QuickPeek: Gravel. Asphalt. Rolling hills.

It was great to be able to sleep indoors, yet again, heh. It was incredible hospitality shown to us and when we were up, our host Lydia was making fresh bread for b’fast! Sweet! I made some scrambled eggs and we had a pretty lovely b’fast with home made jams and coffee! It was an interesting experience because for Lidya and her husband, it was the first time they had foreigners sleeping in their home and it was nice to be able to share the idea that we are all pretty much the same! To me, it was great to see how much people are willing to help each other!

After a good b’fast and packing on a few more of the buns hat Lydia had made for us, we hit the road. Just outside of Pedregoso, the asphalt ended and a nice bit of gravel road invited us into the forest. Dang, Ripio, I would love to avoid riding a loaded bike gravel any day of the week!

We had about 16 km of gravel (we were told 10 or 12 max), and it was up and down and loose with sand! Pretty much the worst conditions. Even the Marathon Plus Tour’s that Asia and Pedro gifted me could not get a bite into it. I had to resort to puuhing the bike up many of the 15% slopes and had to strain a bunch to keep the bike from loosing traction on the downhills. It eventually took a bit more than 2 hours to cross the route. Luckily it was a pretty quiet farm route and with not much traffic, it was indeed pleasant to be on this section. I just wished that the road was better to enjoy the views!

As we neared the end of the gravel section, the Volcan Llaima came into view. Our plan was to head that way and loop around the volcano inside the Parque Nacional Conguillo! But by the time we had done the 16 km of gravel, we were pretty tired and we rode up to a small town of Los Laureles for a bit of a breather. We had a bit of lunch and looked at the options.

I chatted with a lady at a grocery store and she pointed out a few interesting tidbits. One was that the rain in the hills was expected a bit earlier, on Wednesday rather than Thursday that we hoped for. Also, the Wednesday was a day of Census in Chile and everything was going to be shutdown. In case we came out of the National park on time, we might not have any stores to buy supplies. Ouch. Also the road inside the park was loose gravel. Ah Dang. With the impending rain and a gravel up and down a volcanic route, I was not psyched to take the route and we decided to turn towards the town of Temuco!

I had been in touch with a warmshowers host in Temuco whom I got in contact with and he was happy to have us in his place! We had a lot of time to get to his place as he was working till 10 pm! Well, It was 4 pm and with another 70 km to go and 3-4 hours of sunlight, we figured it was worth trying to make it to town. So on we rode.

The section we chose to ride was a bit of a tough one. It seemed flat (even a long slope downhill) on the map, but in reality, it was steep rolling hills. Shucks. Every bit of up and down was 10% grade and narrow with pretty regular traffic. As the day stretched on, my legs were getting pretty tired and the traffic got more intense too. So it was a bit of a workout indeed and eventually we got into town just as it was getting dark.

We stopped at a cafe for a bit of snack and also to while away time before we got to our host, Jordan’s, place. At 10 PM, we rode up to his place and within a few minutes he came back from work too. I was too tired for a meal and just decided to knock off to sleep!

Track Notes

Route: Pedregoso to Temuco
Distance: 97 Km
Road: 16km gravel from Pedregoso. Asphalt with tiny shoulder after.
Traffic: Light till Los Laureles. Moderate on the Cunco Road. Heavy near Temuco.
Services: Often
Expenses: SG$ 11.82
Comments: Sometimes downhills on maps are not really so in reality.