Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Start of the Cycling. Temuco, Chile to the Border

Our cycling adventure has finally begun!!! Hurrah for you. You now get a lot of photos of people wearing hi-vis and spandex bike shorts. Lucky lucky lucky.

Well the adventure started in Santiago at the bus station. Firstly, trying to figure out which bus companies would take our bikes and secondly if we had to pay. This took us about one hour and in the end we were still not sure. It was repeated when we actually arrived at the station with our bikes and had a nervous wait as the bus was loaded with people and luggage. After a rather lengthy discussion, in which we were aided by a lovely man who spoke some english, our bikes were loaded on the bus and we did not have to pay!!

We arrived at Temuco at about 8am and it was freezing!! After providing entertainment for everyone in the bus station while we assembled our bikes and gear we headed into town to the info centre for maps etc for the next couple of days. Then on the road in the sunshine.......lovely. It was very spring-like with lots of lambs, calves, blossoms and daffodils.

So we were in the start of the Lakes District area of Chile and the ride took us along both paved and gravel roads around the lakes and through picturesque farmland. The first day was a breeze but the second involved backtracking, pushing our bikes up a super steep hill and camping behind some pine trees on the side of the road because we were stuck in the middle of nowhere. However, we both survived and continued onto Villarica and Pucon, which apparently the Chilean equivalent of Queenstown but I do not see it myself.

We learnt a lot from the first couple of days. 1. Lots of campsites are closed. 2. Maps, roadsigns and distances are all different and very often wrong. Oh the fun times!!

We had an unexpected extended stay in Pucon due to the rim on my back wheel splitting as we headed out of town. What a fatty!!! Luckily we were close to a main town that had bike shops and a good campsite instead of in the middle of nowhere. Once the wheel was fixed we had a two day ride to get to the border with Argentina. One night we spent in a cabana (cabin) by the river which was a lovely (and cheap!!) surprise. Unfortunately the day we crossed over the border it was raining and snowing and generally disgusting. This lasted the whole ride up to the border post and while we were completing formalities, which took hours!!! Once our passports were stamped (again!!) the weather had cleared and we had a clear road and killer tailwind, which was lucky because we had to smash out 70km in the afternoon.

Two cyclists arrived in Junin de los Andes tired but glad to be out of the rain and ready to demolish whatever food was put in front of us.

Treating water on the side of the road

Too much stuff and too much food = split wheel rim

Passing the time at the campsite in Pucon

Making use of the rather flash bus stop

Bruce is quite pleased with our cabin

Nice warm fire, wine and a good book.........

Not a super day for cycling. Heading up to the Argentine border.

Still smiling in the rain

In Argentina and Volcan Lanin appears out of the clouds
Nice downhill and a tailwind and he is off!! Heading to Junin de los Andes

Map of the Route so far

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