Blazing into Argentina (by bus and train). 5121 Kilometers to Go!

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Randy and Nancy crossing from Bolivia into Argentina
Randy and Nancy crossing from Bolivia into Argentina (View on flickr)

We crossed the border from Bolivia into Argentina today after spending all night on a very comfortable train. Well, at least it was a well-run, clean, on-time train.

Here's the sign that met us at the border, telling us how far it is to Ushuaia, our goal? at the bottom of Argentina:

Ushuaia is only 5121 Kilometers (3175 miles) from our crossing at the Argentine Border
Ushuaia is only 5121 Kilometers (3175 miles) from our crossing at the Argentine Border (View on flickr)

A perfect ride down from the highlands of Bolivia into Northern Argentina, Jujuy

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Nancy with Lllama crossing sign
Nancy with Lllama crossing sign (View on flickr)

We started our descent from the Altiplano at about 3800 meters where the air is thin and sometimes seems almost non-existent. I never did get acclimated to the high elevation even after almost 3 months. So riding down to the lower lands was very exciting to me, I had hopes I would get my health back and my motivation to ride. This section was going to be downhill. Yes down, down, down. I enjoyed the ride downhill for all 4 days. It had a very satisfying feeling. The road was paved, smooth and no traffic to speak of. The land was open range with llamas grazing everywhere. Instead of having the yellow road signs, "watch out for cows", there were a signs with black silhouetted llamas. I think llamas have about the mental capacity of cattle. Llamas must have suicide tendencies because herds of them keep running across the road just as cars where coming. I imagine they dared each other to run across just as the biggest, fastest bus was approaching and cheered each other when they made it alive to the other side and just went back to grazing when one did not make it.

Camping at the chapel - Capilla Vieja
Camping at the chapel - Capilla Vieja (View on flickr)

The first day, the winds were quiet and we got in about 100 kilometers. At the end of the day we found an little old adobe church and set up our tent on the quiet side out of the wind and out of sight from the traffic. We cooked dinner inside the bell tower, and watched the sun setting over high grassy plains.  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

First impressions of Argentina

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Cacti everywhere - Valley of Humahuaca
Cacti everywhere - Valley of Humahuaca (View on flickr)

Now that we have been in Argentina for a bit over a week, I have noticed some differences I would like to share. Wine flows more freely than water and is way cheaper than bottled water. I haven't really found good wine since the USA so this land of wine and honey is a great place to buy very good wine at a fantastic price. I wish I knew which wine vineyards are the best. (If you have a recommendation of some of the better wines let me know.)

Water can be drunk directly from the tap all over Argentina! No more buying plastic bottles of water and adding to the world's plastic waste.

We have entered into the land of refrigerators so we can buy cold cuts and cheeses, and refrigerated yogurts. We are now preparing sandwiches for lunch instead of the lunch specials or menu del día found in most of Latin America. The lunch specials usually consisted of rice, french fries, yucca, chicken or beef with a soup as an appetizer with rice, potato, stock and some kind of chicken or beef all for an amazing price of a dollar or two. Argentina's lunch specials are far more expensive than we've had in the rest of South America, at 3 or 4 dollars. They eat around 2:00pm, take 3 hours off and then start the evening feasting and entertainment around 9:00. We went out for dinner the other night to have our first Argentinan steak. At 8:15 we were the first ones in the restaurant that night and they had to turn on the lights for us. Most Argentinans eat dinner about 9 o´clock or 10 o´clock at night.  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

Argentina and Chile

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Argentina and just a bit of Chile.

Each day has elevation profile, map, and GPS information.

Other resources: PDFs of daily route notes from Florian and Rebekkah are gems of information. These are rehashes of a set that has been carried by many cyclists.
Ridedatemiles/km Elev ft/mt
La Quiaca to Camp near Tres Cruces (Capilla Vieja)2008-10-2660/971289/398
Capilla Vieja to Humahuaca2008-10-2739/63869/268
Humahuaca to Camp near Purmamarca2008-10-2838/61429/132
Purmamarca to Jujuy2008-10-2943/69718/222
Jujuy to La Caldera2008-11-0145/732068/638
La Caldera to Salta2008-11-0217/27462/143
Salta to Vaqueros2008-11-059/15200/62
Vaqueros to San Lorenzo, Argentina2008-11-0810/16600/185
San Lorenzo to Chicoana2008-11-1837/60718/222
Chicoana to Alemanía2008-11-1943/691492/460
Alemanía to Cafayate2008-11-2052/842788/860
Cafayate to Amaicha del Valle2008-11-2242/682066/638
San Martín de los Andes to Pichi Traful2008-12-0639/633000/926
Pichi Traful to Espejo Chico2008-12-0720/321692/522
Espejo Chico to Bariloche, Patagonia, Argentina2008-12-0817/27/0
Bariloche to Casa Pangue, Carabineros, Chile2008-12-3022/351500/463
Casa Pangue to Ensenada, Chile2008-12-3123/37600/185

Greetings from Patagonia!

