Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Monday: final escape from the blockades

We decided it was time to leave Chile and it's civil unrest, and make a break for the border. We heard that after allowing people to leave the park during the last few days, no-one would be allowed out today (except cyclists obviously) . The park was also not allowing anyone else in. Phil and Isa will have a very quiet great circuit walk! There was also talk that the cities would be shut down for the day again. This made for very quiet roads leaving the park (we saw five vehicles on the road out - two were very obviously locals, and one was an ambulance). This meant we got to see a great deal of wildlife including many guanaco, rhea, flamingos, gray foxes and even something which looked like an armadillo!

We had some waking and bike chain issues first thing in the morning, so weren't sure we were actually going to make it to Argentina today, but after lunch ('interesting' polenta, again), we made good progress and crossed the border at about 4pm. They were quite surprised to see anyone coming into Argentina, and were interested on what the situation was like at that point.  The bike was again admired as a way to get around in Chile at the moment. As we were making good progress, we decided to press on and do the 40km to Tapi Aiki. Once we got onto ruta 40, the tarmac was great. The last 10km turned into a slog though as we developed a headwind. It's frustrating to go from traveling at 20mph on an incline to struggling to do 10mph downhill!

We'd been tipped off (thanks Phil & Isa!) as to a good sheltered spot to put the tent, so quickly pitched it and had a nice risotto feast (packet said serves 4, ha!)

map of route