Shrinking The Planet – One Ride At A Time

Archive for August, 2012

Ride To The End Of The World – Fin del Mundo (Part 6)

We overnighted in Perito Moreno in a drab little hotel room with bars over the one tiny window.  It was dark and dingy, but it was warm and dry so we had no complaints.  Striking out fairly early in the morning, we were soon out of the town limits and back on the gravel of Routa 40.  The sun was brightly shining in a bright blue sky with some puffy white clouds.  The road surface was fairly firm with some loose gravel strewn about, but overall it was easy going.  The wind was up once again with a steady 30+ MPH wind blowing from a single direction.  The upside was that the constant dust that had been our companion earlier was now destined to blow directly to the side out of whomever followed.  It was a nice break from eating dust.  However, necks soon became tired and sore from holding a crab against the wind.  So it was a tradeoff of sorts, dust for neck ache.  Hmm… which was better?

By the way, if you don’t know, click on any one of the pictures in the gallery below and it will open that picture into a full size picture and then you can click your way through the remainder of the pictures in either direction in full size.

The gravel seemed endless.  While the scenery was beautiful, there were long stretches of straight, unrestricted view plains that ran until they were blocked by surrounding mountains.  Sight planes disappeared in a “V” in front of us as the seemingly endless gravel road continued unabated and without a twist or turn.  Every once in a while, we would reach the mountains that had previously been long in the foreground but were now immediately in front of us.  This gave us the opportunity to lean the bikes a bike and twist the throttles.  Kim especially took the opportunity to wick it up a bit, her confidence growing after riding in the wind for a couple of days.

Sooner than we knew it, we had made it through that mountain’s passes and were back on the plains gravel with fields of grasses surrounding us, wind blowing and miles of straight gravel road in front of us.  So straight in fact that as we made our way toward Tres Lagos (Three Lakes) we came upon a sign that directed us towards three different towns, 16, 246, and 345 kilometers away.  The thing was, they were arrowed all straight ahead.  Guess that road was really going to be straight for a while eh?

Covering such distances with only your thoughts and the wide open spaces gives you time to think.  Think about the beauty that surrounds you, about how lucky you are to have this wonderful circumstance that you are able to travel the world and see things like this unhindered and unfettered by day to day tribulations.  It really makes you humble.  Over the comms, I told Kim how I was feeling and we decided to take a few minutes to stop and just soak it all in.

There we were, somewhere in the middle of Argentina with nothing around us for miles and miles but open fields surrounded by mountains, blue skies and fluffy white clouds.  Frankly, it was a wonderful few moments in time.  It was like we were on our own little planet and we were so thankful to be there.  But it was quite strange, we didn’t feel like we needed to keep it for ourselves, we felt like we needed to share it with everyone, hence the couple of pictures you see in the gallery here.  You’ll know which ones I’m talking about when you see them.

After about twenty minutes of awe, gawking and picture taking, we got back on the bikes for the final leg of our ride to the Estancia La Angostura, a working ranch (estancia).  We hit several zones of construction which made the going a bit slow in places but was not difficult.  But it did bring to mind that Routa 4o is changing and that the gravel will soon turn to pavement.  So if you would like to ride Routa 40 in its gravel state, do it soon, because change is coming (for the better of the people of Argentina).

Another two hours on the rippio and we found a small sign announcing our arrival but the estancia was nowhere to be seen.  All that was nearby was a gravel and sand two track leading off Routa 40.  Since there were no other signs and Routa 40 continued on straight ahead for miles, we followed the little gravel two track for about two miles and there it sat, the Estancia La Angostura.  Surrounded by cypress like trees and wrapped in bushy like vegetation it was a haven from the continuous winds.  Once inside the surrounding trees and bushes, the wind was almost non-existent.

The estancia itself did indeed look like a ranch house.  A long plain white washed building with no-nonsense windows, you could see it was made for work and not for style.  Still, it had a natural beauty as it blended into its surroundings and seemed to be perfectly in place with all that surrounded it.

Inside it was even better.  The tools and necessities of ranch life adorned the walls and tables.  An old coffee grinder here, a saddle there, a set of bolo balls hung from the walls as well as a well worn and abused revolver.  Each was capable of telling a story of its life on the plains of Argentina and the work that it had done in making the Estancia La Angostura successful.

