Southbound in Chile
A few quick numbers
over 15,500 miles cycled
2 sets of tires, only 3 flats in the last 3,500 miles (Muchas Gracias Dios)
15 total countries visited
New friends, too many to count
3 Craft Breweries visited in Chile, all discovered right at the end of a day of cycling. Sometimes hard work meets opportunity
13 countries in which we have been called a derogatory slur for white people. Yes, Chile made a good run at avoiding joining this club, but unfortunately their are at least a few assholes in every country and if you spend enough time there, you’ll meet one.
1,289 “free range dogs” petted. Yes, we love dogs. In Latin America there are plenty of them roaming the streets and contrary to popular myth, “free range dogs” are rarely unfriendly. Hey, they’re no dummies, being mean doesn’t result with you getting a few pieces of the meal.
With 16 straight days of riding our 90lb bicycles, we finally arrived in Puerto Montt, Chile. This is the northern part of the Patagonia region and the starting point to the famous Carretera Austral (Southern Road). After leaving Mendoza, Argentina, we had to battle some of the strongest head winds while climbing up to the border with Chile. Both of us were tested mentally and physically for 3 days, to say the least. During this time though, we got a few nice glimpses of Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the western hemisphere. It was awesome to see, but both of us felt that Denali (McKinley) back up in Alaska was a lot more impressive due to all of the surrounding mountains next to it were a heck of a lot smaller than the ones next to Aconcagua.
Crossing into Chile marked our last “new” country (15th overall including USA) that we will be visiting on our adventure. As soon as we made it through customs, we had a nice 32 hairpin curve downhill (see photo below).
The people in Chile have been great. We were successful on all of our first 4 attempts to camp in Chile. 2 times at fire stations, once at a plant nursery, and the other at a dirt race track. The northern most stretches of Ruta 5 were extremely busy and the majority were tractor trailers. This made for less than desirable riding but the overall friendliness of the majority of the Chileans made up for this. The further south we have gotten the more green and beautiful the scenery has become, and after lots and lots of desert riding this is a welcomed site. We now head off for Patagonia, and with some luck that it’s not a complete rainout we will be cruising through some of the most beautiful terrain on the planet.