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Update: Santiago, Chile (1/12/12)

posted Oct 19, 2012, 1:49 AM by Matthew Gorzlancyk
       So I turned around at San Rafael, Argentina and started making my way toward the pass into Chile between Mendoza and Santiago. I really rode hard, especially for the first 240 kilometers were going to be those I had covered already. I threw on the Ipod and smashed them. I stopped at the same fire station I had stayed at previously and even enjoyed a nice little tray of meats and cheeses with the guys for dinner. Although I was riding this section a second time it was still quite a special region. From the wineries around San Rafael to complete desolation in-between towns, it is a very special region. Dry and desertified, but very comfortable to ride as long as you have the right supplies.
       On my second day of riding I made it to a little town where could sleep under a little overhang outside of a gas station. I was even invited to a barbecue by the guy who had been working. Lucky for me, he was having a few friends over for some food! The next couple of days appeared as if they were to be quite uneventful, but that was not the case. The riding was beautiful and I even met up with a wonderful couple, Nate and Naomi, in Uspallata and we shared a nice night with a few liters of brew. Really incredible, Nate and I had stayed at the same place only a week before in Mendoza, but somehow we met there in Uspallata. He spotted me, invited me to a beer, and we ended up having a great time. Thanks guys!
       I then had a night in a little ski shack that was left unlocked before passing into Chile, and another next to a gas station on the Chilean side after dropping a considerable amount of elevation toward Los Andes. By the time I had reached this little place I was ready for some munchies and Coke, so I hung out a little too long for while enjoying these things I was invited to have a shower and also to drink maté with a very nice Chilean trucker. Day zoomed by.
       Finally, less than a week later I was invited to the home of the Pinto's. We enjoyed some good food, a nice amount of swimming in the pool, and really shared a nice couple of days. The Pinto's were also kind enough to allow me to leave my bicycle there so I could make it home for Christmas! Thanks guys!


       As I had thought I needed the time back home, I was reminded of how necessary it was as soon as I arrived in Chicago. I got to see Miss Gaby and spend a couple of days with her alone, and then see my parents and brother of whom I had not seen since March in Costa Rica. It was a much needed return for all of us. No matter how much or for how long I have been on the road, I always look forward to these moments. 
       We traveled to Minnesota to visit friends and family, to Green Bay to see my Grandma and Lambeau field, down to Auburn to visit my brother's University and his girlie, and also to Panama City, Florida to relax. We really made some nice tracks and some very great memories, the family (Gaby and Znar included) and I. Thank you all very much for everything. I love you all very much.

       The time turned to be short as usual, even though Gaby and I were in the States for about a month. It really passed with the blink of an eye. The next thing I knew, Gaby was on her plane back to Spain, my parents had given me hugs and said goodbye, I was leaving Nate and Naomi's apartment (the couple I met in Uspallata took me in in Chicago for a night!!!), and I was boarding my plane back to Santiago. The family was once again fractured off to get back to work, school, or back on the bike. It was a difficult trip for this reason. I had felt the comforts of home and was about to get back to gas station sleeping, wild-camping, and days without showering (though many of you know I like this very much, this was still very, very tough).
       As luck had it though, I was to return to the Pinto's, enjoy a couple more days with them while readying the bicycle, and then meet once again with my good friend Swiss Chris! It had been since Peru that we had last seen each other, and I know we both were really excited to get back out there together. Also, we had both ridden alone for a considerable amount of time again, and were happy we could join up once again. We knew each other's routines, likes and dislikes, and both had matured a bit and had become much more patient.
       So, I leave you here. In Santiago drinking coffee and reuniting with a good friend. More to come later. Thanks for reading!