The Search for Che is Over…..we found him!
What a final day! We crossed the border into Argentina for the 3rd and final time.
The morning was without rain.
A 50 km mountain bike ride on a rocky road through the Andes mountains sandwiched between 2 magical ferry rides.
And of course, we got to experience the border crossing ritual, but this one had a new twist. Last night Max and Sam spoke to the Chilean Checkpoint Officer to say that we would be rolling through at 8:15 am. She said she would be in the office waiting for us. So this morning we rode the short 1 km to the Checkpoint only to find it not open.
The official lives down the road, so Max the guide and I go to her house and knocked on the door. The Checkpoint official let’s us into her living room, wood fire blazing and she stamps our documents! Even though this looks like a very simple and flimsy type of security, without these papers signed off, we won’t get out of Chile!
Checkpoint to Border
Note: This is the first time in my life I have ridden a mountain bike.
Then we started a 15 km, 8%, 3000 ft climb,
followed by a 5km descent to the border.This is the summit.
Did I mention this was a rocky gravel road?
It was a beautiful and bone rattling ride (note to self: don’t take up mountain biking).
The Border and Discovery
We approached the border exhausted, sweating and quickly getting cold due to the cool temperature and our 4 week friend, Mr. Wind. We found a warm shelter in the large Customs office. But the Customs people kicked us out and would not let us back in until we had the proper group papers presented. Once that happened we queue’d up and got our passports stamped.
The major highlight at the Argentine border by far was seeing on display, La Poderosa. This is Che Guevara’s 600cc motorcycle that he rode and wrote about in his Motorcycle Diaries book/movie. We had ridden the exact same road this morning that Che rode in the early 1950’s!!
The search for Che was over, quite fitting on our last ride day of this epic trip. We had now finished re-tracing this legendary figure’s Chilean and Argentinian route.
Ferry Crossing # 1
The customs office is located in Puerto Frías and is across the road from the ferry dock. The bikes were loaded on to a catamaran and we got on for the first of two magical rides, this one on Lago Frías.
Docking at Puerto Alegre after one hour, we unload the bikes, and ride for 5 km to Puerto Blest. We were on a time limit, having to arrive before 4 pm to catch the 2nd ferry. We all arrived a few hours ahead of schedule and had some time to kill. Adjacent to the ferry terminal is a hotel…..the bar was OPEN! We were now one lake, one catamaran ride and 500 metres bike riding away from finishing this bike trip. And we had found Che, so we had two great reasons for quaffing a few pints!!
Same thing in winter
Ferry Ride # 2
Repeating the exercise of loading our bikes onboard, we settled in for another unforgettable ride, this time on catamaran Victoria. We sailed from Puerto Blest to Puerto Panuelo on Lago Nahuel Huapi for 1 hour.
Our final destination after 28 days, the Llao Llao Hotel, just south of Bariloche Argentina.
Our hotelArgentine flag’s blue matches the sky and view from my room.
Let the celebration begin!
Please support The Allie Sunshine Project’s initiative Biking4Benches