March 2: Bariloche to Villa La Angostura, Argentina (90 km, 67 miles)

The day is finally here. After traveling thousands of miles, getting orientated to the Argentinean customs, avoiding the crazy car drivers who think anything in motion -- i.e. pedestrian -- is an object to hit, and shopping to we all dropped, the day has arrived to start pedaling over the Andes.

A quick safety meeting in the hotel lobby alerts us to the fact that the drivers of all the cars, trucks, buses and anything else motorized have no respect for the bicyclist. We were already aware that on the hierarchy of life chart a pedestrian scores a zero, but now we find that a bicyclist in Argentina is only a half step higher and only because we move faster!! All attention must be made to the motorized world -- they rule.

In order to prove this point the group was lead out of town during rush hours single file under the expert leadership of the guides. With a support van directly behind the group blocking the vehicles from getting too close the group wove and winded through the city streets and out into the countryside safe and sound. One strange phenomena here, however. If the way is blocked by slower moving traffic and there is too much traffic coming from the other direction, thus preventing one from passing, the rule of thumb here is merely pass on the right. If there is no proper lane to do such, then just drive on the shoulder!! Does give the bicyclist a moment to "white knuckle" the handlebars as a big bus speeds by on the gravel on the right while oncoming traffic zooms by in the other direction. Argentineans will do anything to get where they want to go and within their time frame!!

Once outside the city and into the Nahuel Huapi National Park the traffic lessened to an occasional bus, truck, or car. One still had to be alert, but the scenery took over the attention and calmed the nerves. The air was brisk, but the views were so spectacular that even an early morning chill went unnoticed. The route proceeded around Nahuel Haupi Lake with giant mountain peaks appearing to rise out of the water and continue on into the sky. Glacier covered peaks jutted out from around each bend. The road wound itself up onto ridges and then down to the water level giving each rider a perfect perspective of the ecology. Fir trees seemed to blanket the sides of cliffs for miles. The vivid evergreen colors against the gray rocks reflected into the clear blue water of the lake. The sky was cloud covered for much of the day, but the sun did peek out long enough to warm the air and send rays of light gliding across the water.

At one point Mother Nature jumped in and gave the group a gentle push with a tail wind up a slope. All in all the day was spent pedaling up and down the rollers within the national park. While some inclines were enough to warm the body and the declines enough to cool the same, the overall route was not difficult so plenty of time could be spent enjoying the scenery.


First Light!

Bariloche In The Distance

Kathy and Jan

And Here We Go -- Up Into the Andes!

A Little Higher Now!

Okay -- Potty Break!

Maggie -- You Go Girl!

Lunch Break!!

Afternoon Weather