22nd Jan – 25th Jan, Bariloche to San Martin.

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I’m still miles behind so here is an update from a little while back. Bariloche to San Martin de los Andes

We left Entre Lagos behind, running south of the lake, we started working our way up the pass. Every road between the two countries has a different geology. In this case we climbed into the hills and found the Chilean customs much sooner than we expected. Sometimes the border posts are a few hundreds of meters apart. In this case the two aduana offices are over 30km apart. So we had a bumpy ride up the Chilean side but as we crossed the borderline the road swapped to smooth swoopy bends and the 17km to the Argentine aduana seemed to take no time at all. It all came to a stop however when we found they were making people wait. The customs office was full. We certainly enjoyed our ride in the sun but then sat for an hour waiting to be let into the building.

Our first evening saw us in a rather nice restaurant for a three course meal. It was especially nice that their waiters routinely took photos of guests with meals.

The next day was a walking day. Clair’s elbows were falling off by the time we stopped yesterday so we were resting up. We spent a good chunk of the day walking and the rest of the day talking about our options. While we agreed on a lot, not everything is going well and we still have stuff to iron out about our future travels.

On the 24th, our third day, we went out on the bikes for a tour around the nearest national park. Its not big by the standard of some but it took us a couple of hours to ride around it plus an hour just sitting at the edge of a lake, getting buzzed by dragonfly’s and chilling out.

Getting out of the hotel the next day got harder, we went to pay and our credit cards were all declined. After a bit of back and forth we were able to pay in the last of our Argentine pesos and the last of our US dollars. We keep having this problem in Argentina, usually in out of the way places, so far its not been a real issue but some places just have trouble with our foreign cards. This was not the time we ran out of money though, that came later. It is a curiosity though that many banks have a withdrawal limit of about £20 per day and the fee is about £5 to £7.

Back on Ruta 40 and those bends following the lake east and then north were great. Its very different from anywhere we have been, and just when you think you have seen it all you turn a corner and there’s more!

The seven lakes road, part of ruta 40 were as everyone said quite lovely and we would have taken some photos but we were having such a good time riding we didn’t want to stop and break the flow.

Its fair to say though that after a very long day we had still only done 170 km. I don’t know where the day went. At San Martin, we camped on a municipal campsite which was very dusty and dry with not a patch of grass anywhere. You know it’s bad when the campsite has its own bowser that drives up and down several times a day turning the dust into a thin mud for an hour or two until it dries up again.

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