Pacific to Atlantic

Lucinda and I had to go back Buenos Aires to prepare for a big flight west. Although you’d think this would be a shorter thing to do from Santiago, Lucinda’s welfare is my top priority. There’s a freight forwarder in BA who has a great reputation for handling bikes well so we went there, despite the additional hassle.

So here’s the route we took, right across South America (and thanks Dan for showing me how to group these tracks)
Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 2.40.52 PM

Not many pictures or story for this very long track. There’s an explanation at the bottom of the post.

The first leg is back over the Christo Redentor pass between Chile and Argentina. We’ve been here before but it’s colder this time.

Out of Santiago we climb into the Andes
P1030374

This time we climb rather than descend the famous switchbacks. It’s like climbing a wall. Poor contrast in this pic, you’ll probably have to click on it
P1030380

Serious road engineering. There’s been progress since we were last here
P1030382

To the border, but there’s a problem. Both countries immigration/aduana are now in the same building. Last time they were miles apart. I need a gap where neither border can see me for a few minutes. This will present difficulties down the road, but nothing that can’t be finessed. I can’t explain what yet, but nothing too weird
P1030390

Through the equally famous tunnel. It goes the whole way under the mountain ahead
P1030396

Through smaller tunnels
P1030417

Through valleys
P1030412

And across the plains to Mendoza.

I haven’t done a restaurant review before. But I wandered into this small place and had my best meal in 20 months. The food has been not-so-hot for a long time. I’ll explain another time. Three courses and a bottle of Torrontes for 350 pesos, about $37 US. A lot of money here. Stop here at GPS coordinates S32 53.508 W68 50.861
P1030427

The ride between Mendoza and San Luis was boring. And it rained. I didn’t take a single photo.

Just outside of San Luis there’s the small town of Potrero de los Funes in some hills which appear surprisingly in the great plain of central Argentina. You see that little road here? It’s a racetrack
P1030435

Lucinda has never been on a track before and wants us to try it. It’ll  be romantic, she says.

The track at Potrero de los Funes looks like this
Potrero_de_los_Funes_Circuit_(Argentina)_track_map.svg

Stuck in the middle of anywhere, 100’s of miles from anything, the Potrero de los Funes Circuit, a 6.3km track was inaugurated in 2008, and hosts local Formula Renault, TC2000 and FIA GT Championships, among other stuff. So it’s a serious circuit. From above it looks like this
MOTORSPORT/GTFIA SAN LUIS 2008

And on race day it looks like this
tc5

We get up early the first day
P1030445

We roll out onto the track. Take a couple of laps warming her tires up.

Start in pole position
Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 8.50.59 PM

Into the first corner nice and easy
Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 8.55.55 PM

Out onto a long stretch
Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 8.51.42 PM

Approaching the next right
Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 8.55.29 PM

Sweeper
Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 8.54.45 PM

A left
Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 8.54.50 PM

Hairpin
Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 8.54.40 PM

Etc etc

Race to the finish
Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 8.56.17 PM

Then on to Cordoba.

Up into cold mountains
P1030501

Pretty ridge running
P1030515

A section of track
Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 4.41.44 PM

There were huge Cotoneasters roadside
P1030504

And a good orange shrub I couldn’t ID
P1030499

Pampas on the hillsides. Normally they’re on the flats
P1030477

A small Silene
P1030483

The summit was a bare rocky plain that ran for a few miles
P1030484

With small ponds everywhere
P1030486

And down to rich green pastures
P1030509

Lucinda poses in the middle of a roundabout
P1030513

We arrived late into Cordoba and left early so no pictures.

As it happens my Garmin GPS has been a nightmare for the last few days. I do all the tricks I’ve learned over the last 20 months and nothing I can do can bring it back to sanity. I won’t bore you with the details but despite Garmin insisting it’s not a hardware problem I’ll be replacing it down the road. In the interim I have to use it as a map, not a GPS. Here’s an example of it’s routing skills. The road is in red, the purple is the recommended route. Nuts
P1030519

Or a particularly bad moment. It wants us to follow the purple line! So we ignore it and follow the hard map background, just like stone-age times.
P1030528

Nothing but grief from this useless thing since it first lost its mind back in Savanna, Georgia. And Garmin support is useless.

The next two days were a fast ride over flat farmland through Rosario to Buenos Aires
P1030521

This is one of the biggest roads in Argentina. I would never normally ride on such a thing
P1030533

But truth be told, my mind has moved beyond South America. We’ve been here long enough and we want a change.

So I take this enormous road and let my thoughts wander to wondering where in the world I’ll find my next adventure. Lucinda and I have a much clearer idea about the big picture now. It’s taken me a long time to come to some conclusions about why I’m doing this, but the picture is clearer. I can now see more than just where, I’m beginning to see why and how.

Adding to this clearer picture is the realization that Lucinda and I are riding well together. I haven’t dropped her once in a technical riding situation in South America. I’ve dropped her hitting a traffic barrier outside Lima (I had a similar surprise in Leon, Nicaragua) and we’ve had the standard drop manuevering-at-walking-speed in sand or mud when I’ve put my foot down to find nothing there.

So combined with some new ideas about goals, we’re in a happy place right now.

Or we thought we’d finished here, but a nice thing happened on our way to do a bike/paperwork chore: Uruguay.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.