Mountains, lakes, desert, strong winds and flat tires…

Posted: May 22, 2012 in Chile

So my last post had nothing to do with my ride down south. Instead, for the first time since I left Canada, I reached out to those reading this blog and asked for a “favor”. I asked everyone to take less than 30 seconds of their time and sign a petition in order to try and veto a new legislation passed in Brazil that would allow the deforestation of a large part of the Amazon. I looked at my stats and saw that out of over 200 unique visitors, 5 have clicked the link. I would like to congratulate and thank those 5 people for taking part. As for the rest, I would like you to take a nice deep breath of fresh air and choke on it.

Now back to our unscheduled free programing. I had split up with Matt and decided to stay on the Chile side to check out some more lakes and mountains.

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I passed Cochrane and still couldn’t find a spare tube. It was my last larger town for a few hundred km. I was getting a bit worried as I felt the punctured tire curse following me close. Oh well, I kept going. It was getting late and the sun had sunk behind the mountains. It was time to find a place to crash for the night. about 1km off the main road and just a few km away from Caleta Tortel I found a nice bridge with 0 traffic. I set-up camp and made fire.

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View from the bridge.

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Next morning I woke up all refreshed just to find my rear tire flat to the ground again. Took the wheel off, patched up the tube and I was on my way again. Like I said, the flat tire curse was following me. Back in the day I could have burned the witch for casting a spell but in the 21st century, I had to ignore the witch and just keep fixing the tubes.

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I made it to Caleta Tortel. It’s a village made out entirely of wooden walkways.

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All wooden walkways!

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I had to ride back to Cochrane about 130 km as that was the only road. So it was 260 km or so just to see this town. Well worth it though! It was time now to cross over to Argentina again through Paso Roballo, about 85 km east.

The scenery dried up really fast!

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The area all the way to the border is a private reserve. Nice to ride through but not too many wind protected places to pitch a tent. Somewhere about half way to the border, the owners of the reserve planted some trees and created a small area with tall grass and protection against the wind. It was like a small oasis. I even found some wood and made a fire. Perfect camping spot!

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I have to say that I had a great night sleep there! The next morning, I heard a motorcycle passing by. I looked out my tent and saw a gentleman on a scooter. I waved and went back to sleep. A bit later, I got up, packed everything and got back on the road. After about 30 min of riding, I saw the gentleman that passed me again. I was doing about 80-90km/h while he was struggling at around 10km/h on this softer gravel road. I stopped and we talked for a bit. He started his journey on this scooter from somewhere South of Peru. He has been on the road for about 8 months already! He was heading south, close to Ushuaia to see his daughter and decided to make an adventure of it.

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Custom made hard cases for a crazy scooter rider!

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I passed the border a bit further up. I didn’t even realize I was at the border till the police officer asked me for my passport. One guy takes care of all the paperwork there. He is the police, immigration and aduana all in one.

The view on the other side of the border.

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I rode all day with no problems. Lost the front a couple of times in heavier sand but saved it both times. Towards the end of the day, doing about 100km/h on the straight windy gravel road, I lost the back once again. By now I was getting used to it already. Took me a few hundred meters but I brought the bike to a full stop.

Flat tire, again….

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And the road I was on.

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The criminal… well, not quite, the witch is the criminal…

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Took the tire off and checked the tube. I already had my patch kit out and ready to go. The problem this time was that the nail had punctured the tube in about 20 spots by the time I stopped the bike so the tube could not be fixed. That was my last tube and the closest town was 80km away. I had a spare tube for the front wheel but it was totally the wrong size. The front was 21″ diameter and 90/90 while the rear was 17″ diameter 120/80. It was worth a try since it was the only option I had left. With the 21″ tube in, the tire was riding almost flat, but with enough air to be able to ride at around 20km/h. About 3 km away from the puncture site, I found an estancia (ranch). I went in and asked the owner if he had any tubes around. He pulled out some super old tubes that had no life left in them and said that’s all he had. I looked on the garage shelf and saw a box that said Michellin on it. I asked him what it was and he didn’t know, so I picked it up and looked inside. There was a brand new 18″ 90/90 tube. He charged me the price he paid for it as it was still marked on the box (60 pesos) and wished me luck. About 2 km down the road, the 21″ tube I had put in the back gave in. It was getting late and I was at the end of all my energy. A nice gentleman stopped on the side of the road and asked me what I was going to do and I told him I’ll just camp there and figure it out the next morning. He gave me some more than welcomed bread and water.

I set-up camp on the side of a secondary road.

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Shortly after setting up camp, I witnessed one of the most amazing sunsets.

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Meanwhile, 3 guys on BMWs showed up. I thought I was saved. They must have spare tubes! Sadly, they were riding on tubeless tires… We talked and laughed a bit then they went on their way. While talking to them, I saw my tent flying away. The wind was way too strong to keep it anchored in the soft sand so I moved it onto the secondary road and slept right on the road. You can also see my bike with the back tire totally down.

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As the sun was setting, the most incredible rainbow showed up. It was the biggest one I had ever seen, going from one hill to the other. I couldn’t capture it all with my camera lenses.

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Fixing the tire next morning.

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More desert and flat tires to come…

Comments
  1. Artem says:

    dude i think once you come back you can do consulting for drug trafficking.. You already know all of the back roads 🙂 You will be a big hit with Cartel. I can believe sleep on those roads this is crazy.. If it was me, I will be worrying about Chupacabra biting me in the ass. LOL Love your PICS.

    • pimptrix says:

      lol, I’ve been through a lot of the drug trafficking roads and borders on this trip. Lots of interesting stories from border officials, locals and maybe even traffickers. Most of these roads wouldn’t exist if the US wasn’t importing most of what’s produced. Cheers man!

      Stefan

  2. E- says:

    It’s so refreshing to see the nice pictures of your blog on days as today, May 22, the World Biodiversity Day! Keep taking them, so we can leave at least those as inheritance to the next generations, documenting how beautiful our planet used to be! and maybe they would make some reflect about the value of biodiversity. Throughout Earth geologic time, this is the first known instance that loss of biodiversity is caused overwhelmingly by a single species: humans. But people like you might help reverse this trend!

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