Day 24 – Pucon to Bariloche

 

The start of another day but this one is only 400 kilometers of driving, two scheduled Tests and a border crossing from Chile back into Argentina – almost like a day off (well, half a day anyway). Start time was set for 7:00 which meant that we would be departing before dawn which always makes things a little more difficult. Even before we get on the road we learn that the two Tests have been canceled – no explanation – just canceled. Possibilities for this good fortune include the border crossing, some problem with the route for the Test or perhaps the fact that the Course Marshall was delayed getting to the hotel last night having been involved in a minor accident. Without regard to the reason for this becoming a transit day, it certainly reduced the pressure on everyone.

At sunrise, we were able to see we had some cloud cover this morning, something we have seen very little of since the beginning to the trip. Not only were there clouds, they we low hanging and gave the mountains a very different look.

 

As the morning got brighter, the effect became ever more pronounced – just beautiful.

 

Border having been reached we settled in to see how the day would go, this now being the only event (other than car problems) that could adversely affect the day. Wow, two for two, the people processing us were fast, efficient and friendly – consequently, we were on our way in short order (for a border crossing).

 

The border crossing was in a National Park and on a dirt road (what else) – a beautiful setting to be sure.

 

As we were exiting on the Argentinian side we came upon this large stand of trees which neither of us had ever seen and once out of the immediate area, we never saw another one like them. Perhaps one of our readers can provide proper identification.

 

They must have been a member of the fir family and looked almost like a giant bush.

 

We passed through Agnostura which had the look and feel of the Western US ski towns like Aspin or Park City. Very pretty place with stores providing the complete shopping experience for those so inclined. Our local guide had told us of a shop that made the best sandwiches in all of South America but we couldn’t remember the name – maybe next trip.

 

We were now into the Lakes Region – an entire chain of large, beautiful lakes with crystal clear water – magnificent. Lake Nahue Huapil was the first in the chain – it offered on overlook complete with an explanation of the vista. We even stopped to enjoy the view for a few minutes and stretch our legs – unheard of for the Caddy to stop anywhere but that is what a transit day does for everyone.

 

There is little I can add to the pictures …

 

Spectacular …

 

We shared the overlook with this young couple taking pictures – I just loved the Bernese Mountain Dog …

 

But the Piece de Resistance had to be Hector the St. Bernard waiting with his photographer master. For a (small) fee, Hector will pose with a tourist to have their picture taken with the lake and mountains in the background – very enterprising.

 

Yes, those are whitecaps out on the water – it was quite windy …

 

I don’t think the guard rail enhances the picture – perhaps it just serves to underscore the amazing color of the sky and water.

 

Back to the road ahead … We certainly cannot complain about the landscape not changing – thought we had unfortunately returned to the desert.

 

We might have hurried more earlier in the day had we know where we were staying for the night. This is the Hotel Llao Llao just outside of Bariloche and it is magnificent! It was originally built in 1923, destroyed by a fire in the late 20’s and then rebuilt in 1933. It was long THE place to stay in Argentina and for many years families came with their staffs for the entire summer. The hotel fell on hard times, was closed and abandoned from 1984 to 1994 when Citicorp bought it and performed a complete restoration. It was subsequently sold to experienced hotel people from Buenos Aires who operate it today in grade style.

 

The view down the front lawn speaks for itself …

 

News from Pit Lane:

Chris Evens and Mark Seymour blew the head gasket on their Model A Ford (#5) but with some help from the mechanics were able to repair it one the road thanks to Fritz James and Lang Whiteman having a spare gasket for their Model A (#6) – always good to have two of everything on these events

Nicholas Prior and Lesley Stockwell (who are now touring and loving it) are having clutch problems in their Volvo (#19), need to fabricate a bushing but are still running – they are exploring toilet paper holders for a source of material from which to make a temporary bushing.

Ralf Weiss and Kurt Schneiders have a leaking fuel tank in their Austin (#2) – they have removed the tank, pop riveted a patch in place and sealed it with epoxy which has an overnight cure time – they brought it into the hotel and put it by the fireplace to accelerate the cure process but hotel management didn’t think too highly of that idea and made them take it back outside.

Patrick van Griethuysen and Louise Peters who have been touring all along in their Citroen (#30) have worn out their tires and elected to be trailered so as to not puncture what is left of their tires – good thinking – make sure everyone gets to Ushuaia.

 

Tomorrow is another “short” day with only 368 kilometers to cover and a 65 kilometer Regularity / Jogularity Test – more on that later.

A final note: I spoke to Roger Hunt, our Course Marshall, and he is back in action with (hopefull) no ill effects from yesterday’s incident – be careful Roger, it’s a dangerous world out there.

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2 Responses to Day 24 – Pucon to Bariloche

  1. Angela Barritt says:

    I believe your mystery tree is a Norfolk Pine. The branches are quite distinctive though the shape of the tree can vary.
    I enjoy your blog, especially the wonderful photos. You really capture your amazing experience on the rally. Thank you! Having travelled through the tropics, you are now approaching weather more like we experience here in Canada(though hopefully not as cold). Quite an adjustment!
    Thanks again for the daily travelogue.
    Angela Barritt (Barbara Shooter’s sister)

  2. Jorge Cifuentes says:

    The mystery tree is an Araucaria Araucana: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Araucaria_araucana
    The Norfolk Pine belongs to the same family, though (Araucaria Heterophylla), but the shape -umbrella like- is typical of the Araucanian one.

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