C Austral 5

(Walking Dead post pulled until previous posts are filled in prevent confusion)

The day’s track from Coyhaique to Rio Tranquilo. I guess the first thing you’ll notice is the huge route error. Wasn’t paying attention and missed the corner. This happens once in a while when the GPS isn’t in your field of vision, which is how I like it
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The Google Earth
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As it happens this is going to be a spectacular day. The riding was hard for about an hour overall in about a dozen sections.

An early start out of Coyhaique on paved road
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Uh oh, not so promising
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A little better an hour out
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And at the place below ran into another bike at the side of the road. Jeff, an American from Colorado. I don’t get a photo as I usually do of travellers as we’re headed in the same direction and set off together, after a chat about the usual stuff: Where are you from? Where are you going? How long have you been on the road? The usual. As this is the only road through Chile, it’s likely I’ll meet a few of the people going to Ushuaia. I reckon there are about a half dozen people on the Carretera right now.
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Off we go on the remaining Coyhaique pavement, probably the last in Chile except in the towns
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The first nice day since we started down this road
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Then there was the first of the Patagonian peaks. The official start of Patagonia was Coyhaique, although hostels, tiendas and gas stations have been branding themselves with Patagonia the whole way since Puerta Montt. Not that there are many gas stations – basically one per tank. Rule #1 for this route and Ruta 40 in Argentina is top-up every chance you get and be prepared to wait in a town for days if they’re dry. This isn’t an exaggeration, it happens the whole time
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Nice switchbacks just before the end of the pavement
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Then a landmark restaurant. The awesome buses. Two welded together. The VW van is the local tourist office. The tables are in one bus, the kitchen, cashier and drinks-fridge in the other. How they stay open I have no idea. It’s not like there are many people around. Perhaps they do some sort of baking for the village here. Anyway the hamburgesa is enormous and delicious. The scene
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The tables, very nice
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The kitchen and the ladies
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Out back, a mangy dog and a huge peak
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Onto the dirt and towards the next mountains
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We’re headed away from the sea. Big rivers and lakes today
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A huge river plain. It’s worth clicking on this photo for detail.
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Along the lakeshore for miles
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Small ball bearings, although it doesn’t look like much. The surface underneath is rock solid. Laugh if you like but best yet, come down here and try it for yourself!
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Another drowned forest
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Worth another shot. The road beside it
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We saw one truck only. Flying down the straights
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There’s the road
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The view from there, approximately. Great ridingP1010855

A very sociable Chilean local but without the usual sheepskin chaps. Always with a mangy dog or two.
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This photo courtesy of Jeff, who’s partly here on sponsored photo and essay assignment, so he’s good at this stuff and has proper photo gear
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Love these mangy dogs. Sometimes they chase you and in the towns the packs can be aggressive and a bit worrying but I haven’t been bitten yet. A Kiwi rider out there carries a tin full of rocks tied to his tank bag to defend himself
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We’re here to ride and this is the reward
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Twist the throttle here
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Stop for a breather here
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Twist again
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We arrive at the huge Lago Buenos Aires
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The river delta behind
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We ride down an arm of the lake for an hour
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The last 30 minutes into Rio Tranquilo is the strange combination of deep loose gravel over washboard and tight corners. The town is tiny and the main attraction for us is the gas station. Often they’re empty, which of course would be a disaster but it hasn’t happened to us yet
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A great location on the water
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The next morning, snow on the mountains. Dangerously low
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Comments

One Comment so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Vladimir Zinovieff,

    wow

    Date: Mon, 24 Mar 2014 15:05:03 +0000 To: vzinovieff@hotmail.com

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