Time on the road

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Puerto Mont to Buenos Aires

The ferry ride turned out to be quite pleasant and if you are tired of that Patagonian wind and can afford it then it is a great way to refresh yourself, the last day the wind calmed down and the sun came out, still cold by Florida standards, but everybody was on the aft deck with wine cameras and healthy conversation about the last 2 hectic days. I forgot to mention in the last post that they got us all up at 6am to look at a glacier, almost in the dark, lacking a bit of pre-planning there that would be the blue photo. The Glacier at Calefate was far more spectacular.

We docked and about an hour later we got of the boat and headed north towards Osorno, now just before boarding the boat we met this great guy, Pablo Escobar, he says that when he gets to Colombia he’s not so sure how well he is going to be accepted, funny. Now, he lives in Osorno so when we got there we had a great meal and then it was time for all of us to say our farewells, Graham and Sue with Dave were heading to Bariloche and crossing Argentina further south of us, they still have time, we needed to get to BA, so we took a more northern route through Pucon. After looking back it turns, out that the country I saw the most of and spent the most time in was Chile and I still have an extra 5 days to play with, so if it was my thing I really could have spent a lot of time doing stuff south of Santiago, but on my own, I like to spend time on the bike riding, you bikers out there know what I mean.

Villarica and Pucon are in the Chilian lake district, really stunning, beaches, volcano hiking and thermal springs and who knows what else, but the next day across the boarder and back into Argentina to a little town called San Martin de los Andes, now that town I could spend time in, its like a picture perfect little Swiss ski village nestled on the edge of a lake surrounded by Volcanoes, we were there on the weekend so town was bustling.

The next day was our first really long ride, 650kms to a town called Choele Choel not much to say about this place other than an early start and 700kms later we got to Azul, also not much. The next day was my first solo ride since leaving Santiago and I flew 300kms in 2 hours to Buenos Aires, and in those 2 hours I reflected on the entire trip, the places I’ve been the things I’ve seen, to basically be in a situation in my Life where I can do this, I don’t think stopping now would be smart. Without to much difficulty I get to the street of the hotel and while asking for directions, I hear a loud shout “Chrees”, I turn around and there is Gino, so cool to see him again and he is with his wife and they look great together. So we jump we hug, we laugh and shout and he walks me 50 meters to the hotel where he and I will be staying, I walk in and guess who is standing there waiting for me, Adrian. I nearly fell over with shock, 2 amazing surprises in ten minute of each other. Adrian is on vacation in his home town, he knew I was coming by watching my track on the blog, I had sent him the hotel details, but the timing was perfect.

Well that night, last night, we arranged for all the ‘Cosmotos’ that were in town to meet for dinner, so Gino, his wife and friend Bolivar, Adrian, Johannes and Judy, Philippe, Mike and Alana and friend Tara and me all meet at a restaurant and have a blast, but the interesting thing was after Tara took us to a local Argentinean Tango dance hall. Now you are really only allowed in if you know how to Tango, and I don’t mean, saw it on TV and now Tango is your thing, no these people were absolutely amazing. I now know what the Argentinean Tango is and that has got to be the sexiest thing I have ever seen. We all sat there until 2;30 am watching these people, yes only watching because if we had of decided to give it a shot, we would have been briskly removed from the premises. That Tango stuff, I could get into that!!

Well here I sit in BA wondering what to do next, a quick trip to visit my Brother in Switzerland and then what?

Quite simple really, I’m not ready to stop, I have a place to store my bike here, so I think I’m going to ride from BA to Alaska.
 A little therapy can go a long way or a long way can be a little therapy, either way you look at it riding is good for mind, body and soul. I say get a bike leave your cell phone at home and go for a long ride, you will be amazed at what you might find!!!!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Ushuaia to Puerto Mont

It’s a strange feeling, now that I am on the return trip, going north again. Kind of, been there done that. It feels like the trip is over, but I still have a lot to do.

Well because the wind was so bad down south and we all needed a break we decided to take the Ferry from Puerto Natales to Puerto Mont. We had an easy one day ride from Ushuaia through Povenir and then the short ferry to Punta Arenas and spent a night there. Nice little town, had a nice late start to get the 3pm penguin viewing, that was the first time I’ve seen Penguins, funny little things.

Once we arrived in Puerto Natales, we had a couple of days to kill so we took 2 days, 1 night and went to Torres del Paine National park to look at some apparently wonderful mountains that were completely covered with clouds, the norm. Johannes, Judy and myself, spent the night at an Eco-camp that was a bit expensive but, fantastic, very well run, the food was great and a great dirt road to get there. Another place I would like to go back to one day.

Now this ferry has been nick named “the puke boat” rough seas etc, well we had a great sail, one night of rough seas but I slept no problem. A 3 day break was good for me, so yesterday when I got back on the bike it really felt good. We hope to be in BA in about 5 days but, we’ll see how that goes.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Chile Chico to Ushuaia

Ruta 40 Sur, see that smile, didn’t last long. I like dirt roads, Ill take one any day over asphalt, give me 619 kms of it, even better, like the Uyuni to San Pedro ride, I was the happiest guy around, however my opinion will do a complete U-turn if you throw 100kph cross winds into the mix. You see when enough trucks travel a gravel road then burms build up and leave you a safe path that is about 2 feet wide flanked either side by a 10 inch burm, on a light bike you cross that easy, on a heavy bike the front wheel tends to do its own thing. I did ok, Graham and Sue did fine, but Dave on the back heavy XT 660, 6 kms from the end he went down and did his knee in. We got to the nearest town by midday but only got the bike in at around 11 pm, together with the fact that I was feeling like S@#T so we spent an extra day in Gregoris then headed down on the next leg to El Calafate. Now for those monkeys out there that do Ruta 40 twice or on bicycles, seek help!!!

In El Calafate we went on a day trip to Perito Moreno Glacier, WOW, that really is something to see, every couple of seconds you hear the ice cracking and every 10 to 20 minutes you see ice breaking and falling into the lake.

After a couple of recovery days we then started the final leg to Ushuaia. Crossed the border twice, met up with Philippe and Obi on one of them. So good to see them again, last saw them in Banos, Ecuador, months ago.

Also bumped into Ingo and Cecelia at a gas station, they were on there way back up.

I didn’t expect Ushuaia to be much, but I was pleasantly surprised, quaint little town, damn expensive, but I made it all the way to the bottom and then in true Cockerell fashion, after taking the famous photos I was in a rush to get my bike out the way and tried to get my big bike though a small space and demolished my Port side pannier, what a bummer. 37,000 kms and no damage, nice one.