March 3: Villa La Angostura to Puyehue, Chile: 102 km's, ~67 miles

Today is the day to "climb over the Andes"!! With a chill to the air and a adrenalin rush as we start out toward the Cardenal Samore Pass, everyone is wondering if the road is going to be as tough as each one of our imaginations has made it. The Cardenal Antonia Samore Pass is considered the second most important pass into Argentina's Andean Corridor -- because it is open all year long and connects two major industrial Chilean cities with Argentina -- Puerto Montt and Osorno, both of which we will travel through.

The mesas and plateaus are covered with weathered brush and dry ground. Cattle graze on what few bits of green sprout, many times right at the road's edge. But the road starts to turn upward. The first sign of a possible push to the sky is the road sign warning of steep inclines ahead. A biker's nightmare. Where is this going to lead and for how long? At first for about 28 kms the road seems to be "do-able" with turns and twists where needed. The firs are again blanketing the countryside and emitting a fragrance of pine as one pedals by. Then the Argentinean Customs House! Am not sure what they do with all the forms that have to be stamped and then "piled", but each one of us dutifully stood in line, got our passports stamped and continued on.

Now, the road between Argentina's official border and the Chilean takes a serious turn for the sky. Switch backing up the mountain side, the road throws out the challenge to each rider to continue to pedal while also trying to breath and keep the heart rate at a normal pace. Up, up we go -- pass the fir tree line and now are availed beautiful vistas of the lakes below along with the surrounding peaks -- some snow covered, other sheer cliffs of granite. Each bend in the road brings a gasp at the wonder of what is being seen. At one point we are above the cloud line!

The top is at 1314 meters (your challenge = figure that in feet!). Everyone of the group makes it without the assistance of the support van. Lunch at the summit with the whole world to look at!!

Then it is the ride DOWN!! For 43 kms the group rode up the pass -- now for 69 kms we ride down!!! The sweat that was created going up is now gone and heavier gear is put on to brace for the cold air on the decent. But oh what a reward!!! Just sit and brake, sit and brake -- maybe pedal a little, and then sit and brake!! The ecosystem has dramatically changed. With the prevailing winds off the ocean the Chilean side of the Andes are lush with green flora and fauna for as far as the eye can see. Parrots sing in the trees as cattle and horses graze in green pastures. The forest is almost rain forest in appearance. Bambo and eucalyptus are in abundance.

Chilean customs are like the Argentinean -- paper, paper, and more paper -- but also luggage check and drug investigations. A drug dog must sniff all the packages as well as the bikes. All pass -- and on we go to Lago Puyehue and the hotel -- a family run beautiful place right on the lake. Great place to unwind after a hearty day on the bike.


Oh No! This Is Not a Good Omen For The Day!!!

First Rest Stop

Argentinean Border

Last Map of Argentina

Good Bye Argentina!

Sue At Argentinean Border Crossing


Silvina: Come On, Girls!! A Little Higher!!!"

Here Comes the Wind!

JoAnn Almost There


Here Comes Carol!

Hurry, Carol, The Steamroller is Closing In Fast!

We Made It!!

Sue Smiling On the Top

JoAnn Too!!

Carol and JoAnn Welcoming Us to Chile!

Chilean Side of the Pass

Above the Clouds

Marilyn and Jackie Enjoying the View from the Top

Chilean Border


Jackie Befriending the Drug Dog!!