2011/03/07-09 Three trips to town by bike (30 odd km) and one on foot
There are lots of things to do on non-cycling days. It always seems to us that the first day off, after several days on the road, is taken up with the very basics of sleeping, eating, airing wet tents, doing laundry, and finding a bank machine. The second day sometimes allows more time to appreciate where we are, but there is always a gritty bike chain to clean. Sometimes there are various problems to solve, and these always involve digging for information and finding our way around in a new place and despite linguistic challenges. There are always emails to catch up on and blogs to write, of course, and if there is a good coffee shop to be found –we find it. One of us orders un cortado grande and the other indulges in te verde.
On our first evening here, the screen of our dearly loved Asus EEE gave up the ghost. It`s done us proud for 2.5 years of which over a year was rough travel, and it was kind enough to time it`s demise for when we were in a major town, not a given as we work our way south. However, this meant the second day was spent first at a computer repair shop, where we got an estimate for screen replacement, and then shopping for a new compact notebook once we realized repair didn`t make sense. It took some time to set up, of course, and we mailed the old one home in the new one`s box. The new keyboard is geared for Spanish input, and we initialized the computer to think it had a standard North American layout, which has caused a few problems. With enough geek input at home, we suspect this can be sorted, but please bear with us for now.
Chris also got another set of new pedals. The pair purchased in Puerto Montt suffered some sort of juvenile mortality, and the effect was Chinese water torture with a click at every rotation. This was likely the last bike shop for some time.
We have a choice of routes ahead, so we also wanted time to research our options. We have chosen a very weather dependent route that stays in Chile (see map) but is subject to storms coming in from the Pacific. Like the west coast of Vancouver Island our reports will be very dependent on rain, and rain in the previous few days which can mean a path is a pleasant walk or a hike through a swamp. This route includes a 6 hour hike on a path, taking us from Chile into Argentina, as well as a few lake crossings by boat. Most of the difficulty is in the 50km south of O`Higgins, although the 400 km of ripio to O`Higgins will be a challenge in itself. We might take the bus if the ripio is too bad, but for the hike there is little other option than the trail, unless we arrange for horses to carry our gear and bikes while we walk. Apparently that option might be available. Then again, it might not.
M & C