Spills and Thrills II

On February 2, 2013

The first stretch of the world famous Carratera Austral. The most beautiful road I’ve been on, but also the roughest road. This is still very raw Patagonia. One lane highway with no guard rails and grades that make Colorado look flat. I have a new meaning for the word washboard and am humbled to walk my bike up these steep roads. There are very few cars that go all the way to Villa O’Higgins which makes the road really nice to ride but traffic picked up closer to Cochrane. It did rain during our first three days on the Carratera but its sunny today and I hope for the best!

I’m lazy. Here’s some highlights not strung together in paragraphs:
* There is no Visa ATM yet. The rest of our Chilean pesos from Puerto Natales ran out and we had to change some American currency. If you’re traveling to Villa O’Higgins bring money with you and if you’re going to Cochrane have a MasterCard debit card or bring money with you.
* I had one more fall in deep gravel. I did a dive roll off my bike when it turned sideways sharply. It gave me road burn on my back and side but I bet it looked pretty cool.
* Avocados are too delicious to turn down. It’s my peanut butter replacement.
* KC broke two spokes and his rear rack. Good thing I brought replacement spokes and know how to true a wheel. Bike maintenance is proving very handy…. as is all those extra parts I brought. That’s why I’m so slow…
* KC also broke his rear rack and tore holes in his tent dry bag.
* “Just Don’t Shave January” went well – it’s going to roll into “Forget About Shaving February”
* I broke my lens cap. Well, the washboard ripio did. It won’t take much to damage my nice lens now…
* The ripio also tore two holes in my handlebar bag. I patched it up with some duct tape and padding. Duct tape is indispensable. And running short very fast.
* We are reading a tourist book in a coffee shop. It says that biking the Carratera takes months of training and planning. I have exactly one month if training in Tierra del Fuego and have sorta planned the next five days to the next major town.
* We see so many cyclist going south. I feel so unique and hardcore biking north. If only I was actually hardcore and didn’t collapse from exhaustion every night. I do have a bunch of scabs, a beard, and dark tan so I fool most people.
* “Wow that espresso really did its job! I want to run through a wall right now!” ~KC
* We met a guy that biked from Alaska to here. He said Bolivia has the absolute worst roads but gorgeous scenery. I better get over this washboard soon and toughen up.
* My odometer is past 1,500 km which is ahead of schedule (I think?). I plan to spend time in Bariloche, hang out in Mendoza, and tour the Bolivian salt flats.
* it’s Vietnamese New Year, that’s why I get the day off! And I would’ve taken it off anyway. My legs need a break.
* The dogs have stopped chasing us. I think the large number of cyclists has tamed them a bit. I like that.

3 Responses to “Spills and Thrills II”

  • Hey,
    Kelvin’s sister here–thanks for this blog, a way for me to keep track of my bro–he never emails!

    Keep each other safe and have fun exploring.

    • No problem 🙂

      • Say hello to KC if he’s still with you. If he is, let him know I’m sending his allowance to his parents house. Love the stories and pics…beautiful! Let me know if there’s anything you guys need from the states. Can send it ahead for pickup if need be.

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