Monday, November 18, 2013

Day 4 

Today we embarked on another epic ride. We actually started on time, though it turned out to be for naught. The first part of the ride was a 100k stretch from Mendoza to Upsallata that offered glimpses of the Andes in the distance and alternated between desert and a red rock canyon. 



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The next leg, from Upsallata to the border, is 100k of climbing up the Andes.  The approach was particularly scenic because we were driving straight at a wall of mountains.  

We made it to the top without issue, but it took about an hour and a half to get through the long line at customs. We took advantage of the down time for a few photo ops.  
 





The steep descent starts almost immediately after crossing the Argentina-Chile border. We only made it about 5k before hitting the other side of the one-way construction zone that held us up for an hour on the way out. We were second in line, so we knew we had a big delay ahead of us. After an hour of waiting, the construction worker told us there was an accident ahead that needed to be cleared before we could go. My argument that we would be able to squeeze by because we were on motorcycles were apparently not convincing. I can only assume that my sub-par Spanish watered down my charm and persuasiveness.  We made the best of the situation by juggling rocks, throwing rocks at road signs, and taking naps on the road 13,000 ft up in the Andes.  Almost 2 hrs later we were on our way. 
The 29 curvas peligrosas were even more dicey on the way down, especially being tailed by a bunch of people that were antsy from waiting two hours. I thought I recorded some great video during the descent, but unfortunately we lost all of it.  Noooo!
We made good time to Los Andes once we finally got moving, but after taking well over 3 hours to go 3 miles in the Andes, we were running out of daylight in a hurry. We stopped to fuel up the bikes and consume as many calories as quickly as possible.  OJ, chips, ice cream bars, water and onward toward the coast. 
We passed through miles and miles of vineyards just west of Los Andes and watched the sunset through the mountains near San Felipe, Chile. 150k later we arrived at our hostel in Viña del Mar, Chile on the coast of the Pacific. 12 hours on the road makes a boy hungry, so many fajitas and cervezas were consumed shortly thereafter. 
As a quick closing remark, I don't know of a time I've ever seen as much or as beautiful scenery in a single day - desert, red rocks, canyons, river valleys, snow capped mountains, vineyards, gorgeous sunset, Pacific coast, and Davis Burge.

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