QuickPeek: Mechanicals. Rolling hills. Stunning ride.
I slept for nearly 11 hours or so and got up only after the sun was up for a while, nearly 9 am. It was a cold night, my GPS recorded 4C and in the morning it was cold indeed. Made some b’fast of oatmeal and some coffee and we packed up leisurely enjoing the sounds of the water flowing by and generally letting the beauty of the place sink in. It was nearly 11 by teh time we hit the road, it was alright, there is no need to rush being in a place as pretty as this.
The road out was super beautiful, as it was yesterday and though it was rolling, it was lovely to be gently meandering thro the valley with views of the rugged mountains, rivers and forest all along. About 15 km or so, we stopped at a greenhouse, but the lady there didn’t have much veggies to spare as it was close to the end of the season. Bummer. Though, she recommended that we should look at the option of riding to Puerto Cisnes (out of the way of Carratera Austral) and catching a boat to Puerto Montt! a 400 km Bypass. Her reasoning was that some stretches of the road ahead were being paved and was utter rubble. We had heard of that, but hadn’t contemplated the alternate option. Hmmm.
We continued on our way and after a while came across some road construction crew and before long hit up the quaint little village of Villa Amengual. Had a couple of issues while riding today. One was that, my gears were slipping. Seems like the small washer holding things in place was wearing out and i had to be careful to make sure it wouldn’t slip. The issue was that it would slip up to the high gears and that was no fun while riding uphill. A second, a little bit more serious issue happened. As I got on the bike after a shot break, my saddle came loose. More like the nose screw holding my saddle in place had chafed off and snapped right off. Luckily after a bit of inspection, I figured it wasn’t s show stopper, but serious enough that it required immediate attention to prevent the saddle from tearing apart.
I rode up to Villa Amengual very gently (hard to do with some steep uphills and a slipping gear, heh) and once in the village, looked for a mechanic or a ferrateria. There was a supermarket where we picked up some supplies, and the guy recommended a mechanic around the corner. My thought was to make a little stop nut so that I could get the nose bolt in place and stretch the saddle a bit. I wasn’t lucky to find metric threaded bolts, but there was a nut that would screw in a couple of threads and stay in place. I figured that was good enough and after a couple of tries managed to get the saddle setup right and back into working order ! Sweet!
I had another bit of mechanical, a minor niggle for the past few days. It was to do with my bottom bracket. Turned out that the bearing was coming off a bit (may be it was not loaded enough on the side) and was making an annoying ticking noise whenever I’d put load on it. dang. Annoyance, but I figured when I’d get some time, I’d look for a way to put it back in place. In the west case, though, I might have to get a new one, ah well.
Any how, given I was having a bunch of these mechanicals, and we being told that the forecast for the weekend was for some rains, it seemed like not the best of ideas to be riding into loose gravel, for potentially the next 3-4 days. Hmmm. The option to head to Puerto Cisnes to catch a ferry seemed to be a pretty decent idea. I checked around at Villa Amengual and was informed that there was a ferry for tomorrow to head to Puerto Montt, for 10,000 Pesos. That seemed to be the best option and we decided to take that.
We still had about 60 km to go and it was almost 2 pm. We decided to push for it and rode hard. The route was stunning as it had been and the day was incredibly beautiful. At the turnoff, we noted that the road heading North was indeed gravel and the road to Puerto Cisnes was beautifully paved. Well, no contest. We rode towards Puerto Cisnes and the route was incredible. We rode along some sheer rock walls along some pretty lakes and rivers and numerous icefields in the background. By the time we got to Puerto Cisnes, it was 7 pm and we headed up to the boat ticketing office and were to be hit with good and bad news.
Good news was that there was a boat leaving the same night, and there were tickets available. The and news being that there was no boat to Puerto Montt at all, but only to the small town of Quillon in the island of Chiloe! Dang, everyone along the way had given us wrong information. In addition, the tickets were 11,000 with an additional 7,500 for bikes. Shit! Ah well! I looked at the options and seemed like it was still possible for me to ride up and cross over to Puerto Montt and find a bus to the border and still be in time to get the visa worked out.
So we decided to take the 11 pm ferry (a near 20 hour journey) and figured once we were in the island to find out our options to get across as quick as we could. We had heard Chiloe was an interesting place, flat and with a pretty unique culture in Chile. Well, i guess random things happen on the road, but they all end up making the journey interesting!
Route: Campsite, 25km before Villa Amengual. to Puerto Cisnes
Distance: 86 Km
Services: Villa Amengual and Puerto Cisnes have a couple of stores.
Expenses: SG$ 51.97
Comments: There is no direct boat from Puerto Cisnes to Puerto Montt, the option exists only from Chacabulco.