Day 15 – Hornopiren to Puerto Varas

Wednesday, January 15th

Distance – 165km, 50% ripio

Ferry – 30 minutes

Some of the lads were up and about early and sorted breakfast for us. Martyn, Simon, and I were moving a little slower. George had got Martyn a cool, little iPhone speaker for Christmas. We’d spent a late night listening to 80s music and David Bowie washed down with a little Johnnie Walker.

Breakfast Guest

The owner of the cabaña had a couple of Jack Russell terriers. One that would not come anywhere near us and this little fellow who ate his weight in scrambled eggs.

Fishing boats at low tide.

Once again, we were surrounded by beautiful images. The fishing boats make great studies. I wish I’d more time to set up some HDR shots.

Roadside repairs yet again.

Once again, we had electrical issues with MacBean’s bike. This time it wasn’t the battery. At some point a connector had been wrongly routed and snapped. The mechanical geniuses took care of it again.

This was actually our second stop to fix things. I was the culprit the first time around. Going into a downhill blind left hand bend, I locked up the back wheel got the bike sideways and low sided. In doing it, I sheared the bolt that holds an eccentric that itself holds the rear brake pedal in place. I wobbled the bike around the corner without a rear brake and we stopped to assess. First, we trudged back around the corner to hunt the eccentric and amazingly found it in the dirt. Next, Charlie used his genius to remove the snapped bolt. Then one bolt from the air box later, we were back in business. I was quite upset to have fallen off here. Earlier, I had ridden in sand, forded a river, and been chased by a pig all without incident. It was probably a case of over confidence.

Charlie and Martyn taking the air.

The road today, again, required a ferry ride. This time just 30 minutes. The ferry workers lined us up to leave first. Martyn was a little slow getting his gear on and held up the driver behind him. Feeling brave, the driver honked on his horn and shouted abuse a Martyn, and nudged his back wheel. Martyn may be small but he’s feisty. Off the back he got, walked to the car window, and told the driver to get out. Surprised at the fluency, and the furiosity, up went the windows and down went the locks.

Once we regrouped, it was a quick rip down the highway to Puerto Montt. Our plan was to get lunch here. Montt is the biggest town we have seen since leaving Temuco, maybe even Santiago. It had the feel of a Chilean Blackpool. We spotted a place with potential and popped our bikes up on the curb. An Argentinian tourist and his son tried to cut off MacBean and Charlie and the started shouting at us. This got him a mouthful from Martyn in return. At this, he jumped out of his car and grabbed a tyre wrench from his trunk/boot. This brought howls of laughter from all of us as we took off our helmets. At this point, he seemed to rethink things and jumped into the car and sped off. All the time, his wife had been sat in the passenger seat looking away from the whole affair. When he got in, he got a mouthful from her. The parting shot was the son girl throwing a ½ full water bottle at us – more laughter.

Next up was the store manager next door to where we parked telling us that we’d be towed. That was enough to get us heading out of town; Bye-bye Blackpool, hello Cleveleys. A quick trip north brought us into Puerto Varas.

Lunch was a lovely affair on the restaurant terrace overlooking the lake and another snow-capped volcano. The sad thing is, is that this is virtually the end of the road. Tomorrow, we have to turn the bikes back in in Temuco.

Charlie’s improvised shower.

Stevie and Tree, Martyn’s guests from Santiago, were in town and booked us a cabaña. Unfortunately, when we arrived the power was out so most of us had cold showers. Charlie devised his own hot shower.

1. Boil water on gas stove.

2. Mix one pan of boiling water with four of cold

3. Pour into garbage/dustbin bag

4. Stand under bag suspended from balcony and poke holes

Nature’s amazing show

We met up with Stevie and Tree, Martyn’s friends who we had met in Santiago at the first night barbeque, for dinner at a great restaurant down the street. Here is the view we had as we enjoyed dinner. Stevie and Tree were heading south on their way to Ushuaia. They are putting their sprinter van on a ferry and cruising most of the way south. When they get their, they plan hop a flight to Antarctica if it is available.

As this is our “first” last night of the trip, we stop into a bar on the way back. I had a couple of green chile pisco sours – excellent choice – served in a champagne flute. The buckets of gin and tonics a couple of the lads downed were not as well received the next morning.