Vista Alegre Norte - The thirteenth step ... Six months in South America - CycleBlaze

October 31, 2022 to November 1, 2022

Vista Alegre Norte

it was a chilly three degrees this morning but we weren't in a hurry to get on the road because we were planning to wildcamp at the service station just out Barda del Medio just over a hundred kilometers  away and we wanted to get there at about six o'clock in the evening. It had warmed to double figures by the time we start riding at about nine o'clock and we had pleasant  temperatures and light winds for most of the ride.  

The ride itself wasn't  particularly pleasant.  The first twenty five kilometers were on a really shabby road surface, the traffic was heavy at times and we had to escape to the gravel verge every now and then.  Neither was the view inspiring as the route took us through rather ugly dry and scrubby plains.  We had one nice climb which gave us two nice downhills.  It was great to be able to enjoy a long freewheel after so long on flatter territory

We are heading into Argentina's petrochemical region. Hopefully we will skirt it as we move towards Bariloche.
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We arrived at the service station where we planned to wildcamp soon after five o'clock to be greeted by signs saying that camping was not allowed.  The service  station was much closer to a built up area than we had thought it was and there were a number of dodgy looking characters hanging around so we were happy to move on.

We  crossed the Rio Neuquen into Neuquen province and headed for El Dique Camping, a neat campsite with more fogons and tables than grass on which to pitch a tent.  It is run by a really pleasant and helpful guy called Nestor.  We are far more secure and comfortable here than we would have been at the service station. 

Tuesday 1st November 2022

It was pretty cold again this morning and for the first time in a long time we had quite a bit of condensation on the inside of the tent's flysheet.  One of the challenges with the Hilleberg Staika is that the flysheet goes right down to the ground to keep out any windblown snow according to Hilleberg's marketing blurb.  We are unlikely to camp in snow if we can help it.   I need to ensure some of the sides are lifted to facilitate airflow and there are ringlets to enable this so we usually don't have this problem.

Morning coffee and mate. Nestor kindly provided a table and chairs so that we could sit in the sun to warm up.
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While enjoying our morning beverages we decided to have another rest day here.  It is midweek and we have the campsite to ourselves.  Nestor suggested we move the tent to another more shaded site because the temeperature is supposed to reach into the thirties today, which we have done.  Last night he offered us the use of their swimming pool, an offer I just might take up today.  

The weather in this area is predicted to be in the thirties for another week so we will have to take that into account as we plan our route towards Bariloche.  Our hope had been that we would take the route via San Martin de los Andes but with us both feeling a bit tired now we might have to consider the easier more direct route.

Today's bad news is that I, through my own stupidity and ignorance, managed to irreparably damage the fuel pump for our multi-fuel stove.  Thank goodness it will still work with iso-butane gas canisters so we will have to survive on that for the rest of the trip because it is unlikely I will be able to replace it before then. This means we will have to detour into Neuquen tomorrow to find a camping store so we can buy extra canisters because the one we have is almost empty.

Today's ride: 114 km (71 miles)
Total: 3,022 km (1,877 miles)

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