February 07, 2006 GMT
22nd Jan 2006 (or thereabouts) - Bajo Carocoles to Villa Cerro Castillo

After our great adventure on Ruta 40 we thought we were pretty safe going over to Chile....and we thought the roads couldn’t get worse...think again, think twice again !


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Prehistoric Graffiti


We left Bajo Carocoles and took the first road pass over to Chile ´proper´, Paso Roballos. I say proper, hell, why do I. Hell of a track, I’ll drop road right away. The scenery was absolutely sublime, but the road! It was treacherous, would love a gop on asolo enduro on there, but two up heavyweight, treacherous as hell. There was gravel, ruts, sand, you name it. I ended up riding on the verge - which was sand - just to get off the flipping corrugations and deep gravel. You know my thoughts on sand so you know how desperate it was ! Truly awful and difficult and challenging as hell. But the views ! Quite sublime. Coloured rock the like of which I doubt we´ll ever see again. There was a cliff at one point, and rocks fell out onto the landscape in huge chunks or matt turquoise green, absolutely unreal against the ´normal´ colours.


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The pass to Chile, Argentina side, looks better surface than it really is!


The middle section was a green idyll with more estancia´s (ranches) than we’ve seen anywhere.

The border crossing was a bit laborious as they only had 5 vehicles total that day I recon. Bit thorough and our onion was confiscated in Chile and a receipt given (not allowed to take fruit etc over border....strange bananas in both countries come from Equador, but best not question them. Anyway we got through. I dropped the bike again, again only stationary, but a pig to get upright again – you don’t want to loose petrol here, few and far apart and expensive, but Chile pricey are no joke, bout 920 Chilean to quid, and a litre over here can be nearly 700 :-0

Anyway on the Chile side the road got a bit better but the corrugations were horrendous, absolutely awful, at 30kph it felt like the bike would shake apart and it fishtailed around wildly. No verge to ride either. Our average speed for about 300kms recently has been 37kph We’re now on the Caretter Austral, and guess what...it got worse. It´s now beyond a joke, it is so hard to ride. I have shouted out loud at the bloody thing it’s that bad.

The views are absolutely to die for (and you might if you watch that rather than road) unbelievably beautiful. This road is better than anything we’ve seen to date and I’d never believe that was possible. It’s so bloody hard to ride though, treacherously so. Dropped bike another two times (one stationary, one turning on...you guessed...sand) Tarmac would be lovely, really it would !

The views of mountains, glaciers, woods, lakes of mesmerising colours...honestly simply stunning.


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The Nr Cochrane, mountains and lake


We got as place in Cochrane for around nine quid for both with breakfast, and tonight it’s up to ten quid without breakfast, so still cheap. Gas is sooo expensive and in places only available from houses in 5 litre bottles. Banking is another prob. The ATM (only one for few hundred kms) wouldn’t take cards, luckily I had a Yorkshire Bank Maestro card that worked, otherwise we’d have 15 quid for the whole journey. tried unsuccessfully to wild camp, but Chile more keep on fences. Of course here in Villa Cerro Castillo there are plenty of options but we’ve a good room so forgo it. The name comes from the mountain behind that is simply fantastic (shame no pics eh !)

Anyway I have missed out loads and loads in this mail but you get the gist. Bev has been suffering with a bad cold that seems to be dying back, my shoulder is killing me (actually trapped nerve in neck) so we’re keeping well !! The bike has a slow puncture in front tyre, but better to pump up each day than fix for now, the brake reservoir is still slowly leaking so topped up rather than repaired so far.

But all that said, tarmac starts here !!!But, it only goes 250kms...oh well..thanks us off,

Chau

Posted by Simon McCarthy at February 07, 2006 01:18 PM GMT
 



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