We walked around a bit and were shown to our room.  It was a modest bunk room with little adornment.  However, the people had done their best to make it cheery and leave their marks.  Although the walls were bare, without even sheet rock to cover the walls studs, the insulation’s batting had been decorated with multiple handprints.  The handprints were in different colors and were all over the wall.  It made for a very nice personal touch and gave you the feeling that folks who had done hard work lived in the room and you were now their honored guests.  It was quite comforting.

Before we knew it, it was time for dinner.  Once again it was to be an asado of lamb and sausage.  We walked to the dining hall where in the corner, an entire lamb was skewered and slowly cooking.  We sat waiting for dinner to cook chatting with friends and drinking some wine when the owners came in with their pet dog and their other pet; a lamb!  It was a strange feeling seeing your lamb dinner cooking on a skewer and then the owners come in with their pet lamb!  But this one was special, it had been abandoned by its mother and had become their house pet.  It would never see the skewer!

We had a marvelous dinner and soon were off to bed for the next days ride to El Chalten the climbers paradise, where well take you in Part 7.

Ride 2 Adventure – Shrink the Planet One Ride At A Time

Sam Manicom

Some people really personify adventure riding.  Sam Manicom is one of those people.  Wanting to do something completely different, Sam Manicom decided he wanted to learn to ride a motorcycle.  Three months later with only the skills he’d learned riding on pavement, he set off to ride the length of Africa. His planned one-year trip turned into an eight-year epic across 55 countries.

Sam has condensed his journeys into four separate books in the order on which his journey transpired:

  1. Into Africa

  2. Under Asian Skies

  3. Distant Suns

  4. Tortillas To Totems

Each is a great fun read and I learned a lot about Sam, his traveling companion Birgit and the people and places they visited along the way.  Do yourself a favor and pick up Sam’s books a learn a lot about riding the world and how Sam (and Birgit) shrunk the planet as they traveled its surface.

You can get a signed copy of Sam’s books by clicking here  at Sam’s own web page, or you can get them through the R2ADV Gear Store found at the top of the page.

Ride2Adventure – Shrink The Planet One Ride At A Time

Ride To The End Of The World – Fin del Mundo (Part 5)

Having enjoyed hugely comfortable digs for a couple of days we were ready to make our way toward Esquel.   We’d be traversing some mountain roads, but it was to be easy going with smooth pavement all the way.  But we did have some nice twisties and a few nice stops with overlooks.  We could tell that we were truly enjoying the trip since we were bypassing the opportunity to stop and take pictures at some pretty beautiful spots.  It’s just that there were so many opportunities to see them, we had to force ourselves from becoming jaded to all that we were seeing and were still to see.

We breezed along the mountain roads swooping and gliding, powering up steep inclines and gliding down the backs.  There was great joy in twisting the throttles and rolling the bikes side to side.  Magic.  Our bikes and our bodies flowed with the earth and easily followed its contours.  It was as if the mountain had a giant magnet under its road and our bikes were magnetically bonded to the earth as were we to the bikes.  We passed beautiful valleys hemmed in by great mountains and made few stops along the way.

By the way, if you don’t know, click on any one of the pictures in the gallery below and it will open that picture into a full size picture and then you can click your way through the remainder of the pictures in either direction in full size.

Because of this, our first stint of the day on the bikes was fairly long, we had lost track of the time.  One such stop was for lunch.  We often packed power bars and some fruit in our top boxes for an easy and quick snack.  Kim remembered that she had stored a banana in her top box and was ready to eat it for her lunch’s dessert.  But we’d done quite a bit of riding that day and the sun was beating down on us and the bikes.  In addition, the banana had worked its way to the bottom of Kim’s top box where it had been bouncing about with all her other gear for most of the day.  When she opened her top box and searched for her banana, she found on the bottom, a fine banana and dust puree a mixture.  Eww!!!

So we cleaned up her top box and got to the business of eating lunch and taking a few pictures.  There were some local flowers that we took a few photos of and before we knew it, we were back on the road.  Once again there were few pictures taken as we zoomed our way to Esquel.

It was a fairly long day in the saddle but time really did zoom by.  In fact, before we knew it, the sun was getting low on the horizon by the time we reached the border of Esquel.  We were fairly tired by the time we reached our motel which was like a little hacienda at the outskirts of town.  Complete with wooden rail fences and a central square area in the interior it was a great place to stop and catch 40 winks before we once again got back onto the rippio (gravel) on the famous Routa (Route) 40.

