This was a hard 80 km day on fairly good gravel for the first 50 km, but the last 30 was in terrible condition. While I was riding through Alerces National Park a dog had followed me for about 15 km’s. Today a dog joined me in the plaza and ran alongside me for 30 km’s. I was amazed at the endurance of these amazing animals and wonderful companions. At one point after 3 or 4 km’s another dog joined my companion and all 3 of us travelled together.
I finally arrived in a tiny settlement at the famous Carrertera Austral. I was very excited to finally have arrived and to continue the next day.
I got a room in the only hospadaje in town. It was kind of like a boarding house. There were 3 other men staying there all with trucks who left by 8 in the morning off to work. We all ate a communal meal consisting of soup and bread around 9 o’clock.
March 15 I had a memorable dining experience today in Travelin. I had seen a bistro as I was wandering around town and dropped in in the afternoon to check it out. I was warmly received and decided to return for dinner. Well the dinner was outstanding. I started with soup with tons of vegetables, which I was craving. Then the trout came with a home made chutney,consisting of apple, elderberry and some sharp flavors. It really enhanced the fish without overpowering it. However the most memorable aspect to the evening was engaging in good conversation with the server Oma and the chef Paula. They were very warm and creative and found ways to explain words to me by writing themdown. Oma is from Brazil and must be a teacher because she was very patient in teaching me the meaning of some of the Spanish words.
My first impressions of Trevelin, which were not altogether positive were magically transformed as I discovered there is a lot happening in the local music scene, definitely some good food and great company.
March16 Today was the first time since I left home that the ride was easier than expected. There was no pass between Argentina and Chile, just a long dusty road along the river with a few small hills. At one point I could see a glacier in the distance.
I’m now settling down for the night in Futaleufu, nestled in a beautiful valley surrounded by mountains.