Cycling days 257 to 258 - Ancud to Quellon

Trip Start Apr 07, 2010
Trip End Jan 19, 2012

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Flag of Chile  , Los Lagos,
Thursday, December 1, 2011

Day 257 (11/30/11): 122km

As we wake up to clear blue skies and a bit of headwind, we realize that we have about one and a half day to cover 200km which would take us to Quellon (at the southern end of the island) in time to catch the once-per-week ferry to Chaiten (on the mainland). That deadline will not give us much time to explore Chiloe, but the other alternative is to spend over a week on the island, which might be a bit too much for our fast-paced lifestyle. As we start pedaling, we are surprised by how much traffic there is. We quickly get tired of the loud semi-trucks and honking cars which always make it difficult for us to enjoy our surrounding. As soon as we get the chance, we deviate from the Pan-Am and head towards Dalague rather than going straight to Castro, adding a few kilometers to our route. We find out quickly that the interesting parts of Chiloe are the seaside villages and not the roads connecting them – too bad we don't have the luxury of hanging out very long in town and instead are spending our time between them. At least this part of the highway skirts the shore and with the endless, steep hills, we get a good view. Our little detour also avoids a big smoky forest fire, an unexpected bonus for taking the longer way around.

By 4pm, we reach 70km; if this is our pace tomorrow, we would be cutting it really close to making the boat. The non-stop ups and down plus headwind is making us work hard to reach today’s distance goal. The one good thing about being forced to go at a slow pace is that we didn’t miss spotting a Pudu, the smallest deer in the world, a rare sight. We keep the breaks relatively short and even forego a nice restaurant dinner, telling ourselves that we will reward ourselves with a nice meal if we make it with enough time tomorrow. For now, we’ll settle for a quick stop in a grocery store to buy fresh sausages for tonight’s dinner. We push until 9pm after racing over the last few hills and passed some very dense rainforest-like vegetation, which would be impossible to camp in. We end the day at an old bulldozed site off the road and out of view.

Day 258 (12/1/11): 54km

Wow, we passed out and slept like babies through the entire night! We wish we could sleep in longer, but we get an early start to give ourselves enough time to make it to Quellon for the ferry. With no wind and a cloudless sky, we have another perfect day on "rainy Chiloe." The hills are also mellower overall, allowing us to make the 50km by 11:30am. With plenty of time to spare, we feel much better. As we go buy our tickets for the boat to Chaiten, we see a German family traveling by RV, who we waved to yesterday while passing through Castro. Detlef (the dad) and Yannick start talking while waiting to purchase tickets and end up saying it would be fine for us to load our bicycles onto the top of his vehicle, saving us 15,000 pesos (roughly $30) on our fare. We get our tickets just before the office closes at 1pm, making us very glad we got to Quellon early – who knows if the ticket office will re-open later today!

We can’t find curranto in town (we didn’t look very hard) and have paila marina (shellfish stew) and some kind of mashed abalone (forgot the name of it :) for lunch, stop at the supermarket, then prep the bikes for transport. 

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