January 24, 2009 GMT
Ruta 7

Chiloe Sur

January 15
Checked out about 45 K of road on east side (Carretera Austral, ruta 7) up to where I would have needed to take ferry for a way. It was doable to ride down the Carretera Austral but requires several ferry rides in the process. The volcano that erupted in May just north of Chaiten caused major problems in the village and has the road closed. So I returned to Pte. Montt and traveled on down Ruta 5.
To get to the island of Chiloe it is a short ferry ride, cost 5500 CP. When I got near the terminal the line was at least a mile long of cars and trucks. After sitting in line for awhile a gentleman came up to me and told me that motos could go to front of line. I really felt guilty, but around them all I went. Seems that every ferry has some small place that a car will not fit well so they put the motos there. Talked (or tried) to several about the moto and where I was going on the crossing.
On Chiloe I continued down ruta 5 to Castro, taking my time and stopping for pictures. Chiloe is a very pretty land 250 K long and 50 K wide. Most is rolling hills that look like they have been subject to glacial action but was told it was just uplifted ocean floor. Most were not over 150 Meters in elevation. Livestock (small scale) seemed to predominate the landscape with areas of native or eucalyptus timber production. Once in Castro I wandered around looking for a suitable place to stay and eating some food. Went in to a turismo shop to check on and book ferry to Chaiten. Was told that ferry did not leave from there, as my map indicated, but from Quellon, 70 K south, at 8:00 AM. So off I go, in a rush this time to get to ferry office before it closes.
Was not easy to understand the what, when and where when I got here. But I purchased a ticket for me and moto which said 8:00 on the 16th but was told it would be 3:00. What I have found out today (16th) was that all shipping was shut down for two days, not sure why, but ferry will not be here till Saturday at 4:00. So have had a slow day and most of tomorrow will also be stuck waiting for ferry. Maybe Andy and Martin will catch up or Carl will show up so we can be confused together.

January 17th
Not much to do today but wait for the ferry to show up. Actually it is sitting anchored and has been all morning but they say it will not load till 4:00. The town of Quellon (K-yon) is kind of a dreary place so will be glad to move on.
The ferry moved to dock on time but it took 2 ˝ hours to load and start moving. We traveled at 23 kph (by my GPS) and had about 70 k to cross. As we were waiting to load Jaime and Miguel (from Pte Montt) were real interested in the moto Miguel has been and active rider for years and Jaime rides a Yamaha. They were on there way to Miguel’s cabin and insisted that I follow them there. The ferry got to dock at 10:45 but it was 11:30 before we got off and on the way to there cabin, was very glad that I did not need to try to find a place to sleep at midnight. They fed me and provided beber till about 3 when I made it to sleep. The next morning, more food then showed me his old cars that are stored there, 62 and 65 Dodges. Next it was set up grill and cook steaks, way more than I could eat. Finally headed south about 2:30.
Planned to go about 100 miles on the Carretera Austral, (ruta 7). Carl and girl friend cought up to me about 75 miles in. So I had someone to ride with again. Carl had word that there was stretch of construction that they were shutting down the road from 10 to 2 each day so we pushed on to the next town and found a cheap bed for the night.

January 19th
As I was loading this morning I found a problem with box mount on right side, bolt was sheered and one mount broke. I jerry rigged it and moved on to Coihaique which is a bigger town to find help in repair. Coihaique is a real neat, clean and modern town, would be a good place to spend some time. I was able to find a motorcycle mechanic and he helped me remove parts that needed drilled which we took to a “machine shop” see pictures. It took about 4 hours to drill out holes, re-tap and weld mount bar. Cost 20,000 CP or m/l $30. Will reload the boxes in the morning and be on my way.
I have traveled about 400 K on the Carretera Austral, ruta 7, it is mostly gravel or ripio (loose stones). The worst are the construction areas as the loose gravel can be real squirmy. I think the plan is to widen it all and pave it, but it will take years. It is hard to describe the ride, it is really amazing and almost mythical with the road winding through forest with the clouds holding to the tops of the mountains. Best I can say is look at the pictures, but they never capture it all.
Rented cabin here in Coihaique but I can not get the internet to work so not sure if I can upload any of this or not.

January 20th
Rode down to Puerto Ingeniero Ibanez with the plan to take a ferry across the lake to Chile Chico, then into Argentina. The ferry for the day had already gone so I decided to ride around the lake, 300 K, and hope to be in Chile Chico before the ferry tomorrow. The road around turned to gravel in 24 miles and was solid washboard. 20 miles in I stopped to take a picture and saw that the only bolt that we did not replace with a larger one had broke. So I rode back to Pto. I. Ibanez and will wait for the ferry then find someone in Chile Chico to drill out bolt. Met a rider here from Washington, Tom, that ha

s been on the road for six months, riding from Puerto Bay to Ushuaia. I think that I will ride on down with him if schedules match. Plan on passing the rest of the more challenging roads where I can not keep box mounts together. Tom has problems with his shock so is also looking for flater roads.
The landscape around here is just amazing. The other thing the Patagonia is known for is the wind and it is here in full force. Next stop Argentina.

Pictures below but do not have time to do captions now, will fix later.

16boats-Castro.jpg
Boats at Quellon
16FerryQuellon.jpg
Ferry Quellon
16ferry-unload.jpg

17Chiloefromferry.jpg
Island of Chiloe
17motoferry.jpg
Moto on ferry
17truckbacking.jpg
These truckers were good, had to back in to ferry
18BBQme.jpg
BBQ at cabin
18Brazilbycles.jpg
Two from Brazil that we meet on the ferry stopped by cabin

18cabinJMbikers.jpg
Jamie and Migul at the cabin
18Hostile.jpg
Hostel we stayed at on ruta 7

18valleyview.jpg
view from Ruta 7
18viewR7lake.jpg
view from Ruta 7
19CattleRanch.jpg
Cattle Ranch
19CopecGas.jpg
Carl filling with gas at a local station
19machine-shop.jpg
Machine shop that drilled out broken bolts for me
19motoR7clouds.jpg
Ruta 7
19R7constru.jpg
Construction on Ruta 7
20potgoad.jpg
I was heading for the pot of gold but never found it.

Posted by Robert Thode at January 24, 2009 04:41 PM GMT
 


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