Merry Christmas to Us!
On Christmas day we crossed the border from Argentina back into Chile at Futuleufu.
We left Trevelin and rode on about 30 miles of dirt road (great road -- well maintained) to cross the border back into Chile. The border crossing was easy and then we rode for another several hours on more dirt roads ( Very well maintained) in some of the most beautiful country I think I have ever seen. At one point I very literally had a tear in my eye because it was so beautiful!
Then around 5 p.m. I really needed a break. Despite the fact that it was a great day, it's still lots of vibration to the body and is tiring so I wanted to warm up a little and get some food. So we pulled over to the side to have a break and Nivs rode on a little ahead just to see if there was a better place to stop. About 1/2 a mile up the road he found a house with a sign out front that said "Coffeeshop" which is very strange sign for Chile and especially strange in the middle of nowhere. So we rode up to there (and keep in mind this is along a dirt road, very much in the middle of nowhere. It's not a town and there aren't really even other houses or buildings around. So we go inside...it looks a little iffy. But once we get past the chickens, two cats and a dog to the front door and get inside we realize it's actually a very nice little home with about 5 tables with bright green table clothes (no one is there but us) and a wood stove. It looks icky on the outside but is warm, clean and inviting on the inside.
I ask to the woman who lives there and runs the "coffeeshop" if we can have something to eat. She says yes, but what would we like? I say "Two of us are vegetarians. Could we have just a sandwich with tomato, avocado and cheese perhaps?" She agrees. We sit down and she brings the guys a coke and I ask for coffee with Milk. After a while...it took quite a while..,she returns to the table with two plates filled with sliced (and peeled) tomatoes and perfectly ripe avocados and sliced white cheese and homemade (AMAZING) white bread that is a little denser than normal French bread. She also brings a third sandwich which I hear was delicious that was filled with some sort of meat and an egg and I don't know what else. We were so hungry and it was so good!
After we finished our Christmas dinner we rode the final 30 miles of the day to La Junta where we found a really nice little cabin that had a woodstove in it and a little clothes washing machine so we gave ourselves a Christmas present of clean clothes and a really toasty place to sleep! :)
On the 26th we continued on the incredible Ruta 7 (also known as the Austral) to Coyhaique. Nivs had quite a bit of trouble with his chain falling off so when we got there and found a nice camping spot he and Poodle started to tear apart the chain and sprocket, intending to replace it with the spare part Poodle brought along. Sadly, it didn't fit Nivs bike so the guys rode into town -- hopefully one of them posts soon about how it all went down but the short version is that "when you need help, it's amazing that the right person materializes to help you" isn't it? They found a guy who spoke English who knew all the bike shops in Coyhaique and was on a first name basis with each. Thanks to him we were able to order what we needed and also got to go watch him and his buddies ride some motocross in the evening.
We stayed three nights in Coyhaique waiting for parts to arrive and this morning Nivs got his bike put back together again. I think he's happy to have his bike back and I'm happy to not be riding with Poodle anymore -- Being a passenger is not fun to me anymore and these bikes were not intended for two!
Today we got a late start and only rode 75 miles or so to Puerto Ibanez. Tomorrow we'll head to Puerto Tranquilo where we hope to do a few tourist outings such as take a boat to the Marble Caves and a Glacier Hike. Our plan after that is to cross the border at Chile Chico and then blast over to Buenos Aires and start saving up on really hot weather and beaches to get us through the rest of our Seattle winter.
I can't believe our trip is already 1/2 over!