Following up on some epic riding through Bolivia (check it out here) we crossed the border into norther Chile where things start to take a change of pace. With Birthdays, the festive season, family visits and thoughts of making plans for Patagonia arise we start to take our time stopping off for weeks at a time and realizing bus trips can lead to some unexpected delights. We say good-bye to german friends Anja and Marko as James, Mateo and I explore the promised lands of Chile and Argentina. – Tom
THE WHEELS ON THE BUS GO ROUND AND ROUND After a few days in Salta a small pain located in an inconvenient location on my body had turned into a full blown saddle sore the size of a golf ball – after a few days of walking around like a penguin this thing still had not gone away and with time running out to reach Mendoza before Christmas we decided to jump on a bus and let it calm down over the Christmas break
WHATS IN SANTAS SACK? With Christmas a week away we were throwing around ideas on how we should spend it. We all agreed on spending a few days off to enjoy the festive season and when we came across a cabin hid among the vineyards for a steal it became a simple choice. We invited our friend Thomas, a french motorcyclist/cyclist/snowmobilist to come and join us and he brought along his friend Magaly to come join in the festivities. Being away from friends and family at this time of the year we couldn’t have asked for more and at $10ea a night it was perfect.
ANOTHER BUS! yes that’s right, not much riding was done in the past two weeks. Birthdays, Christmas and time frames all played a part, but slowing down the pace and having some solid time off the bikes and the antics that came with it was definitely worth it. We all had different commitments for the month ahead of us – flights home, family visits, and the approaching winter in Patagonia were all reasons for us to push south and keep the cycling schedule realistic. So we made tracks for the bus terminal
A LITTLE HELP FROM A FRIEND The bus situation didn’t run as smooth as we had hoped – in the end the bus we would be taking couldn’t fit all our bikes on so a split second decision was made to leave the bikes with a freight service at the station and were assured that our bike would arrive the day after us. this is not how it work out. We stumbled off the bus in Barriloche sometime around midday, weary eyed and half asleep, carrying all our bags and with no bikes we stood around at the station thinking what to do next. pay a fortune for a taxi ride into town? look for camping close to the bus station and wait for our bikes to arrive? Then we heard a voice asking if we were all ok and did we need a place to stay. We turned around and met Dylan. He said he had set up a house for travelers to come and stay for free and he had plenty of beds for us. Our eyes light up when he said this, it was a funny twist as his place was right across from the bus station. So it was a deal
NO BIKES? LETS WALK We went down to pick up our bikes from the bus station the next day and then fear struck. The lady from the freight company told us that our bikes didn’t arrive and she doesnt know where they are in the system. Our stomachs twisted at the though – they have disappeared into the argentine postal service – the guys back at the shelter had told us horror stories of people entire belonging being lost forever and now this was happening to us? After about an hour of waiting the sweet lady from the postal service told us she had tracked them down and were still waiting to be sent from Mendoza. She couldn’t give us an exact day when they would arrive but she said it could be anywhere between tomorrow and one week. There is not much you can do in this situation except wait and check each day to see if they have arrived. So we tried not to think about it to much instead soaked up the good vibes at the shelter, brought in the new year in style, and found some amazing mountain trails and rock faces to climb
HASTA PRONTO And then the bikes arrived! which also ment it was time to say good-bye. Not only to the crew at the shelter but also to James and Mateo. After 2 full moons together sharing some incredible experiences our plans took different directions. James had a plane to catch in a few weeks and Mateo was also ready to head into the depths of Patagonia and I was about to be joined by my Mum, Dad and Sister for a month of exploring Argentina and Chile together. So our time at the shelter was an amazing way to end to our adventure together. It was one of my most memorable stops for the entire trip – its hard to explain but there was something going at the shelter, the sense of community we found here made it really hard to say good-bye. Thanks to all the shelter crew for an incredible time. But i knew i would be back for one more visit. I decided to leave my bike at the shelter while i traveled the country with the family. So i would be back to spend more time here before i got back on my bike
An end of another incredible adventure together as the three amigos all split ways. you are both legends and i miss you! until next time IN THE NEXT POST Up next. A family visit and Getting closer to the end of the world