Mt Fitz Roy and El Chaltén

Setting up transportation around Patagonia deserves its own circle in hell. Bus companies often fail to respond to emails, websites are often not working, and when you can get a response, it’s usually not the information you asked for. Compound that with a poor grasp on Spanish and the man on our flight who made it past airport security with 4 liters of engine oil and an ignition-among other car parts-and Dante would be sure to sympathize. That said, the hassle is 100%, absolutely worth the pay off (and thousands of dollars cheaper than hiring some company to book it all for you). Patagonia was the single most incredible and beautiful place I have ever visited and I hope do this trip again sometime in the future. We were even sent off from Buenos Aires with a great sunrise!

Airport Sunrise

Our first destination was El Chalten to give us easy access to Parque Nacional Los Glaciares and see Mt Fitz Roy. El Chalten itself has about 100 residents and 10 times that many people decked out in hiking and climbing gear. Of all the towns we visited during this trip, El Chalten takes the cake. Great scenery, great food and the wine comes by the penguino. The place escapes words and must be experienced.

Welcome to Chalten

While the town was great, the hiking was phenomenal. And we had great outstanding weather to boot. We arrived late, but had time to squeeze in a 3 mile hike to Chorrillo del Salto waterfall.

Camino Sinuoso

Chorrillo del Salto

On our first full day, what began as a plan to see Mt Fitz Roy and Lago de Los Tres, turned out to be a near marathon excursion with the addition of Lago Madre, Lago Hija and Lago Torres-about 22 miles on our first major hike of the trip. We had one of the rare warm, sunny days and couldn’t take the chance of possibly missing some views if we postponed any of it a day later. Plus, we hiked with some good people we met in the airport, which made the day fly by.

As it turns out, 22 miles out of the gate isn’t so good for flatlander knees. Both Kim and I paid for this hike the rest of the trip. In fact, I’m still paying for that hike at the time of posting this.


Our knees were not sore enough to prevent the consumption of wine via penguino though!


And here are some mandatory Swedish jumping pictures. They’re a mrs slowdog favorite.

Next on our stop: Perito Moreno Glacier and El Calafate.

Buenos Aires

We took a red-eye flight from Chicago which set us down in Buenos Aires on a hot and sunny morning. After checking into our hotel (hilariously named Vain Boutique, and encouraged its guests to be vain), mrs slowdog and I poked through our neighborhood (Palermo) and grabbed some tacos and a michelada for lunch. We were pretty boring tourists here, as we were fighting fatigue from the flight down here. But we did manage to see most of the nearby neighborhoods and sights, and grab a dinner of steak and wine.

In the end, Buenos Aires was nice, and the weather was fantastic, but really, it was more of a stepping stone for the real meat of the trip-Patagonia!

Epication V

mrs slowdog and I took to the skies over her winter break (she’s a teacher) and flew to South America for a nice-and a much needed-17 day vacation. In this short period, we crammed in a couple nights in Buenos Aires, Argentina, a couple nights in Santiago, Chile, and sandwiched between those two cities, we spent a substantial amount of time in what I thought I would only visit in my dreams: PATAGONIA!

Thankfully, it’s summer over in that hemisphere which made packing marginally easier. Although we still needed to pack for the hot and sunny cities, and the cooler mountains, as well as our backpacking gear. Here’s the mess we had to fit in just a couple backpack and one duffel bag:


And by god, we made it happen! Patagonia was, bar none, the most incredible place I have ever visited. I’ll try to post some photos from each general location in the next week or two.

Beer Gran Fondo Due

With the vestiges of summer fading, and a longing for longer days, there is but one thing left to do. And that is Beer Gran Fondo Due. For the uninitiated, this is a continuation of last year’s Beer Gran Fondo Uno.

BFG Flags
For the record, this dork is responsible for the design

This being an event where one bikes and drinks, then bikes again only to arrive at another spot to drink, there was the mandatory safety message via gif.

Don’t do this

The big Chicago beer news this summer was that Lagunitas opened up their new brewery in town. Even though Lagunitas was further away from all the other breweries and general fun spots that we gravitate too, their hoppy beer, penchant for fun and the fact they are now the largest brewery in Illinois made this a must-go location.

To compensate for the extra miles, less breweries made this year’s list. Though this may sound like a disappointment, the Lagunitas Tap Room made it worth our while. The other two stops? Goose Island Brewpub on Clybourn and a return visit to Revolution Tap Room-the shining jewel of last year’s ride.

Lagunitas Crew
Untitled Goose Island Revolution Crew Bourbon barrels Sticker flag

While Beer Gran Fondo Due was an overall success, the slowdog family couldn’t get their shit together. It all began with mrs slowdog coming to the realization that she forgot her wallet…5 miles from home. I won’t lie, I was a little smug knowing that as the general screw-up in the family, it wasn’t me that caused this delay. As it usually does though, the tides shifted into mrs slowdog’s favor as the remaining blunders belong to yours truly. It began by coming out to a flat tire after Lagunitas-on the only day since I can remember that I left my repair kit at home.


It didn’t end there. My chain proceeded to drop from the drive chain 3 times. Again, something that hasn’t happened since before I can remember-and it hasn’t happened since either. Such iz life. And then, following several hours at Revolution Tap Room, I came out to another flat on the same tire. It turns out I had blown out the sidewall of the tire.

Blown sidewall

Aside from these hiccups, Beer Gran Fondo Due was successful. Good weather, good beer and good people. Oh, and thanks to this dork for the spare tube!