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Quick Update from Zapala, Argentina (PATAGONIA!)

posted Sep 11, 2011, 9:38 AM by Paul Gareau
Hello from Patagonia! I made it here at last. :) Zapala isn't a particularly exciting town, but I needed a day here to figure out where to head next, since there has been snow in the mountains along the route I wanted to follow. Today is my second day here, and this time it's the wind that's holding me up. A weather site tells me it's blowing at about 61km/hr (37mi/hr), which may not seem like much, but it might as well be a hurricane when you're on a bike. (Put your hand out the window the next time you're doing 40mph in your car and you'll understand). The day after leaving Malargue, I was blown off the road twice, and my bike was blown out of my hands when I was resting on the side of the road - it's pretty powerful stuff. Fortunately, since then, the wind has been much more cooperative, a bit calmer, and with only a few upwind sections of the route. The wind forecast for tomorrow looks much better, and I'm planning to do a short day to "laguna blanca", a lake about 20 miles from here. The short day is more to have a sheltered place to camp than anything else, and the following day I'll be heading towards the town of Alumine - over a few hills, but potentially with a rare northeasterly wind to my back.

I was also looking into my remaining distance yesterday, and apparently I only have a little over 2000 miles to go - it seems like so little after I've come this far. I'm really excited about the riding south of here, since I'll be going through the famous "Lake District" next, followed by the "Carretera Austral", a beautiful, remote road. Lakes, mountains, glaciers, volcanoes, ancient forests - what more could an outdoor guy ask for? I might still try to get a day of skiing in before I leave the lakes area, and I'm definitely planning to do some trekking farther south. 

That's all for now - I'll do my pics and a full blog post about a week from now. Ciao!