Patagonia Day 4: We Found the Dirt!

We got out of Cholilo fairly quickly, as our hostel didn’t have breaky and not much was open (no coffee). So with some pan dulche in hand we set off, still on pavement. But it didn’t take long to finally hit the rippio we were after. Just as we hit the edge of town the pavement came to an end.

Sam Bell (‘famous mountain biker’) ripping rippio

On this morning we were also met with our first sprinkles. Nothing major but a reminder of how nice we’ve had it so far.Worse places to have coffee and first signs of rain….With threats of rain being overhyped we carried on. Shortly after, arriving at Parque Nacional Los Alerces, the route took use around the eastern edge of Lago Futalaufquen. This offered, unshockingly, more amazing views, more waterfall, more stunningly clear water. We also stopped to chat with a French couple on a motorcycle, they were hoping to see an ice sheet shear while waiting for friends to catch up. We all got an even better view thanks to Sam having packed binoculars.With an occasional stop at a waterfall we made our way to Villa Futalaufquen were we would stay at one of the organized camps. The village itself didn’t off much but we did find a couple extras for our dinner in addition to a couple beers. Right nearby was an archaeological site with some indigenous cave paintings and an overlook of the lake.Dinners were had, showers enjoyed, plans hatched and once the birds STFU, sleep.

Patagonia Day 3: Word of the day ‘Solbente’

Finally found stove fuel

It’s actually ‘solvente’ but with my Spanish being shit and constantly not hearing the ‘b’ sound for a ‘v’ I kept missing it. A bit of back story….

We had been so concerned we weren’t going to be able to find fuel for the jetboil in Bariloche that we didn’t even realize we’d forgotten about white gas until we were on the way out of town. Being a bit sour about the coffee shop wasting so much time we decided to push on, figuring we could find it at a hardware store as some people had suggested. After two days of asking at every hardware or camp supply shop I started to get worried I would have to use petrol. Not the end of the world but it’s nasty shit that leave soot on everything. Finally we realized what people actually got from the hardware store wasn’t white gas but… wait for it…. paint thinner. Hopefully that works out.

After the fuel up in El Bolsón the riding that day was shockingly full of beautiful views and wild flowers!

This day also contained and important milestone….

Adios Ruta 40!

We left Ruta 40 for the much quieter Ruta 71. Still more paved than desired but at least traffic was far less.

Not long after this change over we saw a new critter! Wild flamingos!

Additionally we had time to visit one of our planned points of interest the Butch Cassidy ‘museo bar’, La Legal. The mother/daughter team running the place were great, we had some nice conversation while enjoying a beer in the hot late afternoon.

After visiting the museum we went to check out the original Butch Cassidy property. It’s really awesome that this family is putting in the effort to take care of this piece of history.

We finished up our day with a short ride into Cholila for dinner.

Patagonia Day 2: Off Track and in the Flowers

One more picture of Lago Guillermo just because it was so stunning. We had a casual pack up in the morning, enjoying out coffee despite it being revoltingly stale. The riding was sunny with rolling hills. Ruta 40 wasn’t so bad even with the traffic, most drivers where nice, big trucks would honk far back when passing or slow when there wasn’t room.

But we did come here ride dirt… so we decided to try a couple side trails that would reconnect with Ruta 40 after a couple miles…

So far so good, action Sam ripping some dual track! Sadly this didn’t last long, after 2 or 3 increasing difficult bush whacks we couldn’t press on. I didn’t manage a picture but was standing on a 3 foot pile brush just to see the way was to getting worse. After turning back we realized the end of this trail was no more.

The trail was supposed to have reconnected here…

A lot of the rest of the day was spent marveling at waterfalls and stopping to take pictures of wildflowers.

Some of these yellow flowers smelled like peaches

We ended out day at a pretty amazing hostel, basically planted in a 2 acre garden where they brewed their own beer, made pizza and empanadas (2 vego kinds!). We got a great guided tour from two dogs that showed us all the great spots.

Stars of Lago Guillermo

One of the primary reasons I decided to shell out for a decent camera was so I could take pictures of the night sky. Out first night camping at Lago Guillermo was the first time it was dark enough to give it a go and oh boy it didn’t disappoint. These are a couple of the best shots and I’m super excited to shoot some more in the next few days.

This last one I am particularly excited about as I believe I captured two galaxies. I could be totally wrong, it will take a bit of research to be sure, but those two clouds didn’t move over a 30 or so minute period.

Patagonia Day One: Bariloche to Lago Guillermo Beach Camp

We ended up with a bit of a late start and mild frustration at what should have been a 30 minute coffee turning into an hour and a half. So it goes. The ride out of town, despite being on a main highway, Ruta 40, was easy riding and full of spectacular views.The original plan for day one was a 10 mile ‘get out of town’ and stay at the nearest campsite. But even with the late start it was decided we had more than enough time to pass the first 3 or 4 campsites to a wild camp at Lago Guillermo. The camp was described as ‘difficult to get to as it’s below the road ‘. What this meant was an awesome dirt path to a secluded campsite just far enough for the road the noise was not bothersome.And this is the scene we were rewarded with. Having arrived a bit before 7pm, we had a solid 2(!) hours of sun left. We had snacks and attempted a small hike to a beach we saw on the map but it might have only been accessible by boat. So we built our small fire, got started on dinner and waited for the one big star to go away so to see all it’s far flung friends. Day one in the books.

