Monday, March 22, 2010

Ride Report #10: Pucon to Santiago, Chile!

I woke after 5 hours of sleep in one of the coolest hostels I've ever seen. Ecole is located in the center of Pucon, with a full vegetarian menu, cafe and beer on tap. I would have loved to stay longer but I had a big day ahead of me. I left early after a mexican style breakfast knowing I was in for over 800 km of riding through the area of Chile hardest hit by the earthquake.

The morning started early, cold and extremely foggy. I was wearing all of the layers available and praying for sunshine. Soon after getting to the Ruta 5 my wishes were granted!

The Ruta 5 which is the main vein running up and down through the center of this skinny country is usually perfectly maintained and allows for big miles. However, once I got closer to Concepcion the road started to fall apart. Bridges were out, guard rails pulled down, huge cracks in the pavement and random depressions in the freeway. This all made for more detours than I could count. However, the Chilean authorities did a fantastic job of marking these extensive hazards.

I would be cruising at down the road at 120 kph and have to come to almost a complete stop to ride through a depression the size of a shallow pool, then get back up to speed to be stopped 1 km down the road and detour around a collapsed bridge.

All of this made for an eventful, albeit long and tedious ride taking 10+ hours. In a car or bus it would have taken closer to 13 or 14 hours.

After an hour or so trying to find a reasonably priced hostel I stumbled across this charming guest house in the center of Santiago with the oh so valuable moto parking!

The daughter of the family welcomed me and made me feel at home for my one night stay. We spoke extensively (as much as possible in Spanish) about the devastating earthquake just weeks before. Above is some of the damage to her family's adobe style home.

That night, although EXTREMELY tired and feeling a cold coming on, I ventured out to see the new W hotel in Santiago. A buddy of mine works at the W in LA and made arrangements for me to go the Whiskey Blue Bar. I had fun dancing a making new friends until I could barely stand, then back home for a few hours of rest before leaving for Mendoza the following day.

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