Carretera Austral

Date: 25/03
City: Los Angeles , Chile
Kilometres ridden: 512
Cumulative kilometre: 39625
Street: two lane highway
Weather: sunny, fresh/warm

The Carretera Austral is a road in Chile (Route 7) that connects the most southern cities with the rest of Chile. Most of the road is dirt road and partially connected by a ferry service. That is the only way to connect the different sections of the road. When we left Santiago in the morning, the bikes felt a bit wobbly since we got new tyres fitted. So we decided to take it easy today and ride a bit slower. I kept as well an eye on my new tool pipe too, the one filled with heavy tools that I fitted yesterday. In case you’re wondering: the bell on the tool pipe is a Guardian Bell. As the legend has it,  Evil Road Spirits have been latching themselves onto motorcycles for as long as there have been bikes on the road. These Evil Road Spirits are responsible for mechanical problems and bad luck along a journey. It is said that by attaching a small bell onto your motorcycle, the Evil Road Spirits will become trapped inside the bell where the constant ringing drives them insane, making them lose their grip until they fall to the ground. Ever wonder where pot-holes come from? Now you know! Falling deamons!
And we found plenty of evil spirits which lost their grip during our trip, so the legend must be true 🙂. By the way, the bell works best when purchased by a friend or loved one, so Sigrid bought one for me and I bought one for Sigrid.

Anyway, we arrived in Los Angeles, Chile, without any incidents and finally we managed to stay in love hotel, where the rooms are normally booked by the hour. We managed to get a good price for the whole night, including breakfast and after a long day ride and recommendation from other bike rider, we took it. Here is Sigrid parking her bike, before we closed the door. The arrow on the right door is illuminated during the night, the inside one is green and outside one is red, so that are no mix up in the nights with the rooms and what happen behind these gates stays behind these gates 🙂

By the way, we survived the day with new back tyres without any incident, Yippee!.

 

Date: 26/03
City: Puerto Montt , Chile
Kilometres ridden: 514
Cumulative kilometre: 40139
Street: two lane highway
Weather: sunny, fresh/warm

Today we passed an area of Volcanos and lakes. We decided not to stop here since we want to get to Ushuaia before it gets bitterly cold there.

At the end of the day we would leave the Pan American highway to travel in the Caraterra Austral. This part of the Pan Americana was one of the best roads that we had on our trip so far.

After the last two days, the new tyres were broken in and didn’t feel wobbly any more. So when we arrived in Puerto Montt, I was happy, we had a survived a tyre change without an incident the next day or the day after. 😀
Javier (the Chilinien bike rider) told us we should try a special dish in Puerto Montt, which was best served  in the harbour area, so we did. On the way to the harbour area we had a great sunset.

When we arrived at the harbour we found plenty of restaurants. So after comparing the prices we picked one and here is a picture of the meal (that was for two people. It is chicken, pork and seafood, which you put into a bowl with soup (if you like) or eat it as it is. The portion were huge so we struggle to finish it, but we managed  😀

Date: 27/03
City: Puerto Montt , Chile
Kilometres ridden: 0
Cumulative kilometre: 40139
Street: n/a
Weather: sunny, fresh/warm

We noticed in the morning that we hadn’t got a 3rd party motorcycle insurance for Argentina, which is compulsory and should be organized before entering Argentina. To keep it short, there is no way that we could get a 3rd party insurance in Chile, since our bike are not registered in Chile and we are not living in Chile. It took us the whole day and visits to a dozen insurance agencies to find that out. The problem is that we can’t buy insurance in Argentina over the internet either; we have to be there to get it. So we decided to approach the border and hope that an insurance agent is there, if not, we go into the next bigger town and try to get some there. Tomorrow we will leave and ride the first bit of the Carrtetera Austral.

