I leave a sunny Puyuhuapi and head northwest towards Chaiten. The landscape is stunningly beautiful, the rivers try to drown each other out in beauty and the mountains as well. They are completely dressed in almost impenetrable vegetation.
Along the roads grows ”foxglove similar” to red and white flowers together with yellow to me unknown and all lupins.
The cows graze incessantly and seem to be doing very well, sometimes they have a dog guarding them just company.
The sheep are also common along the roads. The road winds its way between the valleys and over all the rivers. I’ve lost count of these but I’ve crossed hundreds of them so far. No problem to get hold of water in any case. I pass a number of small villages but rarely do I see any people. The traffic is very nice, no incidents so far!
Shortly after half past one I arrive at La Junta, a small community with a gas station that seems popular with cyclists and motorcycle drivers. Just make a short stop and have a chat with a Canadian who has been studying in Lund.
Before leaving La Junta, there will be a stop at a typical restaurant for coffee and muffins.
Then off and the weather is still good, so quite cool and hardly any headwind but the sky is getting grayer so there will probably be some rain later. After a few more miles, there is a small stop when I see a small cart offering coffee, Elchin Gloton is the name of the place.
The coffee tastes good and the woman in the stroller is nice to talk to even though she only knows a few words in English and I even fewer in Spanish.
The next village is Villa Santa Lucia but it feels a bit too far today. The rain has increased so now I’m focusing on finding a suitable place to settle.
I have an oddity that I prefer to camp along a straight stretch or up on a hill.
It just feels so boring to have to start the next morning by pedaling uphill. At my age, it takes about half an hour and a half before the body wakes up and then starting with a climb is no big deal. Shortly after 6 p.m. and 93 km, I find just such a place, up on a small hill and with a view of a still magnificent green-clad mountain.
I’m lucky that while I’m setting up the tent, the rain has stopped, and I’m also visited by a German cyclist coming from the north and we exchange a few words before continuing.
For some reason, the food always tastes extra good after a long day in the saddle and no problems with falling asleep either.
Distanced: 93.36 km
Average Speed: 15.3 km/h
Max Speed: 55.2 km/h
Cycling Time: 06,06 h/m
Total Time: 09:08 h/m
Medium Temp: 14.0 C
Max Temp: 19 C
Min Temp: 11.0 C
Total Climbing: 1279 m
I leave at 8 o’clock and head for Villa Santa Lucia. Still the same beautiful winding road and of course I’m going to cross rivers, the first one is Rio Frio.
Villa Santa Lucia is just a few small buildings but there is a campsite, hostel, minimarket and a café.
Before I entered Santa Lucia I meet a couple from Kansas who are traveling on a tandem bike that is also specially built according to their needs.
There are two or three steep hills uphill and the first part is gravel road due to road work. Then there will be a paved road all the way to Chaiten.
The first hill is gravel, a small bit and I have to steer my bike rig a bit, the rest I can sit and pedal albeit at a easy pace.
Halfway up I meet a happy bunch from Chile, Australia, Spain, the Netherlands and a number of other countries that I forgot the name of.
It’s always fun and inspiring to meet other bike nerds. They had made a day trip around Villa Santa Lucia and were on their way back.
After another decent climb, I got some much needed downhill. A serpentine-like and breathtaking way downhill and breaking I had to do all the time.
I meet a number of people who are on their way up, but they cheer just as much.
Passing the Yelcho lake and getting goosebumps, just so beautiful but you never see any summer cottages. If this has been in Sweden, it has been full of these.
Have seen in Maps.Me that there is a pleasant place to pitch the tent after a bridge over Rio Yelcho and Puerto Cardenas.
I see some houses of a better standard and realize quite quickly that there will be no camping here. This village seems to be a place for those who want to hike in the mountains and get it confirmed by a younger woman I ask.
She recommends a ”refugio” a little further away, i.e. a bus stop-like shelter. I continue past and Maps.Me shows that it is 44 km to Chaiten.
It’s just after 4 pm so I’ll have to do a few more miles. All the way to Chaiten, I have already decided that this will not be the case.
Just before a bridge I dodge a big bump in the road but not better than I find a deeper one. I feel a creaking sensation in the front wheel and expect a flat wheel but that will not be the case.
On the other hand, after a few km I notice that the front brake pads rub against the rim. I realize that the rim has probably taken a hit.
Loosen the cable from the brake calipers and hope that I will make it to Chaiten anyway. It’s only 30 km left so I hope the rim holds up. Otherwise, it will be to steer my heavily loaded Surley Long Haul Trucker to Chaiten.
