Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Over the Andes









Pictures:
1. They take Mate tea very serious in these parts

2. The Bob trailers are rad but check these guys out! Argentines with no passports touring around thier beautiful county with home welded...things.

3. Dude outsite Hostel/camp in traditional town of Esquel (think Winthrop/Montana)

4. This couple has been touring for 4 years!

5. El Bolson: farmers markets and a lot of relaxed type folk


We have gone from the mountain weather of Bariloche, down the tailwinds to El Bolson and into the headwind to Esquel. All these places are in Argentina. In reading Bruce Chatwins, In Patagonia and the Lonely Paranoid (Lonely Planet) about Butch Cassady´s last whereabouts it seems we may have camped, urinated and cooked in or near his front yard.

We then rode into the wind to Futalafu. The river is clear and big water. There are several guides here from the river I used to work on. The town in not near anywhere so not much for tourists but the terrain is out of this world. We rode over the Andes and ended up here. In two days time we´ll be on the Carretta Austral. Near the Pacific once again and in the sub-tropic jungle. The above pictures is a sequence from Bariloche to here.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Double Rainbow





We have come from Pucon, subtropic rides and runs through lush understory. Popped out the other side of the Andes to Argentina where everything is a bit more serious. In the morning we will get our first taste of route 40. There are no towns for the next 3 days. Resting today and gunning for Butch Cassidy´s old stomping grounds. The above sequence shows the weather and terrain change in the past week or so.

Refugio Frey




Took the bus from Bariloche and bopped up to the alpine climbing up, Refugio Frey. The weather was crap. Hissing rain as I arrived, a ways ahead of Becky. A bunch of longed hairs were crowded in the refugio, most spoke english and claimed to be native to Colorado. Typical. We opted to test the tent and awoke to several inches of snow and blue sky. Weather is changing. Trail qaulity was a highway. Not technical. Follows a river until the final hour which is a steep up to attain the saddle. Refugio sits on a lake in the saddle. Surrounded by towers to climb. Total run/approach = 4hrs

Parque National Huerquehue




A fantastic climb up to lakes backed by granite and jungle. Techy root systems made for a slippery mess of an experience on decents. In about 3 hours we climbed a couple thousand feet to the lakes. Swam. Watched fish jump and ran back to the entrance just in time for the last bus. Arrived back at the tent starving and psyched.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Distant Reality

¨Some people just don´t live in the same reality,¨ the labor foreman spiting his ham and swiss in between sentences.

¨I went to the county fair this year, the wife loves it.¨ This leading into the rant against overwieght americans and his hope that this is not a cross-section of the American way of life. The story of obesity as an epidemic has yet to be told but one thing is for sure, riding a bicycle in a foreign place is good for your health.

To earn funds for the trip I tore up carpet until my palm blistered, flipped burgers, painted fences and worked as a relocator (mover). All the gigs were an adventure, and definitley a step into a different reality. Working in the grease pit I learned the different regions of Mexico, what a 12 hour shift with no breaks feels like, and struggled to earn the name--´stupid gringo´. Working as a mover with Dan was a hoot, with his help I rented a really big truck, drove half asleep and learned his stories of endureance; how many people have you worked for that have ridden thier bicycle the length of the Ididarod Dogsled Race in the dead of winter? Meet my boss, Dan.

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Last post was written from Pucon, the town where I´m registered to race two days from now. Turns out I´m hyperactive and anxious, I´ve just come up for air and realized that Becky and I have ridden down the spine of the Andes; took a ferry; and have learned to differcient ´unpaved´ from ´4-wheel´ roads on our map. We are half way down Argentina and the scenery just keeps outdoing itself.

We are in the city of Bariloche, Argentina and are set to trek up to a climbing spot in the morning. A glimpse: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uDhKC7ZYec

The ferry took us accross one of the many huge lakes (think seattle to Bremerton x2) at the base of a massive volcano. The terrain felt immidiatly different, from the sub tropic comfort of Chile´s lake district we peddalled up a gravel road with pines and furs and a much more rugged feeling. It´s like cresting the Cascades, or any range that blocks weather; things shift in every way. The shrubs are used to dry days, cold mornings and clear starry nights. I came out of the tent a couple nights ago and felt like the stars were making me claustraphobic.

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A traveling partner is hard to get used to, no matter how cool they are. Bless Becky`s heart for comming on this thing, shame on me for constantly hollering over my left shoulder:
¨Try pushing a little bigger gear on the flats.¨
she is getting used to biking and I am getting used to us biking together, slowly.

Argentines seem pretentious and beutifull. The terrain is Telluride, Montana and Bend.

We are spending too much money.

Can´t wait to get back to what we came for; nature and adventure.

Pictures to come in the next couple of days.

Your pal,
Andrew

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

South Bound




When a person rolls into town on an iron donkey people ask questions. We must look like a couple of lost gypsies.

Buggy (unaffectionate bike name) has a massive yellow bag mounted on a single axle trailer with a broken rear fender that rubs on the wheel. Kitchen equiptment and other essential crap hang off in all directions. We must look lost, but we seem to be making a lot of friends this way.

Rodrigo is a guide here in Pucon. He popped out as soon as our wheels stopped rolling and offered a place to pitch the tent. Yesterday he took us up a dirt road towards volcano Villarica. We crossed three ridges and swooped up through several different glacial fed rivers before ditching the bikes and hiking up to a waterfall. Rigo is full of life and knowledge. He´s a guide on the volcano and super fit local adventure buddy.

We are tentatively planning to race the Ironman Pucon 70.3 here on the 16th. The town is nestled between a massive lake and subtropic mountains. We´ll be running wild and free in the mountains until race morning.

Becky is still working on a name for her steed, but I think she´s settled for Julio.

Post race we will tour all the way south.