El Calafate

FELIZ NAVID, MERRY CHRISTMAS, VROLIJK KERSTFEEST, GESEËNDE KERSFEES

Amigos, we made it to El Calafate for Christmas….on our last drops of gasoline.

The last week was for sure a highlight of this trip. Breathtakingly beautiful, the longest ride so far, all weather braai (bbq), severe winds, wildlife……

We left Bariloche december 16 after a day of maintenance. We drove the curvy route to el Bolson and from there the dirtroad national park route passing several lakes.

To Trevelin

We stopped for the night in Trevelin.

To the border

Next morning we crossed the border again into Chile, following the Futaleufu river. As usual, the Chileans were very strict with importing the very dangerous Argentinean apples, so they searched our bags.

The customs guy was  a bit surprised when he found the blond Bas-mullet in Roger’s bag….. Afraid to find some stockings and high heels as well, he let us through.

Bas mullet

A fantastic route along the Futaleufu river into Chile, bringing us to the legendary Carretera Austral. This gravel road built by Pinochet (about 1200 km long) connects the most remote villages in Chile.

Carretera Austral

Carretera Austral

We stopped for the night in La Junta and found a little cabana for the night. There we practised our all weather braai (bbq) a bit more.

Mmmmmmeat

The teacher teaching, the student making notes….

BE braai

The Carretera Austral is very beautiful and very green…..that means a lot of rain. So next day we had a cold and rainy start to Coyhaique. You can’t really wait for better weather here, cause mostly….there just isn’t.

Rainy start

But mostly, the sun will shine at some part of the day…and then everything looks colorful again.

With some sunshine everything looks better

For the ladies....

In Coyhaique we stayed two nights. We had to do some maintenance on Rogers bike. He had a major oil leakage…..that’s not a real problem….as long as you keep filling her up with oil. But all the oil was leaking on his rear tyre. So….he fixed the gasket as good as possible.

bike repair day

Monday 20th we continued. Some parts of the Austral are paved….and for bikers fun they added some hairpins.

hairpins

Roger was very happy he didn’t have an oily tyre anymore.

BE

We wanted to take the ferry at Pto Ibanez to Chile Chico and cross the Lago General Carrera (second biggest lake in South America). Because of the severe winds, the ferry didn’t leave.

Ferry

Next departure was in the evening. We decided to ride around the lake. It started raining. We continued on the gravel road. End of the story…we lost each other on the gravel road, problems on Roels bike, and one of the bikes had done too many kilometers to continue. So we had to turn around and go back to Ibanez again. We tried to take the evening ferry. Still too much wind. Spent the night in the little shitty village and tried the ferry again next morning. Still too much wind. Again we decided to ride around the lake. Flat tyre on Rogers bike….sigh… Somehow it really felt that we were not allowed to go around the lake.

Flat tyre

The route was amazingly beautiful. It is hard to describe the area here. At some points it looks like Canada meets Switzerland and Scotland. And at some parts where the lakes are turquoise colored, the Caribbean added some flavor as well.

Lago Gral Carrera

Carretera Austral

Austral

River Baker

In Cochrane it was business as usual: cabana and Afrikaanse braai.

Cochrane

Braai

Next day we crossed the border again. That ride was epic. On a 200km stretch we only met 2 other bikes and 2 cars. Fantastic scenery with wild horses and guanaco’s.

to the border

Border crossing

From the green Austral, we got into the dry Argentinean desert.

To the border

Argentina again

Hi Roel

Argentinean desert

Strong strong winds, blowing us almost from our bikes. It is good that there is hardly any traffic, cause at some points we really needed the entire road to keep the bike in upward position.

Beautiful Patagonia

Wow

Dead tired we stopped for gas and a bed in Bajo Caracoles….a tiny village on the Ruta 40, one of the longest roads in the world.

We woke up after a 10 hours sleep (tien punt nulletje). Let’s go to El Calafate. It would be the longest ride so far on our trip. But there is simply nothing in between. The Ruta 40 is partly paved / unpaved.

Ruta 40

Along the way we found a dinosaur

BE was hungry

A few hundred kilometers riding in gravel with severe crosswinds….again blowing us almost from our bikes. Somehow we missed a gassation (if there was any at all) and finally after 350km dirt we arrived in Tres Lagos.

for LK

To Calafate

We really needed some gas to make it to El Calafate. The strong winds must have influenced our fuel consumption badly, we know bikers who doubled there fuel consumption. No gas!!! the gasstation was empty. Now what? There was a pick-up truck with a dirtbike in the back. We asked the owner if we could use the fuel. The gasstation owner had a trike. In the end we sucked about 6 liters from the tanks and Roel still had a 5 liters spare. We decided to give it a go. Our helmet on the tanks, Steve up front, riding 5th gear optimum speed, the others slipstreaming at just a few centimeters.

