley as i bump along to suzi's familiar hum.

the salty lakes have flamingoes.  i promise.


riding along the rio baker.  
pinochet sold the rivers themselves, so now a company is planning to make a massive hydropower project that involves running powerlines to the north of chile (for the mining region) in the longest continuous clearcut ever.  not to mention they will dam and flood one of the biggest, most beautiful rivers in patagonia. if you like fishing, or forest, or free flowing rivers, visit this site: Patagonia without Dams.  The Patagonian people are mixed on the project, but almost everyone in favor supports it because HidroAysen has offered them generous incentives to vacate their property or similar. 

I stashed the moto at Olga and Simon's farm for a few days to walk with Sylvie, the Belgian walking all the way to Punta Arenas.

halfway done at 1000km mark (mas o menos)

days of empty gravel road, mountains, and rain

the waterfalls were all going off full bore thanks to the rain.  nice to stop for a drink.

demonstrating proper use of cane poles for hiking.

Lada Niva sits by the Rio Baker.  many people live on the other side of the river and use rowboats to get back and forth.

classy digs for the night

if you want to go further, you'll have to take a boat.

reduzca velocidad (reduce speed)

my rain gear is no longer waterproof at all, so i adopted some plastic sheeting from the road crew

walking in the rain is nicer with a friend

then, all of a sudden there is a smashed Corona and the fjord pops into view

at the end of the road, there is a parking lot.  beyond that, a town accessible by 7km of boardwalks

beyond the boardwalks is the bleakest playground ever

about all i felt like doing after reaching the swingset at the end of the boardwalk at the end of the road was going inside for some cocoa.

tidal boat parking in Caleta Tortel

Berta makes great empanadas.  AND she gave me a sheepskin for the moto

Caleta Tortel, Chile

Olga and Simon's house is a great place to chill out and do some maintenance

The lakes' colors are dictated by their watersheds.  a minor divide makes a big difference!

more pastry in patagonia. this one is called a sopapailla.  dough fried in pure beef fat.  behind is lago general carrera.

thanks to my maintenance, the brake plate bracing arm came loose, locking my brakes until they shattered.  so i carry cookies, to ease the pain of such moments.

what is left of my brake shoes

dawn patrol near cerro castillo

this unimog looks like it is making a wisecrack out of its PTO hole

gauchos roam the backroads

steak, potatoes, onions and peppers on the fire.  not pictured is me passed out in a cow pie next to a bottle of Flor de CaƱa rum.

replacing loose hardware with whatever i could find.  luckily my brake shoes are the same as the indian-made HeroHonda 125.

crazy whitewater

owain makes use of the foliage

the plants here are massive!

like a true friend, i waited under owain and hannah's tarp while he fixed a puncture in the rain

apparently i had time to get creative and give suzi a nice floral arrangement.  just a further reminder not to take myself seriously

a delicious treat from the panificadora esquel, in Esquel, Argentina.  The sun came out the moment i crossed back into argentina.  gas got cheaper too.
I am stashing to moto for a few weeks to visit with my brother in the Buenos Aires area.  Catch you in March...


jeff said...

trog - slideshow preferable for viewing, but omits brilliant captions. reconciliation possible?

emily said...

Matt you are so amazing. I would eat your heart or liver if it would make me more like you. thanks for the stories and pictures. I will dream of a wide open world tonight.

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