This is officially Part 2 of the trip, the “guided” trip that Michael won in the drawing. For this part of the journey, the company, Ride Adventures, organized the route and made all the hotel reservations. This was a new thing for us. For the first half of the trip we had a few hotel reservations but mostly played it by ear and made reservations as we entered a city or maybe the day before. We were generally content with more “economical” accommodations that were nice but not necessarily the most expensive places in town. The day we took Dee Dee to the airport we moved from our nice but… cozy.. airbnb in downtown Pucon to a swank resort hotel 15 km west of town on the shores of Lago Villarrica. Hmmm, nice for Deby and I but I’m sure not as romantic for Michael and his new room mate Chris a.k.a Dr. Science.
I have to interject here…. Michael corrected me and said he refers to Chris as Mister Science and not Doctor Science. However, I found the science moniker is well deserved because of Chris’ technical career at Boeing and his general interest in technology and vast knowledge. So – for the purpose of this blog, I’m staying with Doctor Science. We had great fun discussing all manner of esoteric technical topics during the trip especially about center of mass and its importance to the physics of motorcycle maneuvering among other things.
We picked up Chris’ motorcycle, a Honda 500X just like the one Deby was riding. Even though Chris is six plus feet in height he said he really liked the smaller 500cc twin and was quickly riding it like the pro rider he is. We pointed the bikes east for our first stop, the border crossing into Argentina. This border crossing was easy like they all have been on this trip. While we were waiting in the short line with our paperwork someone called out to Chris and invited him to another window. Cool, they opened another window to speed us through faster. I thought that was nice until I noticed the blue placard on the window above Chris’ head. We didn’t say anything but I snuck a picture.
The road turned to gravel when we left Chile and rode a mile or so in the no mans land between exiting Chile and entering Argentina. We had to stop for a picture at the welcome sign. Wait, who put a Norton and a Dos Motos sticker on the sign?
Not these people… I’m sure of that.
The tour-route took us back down the seven lakes route to San Carlos de Bariloche, the same route and city we visited with Dee Dee only a week ago. I’m sure it was fun and new riding for Chris but for us the traffic seemed almost as bad as last time and the big touristy city of Bariloche even more crowded. We did stay in a nicer hotel but were glad to get up early and leave the big city for some more rural routes. The paved road south was getting less crowded and we were enjoying the warm weather and nice riding. On the advice of Ride Adventures we stopped in El Bolson at the Patio Cervecero restaurant. It was outdoor dining with a live band to entertain us. They were called the Boogie Makers. They sang all familiar songs in accented English which was nice for us but the chatter between songs was in Spanish except when they kept calling out their name, Boogie Makers! I wanted to talk to them between sets but it didn’t work out. I wonder if they knew the name of their band in English would too easily sound like Booger Makers… oh well.
Well fed and watered and having avoided the great temptation to have a beer in the beer garden we were off to the south. Just out of town the road split and we choose the more adventurous western route through the Parque Nacional Los Alerces . It was a great gravel road with lots of view points.
Deby was loving the Honda 500X.
Winding roads, sunshine, warm weather, lake views, all the makings of a fantastic day riding.
We ended up in Trevelin, another city we stayed only a week ago with Dee Dee. After checking into another nice family run hotel we waited until the appropriate late time to look for a restaurant. Since none of them open until 8:30 we didn’t want to look too much like the gringos we were and waited until 8:45 before we went into a classic Argentina Parilla restaurant. We ordered a platter of meat for four and were not disappointed by the quantity of food.
The quality?? Well, not as good as we hoped. Deby and I had these dishes before in Argentina with good results but this meat was too chewy and some of the parts were obviously intestines that none of us could get past more than a bite. The night was saved by some most excellent Argentine wine that was only $15 a bottle. A few bottles later all was well and we cautiously walked back to the hotel.
Thursday January 31, 2019
We had been having really excellent weather but as we left Trevelin the sky was overcast and threatening rain. The route took us back west over the Andes mountain range yet again into Chile. By this time we knew the route, being the same route we did with Michael and Dee Dee. After we crossed the border we were on the same gravel road as Dee Dee’s happy dance video a few posts back.
Soon we intersected with the famous Ruta 7 a.k.a the Carreterra Austral. At that point we turned south and left the route we had been on with Dee Dee for good. This was new territory for Michael and Chris, Deby and I rode this route south to north in 2017. Back then the road was mostly mud and a series of construction stops, now much of it was nicely paved and the rain held off to make for enjoyable riding. For the first time we started seeing a lot of other big adventure motorcycles. We all seemed to converge at the only gas stop along the way in La Junta.
As much fun as we were having it was a relatively short day at 161 miles to the next pre-arranged hotel. But this next hotel was a good one, oh boy.
I know this is supposed to be a motorcycle blog about motorcycle travelling and the trials and tribulations involved in remote adventure travel over rough terrain. You know, man and machine, blood and guts, triumph over adversity, facing the raw elements of nature. Taking what the road givith and through sheer determination surviving the daily challenges and adversity. Ummm forget all that. This was luxury.
We had to be at the boat launch for the Puyuhuapi Lodge in time to catch the 3:30 boat to the lodge. We left our motorcycles in a locked parking lot and squished into the boat for the 15 minute ride to the lodge.
Deby and I were immediately in luxury mode, Michael and Chris.. who?
It was just a little cool outside so we were forced to sit in our room with a private deck and sip wine and look at the view. This is what it looked like from my chair.
Here is a picture of one of the hot springs from the hotel website:
I like this one better – same spot.
In the morning the sun came out so we choose to take the 12:30 ferry back to the bikes, plenty of time for more relaxing.
Took this picture of Deby with the big plants.
But, all too soon it was time to leave.
And, back on the bikes for points south.
This sounds like a good place for a break. More to come! Mountains, glaciers, wind, wild animals and um…. maybe more luxury.
Remember this picture from our 2017 trip?
Right… should I be glad there was no more of that???
Donn and Deby