The following morning dawned nearly overcast, the few breaks overhead letting the sun’s warmth through occasionally.  Our spirits however were on high since today we were going to ride the rippio of Routa 40, famous for making its way southward to Ushuia and also for the Patagonian winds that blow.  We were about to find out what both were like on the first day our journey over its length.

Shortly after leaving Esquel, we made our way onto Routa 40 and the rippio.  The towns gave way to large open plains of tall grasses.  Some were populated with cattle and horses while others were empty and open for as far as the eye could see.   About an hour into the ride, we spied a splash of color, pink color, not too far off the road.  Two pink flamingos, not lawn ornaments, but the real things, stood as a pair, wading in a marshy area.  I said to Kim over the intercom, that we weren’t in the States any more and there was the proof.

Shortly after we passed the flamingos, the wind began to pick up.  Lightly at first, but then more steadily until it became intense.  Severe is the word that comes to mind.  A consistent 30 – 40 MPH wind that gusted even higher making the riding quite challenging.  We would get accustomed to the steady wind leaning the bikes and our bodies into the wind causing the bike to take on a significant lean just in order to ride straight.  A gusting of wind would require even more lean just to stay on course.  Complicating things even more was when the gust would stop, we’d have to quickly take out the lean or risk falling off.  It was quite an interesting and tiring riding situation.  But after riding a few hours in these conditions we were becoming accustomed to it and riding became more easily to us.

About half way into the riding day, we came upon our first of many Gauchito Gil shrines.  We would come to find that these shrines were all over Routa 40 and were filled with drinks, money, cigarettes, gifts, prayers and requests for help.  The shrines in memory of Gaucho Gil and if you are interested, you can learn a bit about it here:

Gauchito Gil

We stopped at several shrines and took some pictures and also took the time to get a measure of the wind.  It’s difficult to explain the Patagonian winds.  They’re really something you have to experience for yourself.  Here’s a bit of a taste of how insistent they really are…

Roadside Patagonia Winds from Mike & Kim Botan on Vimeo.

Back on the road, we made our way towards the town of Perito Moreno and our stop for the evening.  We came upon this rather interesting sculpture.  At first we couldn’t make out what it was, but when we referred to the drawing at its base, it became clear what it was.  It was pretty cool now that we knew what to look for and we enjoyed finding it in the middle of what was pretty open and deserted spaces.  After another couple of hours on the road, in the distance, we could make out Perito Moreno.  Tomorrow we’d be heading for a working estancia (ranch) out on the plains with no communications to the outside world.  It was a marvelous place and we’ll tell you all about it in Part 6.

Ride 2 Adventure – Shrink the Planet One Ride At A Time

Ride To The End Of The World – Fin del Mundo (Part 4)

We rolled into Bariloche in quickly gathering darkness.  Up a paved road past some houses and a barking dog who chased us for a short distance.  Not to long thereafter, we found the sign for the hostel we were to call home for the next two nights.  The road into the hostel was dirt and lazily curved and climbed the hostel grounds.  We finally came to the place where we were told to leave our bikes which was not level and had deep random holes surrounded by tree roots.  Kim attempted to dismount her bike  in the dark and for the first time on this many thousand mile trip, dropped her bike.  She was bumming big time since she rarely drops her machine.  But it turns out that as she pulled up, there was earth below her right foot, but nothing below her left but a significant eight inch drop and a tree root.  She semi fell and hopped off her bike and emerged only with a damaged ego.

By the way, if you don’t know, click on any one of the pictures in the gallery below and it will open that picture into a full size picture and then you can click your way through the remainder of the pictures in either direction in full size.

By now it was fully dark and we were unloading our night’s gear from the bikes.  We walked down the hill to the room where we would be staying.  The owner unlocked the door for us turned on the light and wished us a good night.  As we walked inside, we found a very nice apartment!  We were not expecting anything like this, it was indeed a small house and we were inhabiting the entire downstairs.  We had a bedroom, kitchen, livingroom, bathroom and even a nice porch.  We were psyched!  We couldn’t see the outside surroundings, but the inside was certainly nice.

In the center of the hostel yard was a dining area where were to be served a home cooked asado dinner by the hostel’s owners who happened to be South African expatriates.  Dinner time was not too far off and we sat down with several of our friends for a nice home cooked asado accompanied by some nice Argentinian Malbec.  Mmmm…. it was good.  Good food, good company, good stories and good wine.  What a great way to top off the evening and a great day.  Before we knew it, it was almost midnight and we wearily dragged ourselves back to our little apartment.  Tuckered out from a long days ride, terrific food and perhaps a bit too much Malbec, we were really ready for the sack.  We just dropped into bed and were almost immediately sound asleep.

