On our first day in Patagonia, we woke up to some amazing deserted mountain scenery. We headed on south and found ourselves back on a dirt road fairly quickly, paralleling close to the Chilean border. We checked out a really nice waterfall with orange growth on the river banks. Next, we visited the thermal resort Copahue, but the cold weather kept us out of the murky mud pools. They actually take your blood pressure here first before you can enter the hot water pools. So we headed on to the next town, got out the bikes and went for a quick bike ride instead.
The next morning the scenery changed, as we were surrounded by monkey puzzle trees on our way to Lago Alumine. As I aired down the tires for the dirt road, I noticed one of the tires had a hole in it – the same one in Peru, but luckily in a different spot. We carry a tire repair kit, and 20 mins later we were ready to go with a patched up tire. We recommend carrying that kit in addition to a spare wheel, it’s easy, cheap, and it works.
We spent some time around Lago Alumine throwing sticks for Leika to fish out of the lake, and continued our drive past countless lakes. The weather wasn’t on our side here so we decided to move on and keep going.
Overall, we went very quickly through Argentina’s lake district, which is why we returned later on. It’s full of charming towns such as San Martin and Angostura, and being there over the shoulder season made it less touristy and more enjoyable.
In Bariloche, we tested some of the German inspired cuisine. Tons of Germans seem to have immigrated in the 19th century, and a lot of the street names bear their names. The scenery is fantastic, with craggy peaks surrounding beautiful lakes.
We camped right outside the city, and as we pulled off the road next to a river, we drove past a truck camper with California license plates. Before I knew what was happening Nikki jumped out of the car and ran over to the other car. It turns out to be another overlanding couple, Carpe Viam, who we had read about as we were driving south! Small world. As we said our hellos and introduced ourselves, we soon got too excited talking to go get chairs or sit in one of our rigs, so the four of us just sat down in the dirt and dust and kept talking for a few hours. Finally, we reparked our van near their truck and spent the evening together (so much so that we don’t have a single picture) and then headed on the next day.
It felt like we were rushing south as fast as possible, driven by a desire to get to Ushuaia, and bad weather on the way. In the end we got a good taster of the Argentina lakes district and then got a chance to return a month later, knowing where we wanted to go. But for now we headed on, through Bolson, to the Atlantic coast and Rio Gallegos. We had almost made it to Tierra Del Fuego!