Apr 25, 2009

Mendoza and the Archers

The road approaching Mendoza was tough...Well not so much for me, but for Bro. Included in the 100Km+ stretch ly a good sized pass, and terrrible road conditions (resembling those of Southern Ecuador or Northern Peru). As I said, this is no longer a problem for me, but for Brent riding on cracked rims (!), it was a tough stretch. I once again provided the "mule" for some of the heavier equipment hopefully preventing a rim blowout, and we rolled into town safely around sunset.

Awaiting our tardy/smelly arrival in Mendoza were some friends I had met one for one short moment at our church (FUMC) in Rapid City a year or so earleir. The Archers (Vince, Ruth, & Isaac) have an inspiring story of how they´ve come to be where they are are do and what they do. No doubt God works wonders in each of our lives, but they are a family who´ve nurtured these blessings to further His ministry and love around the world, and most recently in Mendoza. (more on this in future posts)

So, stinky(me) and tired(B) we throttled/pedded up to the door and were greeted by Vince and fam with bright smiles and friendly hugs. They had arranged a beautiful place for us to stay in an old country "castle" looking house turned hostle B & B as urbanization spread over the years. Showered and jived up on coca (cola) we returned to the Archer residence for excellent eats and superior conversation. The next couple of days we were adopted by this great family enjoying the presence of such family(er) people (having similar ties to the Dakotas.) Vince being our personal tour guide of the city, we also were able to handle a few items of impotance- including new shoes for Bro, new rim-also for B, and a new smell (laundry) for the both of us... Vince, as it turns out, was also the missing link in the fly fishing chain of thought I had started to construct a couple weeks earlier. He contacted a good friend of his (Pablo-maestro of flyfishing), and they set me up with all the neccesary equipment to get started...I should mention that Pablo hooked me up with gear (including his hand tied flies) for an incredibly good price, as well as providing a map and beta for some of his favorite rivers, streams, and lakes in the Patagonia region. !Muchisimo gracias hombres¡
Vince and I practiced my flycasting in a mall parking lot the next day, and with a few more tips I was off for Patagonia with a huge grin on my face and only one minor stop along the way....Finca Altimira.

Apr 15, 2009

26 (I think) and counting----

Meeting with brother Brent was timed well, quite well, two days before my 26th birthday in fact. Its always nice to have some family around that time of year... As he put it- "birthday´s don´t need to be some huge event, just memorable", this was one I will not forget...

We spent the day basking on the beach outside of Rodeo on a beautiful lake surrounded by landscape resembling the badlands of the Dakotas. We ate a family sized asado, swam, read, and reminisced about our adventures on our South American tour .

Nighttime came and an ad-lib birthday bash took place in a campground in the town of Rodeo. I set up camp, and Brent scooted off for some undercover preperations. He returned and we were joined by three French mochileros (backpackers) and Prince Charles (a greyhound looking dog that adopted us for the night.) Dinner that night was light due to some stomach aches from the huge meal that afternoon, so cake was the main course for the night. It (the cake) was an average pastry, but the toppings were well, different (and memorable), complete with steel ball bearings and fireworks! A chorus of "CumpleaƱos" echoed accrossed the campground and complete with wine, cake and presents, the festivity continued into the night...Indeed a very happy 26th...Thanks Bro.

Apr 14, 2009

Finding Brentasaurus

After Santiago (seems like forever ago), the moto and I took to the road in search of the ever-so-rare, bicycle bearing Brentasaurus. The route inbetween the two counties (Chile and Argentina) lie thirty some switchbacks, a lengthy tunel, and South America´s tallest mountain (Aconcauga- 6959 meters) - in that order. Somewhere cruising through the tunnel burrowed into the high Andes I crossed into Argentina, and when I popped out again the beast of a mountain peered down on me as if were perched on my shoulder. Intimidating. The smiles of Argentinos at aduanas (customs) were abundant and warming after the chilling view of the snow capped giant.
A different feeling here than in the northern Andes of Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador; casually winding through the highlands on asphalt highways, rather than twisted two-track neverknowifyourgoing tofindyourwayout dirt roads. Also, never far from the comfort of fresh water, hot food, or nice lodging. It´s never been this easy to access the high country--not better, just different.
Down into Argentina..I have recieved plenty of information about this country from several sources along this trip such as; "the people are pretty", "the food is fabulous", "the parillas are plentiful", "the camping is in credible", "the trees are tremendous", "the phishing is phenomenal"," the wine is wonderful", and "Patagonia is perfect!"...I have been in this country for more than a month now, and I can attest-- all are truths... All are awesome!
Thanks to our little friends "spot", the search was not a search of the entire country (thankfully, even a Brentasaurus would be hard to find in such a large country!) His "spot" has corresponded with my e-mail narrowing his location down to the San Juan region of northern Argentina...Off I go, through large pampas and scattered oasises, enjoying my fair share of Argentinian beef (the best!) and wine ( a bottle of premium for under ten dollars!) -planning my route and tuning my camping saavy along the way. I was preparing for an encounter of the pre-historic kind(as it would´nt be our first encounter, as pre-history can prove.)
Throttle time provided me with ample thinking space for my continuing journey through South America, and I started to ponder what exactly I could do to make the most of Patagonia and the three remaining months I have here. The idea of fly fishing popped into my head as banked around a gravel turn overlooking a beautiful little stream. Yeah, thats it! Its gotta be...fly fishing in Patagonia? Can´t go wrong! Thanks to my personal Financial Bailout Plan (my folks) I have ample money to purchase the needed gear to take up a new sport. (thanks again guys!) I now have a waxing giddyness for the Lake district that awaits down south..But first, my giddyness to find the Brentasaurus has elevated, as it does when I sense we are close.
Buzzing into the town of Jachal around mid-day, I passed a municipal campground. A familiar scent found its way through the faceguard of my helmet, and I suddenly felt the urge to whip around and check out the area. (Campgrounds are known resting grounds of Brentasauruses.) As I rounded the corner, peering through rows of trees, picnic tables, and parilla´s (barbecue grills) something caught my eye...There, half naked, holding something resembling a pair of pants, stood the giant. I slowly turned, popped the clutch, swerved around a few tree trunks, and came to a skidded stop in front of the bathroom sink grinning at the familiar face in front of me----Brentasaurus!
Re-united once again, the Sorensaurus Rex and Brentasaurus will travel the great landscapes of Northern Argentina drinking the fruits of the vine and feasting on the flesh of the bovine. Upon different steeds we ride, but with the same grin of kin we provide!!!!


Frustration followed me throughout the country of Argentina, fortunetly only in the form of technology. After struggling profusely, I have finally figured out how to post some pictures! (not as many as I would´ve liked to as I still have some figuring out to do) --Please check out the new albums (Norte de Argentina, Vinolandia, and Patagonia #1), as they took me a few grey hairs to get them posted! whew! thanks for waiting -besos