160 km to go…..going like a train…….120km to go……body starts aching from the uncomfortable position…..80km to go…..still a lot of wind…..40km to go……all three using reserve fuel…….20km to go…..first bike out of fuel……shared the last few liters from the emergency jerrycan….10km to go….El Calafate in sight. We made it. We filled 75 liters of gas for three bikes at the gasstation. Christmas in Calafate and not on Ruta 40.  We will stay some days here, do an oilchange, visit the Perito Moreno Glacier and then it’s time to go to Ushuaia. The most southern city in the world…

But first enjoy the good weather in Calafate…

enjoying sun in El Calafate

BE thinking of LK

Amigos, this is our last post of 2010. We want to thank all of you who have followed our journey. Thanks for the great comments, emails and thoughts.

Thinking of all of you!

Special thought are with Simon, Sonja, Joris&Marlyn

To all: Enjoy Christmas and have the happiest new year…..

Don’t dream your life….live your dream!!!

Saludos

Raul, el elefante negro y Esteban

San Carlos de Bariloche

Bariloche….3 times in two weeks

Bas left us about two weeks ago from little Chilean village Melipeuco. Last night with Bas we had a meatfest on the BBQ. Because Bas couldn’t walk, Roel and Steve could eat all the meat.

Meatfest

The next day Roel and Steve hit the road and left the bike at Senor Pablo in Melipeuco. We didn’t get any further than Villarrica. Still not really knowing what to do with our time until Roger would arrive, we found out that Aldo (Dutch guy we met months ago) was in Bariloche. We decided to cross the border near the Lanin volcano and spent the night in San Martin de los Andes.

Bordercrossing

December 1 we drove via national park Nahuel Huapi to Bariloche.

to Bariloche

It was terribly cold, windy and rainy. Stopped several times to warm our hands on the engine. Still thousands of kilometers away from Ushuaia and already this cold….better invest in some warmer clothes. In Bariloche we had a great time with Aldo and the Irish Pub. But still, we had to wait a week until the black elephant would arrive. Still cold in Bariloche and with some beers in the irish pub we came up with the best plan…..

Friday (dec 3) Steve was in a nightbus to Mendoza and Roel to Cordoba.

Bus to Mendoza

We both spent our time a few days in the nicest weather and with friends we met before. Good times. By that time, the dangleberries were pretty spread out: Bas was in Holland, Roger in Italy, Roel in Cordoba, Steve in Mendoza, two bikes in Bariloche and one in Chile…..

On wednesday we both returned to Bariloche where it was still rainy, snowy and cold. Finally on friday 10 december The Black Elephant arrived, with a 26 hours delay. After 10 months Bas, we were used to the sight of Bas’ blond mullet dancing in the wind under his helmet. We came to the airport well prepared.

Welcome Black Elephant

We went straight to the Irish pub……

Wilkenny's

Next day we didn’t have an early departure. We had to get back into Chile to pick up the third bike. We left most of our  luggage in the hostel and went with three on two bikes.

poor bike

To the border...again

Taxi

A great ride over the mountains into Chile. Although almost summer here, there was plenty of snow.

white christmas

We spent one night in Osorno and met some people who could need some help along the way.

helping a hand

Sunday we drove to Melipeuco.

It was Roger’s birthday. We celebrated it with a South African BBQ. Roger teaching, Roel and Steve making notes….(“slachtpalen”, “twee-hoef, eenhoef nie goed nie”, “hard hout”).

Braai lessons

Quality!!

Black Elephant Birthday Braai

Next morning we woke up with sunshine! Did the ruta Interlagos to the Argentinean border again, this time with three bikes. Passing the beautiful Lanin volcano again and were in the promised land again.

To Argentina again

BE

Beautiful Patagonia

We spent the night in San Martin de los Andes again and next day (dec 14) we took the nice route through park Nahuel Huapi again. This time with the most beautiful weather. What a difference with last time.

National park

BE

lunch time

And for the third time we arrived in Bariloche…again.

TLC

Time for some TLC on the bikes and for sure it is time to drive south for christmas….

Chao amigos!

The Black Elephant

The Black Elephant

Introducing the new Dutch Dangleberry.

Bas is back home with his broken ankle. A surgery, 4 screws and a metal plate. His bike is still in Chile and we are in San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentine. Although Bas broke his ankle, the Black Elephant was already supposed to finish the trip on Bas bike. But, who is the black elephant?

Black Elephant

The Black Elephant, a.k.a Roger, a.k.a. “de man die alles kan”. He handles aircraft, helicopters, cars and bikes. Is the fastest man on earth on a dirt bike and smokes the pipe like no one else.

Look Steve....this is what they call a "wheel"

Ok, serious. If it wasn’t for Roger, we might not even be in South America. We used his garage, tools and knowledge for over a year to get our old bikes ready. By then, the idea was born that he would come over at some point to join us. So…that is what’s happening now.

zullen we ermee stoppen? eh...nee

The only thing is, that we got quite used to Bas and all his habits. We decided Roger has to do everything Bas used to do.

Bas always navigated, maintained all our bikes, set up camp, inflated the airbeds, cooked, got all the beers, did the laundry and entertained us every time we were bored.

Ok…serious again. We are ready for the Black Elephant (BE).

Welcome aboard  Roger.

PS: Last news about the Black Elelphant. He was supposed to arrive thursday night, but is already delayed. Aircraft broke down and is now waiting in London. Nysh start…

PS2: Also check the “Guys” page to learn a bit more about BE

four dangleberries