An overlander's account of South and Central America by motorbike - the trusty Suzuki DR650. Within are great travel tips and hints (2011).

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Lakes and Volcanoes - Santiago to Puerto Montt

Ahoy all!

So I´ve finally found a computer, time, and have my notepad and pictures to do a proper update.  Currently I´m in Ushuaia but I´m behind on posts so I´ll update on the first 2 weeks of riding since leaving Santiago - which is all riding in Chile.  

I left Santiago on the 16th February (2011) around 1500.  I had ridden 2 blocks and realised I left my sausages to make completos (hotdogs) in the freezer...and there they stayed.  The maze of one way streets was something I was not used to and usually was quicker to walk 2 blocks than try and navigate your way home!  My plan was to head to Lake Colbun, about 4 hrs south of Santiago and camp and fish for the first night.  There were 3 toll gates on the way which are an absolute painintheass for a rider...wearing gauntlet riding gloves makes it near impossible to get money out and then return the change and take off without frustrating other drivers!!  The day of riding was all highway bitumen except the last 50km or so.  Great to finally have some gravel roads...but still no trails!  I arrived at Lake Colbun around 2000 and asked a guy and a girl in a car where I could camp.  The bloke said he was looking for a camp too (turns out the girl was someone he had asked for camping places, and wanted to spend the night with him!).  I rode around the lake for a bit and the bloke ended up finding me and we camped under some massive trees, had a fire and some spectacular camp pasta and yarned in some terrible Spanglish!  The moon was out and the lake was lit up like a firefly!  No need for a mattress or tent as the sand was welcoming and the night was beautiful.  A fantastic first night out!  311 km today.

Pics - 1. When I left bag CHOCKAS of food. 2. Camp at Pucon Lake.  3. Gettin clean!

17th Feb (655 km today) - Pucon (Camp) The next day I packed up and we went for a swim and I tried a bit of fish...but to no avail!  After a refreshing naked swim (had no spare clothes out and riding wet is shite to say the least) I headed off back towards the highway and further south.  The highway driving was quite boring with cars everywhere and OK "un espresso doble por favor" (noone understands me it seems even when I speak slow) livened me up.  I decided to head towards Pucon, a touristy lake getaway and wanted to get there by riding dirt roads around a volcano I found on the GPS.  The roads were absolutely stunning and turned into nice trails with flowers and tall pine trees lining the way.  The volcano towered above me as I rode around it eastwards and then south towards Pucon.  Did nearly get wiped out by a bloke in a ute goin way too fast on a corner!!!  This day was one of the best so far on the trip...absolutely tranquilo.  I eventually reached Pucon and after some hostel visiting, I eventually retired at a paid campsite and camped out.  The town lies on a lake, below a smouldering volcano...stunning!

Pics - 1. Pucon Lake  2 & 3. Volcanoes!
18th Feb (328 km) - Puerto Varas (Camp).  After leaving Pucon I checked out a couple of the lakes and took some pics with Nessie and the volcano.  From Pucon I headed to Puerto Varas and having nowhere to stay again I asked some people on the street where I could camp and got lead to a hill just on the edge of the town.  I asked a lady here if I could camp inside her yard and after some confusion she said yes, but I had to leave because papi was coming home!  Hilarious.  Some girls came out and giggled...I guess a gringo with a moto making completosand camping in their yard is quite unusual!  The night was absolutely beautiful and had great views over the town.

19th Feb (30 km) - Puerto Montt (Casa Perla).  I woke up quite early in P. Varas and headed for Puerto Montt a few clicks down the road.  I needed a prep day as the next day would be the start of the Carretera Austral and dirt roads.  A shower for myself, and some minor bike maintenance was essential!  I pulled up early at a hostebedajae, Casa Perla, 8000  Chile pesos per night (16 AUD) and had somewhere to park the bike.  I had heard a rattle on the bike and had a paranoid moment that the trip was over! I found it was just a bolt had come off on the muffler heatguard and it was the ferreteria (mitre 10 equivalent)!!  I selected a few bolts and washers and the guy gave them to me for free!  Fantastic!  Problem solved!  I met an American bloke (Zeke) and he suggested I go with him to the fish markets for lunch...sounds great!  On the walk there, I noticed 2 young lads with punkass haircuts (general messes) and jumpers over their arms just behind us.  We popped into a chocolate shop for a look and when we came out they were only just ahead of us.  I pulled up Zeke and said to Zeke a mate from home told me to watch out for jumpers on arms and that these guys were sus as (thanks Woz for the tip!!!).  We made it to the fish markets and pulled into a tiny shop and sat down to order...and for some reason I looked over and busted the 2 guys walking by and one pointing in, as if to say...there they are!  Suckers I got you fkers!  Never saw them again. Zeke proceeded to tell me he was with an Aussie guy who was in Santiago, they went out one night, met some nice locals, and the next day the Aussie bloke was heading to the bus station when they came by (man and woman) in a taxi and asked him to come for a coffee.  They drugged his coffee and he woke up outside of Santiago on a road, with no bags, guitar, clothes...just his passport!  Holleefarkinshit!  Puerto Montt was quite a nice town all in all.  Picked up some fishing gear and a rainjacket for the Patagonian weather and all was swell.  The bike and I were prepped to go!

Pics - 1. The camp and completos at Puerto Varas.  2.  The sunrise at P. Varas  3.  Crazy triathlonners at P. Varas at 8am!  4.  Fish market in P Montt  5.  Zeke and some locals at a fish market dining booth  6.  Kids and the boat that didnt rock


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