After some dinner at a roadside restaurant La Casona which was at the end of a ”how long straight-stretch” I continue another 8-9 km and arrive at another small village, El Amarillo.
I just stop at the minimarket to fill up with water and then see a green area that has a gate but I take the chance.
Steer the bike in a few hundred meters and pitch the tent behind some larger bushes.
Break off a few giant green leaves, to me they look like rhubarb leaves and use them as a soften and insulating base.
Worked very well. There was no supper in the tent, just a cup of coffee and some cookies.
I fall asleep at 9.30 pm quite satisfied despite the incident
Distanced: 71.42 km
Average Speed: 13.3 km/h
Max Speed: 61.4 km/h
Cycling Time: 05,21 h/m
Total Time:10:37 h/m
Medium Temp: 18 C
Max Temp: 30 C
Min Temp: 09.0 C
Total Climbing: 1010 m
During the night the rain has come and gone, no downpour just showers so after breakfast, muesli, and something they remind me of yoghurt, bread, cheese, smoked sausages and coffee I have to take down the tent in the drizzle.
I only have 26 km left to Chaiten and the rim is still working…!
I arrive just before 10 am and of course I have to cross a river before I am inside a Chaiten that has tourism as its main source of income.
Hosteria, Hostel Hosteja, campsites, minimarkets and a number of bars are what I see following the street that leads down to the sea. At the bottom of the community is the thoroughfare towards Puerto Montt and after this street, which you can call the main street, most tourists, cyclists and motorcycle drivers gather.
I find my campsite which is a few hundred meters from the sea. A campsite that occupies an entire family’s garden. It is their source of income. Wonder what they live on during their winter. Then they are hardly any campers who intrude?
After I got info from a 40 year old tall man with long hair how the campsite is built, kitchen, toilet and shower, I put up the tent.
Now the sun has really taken its place and a nice summer heat is spreading. The tent was a bit wet this morning you are powder dry in a few minutes.
A number of people camp here for a long time, estimate it to be six or seven tents and the price is 8000 CLP per night
Then into the luxurious kitchen and prepare some to eat. There will be sandwiches and coffee.
While I’m eating, I listen to a younger man having some sort of conversation through the computer but someone on the other side. I think he’s a journalist. The owner comes in several times and is a bit that he has the kitchen as an office. He is told to stop before three o’clock!!
– What?says the guy – I’ve paid for WiFi so what, It’s my job
The owner grumbles and walks away and says something about three o’clock. When he finishes his conversation, I ask him… –
– Are you a journalist? – I heard you spoked about Africa
– No, I’m a teacher and this my profession
We keep talking and it turns out he’s from Germany. After a few more moments of ”small talk”, a new couple comes in to camp and they have a small child with them.
They sit down on a couch that is actually an old car seat and the younger woman says something to me that I don’t understand at first…. She speaks Swedish, I realize after a few seconds and I get a little excited. They have a two-month cycling route in Chile with their little baby. Really impressive. They come from Stockholm and she had heard that I had mentioned Arlanda when I discussed it with the teacher
It’s the first time during this trip I’ve met Swedes who cycle. For some reason, Swedes don’t do this type of travel, I don’t know why.
Germans, Belgians, French, Spaniards, Poles, Japanese, Australians, Chileans, Argentinians, Americans, Canadians, Italians, on the other hand, seem to like this kind of adventure.
There was no bike repair shop that could fix a new rim of my bike’s size and type, but I got help to find one in Puerto Montt.
So now I’m going to take the ferry on Thursday to steer the bike there. I don’t think the rim can handle the strain all the way there?
I can buy the ticket at the shipping company’s office, which is just a stone’s throw from my campsite. The ticket costs 11 100 CLP or about 125 SEK.
The rest of the time I just walk around, stock up on provisions and do nothing. The weather is sunny and I don’t feel like stressing at all.
Despite the spartan offering, the campsite seems to be popular, new tent campers come in all the time.
As with all the other cities I’ve been to, stray dogs are very common but they all seem incredibly kind and secure in their situation and they don’t seem to be starving either. But they don’t seem to have any kind of family status.
Distanced: 26.72 km
Average Speed: 13.5 km/h
Max Speed: 26.6 km/h
Cycling Time: 01,59 h/m
Total Time: 02:46 h/m
Medium Temp: 12 C
Max Temp: 14 C
Min Temp: 10.0 C
Total Climbing: 66 m
Talk to you later when I’ve fixed the rim
The Global Cyclist 1726