Shutting down

I was full of enthusiasm, a few years ago when the idea of this trip began to form. The recent emergence of bikepacking blogs had caught my eye, and I put myself into the shoes of the innovative few who had begun to bikepack South America. Studying and analyzing small lines on google earth, looking for any signs of trails and paths less travelled. Slowly, the hopeful mapped out squiggles turned into real trails beneath our tires. The fruits of labor were becoming real, sometimes working out and other times not. Either way, it was exciting. Bike maintenance mirrored this enthusiasm, and our Pugs were a happy pair of stallions. Smooth bearings, and well adjusted brakes. Continue reading

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Video – Chile and parts of Argentina (all the way from Paso Copahue to El Chalten)

Includes clips of Chile (sections of the Greater Patagonian Trail, Monkey Puzzle Trail, rides and hike a bikes through parks like Villarica national park, lakes region, carretera Austral and detours off it, and finally Villa O’Higgins) and Argentina (Siete Lagos route, detour from Palena into Argentina to Lago Vintter/Lago Palena, and finally into El Chalten).

Going Lateral (ish) – Palena to Coyhaique via Argentina and 4×4 track (Lago Verda – La Tapera)

Our second episode of escaping the Austral begins from Villa Santa Lucia. The kind of town which makes you wonder if anyone actually lives there. Unfortunately for us riders hunting out dirt roads, the Austral is being paved piece by piece. A huge step in the right direction for an interconnected Chile, but not much fun if a fatbike is the only arrow you’ve got in your quiver. Most people seem to duck out of Chile and head into Argentina to seek refuge from the rain, but oddly enough we’d enjoyed seemingly endless hot and sunny days while following the Austral. We directed ourselves towards Chile’s relaxed neighbor for other reasons. A dirt section through pampa setting us up perfectly to ride a small part of the Sendero de Chile from Lago Verde to La Tapera. Continue reading

Colours of desolation (summary of our time in Northern Argentina)

It was rather unpopulated in the puna/north of Argentina. We enjoyed the feeling of being alone in the middle of nowhere, with nothing but nature and it’s forces around us. Continue reading

A push into the New Year (or how not to cross a river)

As the new year began, it was only fitting that we tried something a little bit different. Having spent the past month dealing with setbacks, we decided to try and get back on track with a little adventure route.
Originally planning on crossing over Paso Vergara, we were disappointed to discover that it was still closed due to heavy snowfall this year. Instead we decided to tackle a small circuit near the pass that involved a large river crossing and a small hike-a-bike. Unfortunately, things didn’t go according to plan.
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Advent adventures (Belén to Mendoza via Paso San Fancisco)

The other day someone asked us about our timeframe. I think at the beginning of our trip we had some kind of plan, but we realized soon that nothing can be foreseen on a trip as long as this one. It’s been a year on the road (excluding our break to escape rainy season) and things have slowed down a bunch compared to our earlier days through Central America. We do on average 5-day sections that drain us of all our energy, and consequently need to rest up, restock and plan for the next ride.
Since Bolivia we had been on rough dirt roads 90% of the time. Dan’s bum seemed to have suffered considerably. Constant rough roads and a worn out set of shorts caused a large saddle sore to form. Continue reading

Don’t take my Kodachrome away (Tolar Grande to Antafagasta de la Sierra)

I’m writing this sitting in the home of Anibal Vazquez, a mountain guide in Antofagasta de la Sierra. He’s kindly let us stay with him for a couple of days while we decide how to push forward. Our plans have been halted by a golf ball sized lump which has developed on my backside. Our beautiful adventure route through to Paso San Francisco is definitely a no go, rough roads and shredded shorts are a recipe for me ending up in the hospital at this point.
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An Argentinian gateway (Paso Socompa)

Up until San Pedro de Atacama, we’d pre planned meticulously. Travel through Chile and Argentina had always seemed more complex and therefore out of laziness we had banished any thought of it into the very back of our minds. It was only in San Pedro that we realized we’d been so careless, and graciously took up refuge in Carlos’ house (Warmshowers) for some much needed research. We ended up staying a week, waiting for a package and reading about various different routes. Riding through northern Chile was immediately ruled out due to the heat. We were left with three crossings over to Argentina. Jama, Sico, and last but not the slightest bit least, Socompa.
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