Thursday, March 31, 2011

Driving through Jurassic Park, Running into the same motorcycle rider in 4 different countries, Bariloche Argentina, the most popular mechanic in Argentina, $2 bottle of fine wine, beginning of the Austral highway in Chile, Hanging Glacier

The next day I woke up to a bone chilling morning in Argentina.

I realized I wish I had heated gloves or something as I’m constantly fighting frozen fingers the whole day.

Great scenery yet again.

watch out, don't want your palm trees to fly away

Arrived in Bariloche after some more interesting scenery.

It seemed the entire town revolves around hotels and chocolate.

As I drove by a place to sleep, I got lost on some random street. As I found my way out I saw a hostel, and a bike that was covered outside.

As I got down to ask the price, I noticed some familiar gas cans next to the bike.

At first glance I knew exactly who’s they were, it was Lenny again! No way, we first met in Peru, then Bolivia, then Chile and now as I randomly cruise the streets to find him in Argentina!

That’s four countries we have randomly run into each other throughout the last month.

It’s absolutely ridiculous! This is not planned or anything, we don’t even know where we are headed off to next and somehow some way, we find each other.

It seems we are playing the world’s biggest game of international tag on a globe scale

We yet again had a huge laugh and a great chat.

So Lenny tells me that a week ago in Chile, just as I told him how my own debit card number was stolen he tells me that the next day his own debit card was compromised and was canceled as well. He blamed me for his misfortune saying I jinxed it.

So he was waiting on a new card to be shipped to him at the hostel.

So I laughed at how similar our journeys have been so we said our fare wells to never see each other again! (Or so we thought again!)

So I found a hostel and called it a night.

The next day I was off to find a new rear tire for my bike.

I was given a few places to find tires. I got pretty lost for a while in Bariloche but finally found a Honda dealership. And who do I find in the front of the place washing his bike, that’s right


We laughed yet again, and our fare well was just “I’ll see you later”. I didn’t find a tire so off I went.

As much as I like the rear stock tire on the KLR’s, they tend to wear pretty fast. Only got 4000 miles out of it, but a crazy 4000 miles of mud dirt, crashing, river crossings etc none the less.

I found myself a new tire for $140US right next to the hostel as well a new cheap drive chain as a spare. And even found a moto mechanic to change the tire for $4US. So to avoid another midnight hassle of changing a tire I paid the man to change the tire, my first form of luxury and treating myself nicely of the trip. 

new tire

So that’s right, how does Alex enjoy his vacation/adventure and pamper himself in luxury, he pays a guy to change his tire to avoid the hassle of doing it himself. Pathetic I know!

my money at work

So turns out this mechanic is very popular among adventure riders. He showed me a picture album of every biker that’s come in and there were hundreds of pictures of people from around the world that were in the area doing a world tour on their bike.

And now I was here, in the midst of all the other famous riders taking my own spot among the greats.

So he gave me a nice sticker and we took a picture for the famous album.

I really liked the guy, he reminded me of my grandfather and we got along great. I was slightly sad to leave.

For the fellow riders: a motorcycle store for tires in Bariloche Argentina is located to the left of the first gas station when you enter the town, ask for the mechanic there and they’ll point you a street down to him.

That night I cooked myself some food. As I visited the grocery store I was amazed by the huge wine collection they had. Being right in the middle of Chile and Argentina you have all the choices of the best wines this place has to offer.

I’m sure if you personally know me or how read previous posts on this blog you’ll know I’m not a drinker. 

But when you see a $2 dollar bottle of great wine, you just have to buy it, so I did.

I had a few sips and shared the rest with the backpackers at t hostel. I was captain cool as everyone thought I was rich and generous sharing the wine. Little did they know who much it really cost me.

So fresh new tire, wine-ed up, and ready to hit the Patagonia I left Bariloche the following morning.

As I have enjoyed the Ruta 40 so far in Argentina, and yes it was beautiful up towards the top. I decided to hit the Austral route in Chile. I heard it was immensely awesome and goes through some of the most pristine and untouched areas of Patagonia and the world.

So I headed south for a while and cut into Chile.

Ending of asphalt

Welcome back to dirt roads

I ran into a group of motorcycle riders who gave me some great tips and information on driven down the Patagonia.

The border crossings were easy yet again. I don’t like border crossing so easy sometimes as I get reminded of the grossness of Central American crossings and remember the sad reality of poverty and people taking advantage of you as they do in Central America.

At the crossing I saw some cool cars.

As I entered in the rainy Patagonia I saw the beauty everyone speaks of. Although it was freezing, and very rainy it was very beautiful.

I was told the past two months had been completely sunny, and I chose the day it had been raining all day and the day before.

But it did provide some other beauties like this.

I headed towards my new favorite town ,and what is probably the coolest sounding town ever, Futalefue.

So as I looked for a place to stay I approached various hostels and I was asked the same question over and over again. “Are you Israeli?”. I couldn’t quite figure out why they kept asking.

So I found a place to stay the night. I was joined by a two other people. Turns out they were Israeli but passed themselves off as European.

After speaking with them and the owner of the hostel it seems that the Israeli’s are a “plague” down here as the hostel owner mentioned. And they always leave a mess, steal food and leave the bedroom very dirty according to her, which is why I was continually asked if I was Israeli and to why they refuse service to the Israelis as much as possible.

It seems a few bad apples have spoiled the bunch yet again.

So the next day I started my trek down the Austral Highway. I recommend anyone who travels around Chile or Argentina to do this trail, you’ll see why in a little bit.

You know its going to be a rough day when you see this

Although this “highway” is just gravel and rocks, it’s in pretty good condition. Then again I’m used to disgusting roads of Bolivia.

The scenery is amazing

At certain points it felt as if I was driving through Jurassic Park or something.

There was a point in the road where there was heavy construction and was impassable so had to jump on a nice ferry to get across the water to the other side.

More great scenery

Driving in rain sucks!

Then I ran into a cyclist from Colombia.

She had purchased a bike in Ushuaia and was riding up back to Colombia.

She was exceptionally sweet and reminded me of myself, she had no fancy expensive gear and was just out for the adventure, and I wish her the best of luck.

I then made it to a hanging glacier.

It was pretty awesome to see a glacier hanging from such a high cliff.

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