Thursday, March 31, 2011

Geysers and Hot Springs

We had a rest day in San Pedro. Mike and I usually choose not to rest on these days. Mike had decided to try put a road that was on the map. There were not many choices. Nuno, tour guide, and Julie, rider, were at Nuno's bike at the same time we were leaving and as it turns out, they were going to the same place so we went together. We are glad that we went together because I know we had more fun with them than we would have had by ourselves.

We took a dirt road (most of the roads in this town are dirt) to a park that has geysers and hot springs. The most crowded time is in the early morning because the geysers are active then. Since we were there at about noon, we had the whole place to ourselves.

As it turns out there is a little natural pool that is formed from a hot spring. You can get in the pool and enjoy the warm water. No one had come prepared to get in the water but we didn't let this stop us. We just striped down to our skivvies and got in.

This is Nuno. Check out what a beautiful location this was.

Those three heads are Mike, me, and Nuno. The water was pretty hot in some spots and you'd have to move to a cooler spot. Also, if you dug your toes in the sand it would be so hot on your toes it would burn them. We spent about an hour just relaxing in the pool. This was just so much fun. What a memory!

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Chile, Here We Come

Today we entered Chile but before we got to the border there was some really fun riding. These pictures are at a scenic overlook that shows part of the road we just rode up.

After this it was a short drive to the salt flats. This was so cool!!!! I'd never seen anything like it. We drove the bikes right out on the lake. And yes, it did taste like salt.

Me and Fukundo, one of our guides. He is so so nice and has a great smile.

There were holes in the salt, as Mike is demonstrating here.

There is water underneath the salt and man is it crystal clear.

After this fun, it was off to the border.

Here we are with a friendly border guard.

Check this bike you think they have enough stuff?

Getting out of Argentina was a breeze but getting into Chile was more of a challenge, but still not too bad. It was not as modern as Argentina and they opened all of the luggage. This is the border crossing.

We made it though and stayed the night at the border town of San Pedro.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

On The Road Again

The group was off to Purmamanta today. We went down part of the road that Mike and I took yesterday. We did stop at the sight of an old waterfall. It was pretty neat to see where the water had worn away the rock.

Check out this sweet ride...

We stopped for lunch in Salta. This is a pretty big city. These are a few sights from the city:

The rest of the day I don't have too many pictures because I was hanging on for dear life. We were on a really tight, narrow road.

There was a slight mix up (or so we thought) with our hotel. We got there and were told that we didn't have a reservation. The tour guide went up the road and was able to get us in at another place but we would have to share rooms. This hotel had cabins and the couples were to share a three room cabin. After I had taken a cold shower, we were told to change cabins that we each had our own cabin. The tour guide realized that this was the place we were actually supposed to stay!!!! It was a very pretty place with a great restaurant. I had the best dessert there that night.

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Best Ride Ever?

I'm behind in my posting, just have not had the time. This post is about a ride we took on a rest day last Friday while in Cafayette.

Our guide, Fukundo, recommended a loop for us to take. He failed to mention that the first part of the loop was dirt. That was fine though. The ride was so good because the roads were good and the scenery was just awesome. There was always something to look at. The first part of the ride was more of a desert type scenery, the second part was really a beautiful green, and the last part was more of a red, canyon scenery. There were also some hairy water crossings. Apparently there has been a lot of rain here this summer. I took a crap load of pictures on this day. These are the highlights:

I like this one because it has the colorful vineyard in the foreground with the mountains in the background.

I think this is just the coolest picture with the distinctive line of clouds.

The pictures of the green mountains don't do it justice. You can't imagine how beautiful this was. I imagine this is what New Zealand would look like.

Just a few more intreating sights from the day:

Notice the water in the road?

You never know what might be around the next corner.

I'm sure the wooden bridge is safe!

This was my favorite day of the trip so far. I like it even more because it was just Mike and me. The rest of the group missed out on most of this stuff.

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Friday, March 25, 2011


Nothing really interesting happened yesterday. This was the most exciting thing we saw all day.

Yum, half a cow!!!

Today was the first good day of riding. Unfortunately it started out a bit rainy but it cleared up at about lunch time. We started to get into the Andes Mountains in the Salta region of Argentina. When it wasn't foggy or raining, it was really nice. The roads were twisty mountain roads but they were really bumpy with lots of potholes. We told our guide from Argentina that he needs to pay more taxes.

Pretty good huh??? That's because we were stopped to get gas. This was also at the gas station.

This picture makes me laugh!!

There were cactus along the road. That was unexpected.

