Shift to Plan B

2011/03/13: Casa de Ciclistas in Rio Tranquilo
On our way back from the internet cafe where we uploaded the last post, we met Torrey and Lucie. They’d met Nina, a German friend they’d ridden with further north, just south of RT, and had turned back into town planning to find lodging for three out of the pelting rain. We invited them to join us in our cabaña, which had more beds than we could use. (We’d chosen the cabaña for it’s tiny bathtub, which allowed us to apply heat to Chris’s arm.) We spent a sociable evening with five of us eating together, soggy gear drying by a wood stove.

Five Soggy Cyclists(Photo gratuitously lifted from T&L's Blog)

2011/03/14: Still in Rio Tranquilo
Our intended route south would have involved pushing our bikes across a rough path from Villa O’Higgins to El Bolson, and pushing bikes is the last thing Chris’s arm wants to do right now. We suspected he needed at least a week’s rest, and that extra week would have meant a race for the last ferry from O’Higgins on March 28th, and a late season mountain crossing, likely in bad weather. We don’t need epics with Chris in his present state, so after a slow morning we tried to get a bus north to Coyhaique to start our retreat, but found we were to late too leave RT that day.
We went back to the cabaña, and later followed the suggestion of going to the Centro de Salud Rural to have the paramedic look at Chris’s arm. The paramedic proposed an injection of anti-inflammatory, followed by a course of tablets to help speed Chris’s recovery. Poor Chris had to drop his drawers for the intramuscular injection! The clinic looked organized and efficient, and it turned out the service was courtesy of the Chilean government.

2011/03/15: Bus to Coyhaique and damned logistics
After having my bike damaged on a Greek ferry, I’m wary of these logistical moves, but we arrived in Coyhaique with bikes unscathed and contemplated our next move over coffee. To get to Puerto Montt, a transportation hub, would allow us to get to Bariloche and Buenos Aires on bigger buses. But with bikes, Puerto Montt is best reached by boat from Puerto Chacabuco, since buses north on the Carretera Austral are too small to accommodate bikes. The season for Navimag’s sailings directly to Puerto Montt was over, we discovered, so we bought tickets for the Thursday sailing from Chacabuco to Quellon on Grande Isla Chiloe, from whence there’s a bus to Puerto Montt.

2011/03/16: Bus to Puerto Aysen and 15 km ride to Puerto Chacabuco
At least the buses are cheap. They must be heavily subsidized! Why aren’t our Canadian long-distance buses this cheap, and our highway tolls higher as they are here so that more people would leave their cars behind? We moved the 70 odd km to Aysen by bus in pouring rain, and rode the last 15 km (easy pavement) during a brief period of lighter rain to Chacabuco, a tiny fish-processing town with not much more to offer than a ferry dock. Naviera Austral called on our cell phone to announce the next departure was delayed by five hours due to poor weather.

M

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