Patagonia – Day 5: Esquel, Argentina

Date: 11/14/2014
Starting Location: Bariloche, Argentina
Ending Location: Esquel, Argentina
Mileage Today:  180.9 Miles  291.1 Kilometers
Mileage Total:  450 miles
Kilometers Total: 929
EoD Odometer Reading: 13,834

Leaving Bariloche

We left Bariloche, and headed towards Esquel.  The day was scheduled to be about 200 miles, but when all was said and done, it was just shy of that.  The first 75 miles were epic, and we stopped in a little town called El Bolson.  As it turns out, the best coffee in town is at a petrol station, and since we were having coffee, we decided to have lunch.

With another 200 Kilometers to go, we left the gas station, and continued towards Esquel.  Somewhere along the way, we pulled over to take some pictures of the mountains, and I’m afraid that our playful side came out, or was it the devilish side.  You be the judge.

As I sat on my bike, I noticed that there was a tire demon that was displaying anger.

As I sat on my bike, I noticed that there was a tire demon that was displaying anger.

The Tire demon had moved from my windshield, to the back of my neck.  Who knows where it will end up next.

The Tire demon had moved from my windshield, to the back of my neck. Who knows where it will end up next.

Alas, I lost the war with the tire thing, and found that it had embedded in my head.

Alas, I lost the war with the tire thing, and found that it had embedded in my head.

We arrived in Esquel at about 2:00 PM, and by 3:00 PM Eduardo had informed me that I had left some important papers at the hotel in Bariloche, which was almost 200 miles back.  Originally, I had thought that these papers included my passport and other passage papers, but we discovered that they were simply copies of the important paperwork, which I had intended to give to our tour operator.  I had made three copies of all of the important stuff, so losing one copy was a minor inconvenience, but during the 10 minutes where we were unsure, we quickly began organizing for Alain and I to jump in the truck, and travel back to Bariloche.  If we had to make this trip, we imagined that we would have arrived back in Esqual at about 1:00 AM or so.

Considering that we’re expected to have to ride 340 miles (550 Km) tomorrow, we were really dreading this.  The good news is that it was not necessary, or as they say in Argentina, no necessito.

Befriend a bidet

Some of you may remember that the other day I did a bit research on how to use a Bidet, and in the end, I gave up, frightened by the beast known as the Bidet.  I’m not the type of guy that gives up, so today, I decided that I would, once again, see if I could see what all the fuss is about.

So, without going into too much detail, let’s say that I was able to “successfully” use the bidet.  One again, please excuse the expression, but there I was, sitting there thinking, what on earth is the point of this thing.  How could societies that are considered to be evolved ever think that such a thing makes sense.  Once again, I walk away from the Bidet, confused, but this time, I am no longer frightened.  I’ve slayed the beast of the bidet, and am now ready to move on.

It’s 4 PM in Esquel

Esquel-Hotel01I spent the better part of this afternoon preparing this post, and the missing post from yesterday.  The post from yesterday, was actually for two days ago.  Are you still following along, good.

We’re staying at a very nice little hotel called the Tierra Mapuche, which is literally at the end of the road.  The bikes are parked in the rear, in a closed compound, just as they always are.  This little hotel was built in 2006, and is an upscale place to stay in Esqual.

Esquel-Hotel02It is very common for Adventure travelers and other budget conscious travelers to stay in low-budget places, which can cost from about $6 – $20 USD per night.  In fact, many of these travelers simply put up a tent, and go about their business.  This place costs about 110$ USD / which is way beyond the budget of most adventure travelers, but since we’re doing this as part of a 4 star tour, we’re staying in the best places.

It is still important to remember that what is rated as a 4 star hotel in Patagonia, will not be anything like a comparable hotel in the US, but this of place is located in the remote region of Patagonia, with amazing views, and I was able to buy a bottle of some pretty good Malbec for about $4.5 this evening.

About tomorrow

We’re expecting to put in 550 Km tomorrow.  That’s about 384 miles, through wind-swept, winding stretches of highway, with the occasional pot holes, and sections of gravel.  Just when you think you’re in that Zen state, the freekin’ gravel sneaks up on you and the road snakes begin their attack.  So far, I’ve been able to beat them back, but I’ll need to remain hyper-vigilant if I’m to survive.

One more thing before I go

While we were stopped dealing with the Tire demons, Alain saw an extraordinary cloud formation, and he has shared the picture with me, and I’m going to share it with you.  Enjoy – Addios

Esquel-Cloud2

About the Author

Cliff Musante

Cliff Musante is a technologist, business leader, motorcycle enthusiast, father, grandfather, and more. In June, 2013 his passion for motorcycles was revitalized, and he set out to ride across Patagonia. This 'Blog is the story of all of his adventures.

