A Travellerspoint blog

Under this mask, I`m really a nice person....

Now give me all your chocolate or I`ll run you over.

all seasons in one day 75 °F


I have found out that there ain't no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.

Mark Twain

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So what can I say. I have encountered some really rad people in the last week or so. New years came and went in a little town of San Martin, where I encountered Ivana and Harry. They literally helped me out and gave me my own apartment to stay in over the holidays right as there new born baby came home. Literally... they carried him home and I was perched on their doorstep waiting and ready to assess. All fingers and toes, check. Having traveled for three years themselves, from Alaska to Ushuaia, and Harry summitting all 7 high points in the World and writing guide books about them, they knew how important a helping hand was. So they helped me out. Gotta love èm. I do.

risa_010.jpg And then who shows up at my doorstep, but BETH, my maid of honor at my wedding. Came to join me for her very first bike tour! Very exciting. But I don`t know why they call it maid of honor, as I`ll be doing most of the cooking and cleaning. But we won`t get into that. So here is Beth, ready to seize the day. She doesn`t realize it, but she has been a rock star. The first 4 days have not been easy. Ya see, a volcano exploded in Chile and for some reason, all the ash has flown over to this part of the world. So we´ve been biking in a cloud of ash for the last couple of days and she has maintained a smile on her face. risa_012.jpg 90_risa_015.jpg... but all in all, it hasn´t been that bad. The views and blue sky peak out more than not, and because of the ash, the tourist levels have dropped substantially. So when we showed up in Villa Angostura, the most expensive town in Patagonia, we were blessed with Juani hooking us up with his family`s cabin. I met him on the internet (it sounds more swanky than it really is) and he is a traveler, so when I asked for a place to stay, he gave us this house to ourselves... for as long as we wanted.... for free. His family rocked too. So we made them choco chip cookies. Actually Beth made them, I ate them. So it was a good team.
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It`s very classy to dry your clothes next to the wine glasses says I. risa_030.jpg

When the sky cleared, Beth and I headed to some National Park nearby and met Fred. I fell in love with Fred, even after I found out he was a she. But she traveled with me for 24 km through hell and high water, by my side, with a smile on her face. I planned to take her home, but Beth wouldn´t carry her on the bike. Thanks a lot Beth! risa_043.jpg risa_034.jpg 270_risa_038.jpg 270_9risa_046.jpg

This is what life looks like when you want to take all the ash off a house after a volcano explodes nearby. These men took their shirts off just for us, but were fairly disappointed when we wouldn`t go play with them.

Don´t tell me how educated you are,
Tell me how much you´ve traveled.¨--

Ran into Javier on the road. What a cutie. It was his first day, 21 year old, so full of life and excitement. Except he forgot to pack a spoon or fork, and had to eat with ours, forgot to pack a lighter, and had to cook with ours, and forgot to pack water purifying tablets, so had to use ours. Boy did he learn a lot the first day. I showed him a good place I would camp, and he said ¨Ïsn`t that place a little bit dangerous.¨ I looked at him and said ¨Honey, you have got no idea the places I`ve slept.¨ Then when he found out I was married, his eyes widened and he said ¨Your husband let you go off on a bike trip.¨ First reaction, ¨Sugar plum, my husband does not control me.¨ He has a lot to learn about bike touring, and about American Women, and it was fun to teach him both.

So back on the road tomorrow with more doors to knock on. We`ve only encountered a volcano turning on, rain, biking on the beach, high torrential winds causing us to bike 60 km in 2 hours, and then 12 km in 2 hours. The best stories I`ll have to tell in person so Beth`s parents (and my parents) don`t kill me. And the best pictures I`ll have to show in person... so Beth doesn`t kill me. But all in all, it`s been a good first 7 days.

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Posted by risajs 12:13 Archived in Argentina Tagged san martin bariloche angostura

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It has been a wonderful first 7 days, thank you for the adventures Risa!

by Beth Erickson

FINALLY subscribed. Now I have a lot of back reading to do. Thanks for the great updates and pix!

by James Napoli

I'm your first cousin once removed (I think that's right)from St. Louis. I'm sending your blog to my son David Spener who spent a nine-month sabbatical in Santiago, Chile last year. He was in Argentina as well. David teaches at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX. Too bad you two couldn't connect.

I'm a cyclist too and try to ride 100-miles per week when time and weather permit. I've never done any bicycle touring, however. Carrying my own gear is not my idea of a good time. At age 72, carrying my own weight around is about as much as I can handle.

The next family reunion will be in STL in 2013. I hope you and your husband will come. Bring your bikes! Bring your parents!
Your cousin,
Claudia Spener

by Claudia Spener

Ah-h-h-h Risa – all grown up, gorgeous and on the road again -- far away from that little 3yo who snoozed beside me in the Burbank sweat lodge – and the lively 11yo who “Saved Christmas” in that Disney movie – I treasure mental snapshots of your adventuring around the world - N*E*S*W – country villages, sea-level towns to Mt Everest (we eagerly awaited reports from your folks), then after millions of footprints and hundreds of customs and cultures - back home(?) to Turtle Island and more college studies to balance your “worldly” larnin’ - then two significant events: graduation and a guy!. . .and, from what I’ve heard, a perfect partner for a world wandering woman – then from your folks, details of plans for T-H-E most delightfully creative refreshing inclusive ceremony, so appropriate a Rite of Passage for R*I*S*A – the bonding of two families -- photos of the week-long celebration –and both of you beginning careers in the medical field - of course! - a challenging, hands-on, fast-paced arena that demands creativity and caring and courage and willingness to dare. . . to trust professional training along with knowledge gained through experience adventure. . . and here you go again. . . Love and blessings, Risa, wherever you journey. . .

by Gale Thompson

He might not control you, but your dear long suffering husband does ask you not to call your fellow biker friends "sugar plum". How do you even say that in Spanish? Nice pictures though!

by Jared

Oh, to be young and full of energy and adventure again. Do it for as long as you can. Eat right; sleep wherever, whenever you can. Time is precious. Went to Peru in ninties; loved it with- out bicycle. Keep smiling into the wind. Lynn.

by Lynn Chester

Jared, I thought you said you were "da boss and expert guru bicycle mechanic?" :-)

by Doug Malley

Risa! I love your blog! Can't believe I didn't know about this sooner! Looks like you are having an amazing time! I'm jealous!! Can't wait to see you in April and hear from you your exciting stories! Happy Travels!!!

by Jonathan Anderson

JAMES!!! You do have a lot of catching up to do. May I suggest a rainy day and a warm cup of joe.

Jared--will it help if sugar plum was said with a southern accent??

by risajs

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