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.