Old friends, new tyres (again!) much needed rest and forest fires.
We met Igna and Pata in 2013 on one of their around the world adventures (they have had many!). The kiwi fruit picking and packing season had just ended and they needed work and we needed help, so they moved into our house and became dairy farmers for 8 months.
They were incredibly easy people to have around and even thorough the stresses of what was a very demanding job at the time, we became good friends.
We always threatened to visit them one day on Chile, but I think they always doubted we would ...they especially never envisaged us turning up on two motorcycles!
We felt at home straight away and our planned two day stay turned into four.
We spent a day helping them fix a side awning to a van they are kitting out for their next travel adventure.
They helped us source new tyres for Becs motorcycle and by some miracle we found the only set in the area ...and they fitted and were knobbly!
They showed us around VillaRica and Pucon and we tried some of the local cuisine ...and of course empanadas! (There is an unspoken rivalry between Argentina and Chile as to who makes the best).
We then went off camping with them for a few days to a beautiful little spot next to Lago Tinquilico in Huerquehue National Park. The camp site was at the end of the road and very remote and quiet.
They knew exactly where we should camp ...down by the water and next to a stream that we used to keep our drinks cool.
We relaxed on the waters edge in the last of the summer/early autumn sun and swam in the water that was still summer warm.
We also took the kayaks out on the lake to explore the far side.
And in the evening we built camp fires and cooked the trout we caught in the lake.
It was haven on earth to stop and rest and relax!
5th march and we headed off south again, crossing the border again back into Argentina at Paso Tromen o Mamuil.
The plan was to follow Ruta 40 down to the lakes around Bariloche in Nuhuel Huapi National park.
It was a beautiful ride but there were a lot of people enjoying the last of the good weather ... so because we are not fans of crowds and the pressing time frame of getting to Ushuaia before the weather closed in was in the backs of our minds we pressed on and passed through this area. stopping only for food and sleep.
Our next main destination was the very hyped Carrterra Austral which meant crossing back over the border AGAIN back in Chile.
By March .... we were approaching the town of El Bolson where we saw a plume of smoke ahead, and after a few more kms we could see flames leaping from pine tree to pine tree on the outskirts of the town.
The police looked as though they were about to close the road so we hustled and looked determined and managed to get through.
Once further on and past the fire we stopped in the main town to get some Empanadas (these were the best of the trip so far!) and stop to look at the growing fire and the efforts of a helicopter and plane to quell the flames. The locals were now coming out of their shops and homes as the local jungle drums started to beat with information of the fire.
Later on in the evening we googled the fire and saw that it had been started only an hour or so before we arrived in a campsite bbq that had gone wrong (there was a total fire ban effect) and that 4 locals had been seen fleeing the area!
We googled again a few days later and were relived to see nothing in the news so assumed all was well!