Pucon to Cañete


beach and road
There were a few options. The big roads: Ruta 5 in Chile and Ruta 40 in Argentina. Neither really appealed. So instead I headed out to the coast. First beside Lago Villarrica, with Volcan Villarrica behind me I arrived in Villarrica (the town). Next I headed into a westerly wind to Freire and up the motorway (shudder) to Temuco where I stayed in a Hospedaje. Then, further west along the Rio Imperial to Nueva Imperial. Then to Carahue which has an impressive collection of antique steam traction engines.
Soon enough I crossed the river and struck north on a dirt road. I camped beside the road in a forest.

Then. I had one of those mornings when everything conspires against you. Firstly food. I had eaten all the bread, oats and biscuits so the only option for breakfast was to cook on the stove. Which I was too lazy to do. Then, as it was a hot sunny day, I drank all the water double quick. Throughout my thirsty, hungry morning I headed along a hilly forest gravel road in very bad condition. No rivers, no houses and no shops or cafes. On the up hill sections I was slow enough for the horseflies to catch up. They love a sweaty cyclist. Just as good as a horse as far as they are concerned. I will have you know, I'm rather talented at catching and squishing horseflies left-handed. (Horseflies if you are reading this - watch out!). Anyway, I ended up punching myself in the face a few times whilst waving my deadly-horsefly-killers (ok, arms) around.

The only effective relief came from nailing downhill at stupid-km/hour (I don't have a speedo). With the quality of the road (terrible) I should have been more careful, and I ended up hitting a patch of loose gravel and my front wheel, which doesn't have much grip now, went one way, and I went the other. I took a spectacular header. Rolled over a few times. Came to a stop in a crumpled heap. Damage: grazed elbow, grazed wrist and minor bending damage to part of the front brake.

After a few more hours of suffer, sorry, cycling, I reached Tirua and dived into the first cafe for a feast (Cazuela and about 5 bottles of coke). From there I managed to push on as far as the lovely Lago Lleu Lleu (which is just too many vowel sounds for my liking!). I found a great campsite which would have been: 1 pound 90p with cold water showers, a view across the lake, a picnic table and a fire pit. Instead, it was free because the owners were away and they turned the water off. So just the lake, picnic table, and fire to enjoy. Plus the fetid bogs.

This morning, unshowered and ripe, I dived in the lake. Woken up by the cold swim and a couple of coffees I scooted along to Cañate. Coast has its interesting moments but I have been spoiled by Patagonia and the Lake Districts.

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  1. Pete, loving the blog. Those B&W self portraits are making me think you've gone a bit Colonel Kurtz on us though!


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