QuickPeek: Hill. Rolling hills. No shoulder. Rain.
We had a bit of a climb in the early part of the day and I wasn’t sure of the terrain on the other side. So we planned a conservative route and decided to ride up to a small town called Canete about 55 km away. I woke up to overcast skies with low hanging clouds and it seemed like a lot of rain in the offing. Dang, my forecast said we were to expect clear skies for a week! Ah well. I did a quick b’fast and coffee at the hostel kitchen and we got on the road at 11ish.
The road climbed right off the bat, but it was a gentle slope at about 4-5%. In the misty and drizzly morning, it was a lovely bit of riding. As we were riding past a national forest, it was a great relief to have the scenery change to some native forest with trees turning yellow for fall and the entire atmosphere feeling very mystical in the low hanging fog. The drizzle continued on and off and after an hour or so, we made it to the summit and the border of region IX and we entered Bio Bio.
After a bit of a steep downhill, we got to the other side of the hills and started on some pretty serious rolling hills. The road continued on to the lake Lanalhue and with the hills pretty much hugging the lake, the route had to twist in and out making for a pretty and enjoyable ride. The road was pretty darn narrow though and the traffic was a bit of an issue. Surprisingly, the most decent drivers were the timber truckers and the sedans (I suppose from Concepcion) were the rude ones. Mostly, people were nice on the road, but given there was no shoulder space (sometimes the road ended in a water gutter), some of the bits were precarious. I was nearly run off when two trucks passed me at the same time. The twisty nature of the route meant that visibility was a bit of a problem too. Ah well, it was a mater of listening to traffic and try to take evasive action as early as I could.
As the day progressed, the constant up and down took a bit of toll on my muscles and I was getting tired. I didn’t have much snacks with me and after a while, the energy levels were low too. So it was a matter of grinding along to get to the town of Canete. Just before town, we made a stop at what Katy called the best Mapuche Museum in the region. It was free entrance and in reality was a really neat museum and had numerous artefacts and a lot of cultural information about the people of this region.
After the brief stop, we rolled into town and hoped to stay at the Bomberos. The bombers here was pretty fancy and I tried talking to someone on an intercom. But it’s hard to convince people to allow one to accommodate over a phone and We weren’t able to score a place. Bummer. However, the church was just across from the Plaza and I figured it was a good idea to ask. The church was open and after an enquiry, I was let to talk with the Pastor Oscar. He was a really friendly chap and was happy to let us camp for the night. He thought about it for a minute and said that they might have a couple of beds instead! Sweet! We took the bikes in and Oscar showed us some cozy beds with ensuite bathroom and a hall with tables and chairs which he said we could use for cooking!
We walked up to a market to get some veggies and made a nice bit of dinner before catching up on my writing and editing and getting to sleep. I haven’t had much luck with churches before, and this is the first time I get to sleep in one! If Church Accommodations are generally half as awesome as this, I think I will try my luck at every opportunity!
Route: Puren to Canete
Distance: 55 Km
Road: Asphalt. No shoulder.
Traffic: Moderate to heavy at times.
Expenses: SG$ 3.50
Comments: With rain in the forecast, a cozy bed in a church is a bit of paradise!