Comments

  1. Hola Cliff,

    It looks like you are having too much fun.

    How do the locals react to your convoy?

    Have you had anything interesting to eat?

    Safe riding,
    BPM

    1. Hi Brendan, great to hear from you.
      In fact, it is quite interesting. Part of the Patagonia tourism trade is directly tied to having crazy folks from around the world ride their motorcycles across this country of theirs. So, when our little convoy enters a town, we’re often met by waves, horns, and other types of endearment. In addition, when we stop somewhere for coffee, or lunch, we’re always treated very well, and in every hotel, the bikes are treated as if they are made of gold. Always locked in a secure, and fenced-in area. It’s quite extraordinary actually.

  2. Funny, I thought that the tire demon was a toupee that you had picked up as a memento of your adventure… I thought it gave you a sophisticated South American flair… Oh well.. Keep enjoying the trip…

    1. Marcello, are you implying that I need a Toupe’. By god man, have you no honor?
      In any case, I promise to do as you suggested. I will most certainly continue to have a great time. Wait until you see today’s activities. Another Epic day. But that damn gravel was a real bitch today.

    1. Hi doc,
      We did quite ab bit of riding in the dirt today, and if time permits, and the YouTube gods are kind to me, I’ll get the videos rendered, and posted later tonight. Although, I plan on having a beer (or two) so we might not get the videos on line tonight, but soon.

  3. Hi Cliff, I am so enjoying your posts! Although, I’ve been scratching my head for days wondering how you can conquer the battles with the tire demon and those nasty bidets without a celebratory glass of Argentinian wine at the end of each day. Alas, I’m so thrilled to see that you been able to taste one of the best outputs of Argentina……a great Malbec! I look forward to the days to come. :))

    1. Hi Kathy, you’re certainly asking all of the right questions, but here’s how I’m looking at it. Is there anything that a great Malbec, taken at the end of the day will not cure? Therein lies the answers to many of life’s troubles.
      Yes those tire demons, and the bidets have been on my mind these days, but so have a lot of things, some of which I’m describing in this ‘Blog and some which my therapist has asked me to keep to myself.

    1. Hi Carl,
      The Motorcycle boots do tend to get pretty warm, and our feet take on a life of their own, so I’ll consider your suggestion for the bidet the next time it comes up.

  4. Let the Adventure Begin

    Good job on posting daily updates from the road Cliff and loving the fresh perspective of the little differences. I’ll be reading along as you travel and really glad that the bike fit comfortably in the end with the modifications.

    Looking forward to seeing your videos and posts from the deep south and enjoy the riding. Say hello to Alain and Eduardo and Jay and the others from us in Compass HQ in Australia.

    I’m very jealous right now!

    1. Hi Shaun,
      Great to hear from you. Today’s ride was really technical, but the challenge was great. All of the riders are in great shape, and everyone is learning the gravel at their own pace.
      The navigation system is working perfectly, and it’s great to be able to anticipate the next photo stop, coffee shop, or gas stop.
      As promised, I’ll put together a number of videos that will represent the trip well, and we’ll even try to have a little fun…
      Today, I was doing interviews of the other riders.
      Life is good
      I’ll be sure to pass on your well wishes to Alain and Eduardo.

  5. Hey Cliff,

    Isn’t bidet French for foot washer? Maybe that’s why you were having trouble mastering it. 🙂 Laura said it was OK to crack wise…looks like you’re having a blast.

    Fred

  6. Cliff!
    I love the photos and don’t worry bidet’s aren’t for everyone… Can’t wait to catch up in December…Enjoy your time!! I am so happy howver NOT surprised you are making your dream come true xox

    1. Nancy,
      It’s so very nice to hear from you. Thanks for the help on Bidets. You’re right, now that I have fully figured out all aspects of these things, I’m quite sure they are not for me.
      Don’t worry folks, there’s more to come tomorrow.

  7. HiCliff!: I´m Gunther, Rita’s husband,who sat next to you in our flight from BsAs to Miami; I just looked-over the photographed description of your trip to Ushuaia,and found it to be very interesting !I hope your effort results in many more trips by motorcycle (and by car,bus,train,or whatever)to far-away-countries from the USA;
    It has been my experience, after living 13 years in the States, that the vast majority of US citizens don’t have the faintest idea of what’s goint on in Central and South America.Since my son Richard is a motorcycle fan,I’m going to give him your web-page too.
    All the best to you,and keep up the good work !
    Gunther
    (retired ophthalmologist)

    1. Hello Gunther,
      I’m so very glad that you could find the time to have a look at the ‘Blog and at my story. I enjoyed our brief chat, and wish you and Rita all the best. Perhaps your son will read the ‘Blog and become consumed with the idea of taking a trip like this. I sure hope so, for his sake. It’s an amazing journey.
      All the best,

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