By the numbers

  • 2:18 riding time
  • 26.5 miles
  • 1138ft total ascent
  • 11.5mph averge speed

Made it to Bariloche!

Yesterday we arrived in Bariloche to start the tour. Sam’s derailleur got ‘airlined’ but thankfully the small local shop had a great mechanic, Richie Zuber who was something like 7 time DH champion in Argentina.

We kick off this afternoon and are excited to more spectacular views like these.

I woke up like this

Iguazu Falls

Our side trip to Iguazu Falls was nothing short of amazing. We got really nice accommodations at Hostel Bambu, which feels like a bit of luck as there as so many hotels, hostels and guest houses in Puerto Iguazu it’s hard to tell what’s what. The staff have all been extremely friendly and helpful in getting us around.

The falls themselves were so stunning we ended up going both days, only in part because we missed out on the boat ride that takes you right up to and into the falls.

Along the hikes we saw many local critters. Here is the most well behaved Coati we encountered, eating a nut rather than my empanada. The coati around all the dining areas have few ducks about who was eating what. It took about 1.5 seconds for one to jump on a table and stuff my empanada in its mouth.

Good Coati

Why’d the lizard cross the tracks? Probably because I was saying ‘hey lizard! There’s a train coming!’ Or maybe just because a train was coming. These big’ins were all over, never figured out what they were.

Big lizard in my backyard

We also saw several Camine, the second one really hated bugs.

Stop buggin me

One of the critters we really looked forward to seeing was the Tucan and thankfully we spotted… two!

The falls are viewable from several hikes starting from below and the highest one ended at ‘The Devils Throat’

Looking down The Devils Throat, water running over the highest edge of Iguazu Falls
Looking down The Devils Throat

We’re doing it!

Well, at this point we have done it. And by it I mean it, I mean traveled to Argentina. And by we, I mean me and the one and only Samalama.This is mostly meant as a test post to ensure I can pull photos from my camera, write offline and upload when we get wifi. Presently we’re on a plane to our pre-tour side excursion to Iguazu Falls. After a couple days here we spend a couple more days in Buenos Aires before flying to El Bariloche to start riding. We’ve got a roughly 26 day toured planned through Patagonia ending in El Calafate.A short timeline of events so far.We did some pre rides, here’s Sam on one now.I rode to work loaded a bunch of times last week.And finally we put our bikes in boxes, which went a bit better than usual.That’s that for now. Hopefully this posting from my phone isn’t so frustrating I won’t want to do it.

Back and Rolling with Good Habits

Yesterday, 4:30AM

I cannot fall back asleep. For the 3rd or 4th time. I’m hungry. As someone who has a terrible time waking up I actually like jetlag on the return trip, wide awake before 5AM? Yeah, okay.

With being awake I had enough time to not only get some thing done around the house (dicking around) but to ride to work arriving an hour early. See, jetlag is productive. And what a ride it was. Not pushing particularly hard I bested my pre-BTG2018 commute time by 2 minutes! How do you like that?!

Bike on trail in redwoods.
Dirt cool down on the final stretch of the commute.

My commute is great even if just on the edge of difficult to do daily. At about 12.6km (7.8mi) and 475m (1560ft) when not in the best of shape it can be a chore. But the end in the Redwoods is worth it, so just keep the fitness up right?

Unkown wooden structure in Redwoods
What is this thing?!

I was treated to this oddity on the final stretch of West Ridge Trail. Rumors around work is it’s some sort of closet burner project, sure hope not.

Sooooo….. Ya know how I was talking about Shitty Hike-a-Bikes, well seems ol’ WOW Airlines is a fan of my work and read that, then decided to do me a solid and loose my bike so I didn’t have to schlep it on BORT. Geeee, thaaaanks. They also decided to not tell me, so I waited nearly 2 hours at the hell that is SFO  with not an employee to be found. Finally got someone on the phone to put in a claim, but it still feels like they just punted me off to shirk responsibility. No update as of yet. OK, being that I’ve been up since 5am again, time for some other early morning productivity. Have fun and fuck WOW Air!

Worst hike-a-bike ever?

It’s never occurred to me before but no hike-a-bike is worse than schlepping ones bike to the airport.

You know what’s worse though? Finding out as your train is pulling up to the airport that you’re (not me) at the wrong one. Ouch, no train service to Tegel fellas.

Anyhow, I am on the first leg of my flight home and excited to see Sam and the little piggles. More writing on BTG2018 later in the week.