The following morning dawned bright and sunny and we were anxious to see what was outside our little apartment.  We were not disappointed.  We did indeed have a nice little house surrounded by trees and shrubs with other small houses nicely situated not too far away.  There was even a little man made reflecting pond with flowing water.

After a quick breakfast, we got onto our bikes and rode out into the surrounding countryside.  We came into the town of Llao Llao and rode around its beautiful lake and some of the surrounding mountains.  There was a small turnoff at one particularly beautiful overlook and there were several school buses with children ages from about 10 to 15.  They giggled and ran and played at the roads edge and took pictures of each other at the not so significant drop off overlooking the lake and the mountains behind.  It was a time for all to enjoy what nature was offering and the kids were keen on doing their best to enjoy it.  We milled around with them and soon we had integrated into their little group.  They were a bit curious about our Aerostiches, but they did offer to take our picture as we did for them.

Soon their teachers called for them to get back on the busses and we were almost alone at the roadside overlook.  The view was all the more exquisite in the peace in quite that now enveloped us.  We lolligagged around a bit longer and soaked it all in until it too was time for us to be on our way.  It was lunch time and we found a small out of the way restaurant and enjoyed a nice slow Argentinian lunch.  This trip was clearly becoming a journey of contentment.  With all the mountains in the area you might imagine that there would be ski resorts around and indeed there were.  The resort had an almost European feel with chair lifts operating and out-door places to eat and view the mountain scenery.

With some more riding, we headed back a little early into Bariloche itself for a quick look at the town and to pick up some supplies for dinner that night.   We bought that staple of travelers everywhere, pasta, and of course, some more Malbec to go with it.  Some cheese and crackers and we had a complete and ready to go dinner that was quick and could be made with little fuss and few ingredients.   As we got to the check out, I struggled a bit with my Spanish, but I was able to pay the correct amount (I think) and we left to return to the hostel.

Before dinner, we did a bit of cleaning and attempted to clean off some of the dust from the road.  There was plenty of it and it took us a good hour to get everything fairly spic and span.  By the time we had finished it was dinner time and we embarked on the journey to make our pasta dinner.  We had most everything we needed.  A deep pot, a colander, a smaller pot for some sauce, some spoons for stirring and a couple of forks.  But what we didn’t have were any pot holders.  Dang it!  But Kim being the resourceful soul that she is, simply said, no worries and broke out her riding gloves and we were immediately provided with two insulated pot holders.  Bravo!

Ultimately, we were able to get the pasta served, our cheese, crackers and wine ready and sat down at the table next to the outdoor porch.  We looked outside and to our dismay saw we had an interloper.  A good sized bird perhaps about a foot tall, waited on the rail of the porch looking for some handouts.  He cawed at us and jumped around on the rail.  When I opened the sliding door to the porch he would fly off, only to return.  I wanted to leave him/her some pasta, but he/she would always fly away.  Hmm… come to think of it, perhaps it wasn’t the pasta he/she wasn’t interested in, could it have been the Malbec?

I’ll never know what was on his/her mind, because he/she didn’t come back after about the fourth attempt.  So we were left to eat our dinner in peace and have a nice quiet evening.  Tomorrow we would head to Esquel and the beginning of the famous Ruta 40 and the infamous and fierce Patagonian winds.  We knew they could be strong, but we’d really underestimated their ferocity.  We’ll tell you all about it in Part 5.

Ride2Adventure – Shrink the Planet One Ride At A Time

Ride To The End Of The World – Fin del Mundo (Part 3)

Filled to the brim with Aurelia’s tasty empanadas, we wobbled over to the bikes for another few hours riding.  We were quickly on the gravel and entered a national forest which winded its way alongside some beautiful mountains.  We were at times completely covered by canopies of trees that made it appear that it was early evening as we traversed patches of mud from rain that hadn’t dried from who knows how long ago.  Still it was great riding and the air smelled clean and fresh if not a bit humid even in the chill of the shadows.

