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Old 10-19-2010, 07:33 PM   #46
gwedo
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oh great

i have got to stop reading all these great reports , know this ones
on my list .great job thanks for sharing
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Old 10-19-2010, 09:35 PM   #47
rdwalker OP
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Tnx.

Thanks, all. I really enjoy the fact that you enjoy this report.

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Old 10-20-2010, 12:51 AM   #48
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excellent photography and narrative. thank you. your comment that Chile has the best roads is tempting. I've ridden most of Europe and thought the Swiss roads were tops. They too, " go down deep" when they re-pave a section. Guess I'm going to have to see for myself, thanks for the inspiration, a wonderful gift to give .
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Old 10-20-2010, 01:06 AM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IceCreamSoldier
excellent photography and narrative. thank you. your comment that Chile has the best roads is tempting. I've ridden most of Europe and thought the Swiss roads were tops. They too, " go down deep" when they re-pave a section. Guess I'm going to have to see for myself, thanks for the inspiration, a wonderful gift to give .
OK, true, when it comes to paved roads, it is hard to beat the Swiss and the Germans.

They seem to have construction going on all the time and the results do show: excellent. I just wish the Swiss would let up a bit on the speed enforcement...

Chile's paved roads in Patagonia, though not necessarily Swiss-class, were very good. This was quite impressive for me, considering the low population density, cold climate (and lower affluence) compared to Western Europe. Worse yet, the Chilean paved roads were hell of a lot better than here in NJ.

But, it was the long-distance gravel roads that really were excellent. Amazingly dry and smooth. I'd say that the climatic conditions - although much drier - compare to, say, north of Quebec or to Labrador - yet, even though these roadways are also continuously graded, I find them not as smooth as the Patagonian.




And, yes, you should see these for yourself.

It took me a while to get mobilized to travel to Chile. But, I found that properly planned air itinerary is not much more expensive than to Europe and the only issue is the time needed to get there.

So, start planning now!

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Old 10-21-2010, 04:20 AM   #50
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Thanks for the exhaustive RR and so many pics. That ride was not an easy one.

Chile is an amazing country, certainly geographically speaking. I was in the Atacama Desert in the north and then several days later at Tierra del Fuego after passing through Torres del Paine. Talk about contrasts! Chile offers modernity, good infrastructure, English-speaking (many Chileans have lived or studied in the US), and the US dollar is accepted in the tourist areas. After reading your report, I'm again considering another trip there.
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Old 10-22-2010, 08:41 AM   #51
Cloud9
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Really nice report!

I like the maps too which made it easy to follow your ride and where things are that I had been wondering about, like the 'Towers'.

Thanks for the ride!
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Old 10-22-2010, 12:11 PM   #52
Dan Man
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fantastic report!

It was a great ride along.

I appreciate that you made the most of your little time off.
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Old 10-22-2010, 07:30 PM   #53
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edited

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Old 10-22-2010, 09:09 PM   #54
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Wow...I can imagine the anticipation of your arrival! Wonderful report....I really like the format with maps and arrows pointing the way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdwalker

At every turn, we enjoy a different, ever more fantastic view of these amazing mountains. The towers ('torres') are possibly the most characteristic features, but the sights of valleys, rivers and lakes are just as breathtaking.


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Old 10-22-2010, 10:32 PM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Finskii
... But lo, I thought I recognised that guy who was your guide .....-- Finskii
Good catch! Indeed, it was Robert - or Roberto, as he calls himself now.


Risking further disclosures, the only other company of significance in the area is Motoaventura- Roberto is guiding some of their tours. It's a very decent outfit, per customers I've met, but they are based further north, in Osorno, and their Patagonia runs are several weeks long.

If you are time-limited, the only options available are to rent from Motoaventura with delivery to Punta Arenas (quite pricey) or use a local outfitter - and I only found Roberto to offer such service there. Furthermore, you can rent and do your own ride or hire a guide the way we did it.

"Do your own" works well if you have enough time to research, have time to deal with surprises and trouble; it helps a lot if your know the language. As I mentioned, I do my own rides in Europe and North America, where I am in a familiar territory and can make myself understood in broken renditions of several languages. Smiling a lot and waving arms does help. I even know how to say "Un cappuccino, s'il vous plaît", though not much more...

Heading out to Patagonia on a short time schedule creates a different set of challenges, from knowing the routes to dealing with accommodations and with official paperwork - especially, again, in a language that I only know for "Un capuccino, por favor". Even in retrospect, asking Roberto to accompany us was a very good decision.

We enjoyed his company and his assistance - I can recommend him for your planned ride. He has a very colorful history, having spent a lot of time riding all over the world in his younger days. One of his exploits was a solo crossing of the Atacama desert, sometime about the 1980's, I believe. Just be prepared for a bit unusual personality; that, of course, is to be expected from a person abandoning Colorado as too crowded (!) and moving to the wilds of Patagonia.


Regarding risks of the trip: on the route we took, we were never more than a day away from a larger city, with hospitals and medical care - and, we joined MedJet to fly us back home in case of trouble. There is always a risk of crashing, but that was within our personal acceptance level. I did not feel that exposure was high - because of the very good road conditions on our itinerary and because of our fairly calm riding habits. I would say that the level of risk exposure was on par with some outings I did on gravel roads in West Virginia - and possibly was lower than that on some remote Canadian rides.

My understanding is that Argentinean Route 40 (connecting central Chile to Patagonia) may be more challenging, mainly due to poor surfaces. Group dynamics, length of tour, riders' skills and riding styles contribute as well; that could be why the groups coming that way seem to experience a number of crashes and injuries. I would say that I felt quite comfortable and within my "envelope"; you will too, as long as you are riding in style appropriate for the conditions and can handle fairly easy hard-packed gravel. More of a challenge comes from variable weather and occasional strong side winds.


Good luck on your trip!

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Old 10-23-2010, 06:27 AM   #56
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great stuff, having been to the falklands in my previous job in the 90's its funny to see how similar the gravel roads look, guess it works well.....few more trees than on the F' islands though
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Old 10-23-2010, 01:41 PM   #57
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Torres del Paine NP. Wow. Note made.

Thanks for the RR!
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Old 10-23-2010, 07:40 PM   #58
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Well your great RR report made my Sat evening. Your photos are so clear. I see sign at the end of the road says 17,848 KM to Alaska or it equals to 11,090.233 miles. You did it right way. Fly in and enjoy your trip.
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Old 10-23-2010, 08:43 PM   #59
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Thanks, guys, for your feedback. Your praise makes the effort spent on preparing this RR really worthwhile. Hopefully it will make you think about doing such trip on yoour own. Highly recommended!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kwakbiker
... funny to see how similar the gravel roads look, guess it works well....
Yes, I have travelled on gravel "highways", located as far apart as north of North America and south of South Africa / South America and the good ones do look similar: a tall, deep bed, good drainage.

Nothing wrong with a good gravel highway.
Now, talking about a BAD gravel road - I could tell you stories from my neighborhood... By the way, is there a way to fix deeply scratched-gouged plastic?

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Old 10-24-2010, 12:32 AM   #60
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Excellent!
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