Sunday, February 13, 2011

Saturday 12 Feb: the final day on the carretera austral


During the night, both of us woke to hear rain, so waking up to grey skies and heavy showers wasn't too much of a shock after the five days of sun. Despite not feeling desperately like getting wet, we managed to be on the road not long after 9am. One of the reasons we wanted to stop beyond the town yesterday was that we seem to find it difficult to get on the road early when we stay in towns. One of the main reasons for this is that we frequently realise that we would like something else from a shop,  and the Chilians don't really seem to 'do' mornings. It's strange coming from a culture where bakers get up early in the morning to bake bread to be somewhere where it's difficult to get bread before about 10am (although you can sometimes get yesterday's bread before then - if there is a shop open). Bread is a staple ingredient for breakfast and lunch for us, so we get through quite a bit!

Our aim for today was to get to Villa Santa Lucía (70km north) and take the turning towards Futaleufú. This would enable us to reach Futaleufú tomorrow. After an hour or so on the road, the rain slackened slightly so at our elevenses stop we actually removed our waterproof trousers. We made good progress despite the continuing light rain, and even though the view was mostly hidden behind clouds, I'd still rather be on the bike than in a car. During lunch the rain clouds came in again, and it was back to peering through the gloom again. We passed a coffee shop/bakery in the middle of nowhere shortly afterwards, and even though we'd only just finished lunch, we couldn't pass on a cup of tea! And we were able to stock up on bread too.

We made it to Villa Santa Lucía in good time, and managed to top up our supplies of orange juice and yogurt before waving bye bye to the carretera Austral and turning right. We had heard of a great spot to wild camp along this road, with beautiful views, and friendly local folks. After another 10km of heavy rain however, we decided to see what a small hosteria had to offer, as views require some visability to enjoy them! We had been planning to stay somewhere nice in Futaleufú, but sleeping in a bed tonight and camping once there seems the better plan in this weather. They also serve an evening meal here, so after a post ride snack and a very nice shower, there's even time for a pre meal snooze! Excellent work!