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We are in Bariloche, in Patagonia in southern Argentina. We have rented an apartment for a month and will enjoy a gorgeous place with fine weather. As winter approaches in the Northern Hemisphere, we will be exploring the lakes district which is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and spring weather. Please let me know if you are sufficiently jealous.

Valley in Quebrada de Cafayate
Valley in Quebrada de Cafayate (View on flickr)

We rode from Salta, Argentina, a jazzy city in Northern Argentina, through the Canyon of the Shells (Quebrada de Las Conchas or Quebrada de Cafayate) an impressive multi-colored landscape with interesting geological and cultural history. As my friend, Linda, described It is like Moab, Utah but with more pizazz. The landscape was inspiring as we traveled down the las Conchas Ravine and colorful sedimentary mountains towered over us. I was gleeful to be riding. Amazed at that we where riding this region in Northern Argentina. How lucky can we be?  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

Biking the Seven Lakes (Siete Lagos) District in Patagonia

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Even though we are taking a break in Bariloche, Argentina for a month, we are not staying still. One of my dreams for years has to been to ride my bike through the incredibly beautiful Patagonian Seven Lakes, or Siete Lagos district. This past weekend, this dream came through. The plan was take a bus to San Martin de Lost Andes and pedal back along the way we had come to La Angostura along a road that was paved for half paved and half dirt.

We loaded our bikes on a bus departing at 7:00 pm from Bariloche and got to San Martin de los Andes 11:00. We had no trouble loading our two bikes into the back compartment of the bus as they fit perfectly standing up and we didn't even have to take off the wheels. Not all bus service in Argentina will take bikes but after a few phone calls we found out that Albus would take two bikes on each trip. The bus company Aribus was great all the ways: courteous, efficient, clean new buses, safe and best of all, they took our bikes with no fuss. Being able to put our bikes on a bus and travel short or long distances has been one of the nicest parts of traveling in Latin America. No boxes, no fussing, just load and go.  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

Biking and Boating the "Andean Lakes Crossing" into Chile

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El Tronador from the Chilean side
El Tronador from the Chilean side (View on flickr)

Click here for our favorite pictures from this section.
We took an incredible bike-and-boat tour from Argentina to Chile. The "Andean Lakes Crossing" combined boat rides through two majestic thickly forested national parks, hiking, and biking touring. We started from Bariloche, Argentina and ended up in Puerto Montt, Chile.

We emptied out the apartment we had been renting in Bariloche, Argentina and loaded our bikes with the gear that had been spread out all over the apartment for the last month. My bike was heavier then usual because I had purchased some new clothes and art supplies but some how it fit, especially because I offloaded some of the art supplies to Randy. We left at 6:00 in the morning, pedaled 20 quiet kilometers to the boat dock at Llao Llao (pronounced Zhao-Zhao in Argentina). After loading our bikes on to the front of the giant catamaran and purchasing a nice cup of cappuccino we settled down for first of three boat rides. The first was across Lago Nahuel Huapi which was surrounded by huge mountains and we reached Puerto Blest after a couple of hours.  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

Torres del Paine and the Perito Moreno Glacier

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Perito Moreno Glacier
Perito Moreno Glacier (View on flickr)

Oh by the way, did we mention we have finished our bike ride? Yep, we rode the last bit from Bariloche, Argentina to Puerto Montt, Chile. After over two and half years and pedaling over 22,000 Kilometers (almost 14,000 miles) we have reached a place we consider a final ending point of our north-to-south journey.

After spending a wonderful month in Bariloche, Argentina cycling unloaded, hiking, Randy working remotely and Nancy drawing and exhibiting her work, we headed out for out final trip bike trip but not our final adventure.

We celebrated the end of this trip and the beginning of the new year in a tiny campground in southern Chile and rode to the end of our trip. On January 1st, 2009 we rode our loaded metal steeds to Puerto Montt, Chile and retired our bikes to a closet for a couple of weeks.

Cuernos del Paine in Torres del Paine
Cuernos del Paine in Torres del Paine (View on flickr)

We were told by many people that if we came all this way in South America we could not miss the dynamic sights in southern Patagonia, Torres Del Paine National Park and the still-growing Perito Moreno Glacier. So as the good travelers we are, we took a vacation from our bike ride and headed the very bottom of South America, to Punta Arenas, the southernmost city on the continent of South America. But we went by plane this time.  read more here... lee mas aquí... »

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