We bumped along happily until we hit our first stretch of construction.  The road was completely closed and what little traffic there was sat and waited while the graders, backhoes, loaders and dump trucks did their work.  Some of the delays were quite short, just a minute or two, others were half an hour long or so.  The work being done was quite impressive with large stone walls being created by sorting, fitting and piling rocks into “cages” of gigantic chicken wire like boxes.  The rocks were well placed and there were few gaps between them.  It looked as though they had been cemented together when in fact they had only been sorted and piled into the wire.

By the way, if you don’t know, click on any one of the pictures in the gallery below and it will open that picture into a full size picture and then you can click your way through the remainder of the pictures in either direction in full size.

What is really nice about being on a long adventure ride is that you really don’t “have” to be anywhere other than to get to the place where you are going to lay your head for the night.  So it was no big deal for us to wait for the construction to finish.  We had the opportunity to chat with other folks waiting in line and walk around a bit, take in the sights and enjoy the fresh air.  So these little “impositions” in actuality increased the adventure of the trip somewhat.  We met new people and saw sights that we might have bypassed if we had not been held up by the delays.

When we had cleared the last construction delay of the day, we were almost at the end of the forest and had the opportunity to turn the speed up a bit.  The problem was that it was extremely dusty.  Plumes of solid grey arose from the bikes tires and when a car or a truck (think construction vehicle) came from the opposite direction, it was a complete grey out for a significant length of time.

The dust rose in giant plumes with cauliflower heads that rose quickly and seemed to hang in front of you refusing to return to the earth from which they had sprung.  Entering them was like diving into a vat of grey water.  At first it yielded to your presence as your body left its impression on the face of the cloud.  However, almost immediately, the cloud would recover its form and envelope you in a murky and misty grey nothingness where forward vision was all but lost.  Our best bet for forward navigation was to look slightly forward and down for the road surface was about the only clear sight to be seen with everything else appearing only as ghostly shadows.  Not a pleasant thought when you know that construction vehicles may be coming from the other direction.

Luckily for us, the heavy dust continued for only 10 miles or so, and the road turned more to the hard gravel surface it had been earlier in the day.  That was a good thing since it was already getting later in the afternoon , the sun was starting to obscure vision and we’d rather not end up riding in the dark.  We had come across too many wild and roaming cattle, horses, goats, sheep and dogs to feel comfortable riding with such reduced visibility.

We were determined to get to our stop for the night before dark but not so determined as to dismiss the beauty of the surrounding area.  We were crossing a modern concrete and steel bridge when we noticed the old wooden bridge that it had replaced.  It had been a multiple span bridge and the center span had long since fallen into the river.  But the remaining spans framed by the mountains in the background and the still water, created a picture opportunity that could not be missed.  So we stopped and got off the bikes to take some pictures of the awesome sight before us.  While we stood on the modern technology of the concrete and steel bridge, the beauty and grace of the old bridge still reflected its brilliance upon the land.

After some oohing and ahhhing, we were back on the bikes only to come across a bridge that combined the two mediums of the new and old bridge we had recently passed.  This one was composed of concrete and steel, yet had wooden decking and so combined the two eras together.  Once again it made for a nice picture and of course we had to get one of us crossing the bridge over the River Mayo.

This day was becoming rather memorable for its sights and lack thereof in the dust.  But sunlight was indeed running out and we needed to get to our room for the night in San Carlos de Bariloche.  We did not know what our little room was going to look like, and when we finally arrived it was nearly dark so we weren’t able to see what our digs for the night looked like from the outside.  Let’s just say we were not disappointed.  We’ll tell you all about it in Part 4.

Ride To The End Of The World – Fin del Mundo (Part 2)

Villarica’s peak still puffed white smoke into the chilly early morning air as we prepared our bikes for the first real riding of the journey to the Fin del Mundo; the end of the earth.  Both Kim and I were quite excited to get under way and I was quite impatient to get started.  Gear sorted on our rented BMW F650GS twins we rolled out of the parking lot, puffs of steam from our mouths in the cold Chilean air replicating the puffs of smoke from Villarica.  Today we would have a short hop on pavement but would soon be on the gravel and headed towards our first border crossing into Argentina.  Our trip would take us across the Argentine and Chilean borders several times, but that was part of the fun for this trip.

By the way, if you don’t know, click on any one of the pictures in the gallery below and it will open that picture into a full size picture and then you can click your way through the remainder of the pictures in either direction in full size.

