All good things, eventually come to an end, and at times we do not get to choose when that might be. My trip came to an abrupt end on March 17.
I was about 15 miles north of Tres Lagos Patagonia with 15 miles more of gravel remaining. I have no recall of the event but suspect strongly that my habit of riding too fast on gravel roads may have had something to do with the eventual end over end fall and crash. I was found on the road taking a little untimely nap, by two men in a pick-up truck. They loaded moto into their truck and took me to the small village of Tres Lagos. At the gas station there, I then met two other men who took me under their wings and got me to a local hostal where I continued my nap. These men, pictured above, were down visiting a recently purchased sheep ranch, above. They were very kind and agreed to take me back to Buenos Aires the next day. This journey took three and a half days as we were about 1800 miles south of the capital. I had decided to not attempt repair of the moto as it would have cost about $ 1500 just to get it to Buenos Aires and then another $ 2000 to get it home, plus the $ 2000 or so for repairs. I gifted the moto to the good shepherds
and it will spend it’s days tending sheep. I ended up with bruised ribs, sore hip and a sore sternum. I may have been knocked out for no more than 10 minutes, as there is some traffic on this road. When I returned home I went to my doctor for an exam and had a cat scan just for safety sake. All seems well, I did get rattled pretty good and recovery is slow.
I had been warned about this section of road by other riders but decided to ride it anyway, I have no regrets and up to the fall enjoyed the riding.
I shall not return to continue my travels in South America but cannot overstate how much I enjoyed it. It was truly a trip of a life time. I can walk and talk. Yes!
Besides losing the motorcycle I also broke my Apple Mac Book, beyond repair. I lost many of your addresses and all of my photographs. Bummer. At this point, I have lost most of my web-page entries, so if someone has copied them to their hard-drive I would appreciate it, if you could forward them to me. I arrived home Easter Sunday and have been spending my time recovering, and thinking about my next motorcycle.
I met so many wonderful people on the road and will miss the fellowship.
This will be my last blog until my next trip to ?
Yes, I am finally back on the road after an almost 2 week break waiting for my voltage regulator to arrive.
My new friend Martin was kind enough to house, feed and befriend me for all that time. He is a real old-time gentleman and character. We had a most enjoyable time.
Ron was kind enough to get and ship the regulator to me. Thank you Ron.
The regulator arrived at 1130 am and at 130 pm I was on the road heading for Argentina. I rode straight through to Bariloche, a very pretty large town setting on a very large lake.
I spent the night in a youth hostel on the lake and left the next morning riding through beautiful lake and river country. I had planned on riding only to Esquel Argentina but continued on to Futaleufu Chile, Futaleufu is in Patagonia and also is a center for whitewater rafting and kayaking. I stayed in a kayaking hostel then left at 10 am for the 2 hour ride on a gravel road to join the Carretera Austral.
I found the road to me well maintained and very pretty to ride. The road is a times single lane track and at other times wide and smooth. Fuel and services are sparse so proper planning is necessary.
I will continue down this road until the end then cross back into Argentina via a lake ferry.
Puerto Cisnes is a sea water fishing port.
There are no natural salmon here in Chile but they farm a great many.
I shall sample some this evening.
More to come.
As you can see Pucon is very pretty. The lake is large and blue reminding me of lake Tahoe.
Martin’s house is large and beautiful with magnificent views of the lake and volcano. The lake is 16 miles long and 600 feet deep. Volcano Villarica vents smoke constantly.
The property of Jim and Isabel has an even closer and better view of the volcano. Martin is the developer and builder here in Altos Los Riscos.
I shall spend a week here waiting for Ron to send me down the voltage regulator, things could be worse.
The weather has turned cooler and fall is in the air.
Fall was in the air yesterday but today very warm at 85 degrees.
Chile is a lovely, modern well organized country. The road system here is better than Arizona’s, even the secondary roads are well kept, clean and with great signage making navigation quite easy.
The wine region, which is very large, looks exactly like California’s wine region and the weather is very similar.
After leaving Viña del Mar, I traveled the coastal road south for a couple hundred miles then turned eastward into the central valley, again looking just like California.
I must say, I became a bit bored with the monotony of good roads and more California, therefore I decided to escape back to rural Argentina. West of Talca is a mountain pass into Argentina, it is a gravel road and as of now the worst road I have traveled but the views were spectacular. At times more like a cattle track with lots of sharp rocks, the road crossed the Andes at their most rugged. and beautiful area.
Once I got to the gravel section I rode about 200 miles before seeing a gas station, restaurant or pavement.
I had to travel about 40 miles north on route 40 before finding fuel, food and bed.
This part of Argentina is typical southwestern US with open sage land and always mountains or mesas on the horizon. The roads are mostly gravel and fuel stops are always an issue to deal with, so far I have not run out of fuel. Being from the southwest, I just prefer this comfortable scenery. I like the challenge of the roads and the rural nature of the land. One does not often see wild animals in Argentina but in one day I saw 2 fox and 2 rheas, rheas are the ostrich like birds of Argentina, these 2 were crossing the hiway and had to climb a very steep bank to do so, one falling back into the road. Unfortunately not enough time for photo. I feel very lucky to have seen them.
I did meet up with a Canadian couple and enjoyed two nice dinners with them. Kevin and Erin Vanzant are also riding to Ushuaia. We parted company in Chos Malal.
It is always interesting to meet people on the road because invariably they know of a rider you have met before. This couple had met Bill in Bogota.
I stopped for 3 nights in San Martin del Los Andes, the Aspen of Argentina. This resort, host ski areas, lakes, national parks and is Argentina’s premium trout fishing destination.
San Martin is a carbon copy of Aspen at 1/4 the cost.
Today I rode 20 miles to Junin del Los Andes and will spend 3 days fishing.
Three days later.
Did not get to fish. The water was too low, weather too hot and the fish not interested.
I could not find a partner to go on the 2 man boat, I guess I am not the only one who did not want to, just go on a boat ride.
Today I rode across the Andes again and now am in Pucon. The pass was not nearly as spectacular as above. My friends coming down from the US could not get on any flights, as this is, back to school, week here. I am staying with their friend here in Pucon.
Pucon is a very pretty, trendy resort town, setting along a large lake reminding me of Jackson Wyoming.
Viña del Mar, located next door from Valparaiso is the Beverly Hills of Chile and the most popular beach resort. It is quite large and lively, this being the busy summer season. The city is host to many grand old homes and maple tree lined streets. Restaurants and shopping abound and the main avenue leads to the beach. The weather is quite pleasant at around 75 degrees. Road and foot traffic, is as you might expect, heavy. There is a lively and festive atmosphere everywhere.
One thing I have discovered here is that I enjoy being anonymous, as here I do not stand out as being a foreigner. There are many tall, grey haired Chilean’s who look very similar to me.
I don’t know if it the season or what, but I have never seen more pregnant women. Go figure.
I now have a new battery for my motorcycle and tomorrow will head south towards Pucon to meet me friends. I have time to burn so will spend some time in the Chilean wine region and a few national parks.