Cochrane to Coyhaique

On February 7, 2013

Oh where to start…?

Lets see. The night before we left Cochrane our two friends from Holland showed up with a HUGE salmon they caught. I got to taste some of the freshest wild Chilean salmon and let me tell you it was delicious.

We left later in the day with about CH$3000 each to Puerto Bertrand a short 50 km away. We made it there early and I enjoyed a dip in the cool glacial lake. So wonderful. We splurged on eggs and a melon since there was free camping right on the lake.

The second day was a ride to Villa Rio Tranquillo. It was about 80 km away. The city is very…. tranquillo. I lost my camera adapter that let me upload photos which was a bummer. I’m working on getting a new one sent to me. I hit up the bakery hard since bread is the cheapest food option. We tried camping on the beach, which is illegal but moved 50 feet to somebody’s yard where it’s free. I took another dip in the lake to get all the ripio dust off. They tried to sell us a boat ride but it was easy to turn down.

For the third day we did a double. This is where we shaved a day off the 5 day trip to make it a 4 day trip. We did 123 km on some really bad ripio. There were sections of loose rock where it was hard to keep the bike straight and upright and sections of embedded rock where the vibration and rolling resistance made it extremely difficult to maintain any sort of speed. KC dominated as always on his tiny 32C wheels which still amazes me. The last 10-15 km were a steep downhill on hard smooth mud/gravel which was a welcome relief. We made it to Villa Cerra Castillo in the shadow of the mountain with that name with enough money to pay for camping which came with a much needed shower and cooking area. I hit up the bakery and we were left with 100 pesos each to make it the last 100 km to Coyhaique on PAVEMENT.

This is the interesting day. We left town to start a huge uphill climb where my legs were already melting. Within the first 6 km I heard a popping sound from KC’s bike. We stopped to find 3 broken spokes on his rear wheel, some probably there from the previous day. We had already replaced two and the rim was in horrible condition. We deemed the wheel unfixable and tried hitchhiking. For an hour and a half. Since there were so few cars and nobody willing to help, we decided to go back to down. Against my recommendation KC coasted on his bike the whole way while I plowed like a tank with both of our gear down the hill we just climbed. It was getting too late for me to make another 100 km solo so I decided to stick its KC. We heard of a bus leaving at 1:30 that probably won’t take the bikes and we had an option to hire a truck for US$120. We waited it out, meeting an American couple in their 60’s riding matching Surly Trolls. Eventually the bus came an hour late and we were easily able to fit for only US$20 per person for the last 100 km to Coyhaique where one of the only bike shops exists in this part of the world.

In Coyhaique our luck just kept getting better. KC was able to find 2 new double walled 700C rims (super nice). With the labor for rebuilding both wheels, two new rims, 11 new spokes, brake adjustment, welding his rack the total was only US$83. Craziness! So cheap! I found M&Ms and Nutella. Score. We’re planning on heading out tomorrow and I feel a lot better having some currency on me.

One Response to “Cochrane to Coyhaique”

  • Mark,

    Its so good to see that you are doing it big down there. I’m glad you posted on FB because I’ve been trying to find a link to your blog. Your pics are amazing man! Look like you are really enjoying yourself and covering some ground. I just wanted to poke in and tell ya I’ll be tracking your adventure. Keep up the good work and keep batteries in that camera of yours. Stay safe and enjoy middle earth.

    -Jerrod

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