As we made our way on smooth pavement, we were greeted by green scenery and farms of various sizes.  Flowers and plants were in full bloom even though it was November.  Getting used to all the rich colors of flowers took some getting used to.  Where we had come from, the bright color palette of many different flowers and plants had long since dwindled to browns and greys in anticipation of the upcoming cold New Hampshire winter.  But here, the flowers and plants were just reaching their stride, full blooms with bright colors reached towards the sun as if summer would never end.  Already, our surrounding environment had us wishing this journey would never end.

The day took on a bit more overcast look as we approached the Argentine border.  To match the darkening skies, the road conditions changed from smooth pavement to rough and loose gravel.  It became quite apparent that we were approaching some mountains and we’d be riding through the mountains on gravel roads.  The surface was fairly good but quite dusty.  Clouds of dust rose quickly and obscured vision if we rode too closely together.  We decided to give each other a fair amount of spacing since we wanted to be able to see the sights as we trundled along the gravel.

After about an hour of riding, we found our first new experience in the form of the Monkey Puzzle Tree.  A cross between what appeared to be a cactus and a Douglas Fir tree, the Monkey Puzzle tree was indeed a bit of a puzzle.  Thick spiny needles protruded from branches and trunk of the young trees.  Mature trees were over 75 feet tall with very large green spines.  They were indeed puzzling, were they cacti or trees?  Well they were trees and they were quite cool.  Apparently the locals thought so as well since the roads were sometimes split by them with each lane going on either side of the tree.

Riding sometimes steep climbs and descents, we winded our way over and around these gravel mountain roads.  Beautiful scenery passed us by on both sides of the road.  Mountains surrounded us as we wended our way through forests in uninhabited areas for many miles.

Having ridden three hours on gravel, suddenly, as if someone had just turned on a pavement machine, we were off the gravel and on pavement.  It was not long before we began to see small farms with livestock and signs of people.  It was not long before we arrived in the town of San Martin de Los Andes.  San Martin de Los Andes sat near the base of the Andes and the rim of a large beautiful lake.  It had a bit of a tourist feel to it and as a result, had all the amenities of a small city.  Stores, restaurants, banks, cars, busses etc. were all present.  It had a true hustle and bustle feel.  A tiny city connected only by gravel roads on both ends.  We made use of the ATM to pick up some Argentine currency and were quickly on our way.

Before we knew it, we were off the paved roads and back on the gravel and in the isolation of the Andes.  Once again climbing and descending, we rounded a corner and entered a flat area and there it was in front of us, Lanin, another active volcano.  Capped in snow it appeared as a stone giant dominating the skyline.  As Kim rode by, I could see just how big and powerful Lanin was.  Although Kim projects a strong and powerful presence, her form was overwhelmed and overcome by the sheer size of Lanin.  As she got closer to the monolith, Kim appeared to quickly vanish into the background of Lanin’s might; it was a quick lesson in humility of humankind versus nature.

Shortly after passing Lanin we arrived at the Argentine border where we met with a somewhat of a delay.  We spent over 3 hours at the border straightening out paperwork, but ultimately were able to clear the Aduana (Customs) and get underway.  This was to be our only delay at Customs for the entire trip, so we considered ourselves very lucky to cross as many borders as we did with only one significant delay.

With the border crossed and three hours lost, we had made it into Argentina with a wide open eyes and empty stomachs.  Happy faces searched the roadsides for signs of civilization and a place to eat, because by this time we were pretty hungry.  As we rode along, we noticed a string of roadside stands.  Hmm…  could this be a place to eat?

We pulled off the road and did a little investigating.  Yes indeed, some of the stalls had food and we were in for a treat.  One of the stands sold empanadas.  If you have not had an Argentine empanadas, you are really missing something.  They are pastries filled with meats such as pork, beef and chicken as well as cheese.  They are amazing!

In addition to this delicious food, we were treated to even more.  It turns out that our cooks consisted of three generations of women who had been cooking empanadas at the roadside in this very stall.  The matriarch of the family was Aurelia and although my Spanish is poor, we chatted a bit about her empanadas stand and how long she’d been there.  She even brought out a magazine article in which she and her family were showcased for their longevity and the deliciousness of  their empanadas.  Well we’re here to tell you that they deserved every bit of print they received and we’ve yet to find empanadas anywhere near as good as the ones we had at Aurelia’s little roadside stand in Argentina.

We still had a fair amount of riding to do for the day, but we’ll tell you about that in Part 3.