Date: 28/03
City: Hornopiren , Chile
Kilometres ridden: 99
Cumulative kilometre: 40238
Street: On lane highway, single lane dirt
Weather: sunny, fresh/warm

Got up early, had breakfast and set off for our first bit of the Carretera Austral, then to take our first ferry and continue to Hornopieren where we would stay overnight to get on a ferry at the next day. The first bit of dirt road was not too bad, it was mostly road works having a detour through dirt. Arriving at the ferry, there was a long queue which would take forever to get over the other side. So I ask a guy if we on our motos could get in front, he said no, but we could come further to the front and wait on the side. The first ferry arrived and was filled with petrol trucks only…Hmm this could take a while…But the second ferry took a good number of vehicles and …. us.

I liked the landscape on the ferry ride, on the other side the dirt road was waiting.

The first bit was nice compacted dirt, which to our surprise turned again into tarmac just to end on a road block.

We waited for 30..40 minutes before we continued. The road was from loose gravel, to compacted gravel and eventually to wet clay at one patch. We managed it but it was not as easy. Tomorrow I will reduce the tyre pressure, which I guess will help. After 90 minutes we arrived in Hornopieren, that brings our average to 25km/h. We finally found a very nice hotel for a good price and it had even Wifi. Have a look how the sunset looked from our hotel.

At night three more bikers arrived, Andre and Tony from Brazil and Neston from Argentina. All three just arrived with the ferry from Caleta Gonzalo, which we will do in the opposite direction tomorrow. After dinner we sat together and talked about their experience and route in front of us.

Date: 29/03
City: Chaiten, Chile
Kilometres ridden: 60
Cumulative kilometre: 40298
Street: single lane dirt
Weather: cloudy, fog, rain fresh/warm

We said good bye the two Brazil and one Argentina motorcyclist after breakfast and around we bought the ferry tickets around 10AM. The ferry ride took four hours and the landscape was great.

We kept an eye on the weather, since the clouds got thicker and turned into fog and when we left the ferry the fog turned into light rain.

The light rain was no problem since we had only ten km of dirt road until the next ferry. When we arrived at the next ferry the rain has stopped. This ferry was a lot smaller than the previous one, so not all vehicles would fit on it. We were lucky and arrived early enough to score a place.

The next ferry just arrived when we were leaving, so there was not a long wait time for the other cars.

We started to see some bits of sky in the clouds, so we were hopeful that it wouldn’t rain anymore.

When left the ferry we decided to ride the next 50km to Chaiten, we had enough time before the sun would set. This part of the Carreterra Austral started with very coarse gravel, which did scare us quite a bit. The bike was dancing like crazy, but as Wombat said -put your elbows out and let the bike do whatever it does, so we did and it worked. To make our ride a bit more challenging, it started to rain. Now we also had to watch out for the soil sections, which were like soap. We arrived roughly two hours later in a hotel and rented a nice cabaña, where we could dry our close and sit in a warm room. The good thing was, we just dried the bikes with a cloth and they looked clean again J. Below is a picture from our map, which was packed into the BMW jacket, watertight pocket. As we found out, the pocket is watertight from the outside but not from the inside, great.

Apparently the rain should stop and the weather tomorrow should be sunny, so we aim for 150km distance (on dirt), we will see how that goes.

Date:30/03
City: Futeleufu , Chile
Kilometres ridden: 152
Cumulative kilometre: 40450
Street: single lane dirt
Weather: sunny/cloudy, warm

The rain really stopped, so we packed the bikes, filled them up and had a look at some houses which were not occupied since the Volcano eruption and the later flood in May 2008. The house and the car below were in the main street, it looks like the plants are growing well in the car.

We had a look at some other houses, on one the floor was just lifted up, at in the other you could just see the top of a greenhouse.

The two story house looked more like a single story house with a cellar full of ash. The wall was build to keep the ash in place, so people can later on relate to what happened here.

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So all goes well, we will leave the Carretera Austral in 100km and turn towards the Chilenien/Argentinian border. First we came across this long bridge. We really love the bridges, particular the long once, since they are mostly paved J.

After 80km we arrived at our turnoff point.

I was happy; we rode the Carretera Austral without any incidents and that with our limited dirt bike skills. We had only 77Km to go until we would arrive in Futaleufu, our goal for tonight.

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