After Easter Island we had to get moving to meet the parents in Bariloche some 1500km from where we were. But of course we had to stop and see some sights along the way, this is when we discovered that we were truly in the “shoulder” season. We struggled to find open campgrounds and National Parks whose roads weren’t blocked with snow, great for the skiers getting in one last long weekend on the slopes, not so great for hiking. Also Chile is expensive, we had noticed that things were more expensive on Easter Island but with the remoteness it was understandable, but now we were struggling to justify the cost of things, so we had an option, carry on to the tourist (re expensive) village of Pucon or bust a move Argentina, it was an easy decision.
After another super easy border crossing (love South America for that), we arrived in the village of Villa Pehuenia, it was cute and had some sort of food festival on, and a micro brewery, perfect. But it was not to be as the campsites had not yet opened for the season and the cabanas were way out of our budget, we had to move on because now we worried the next place we arrived at also wouldn’t be open for the season.
In the end we stopped in the fishing crazed town of Junin de Los Andes, there we were welcomed by the friendly campsite dogs and a sweet old couple who ran the place. It was starting to rain so they had us park near the toilet blocks so we wouldn’t get wet going to and fro (the bathrooms were heated, nice touch). We both woke up not feeling to well the next day and decided to chill out, read and sleep, this was interrupted by the arrival of a bazillion teenaged children, and a knock on the door from the kindly old man suggesting that we might be more comfortable if we moved as the kids would be staying in the cabins that surrounded us. Ok let’s move, but disaster, in our sickly states we’d left our lights on and the keys in the on position in the truck, battery dead. It was too late and we felt too crummy to deal with it and decided we’d ask for a jump in the morning. The kids stayed up way later than us and then were woken very early to leave, we missed our chance at a boost. Thankfully we were feeling much better and our brains were working again. We deftly removed one of our auxiliary batteries and jumped ourselves, I knew we sent Dan to that mechanic course for a reason (Dan later admitted that jump starting a car wasn’t covered in his course, he just googled it).
Now it was time to stop messing about and get ourselves to Bariloche, we decided to drive the scenic Seven Lakes route, which was beautiful, but again nothing was open. You also drive by way more than seven lakes so I’m not so sure what that’s about. We did find a lovely place to free camp and watch the stars, until we were frozen and driven inside to our toasty warm sleeping bags. Needless to stay we were looking forward to our parents arrival, and the spoiling that would come with it.