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Old 01-29-2014, 02:09 PM   #619
DRRambler OP
AKA Albertastrom
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Joined: Jul 2007
Location: Vancouver Island
Oddometer: 846
Day 145 Fun with Ripio

Day 145 Esquel to La Junta January 27

Today we turned eastbound again towards Chile. One of the top things to do for both of us was to ride the Carretera Austral. Ruta 7 is a famous road for it's spectacular scenery and beautiful lakes.

But first we needed to get to the border. From Esquel we followed highway 259 which eventually turns to gravel. In this part of the world the gravel roads are called ripio. The ripio here was pretty smooth and fast so we arrived at the Argentina border in no time.

Once again a very easy exit and 100 meters further the entrance to Chile almost as easy.

The nice folks there decided to search us a little more carefully this time which required unpacking a few things.

The door at Chile Aduana

Soon we were riding in Chile again still headed east for 90km to reach Ruta 7.

Upon reaching the turn we started seeing construction and had numerous stops to wait for one lane traffic.

The ripio became extremely rough in places and some sections had loose gravel that had the front wheel dancing. In fact Eran's bike decided to do a jig into the ditch at one point. It was a minor excursion but the left side pannier took another beating.

My new ruta 40 decal

Along the way we passed numerous cyclists moving both directions. It looked like terribly hard work for them. At one rest stop we met a lass from Scotland who started in Vancouver 18 months ago. Quite impressive to say the least. We said farewell thinking that we'd not see here again.

Twenty minutes later I lost Eran in my mirrors and stopped to wait for him to catch up. I soon realized I needed to back track. About 2 km back up the road I saw him inspecting his bike. A major bolt had dissapeared causing the subframe to slump almost hitting the rear wheel. We walked up the road scanning the ripio for the bolt amongst the grey rocks and gravel. After a few hundred meters I returned to the bike to start removing the seat and side panels. I was dismayed to discover a bigger problem. When Eran returned I showed him the subframe had broken and the fuel tank brace was also damaged.

We started to form a strategy when a pickup truck stopped. Three guys got out and started helping us. By now the rain had started in earnest and the frustration level was high. The guys suggested loading the KLR into the truck and going to town 15km away.

So Eran took his turn riding in a truck while I followed. We were dropped off at a mechanics place and within 90 minutes had the bike welded up and back together.

And while there the left side pannier had a much needed makeover.

I had gone searching for a hostel while this was going on so by 10pm we were eating supper and ready to go to bed.
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