I got into Puerto Rio Tranquilo last night around 19:30. It’s a large town by Chilean standards – about 6 blocks long and 5 deep – on the shore of Chile’s largest lake, General Carrera.
The last 5 days have taken me about 650km south from Chaiten, past the fishing village of Puyuhuapi, onto a tarred road in and out of the largest town in the region, Coyhaique, and then over some huge mountain passes and along never-ending valleys to where I am now.
The mountains get higher and are covered in more snow as I go further south. The wind is also much worse – its always windy. Food and accommodation are further apart down here. It’s perfect for the type of cycle-touring I enjoy – no traffic, big mountains and just the right amount of food and warm showers along the way!
It’s R&R day today – for both bike & body. While eating as much as I can there are also a few repairs needed on my bike. The gears weren’t working well yesterday and it seemed that my rear hub was deteriorating. Today, with a clearer mind and a good night’s sleep I could diagnose the problem correctly – looks like the derailer dropout is threaded and bent. A much easier problem to solve than a rear hub – if I have I spare dropout. Fortunately, after my last cycling trip in Zambia (which ended single-speed), I don’t go anywhere without a spare dropout and jockey wheels.
Tomorrow I’m planning a side-trip to hike up and into the Exploradores Glacier. Then there’s about 3 days riding to the end of the road at Villa O’Higgins and the ferry crossing into Argentina.
News just in from the locals is that the ferry at Villa O’Higgins is being repaired and nobody knows when it will be operating again. If the ferry is not operating when I get there in a few days then I’ll be at the end of the road with a large lake in front of me and will have to make another plan. I’ll cross that bridge when I get there (there isn’t a bridge.) Options are probably to ride back a few 100km to the other border crossing into Argentina, wait until the ferry is operating, negotiate with someone that owns a boat, swim or just chill until the ship comes in…