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Old 12-17-2012, 03:48 PM   #50
Rocket Surgeon
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Joined: Aug 2012
Location: Bakken Basin
Oddometer: 47
Day 2 on the road: We spent our first night on the road at an otherwise deserted campground about half a mile from the coastal city of Pellehue. We rode into town near dusk and low on fuel. MissO, our wonderful translator asked the gas station attendant (no self serve in Chile) about campsites. He promptly asked another customer, and after a few seconds, we were told to follow him. I get a little leery in situations like this, but he was driving a family truckster with Disney windows tint for the child seats in the back windows. Seems safe enough. We followed him south for a half mile or so, left at the only traffic light in town and continued about half a mile out of town and past one other “campground”. These ain’t no KOA’s, I’m telling you. Anyway, we pull down the road as indicated and we pull past a Rodeo/Bullfighting arena, I’m not sure which. We slowly pulled into a large open area that kind of looked like a campground. I slowly led in, stopped in the middle then noticed someone walking towards us from a house on the perimeter. MissO takes lead and starts negotiating and is told it costs 5 pesos per night, “Just 5 pesos?”, asks MissO. “Si’”, says Slingblade with rum breath. I offer a hundred peso coin. “No, no, no”, he says. “5,000 pesos”. Evidently in the more rural areas they often assume the thousand when referring to pesos. Ah, devaluation. Can’t complain much about $10 to camp for the night.

We make camp in the fading light. We had just donned our headlamps when Slingblade arrives with a light bulb. He had buried extension cords underground and supported them up trees to provide us with power. Not exactly code, but hey, it worked. He had also brought water sprinkler lines up trees nearby.

In the morning, we took a few pictures and packed up. Our goal was to head south along the coast. We were immediately found some incredible beaches. This area in Chili is known for having some world class surfing waves.

The roads in this area switch from incredible pavement with lots of twisties and long sweepers, to dirt trails. We want to stay of the highways as much as possible, but have heard some of the coastal routes might be unpassable. We were all giddy with the beautiful vista, great roads and perfect weather. We rolled into a nice little town and found a restaurant that we could park our bikes in front of the outside dining area. We ordered our food and took a few pics. A quiet voice from the only other occupied table asked “Would you like me to take a picture of you”. She took a few pictures and we started a conversation. Ayyia from Bulgaria and her boyfriend Leonard from Hamburg were slowly working there way south, too. They were students and were going to study the Mapuche people for their university. They were very entertaining to talk to.

We finished lunch and continued south. We rode about 20 miles when we came to a long flat area about half a mile from the beach. They dirt road turned to unpacked sand and gravel. It was really squirrely. Our bikes are shod with 50/50 road/dirt tires and were not up to the task of digging through this unpacked gravel. My first thoughts were “I wonder who is going to be the first to go down”. I kept quiet to not jinx anyone. “I’m down” calls MissO. The tail of her bike had gotten loose and high-sided her at about 35 mph’s. Dirt and I turned around. My first thought was to grab a camera, but I thought better of that. She righted her bike (with a little help). She was fine with the exception of a slightly tweaked wrist and a bruised ego. We put the bike back together as best we could, and decided that this ealy in the trip we probably don’t need to take unnecessary risks. We decided to leave the coastal route and take the dirt roads for this leg.

We arrived in the quaint town of Tome’. We had been going non-stop since a few days before leaving Seattle and decide to take the next day off to relax and do a little bike repair. MissO’s handlebars are askew and the front wheel and fender were mis-aligned. We pulled the handlebar risers and find that the risers are held to the triple tree with adjustable conical bushings. We straighten the handlebars, but then found that the front wheel was mis-aligned. The left fork axle hole trailed the right one. We loosened the lower fork brace and inserted a lever through the spokes and between the forks. Dirt sat on the bike to align the handlebars while I pried. The wheel, forks and fender all returned to dead center. We were very relieved. It was hard to even find much of a hardware store in Tome’, and we had fixed this issue without needing any parts.
Our hotel on the beach is very affordable and the town is quaint. We spent the rest of our second day there scouring the markets, gathering a few supplies and relaxing. Tome’ is a great little town.
Yesterday’s ride was uneventful. We had to do some slab, and the roads and views didn’t improve much until later in the day. We stopped in a little town and decided to eat at a little Paderia with outdoor dining out front. The pictures looked good on their sign. MissO asks the proprietress if we can sit out front and eat. “If you brought anything to eat you can”, she replies. The kitchen is closed. It is 5 o’clock. It seems that around here, all stores, regardless of what their sign says, are mini-markets that sell Coke and Fanta, candy and lottery tickets.
We continue and find a nice little lake to camp by. It is a large campground and full of escorted kids at end of the schoolyear daytrips. The place has a great vibe and the kids are having a blast. Three young ladies stroll over to MissO and ask if she would give them a ride around the campground. She says that she doesn’t want to haul passengers, but asks Poodle and I. We reluctantly agree. The first loop around the campground alerts the rest of the kids at the campground. We return to about 20 freshman girls a handleful of boys. They are all bouncing and waving their hands “Me-Me Me”.
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