There were a few water crossings. This was a more tame crossing. Mike, of course, made a big splash. We got water on our helmets the 'wave' was so high. That reminds me, Mike got hit in the helmet by a bird today. When we stopped at a light we noticed that he had a few feathers stuck on his helmet. The bird did not make it.

Our buddy Stanley dropped his bike today in a sharp curve. That's the Stanley story for today. Oh yeah, he did ask the waitress when she brought our drinks 'what took you so long?'.

A few more mountain pics...

Salta also has lots of wineries. We are staying at a winery that has a hotel. This place is plush!!! Really, really nice. They have fresh water or juice for you when you get here as well as refreshments. Check this place out...

They eat dinner late here. Some restaurants don't even open until 9 pm. If you know us, that's almost bedtime. We are getting ready to meet for diner at 8:30. I think I'll have try the local wine. We'll check in tomorrow.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Gas? Who needs gas?

Today had lots of 'incidents'. First, take a look at this group of girls on one moped.

The day started off pretty uneventful. We even came across come gauchos herding their cattle.

The rest if the day should have been pretty uneventful but it was not to be. When we got to our first gas stop, we ere missing one bike. Some fellow riders said that Stanley (mister, 'I don't like to see stuff') had pulled over the to side and waved then on. Well, we was the one that was missing and he'd pulled over quite a ways back.

Mike, the tour leader on the bike and the tour leader in the support truck with the trailer took off to find out what was going on with Stanley. Two hours later of waiting at a gas station, Mike gets back with news that Stanley's bike has a faulty fuel pump but it can be fixed tonight.

And we're off again to a late lunch stop. I don't think that we would have stopped here if we hadn't had such a long delay so this was something good that came from the wait. The lunch was tasty and at a really nice location.

We were doing good the rest of the afternoon and drove through a pretty big town, which is always interesting. At a four way intersection, there are no stop signs in either direction. It is like a big game of chicken, crazy! The driving is crazy as well. If you have a bike then you just lane split, go to the front of lines and basically put your bike anywhere you want to.

We made it through there and went over this nice bridge.

Then it all went to hell. Mike thought we were farther away from our final stop than we were. He pulled up along our guide and told him he needed gas in 60 kilometers. Well, Fukundo thought he said 5 kilometers and so he was worried. We get off the bridge and passed a gas station on the other side of the road. Fuk takes off through the median, which was a pretty descent up and over. I knew this was not going to be good because some in our group did not want to attempt and they didn't so we were separated. We got to the station and Fuk came over and wanted to know how we could be using so much gas and that's when the misunderstanding became clear. He was needless to say worried. We didn't get gas and took back off. Meanwhile the others had turned around at a legit turnaround and were seen going in the other direction. Fuk went back across the median to get them. We waited a while and we were soon reunited.

Drama needless to say. Poor Fuk, we felt terrible. It is his first tour with Ayres and he gets this group of crazy tourists. He's a nice young kid and I'd hate for him to get in trouble for trying to look out for us.

Anyway, it turns out that Stanley's bike was just out of gas. The gauge was broken and so he had not gotten gas on the entire trip because it kept saying he didn't ned any. I guess he never stopped to think about how far he'd ridden on one tank of gas. Let's hope that tomorrow is a lot smoother day and everyone knows when they do and don't need gas.

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We Were On A Missiones!!!

We left out this morning and it wasn't too hot, but it more than made up for it later. We've been told that the first three riding days were not so good, and today was not the best. We rode on a straight road with not too much to look at. I took some shots of the local scenery.

We stopped for lunch and not too many people even ate since we'd left the hotel late this morning and some had a late breakfast.

After lunch we stopped at some ruins of a Mission. There is this funny older man on the trip and he said he'd stay with the bikes because "he doesn't like to see stuff". It was hotter than heck walking around outside looking at the ruins wearing our riding gear. But we toughed it out because we'll probably only be here once. This place was pretty interesting.

Notice the other columns behind the tree??? Well, there used to be a column where the tree is now. Or rather, there still is a column where the tree is, the tree grew around the column.

This is Anna. She was at the place where we parked our bikes at the Mission. She is 8. Mike had the good idea to bring bubble gum to give to the kids we see along the way. She enjoyed her gum, but I think she swallowed it. Very sweet girl.

Then it was off to Posadas. A fellow rider described it as an 'armpit city'. The traffic was interesting.

The hotel is less than desirable. There is very little hot water and it comes with hardly any pressure. Mike and I did walk around town a bit and it's not too bad. We each got an ice cream cone with one scoop each for 5 pesos, or about $1.25 for both. It looks like that will be our afternoon treat. You can't beat that price.

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