DAY TWENTY NINE
Rest day in Peurto Montt
We managed to find a sports bar which showed Wales v England six nations game which we have been looking forward to for the last two days! Very sad about the result. And Roo’s beloved Ipswich town lost in the 90+ minute to Reading which didn’t help the mood.
Regardless of the sport results we were still were very happy to chill out for a day, eat lots of ice cream and watch some Peaky Blinders!
Puerto Montt to Puerto Varas
Distance: 13.58 miles
Average speed: 11.7 mph
Moving time: 1hr7
Door to door: 2hr22
Really hard to get going in the morning as our bodies were so exhausted. Checked out of hostel and said goodbye to Tamas our amazing host to get going for a 60 mile day.
A problem with Roo’s break disk pads meant we could only get to Puerto Varas, and as it was a Sunday we had to wait until Monday for the shop to open. Our first taste of the hard shoulder of Ruta 5, the road that will take us all the way to Santiago.
Puerto Varas to Hosteria 20 kms short of Los Lagos
Distance: 100.85 miles
Average speed: 17.5mph
Moving time: 5h43
Door to door: 9h58
First day of our week long challenge to cycle 100 miles each day.
Still determined to reach Cartagena in 120/130 days we realised that we needed to make up some time after the ‘ripio’ of the Carretera Austral had tried its best at slowing us down. Somewhat foolishly therefore we decided that by setting this challenge we would have no choice but to keep going even when things went wrong, although neither of us imagined that we would end up setting up the tent in the dark on 5/7 nights.
As Monday morning dawned and the reality of the challenge ahead began to hit us, our preparations for the week ahead could not have been worse as the symptoms of man flu threatened to thwart us before we even got going.
However, after a successful trip to the pharmacy we persevered and joined the Ruta 5 out of Puerto Varas. The Ruta 5 acts as the main artery linking North and South, making it Chile’s busiest highway and its hard shoulder our home for the next 7 days as it would be the fastest way for us to travel North.
With the wind on our side and finally smooth tarmac stretching for miles ahead of us we soon made quick progress, both remarking how ‘nice’ it was to be on the main road.
Our good spirits were sadly soon crushed as Roos front tyre practically exploded after 50 miles meaning a time consuming repair job and any prospect of finishing in the day light over. As a result as the sun went down we still had a further 30 miles to cycle, on a narrow hard shoulder with only heavily loaded lorries to keep us company.
Fortunately we had amazing lights from exposure which illuminated the path ahead, some great petrol stations to keep us going and the fact that a 30 mile cycle in the dark on the hard shoulder of Chile’s busiest motorway seemed like just another mini adventure or hurdle, with us both enjoying the challenge.
Finally at 1130 we pulled in to a roadside cafe, relieved that our speedometer flashed 100 miles and we could finally stop.Too tired to look for a better spot, we set the tent up practically on the hard shoulder, passing out as soon as our heads hit the pillow.
24 hour cafe to Temuco
Distance: 101 miles
Average speed: 16.1mph
Moving time: 6h10
Door to door: 9 hours
Waking up on the hard shoulder of Chile’s busiest motorway has to be the worst place either of us have ever woken up, which is saying a lot considering Jim has woken up in the back of a police car and Roo has spent the night of the Uppingham leavers ball in the deputy heads office.
However, our spirits were soon lifted as the two lovely ladies who worked in the cafe next to our camp spot offered us breakfast for free, both very bemused as what we were doing there in the first place.
This was just another example of the wonderful people of Chile helping us out, constantly restoring our faith in humanity and pushing on through the worst times. A further example on day two of our challenge was Roo asking for paracetamol in a petrol station, there being none and a man going to his car and finding him a few minutes later with a whole pack.
Temuco to Los Angeles
Distance: 104 miles
Average speed: 15.4mph
Moving time: 6h23
Door to door: 9h20
Los Angeles to San Carlos
Distance: 102.92 miles
Average speed: 15mph
Moving time: 6h45
Door to door: 14h01
San Carlos to Itahue
Distance: 100 miles
Average speed: 16.8mph
Moving time: 5h55
Door to door: 10h26