Rumors of volcanic activity inspired us to change our route. The original plan was to head south of Santiago and cross back into Argentina just north of Bariloche, biking through the Argentinian lakes district, and then crossing back into Chile until Ushuaia. But we heard from a number of people that the volcano currently erupting somewhere in southeastern Chile is spewing a lot of ash that’s getting blown into the lakes region of Argentina. Unfortunately for Argentina the prevailing winds blow west to east and maybe this is behind some of the animosity Argentinians feel towards the Chileans.
Stories of roads covered in feet of ash, forcing people to ride with swim goggles and face masks made us look into other options. We’re now going to stay in Chile practically the entire way south. From Pichilemu we’re biking south along the coast until the road goes inland to the Chilean lakes district. From there we’ll head to the island of Chiloe (rumored to look like Ireland) before rejoining our original route south on the Carreterra Austral – Chile’s famous bike touring road through Patagonia.
Some things we won’t miss about Argentina:
-7 hour siestas: not ideal when you have no food and still have to bike 70 km
-The desert: it was really hot. And there were thorns. Even 500 km later they still show up in the tent.
What we will miss:
-7 hour siestas: quiet towns and forced nap time.
-The Desert: wildcamping was easy and 120 km days felt effortless on a flat road.
-Grido: an ice cream chain that got us through the desert. Literally.
Every time we saw one we had to go in and buy at least two, but usually three, huge scoops (which only cost about $1.75). I think there was a ten day stretch when we went every day. I really can’t stress enough the importance of this ice cream. Picture arriving in a deserted town in the middle of the afternoon, hot and hungry because you ran out of food and still had to bike 50km. All the stores are closed because it’s siesta time. Except for Grido. Just the fact that Chile doesn’t have Grido made us seriously wonder whether we wanted to cross the border at all.
-Argentinian women: They are beautiful. Alex has not been as impressed with the Chilean selection.
After less than inspiring surfing performances yesterday in Pichilemu, we decided to stick with biking. But as per usual, it’s past noon and we still haven’t left the hostel.