12/12/12 - Santiago to Pelluhue
Drivers in Satiago (or Chile) are just crazy. I don't know why their cars have blinkers because they sure don't get used. Swerving into other peoples lanes is more then acceptable even for large trucks. With the close proximity of cars in Santiago it's a real nail biter getting out of town.
Ruete 5 here in Chile is a lot like what you'd expected in California, Oregon, or Washington; it's flat, fast and boring as snot. There are some aspects that keep it interesting. There are a lot of people who run across the highway on foot, bicycle and many other versions of transportation. In the US, if someone is on the side of the highway that means there's something wrong. So, it took me a while to not freak out when I see people dashing across 6 lanes. I did see little groups of police officers hanging out on the side of the highway. I'm not exactly sure what they do or how/when they stop people. Parts of Ruete 5 are painted with arrows running down the road. These arrows are spaced apart such that if you keep two arrows between you and the next car then you'll be following at a safe distance. I don't think it helps the Chileans; for them 3 to 4 feet is plenty of following space.
We got off Ruete 5 at San Javier and took the back roads south west down to Cauquenes. This road was fun after being on Ruete 5. It had a couple of hill climbs and the asphalt was in perfect shape. Construction started about 20 miles outside of Cauquenes. In construction zones, it's more then okay to send cars through pretty bad dirt and mud. So I'm glad I was on a dual sport.
After Cauquenes we headed almost due west to Pelluhue. The speed limits here were very slow (40 Km/H) and if you follow the speed limit you will get run over by trucks hauling cut wood. We feel in behind one of those trucks and went way faster then we should have. In fact, I'm not sure I could have gone faster down that road then the truck.
We stopped at Curico for food and gas. Like most place we get a lot of looks when we roll through with the bikes. While my ride companions were in a grocery store, I had a little girl and her mother come up to me; well, more the little girl. She was very excited about touching the bikes and I was getting a little worried that she'd burn her hand. After acting outing burning one's hand the mother caught on and warned her little child after which she starting calling every part of the bike caliente (hot in Spanish). Her mother repeatedly tried to move her daughter away from the bikes and her daughter didn't until she was done. She had an odd affinity for the license plates which she traced multiple times with her finger. While in the same lot a motorcycliest coming down the road saw the bikes and cut up over the sidewalk (which is okay) though a bunch pedestrians at a bus stop (which is also okay) to come talk with me. Through a painful series of poor Spanish phrases on my part I was able to tell him I was from the US (he guessed Argetina), the bikes were mades by Suzuki, the sizes of the engines and our final destination. He shook my hand twice and rode back across the sidewalk to continue his own travels.
DirtyPoodle screwed with this post 12-14-2012 at 06:01 AM