Patagonia Is Hard: S.C. de Bariloche – Futaleufú

Seriously, how am I ever going to write a blog post without dumping hundreds of photos on you, all of them showing a landscape that is even more stunning than the last? This place is like riding through a postcard or a chocolate box, as others have called it. I can confirm this: The box of chocolate I bought in Bariloche has a photo on its lid that looks suspiciously like the view I had from Cerro Campanario.

And yes, the riding is often hard too, but who cares? You soon forget about that climb you were fighting just a few minutes ago upon seeing the reward. The proof of that is in the notes I took for this post. When I looked back at the altitude profiles of the last few days I saw uphill sections that I completely missed while on the road.

Continue reading “Patagonia Is Hard: S.C. de Bariloche – Futaleufú”

Waterfalls and Weather Fails: S.M. de los Andes – S.C. de Bariloche

The more you walk around San Martín, the more ridiculous it gets. Just when you think you’ve seen it all they come up with a new fake German-style building and a corresponding name that just doesn’t make sense. I saw bars called “Bierhaus” or “Das Gute bier”. Yes, that’s the capitalisation they use. There are some half-timbered (“vakwerk”) buildings, but they are clearly stone structures with some planks screwed to the outside, and the pattern doesn’t even work.

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I’ve been through the desert… Zapala – S.M. de los Andes

… on a horse made of steel. As far as horses go it’s a rather bad one, it won’t do anything unless I put all the energy in. Maybe the problem is having a steel horse called Gaucho. It might think that the roles are reversed. The advantage is of course that it doesn’t consume large amounts of food and water, which would have been a problem in the desert. Carrying enough water for me was hard enough.

My rest day in Zapala was indeed mostly spent resting. I walked a lap of the town in the morning and another in the early evening. I got some food from a supermarket and that’s about it. I updated the blog, phoned home and did whatever else needed attention online. Continue reading “I’ve been through the desert… Zapala – S.M. de los Andes”

Almost, but not Quite: Buta Ranquil – Zapala

Elapsed Time Moving Time Distance Average Speed Max Speed Elevation Gain
06:45:12 05:50:08 89.65 15.36 61.92 1,146.00
hours hours km km/h km/h meters

 

Tuesday started foggy, but soon enough the fog lifted and the sun was out for a bit. Most of the time it stayed cloudy.

Today would be a big climbing day, so soon enough I found myself on a decently sized hill. After climbing that I descended to a small valley, only to start climbing a bigger hill soon after. On this first downhill I met a German couple going the other way. After a brief chat about our routes and what lay ahead, we continued on our way. The man wished me “gute Reise und immer Rückenwind”. I wished them the same, but I noted we couldn’t both get it. Continue reading “Almost, but not Quite: Buta Ranquil – Zapala”

A Rite of Passage: Malargüe – Buta Ranquil

Elapsed Time Moving Time Distance Average Speed Max Speed Elevation Gain
04:30:20 03:57:28 65.10 16.45 54.36 756.00
hours hours km km/h km/h meters

 

Friday’s ride is relatively short at 65 km, but it includes a climb to about 2000 meters before descending to Bardas Blancas. Indeed the climb started soon enough, but it wasn’t too hard. There were some steep sections interleaved with easier climbs and even some downhill. The weather was sunny with little wind and the scenery was very beautiful.

The only downside is that I forgot to take the big bottle of apple juice out of the fridge in my apartment. I later learned that I also left my shampoo in the shower there. And the next day I left my camera’s lens cap in my room. All not super important and/or easy to replace, but maybe I should pay more attention.

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A Shortcut to What? Mendoza – Malargüe

On Sunday morning I had a lazy start. I had made a pretty big mess of my room over two busy rest days. I had bought some new stuff that needed to find a place and I wanted to reorganise some other things. Thus packing my bags took longer than usual, as I’m normally pretty efficient about putting everything in its fixed place. I’ve had enough practice after all.

Then I noticed that the rear light on the bike wasn’t working and I tried to fix it. I thought my fix had failed, but later I saw the light was actually working. Tape and tie wraps for the win! All in all it was 10:45 when I left. Continue reading “A Shortcut to What? Mendoza – Malargüe”

Take it Easy: San Juan – Mendoza

A few days before reaching San Juan the bite valve of my Camelbak broke when a dog was a little too interested in my bike and gear. It generally still works fine, but occasionally it leaks and I may lose a lot of water. Thankfully that hasn’t happened on the road so far, but it did at the end of the day. In San Juan I went looking for a replacement. I tried two outdoor stores and a bike shop and they all had the same option: buy a whole new bladder of a local brand. This wasn’t what I wanted, so I just tried to glue it shut and hope that will stick – literally. Continue reading “Take it Easy: San Juan – Mendoza”

Cuarenta Is Sixty Six: La Rioja – San Juan

That sounds like an extremely bad Spanish lesson, cuarenta means forty after all. But it’s not a language lesson, this is about culture. More on that later. First we go back to the events following my arrival in La Rioja.

The first few hours of Tuesday afternoon I spent in my air-conditioned room, updating the blog and taking care of some other online business. I left at 16:00, since I hadn’t eaten since the ice cream before noon. As soon as I walked out I was hit by the oppressive heat, so I quickly walked to a rather fancy bar, where I had an excellent burger and a nice large beer. Continue reading “Cuarenta Is Sixty Six: La Rioja – San Juan”

Here Comes the Sun: S.M. de Tucumán – La Rioja

Elapsed Time Moving Time Distance Average Speed Max Speed Elevation Gain
05:39:56 04:03:12 77.39 19.09 34.56 89.00
hours hours km km/h km/h meters

Friday started at 10 after a very meager breakfast at the hostel, which is normal here. A cup of tea, a glass of carbonated water and a few small pieces of bread is usually all you get.

It took about 20 km to get out of town with much stop and go at traffic lights. The Ruta Provincial was initially quite busy, later less so. Easy ride so far. It was still cloudy in the morning, the sun came out a bit in the afternoon. The predictions say that the coming days will be very hot. Continue reading “Here Comes the Sun: S.M. de Tucumán – La Rioja”

Born to Be Wild: S.S. de Jujuy – S.M. de Tucumán

Elapsed Time Moving Time Distance Average Speed Max Speed Elevation Gain
07:22:00 04:12:20 64.38 15.31 48.24 163.00
hours hours km km/h km/h meters

 

Sunday was not my day. The day started by trying to find my way out of the city. I had to cross a busy highway interchange to get to the road I wanted to take, Ruta 66. After crossing some foot bridges I finally got where I wanted to be. Initially there were collector roads running parallel to the highway on either side, which I took.

Then suddenly these stopped. The highway was a busy motorway at this point and it didn’t look very attractive to ride. I looked on my map and saw another road going in the same direction, so I took that. This was a good dirt road and all was fine. Continue reading “Born to Be Wild: S.S. de Jujuy – S.M. de Tucumán”