We stayed two days in a hotel right in the center of
town. The L1011 still was not big enough to haul everyone and
all the equipment in one flight, so we stay here and extra 2
days while it goes back for a second trip to get the rest of
our bikes and equipment. Since we're here and extra two days
we'll do a little sight seeing. All the bikes are stuffed into
a dining room and small storage room in the hotel.
Above Monika by the bay in Valparaiso Chile (we took a sight seeing
bus trip there from Santiago).
We got two days behind schedule in Santiago, which was OK
with us since we were in the center of town in a hotel with easy
access to subway and buses. Santiago by the way must have more
buses than any other city in the world.
It at least looks that way on the streets. They come in a steady
stream. I think you never have to wait more than about 2 minutes
to get a bus ride which is about 40 cents (US) or 220 pesos.
When we left Santiago, it was the unilateral decision of our
to skip the rest days to catch up with our schedule. (Which really
People have pretty much resigned themselves to make their own
days and go off route when they feel like it.
Had a police escort for the first 20 miles out of Santiago
(which helped us get through busy traffic). The next week we
just rode down the main highway south. The main highway has good
pavement but the shoulder is much bumpier. Its tempting to get
on the main pavement, but cars don't give you any rooms so you
keep having to move back to the shoulder again. You can make
about 5 MPH better time on the pavement since it is that much
smoother, but after awhile we just gave up and kept on the shoulder
to keep from dealing with traffic.
Chile is a very nice place to get around. They have a pretty
highway system (at least for cars). The main highway (Chile 5)
is 4 lanes in many places south of Santiago, but the shoulder
of poorer quality and not as good for road bikes. Some of the
highways are better. We have been on a few with excellent pavement
and shoulder and light traffic through very scenic areas. The general
climate and vegetation around Santiago is about like California,
lots of vineyards, citrus and avocado. As we rode south it turned
more like Oregon, with pine and eucalyptus forests.
It would be easy to travel by bus with a backpack here from
city which I believe would allow you more time to enjoy the trip
rather than biking. (Especially when it rains). Lots of Shell
stations along the main highway are very nice, with food concessions
and showers available.
One observation Iīve noted about Chile is there donīt
seem to be
any carrion eating birds. No vultures or crows even, so the road
kill just sits and rots by the road. In panama, Costa Rica and
there where hoards of vultures to quickly pick the corpses clean.
Chile has recycling and non-smoking areas in many restaurants.
Finally after a week of riding the main highway we turn off
to a secondary road and have a nice peaceful day's ride. During
the later part of the day though we had a stiff head wind. That's
when I noticed all the trees were growing leaning away from the
direction we were headed, which definitely indicated we were
going INTO the prevailing wind all the way south. TK&A definitely
did not give any consideration to this sort of thing.
The next day we continued on and even better secondary highway
with new pavement and a nice shoulder. Only drawback was the
rains started and continued all day. When we got to camp we were
lucky enough to have a lull in the rain long enough to erect
Feb. 9 2000, Valdivia Chile
Since it looks like more rain today (heard a storm was headed
in for the next five days), we rode the opposite direction from
Valdavia for 8 Km to Pucon to catch a bus to Valdivia rather
than ride through the rain all day. This would also give us the
first rest day in over a week.
The rains started in again this morning just before we got up.
provides limited sagging for the "sick and injured",
so if you
want to take a preventative ride to keep from getting sick or
injured you are on your own.
Since it looks like rain for the next several days, we got a
for the night here (rather than camp in the rain again) and will
try to get a bus to San Carlos de Bariloche in Argentina tomorrow
which is 4 days ahead. Since the alternative is the ride 4 more
days through the rain over a pass in the Andes, which we have
been informed us unpaved for 20 miles this seems like an easy
choice. There are other riders in the bus station, most are getting
a bus one day ahead at a time. Since there is limited space to
haul bikes in bus baggage this makes for some competition in
getting a bus. The one we found actually goes all the way to
Buenos Aires, with a stop in Bariloche, so we didn't have a problem
getting on. Fare was $25 each ($10 of this was for the bike).
This will give us some time to see Bariloche,
stay out of the rain, and maybe tango (and do laundry which we
been able to do since Panama). The bikes are a burden when you
by bus. If we could get a partial refund now, I think we would
the year traveling by bus, and staying in hotels, and have much
more time to enjoy the trip. About the only thing you see more
from a bicycle is pavement. You have to watch the road and the
constantly to avoid injury, and you have to keep going to make
the high mileage. When you get done riding for the day, you have
to schlep your bags around, set up your tent, etc. etc.
San Carlos de Bariloche - Argentina
We arrived 3 days ahead of the group here (with many others
doing to same). Found an inexpensive hotel in town, and sniffed
out the local tango community (1 place only).
The weather here is nice and sunny.
by the lake in San Carlos de Bariloche Argentina
After three days the rest of the group arrived and brought
the rain with them. They camped in a cow pasture 20 miles the
past the town. The next day everyone rode back through the town
where we joined them and headed to the airport. This time we
have a chartered 747-200 from Qatar.
This was the first time this size plane had landed
at the Bariloche airport, since it is at altitude with a full load, we
could not take enough fuel to fly not stop to South Africa, so we had just
enough to reach a refueling stop in Buenos Aires.