1322 meters climbing, and 1325 descent
We have 3 new riders for this section:
Erin from Russia, who has very strong views on America and politics and is not backwards in sharing views that are confrontational.
Derek from Denver who I mistakenly though was called Jack
Brian the TDA accountant (who scouted the previous section)
Two of the riders did not get any of their laundry back. It would have been a disaster for me as I had four pairs of riding shorts and three riding shirts in the wash. It makes not getting back a pair of socks very insignificant! The hotel sends the laundry to a central place that does the laundry for a number of hotels in the area, and given we are leaving this morning I suspect this is the last we will see of the missing laundry. The other riders have helped out where possible. I am still planning to send my clothes to the laundry on the next rest day but a number of other riders are not.
Today we start along the Carratera Austral. This is a 1,200 kilometre long road, currently mostly gravel. This road was started in 2005, prior to this you could only access a third of Chile by going on a ferry. There is still a lot of Chile you can only get to by ferry. Today we have a 40 minute ferry trip and tomorrow a 5 hour trip.
The first 40 kilometres of the ride today we were riding along the coast, with some great sea views. About 3 kilometres from the ferry it started pouring. The ferry runs every 45 minutes and it was full on the crossing I was on. There was room for about 20 vehicles on today’s ferry, or a mixture of a couple of bigger vehicles and a few cars. There was nowhere inside to stand so we all got pretty cold on the crossing but the first hill warmed us up pretty quickly.
After the first few kilometres off the ferry it was pretty much gravel the rest of the day. Some of the gravel was easy to ride on, and some was pretty slippery and steep. As with the other day if you got onto the edge of the gravel you got stuck in deep gravel, but if you stayed out on the road you had to contend with large trucks, buses and speeding cars. By the time I got to the lunch truck I was splattered with mud. It rained on and off for the rest of the ride. At least with rain it filled up the potholes with muddy water so you could see them and avoid them.
About 15 kilometres from the town we were are staying at the terrain reminded me off the NZ South Island’s West Coast. Wet, misty, drizzling rain, mountain ranges, and very green. I saw the first ferns I have seen since Ecuador.
There were a number of mini markets in the town, some looked like they were closed at this time of the year and others were shut due to it being siesta. The shops seem to close in this part of the country between 1:30 and 4 or 5pm, which is generally when we are riding past.
The camp site was 3 kilometres out of town and it was raining again. The site looked bleak and uninviting. No cabins. As always the better tenting spots were gone.
I was looking around trying to work out where would be the best option, when one of the other riders said they had a cabin up the road with a spare room if I was interested. Plus it had a log fire which was going 😀😀😀😀 heaven. I had a great hot shower, as it had a gas fired system so you did not have to worry that you would use all the hot water.
I got to dry my soaking shoes and socks etc by the fire, and instead of being in the tent in the rain I was in a nice warm bed. There was even a shed for the bikes.