to Bariloche

The day’s track
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What an great day this was.

We started out heading east into the country towards the Andes to cross back into Argentina at Cardenal Samoré
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Past the big lake at Puyehue
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There’s something about the road that makes Lucinda want to run fast so we do
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Past more of the islands
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And begin our climb up into the misty forest, past rivers
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and waterfalls
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We pass Arbutus-like trees with ghostly white flowers
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And after 100 miles reach the Chilean exit border. I should have taken more pictures of the forest but we didn’t want to stop, just ride.

The border at Cardenal Samoré isn’t much, but it’s fast. I’m through with my visa into aduana (customs) in 10 minutes. Aduana is an amazing 20 minutes, the guy takes in stride my crazy Guatemalan title without a blink
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And we’re through, headed to the Argentinian border post 40 k’s away.

We start climbing rapidly. The strangest thing – the mountains turn to sand. It’s surreal in the mist
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I’m wondering how this can be
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Sometimes it looks river washed, but we’re almost at the peak
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Another 20k further on, on the descent, huge granite peaks appear and it all makes sense, kindof. We’ve passed through a massive sand gulch and couldn’t see the peaks around us in the clouds
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A flipped 18-wheeler. Must be a Peruvian driver, they’re the masters of truck flipping
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Speed again down the beautiful road
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A good vegetation shot. Very high ferns, mixed trees. Exotic
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Rivers flowing into Argentina now. This pic is worth a click because the beauty is very hard to describe
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To the Argentine border. Pretty fancy for a small crossing
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Park Lucinda inside, immigration is a breeze, they scan my reciprocity barcode, and aduana once again don’t look concerned about my Guate plates, and we’re through in less than 30 minutes. Amazing. Maybe a new record, or tied with La Mesilla at Mexico/Guate.
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And off we go.

But next comes the closest we’ve been to a trip-delaying trip to hospital since Mexico. Giving Lucinda a little gas at some point the rear goes a bit sideways. I’m surprised because although the surface is damp and we’re on the nearly useless but long-lasting Heidenau tires, nothing seems out of the ordinary. So I gently clutch/gear down, not trusting the brakes, to a halt and look down closely. The road surface is as polished as glass
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The mist in the air is just enough, with the shiny road surface, to defeat the damn Heidenaus. A dutch rider lost his front and literally flipped it outside of Santiago just a month ago in similar conditions on Heidenaus. God, they’re evil. But what choice is there if you’re doing up to 8k between changes? Some people, on bikes not as greedy as Lucinda get 20k out of them…

I head off again, trying to ride in the least slick tracks on the road. But no, a mile further down, on a steep section, doing a reasonable speed Lucinda goes sideways and flips left/right violently for 100 feet before getting straight. Jesus, that would have been a big highside I think. I click my blinkers on and crawl downhill until the slick surface runs out, feeling like an idiot and cursing the tires.

Another lake on the east side of the Andes
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We had some time to burn thanks to the quick border, so rode down to the shore.

Gin clear
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Vivid colors that we were to see much more of
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Further down the road we see this
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Get off the bike with a smile
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Yup, another variety of Mutisia
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The ride down the east side is very different. The forest is thinner, the moodiness is not so much in the air as in the trees
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The ride is beyond words
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Lower, a river
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A glade
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Then we’re out of the forest and cross maybe 30 miles of this
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Down to Bariloche, a tourist town with an interesting history
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But before stopping we go to the lakefront, where it’s blowing a typical Patagonian gale
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Translucent breakers
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Then we head off to meet Santiago, a friend of Helge’s, who I emailed a couple of weeks earlier about storing my bike. I’m early and bump into this guy, Diego, on a very cool older Suzuki 800, a huge bike for Argentina. Wow what a beautiful bike. By luck he’s a riding partner of Santiago’s
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Diego has a comic shop!
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He’s a long distance rider and follows the community on the web. He’s also got a bit of a crush (along with every other rider on the planet) on Anna Grechiskina. She’s got I have a dream tattooed the length of her forearm: her dream is to solo from her native Ukraine around the world on a KTM 990. She’s currently in Asia sorting out some problems. OK, here’s why her site has more daily hits than everybody else’s combined
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Christ, I’ve lost my train of thought.

Oh, so Diego and I review her progress
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You can follow her progress at
Anna’s Facebook page or Anna’s website

I meet Santiago and his wife Mery at their store. Santiago and Diego have ridden the Carretera Austral to Ushuaia and I grill both for route beta
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When I emailed Santiago asking if he knew of a safe home for Lucinda while I flew back to Canada, he said no problem, he could do that. So imagine my horror when I met him at his home and he told me to ride the bike around back of his house, ride across the lawn, up an embankment onto his deck and through double doors into his kitchen/dining room. In his kitchen for nearly two weeks? Well to make a long story short he strongly insisted and I hoped the gift I brought back from Canada for him and Mery was sufficient. They were generous to an extreme.

The next day I flew out of Bariloche
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