Saturday, March 12, 2011

Day 147 (762km): Nothing exotic about this

The morning started off well. We said goodbye to Edgardo and Ines after having a really nice time visiting them. Leaving Santiago was surprisingly civilized, though based on how nice the city is I guess we should have anticipated this. Even still it's always a nice surprise.
Saying goodbye

Back onto Ruta 5, our bread and butter. It was a similar highway to the way we came into Santiago: four-lane divided highway.... with toll booths. I should mention that since we've reached populated Chile the people have been a lot friendlier. So South we went enjoying the 120 kph speed limit.
Riding in a tunnel leaving Santiago

The riding today was soulless. Apart from a few Volcanos in the distance there was no way to tell the difference between where we were and an Interstate in the US. I enjoy two things when I am on bike trips the riding (which is a combination of road and scenery) and camping. The riding today was not inspiring but again I can't complain too much because we are making good progress. I enjoy a road like this to, for example, the Espinoza del Diablo in Mexico cause I'm not frustrated by slow moving trucks and people trying to kill me.

The road went through winery country, and farming country... with a little bit of forests.
Stopping for a bathroom break
Every time I get a glimpse of myself I laugh at my 2-toned outfit
Los Pinos

Two things to complain about. Why is that the further south we go the warmer it gets. WTF!?! It was over 30 degrees today. I signed up for the end of the world and ice on my tent... haha. Second, we must have gone through one million toll booths. It was getting out of hand. I would rather have a normal road without toll booths than this crazy divided one.
Trying to sort out all the toll road receipts that were stuffed in our pockets

At around 5:30 we started to look for a campground. There were fences at either side of the road and it was pretty populated. Bush camping wasn't really an option. We had seen campgrounds all day so we didn't think this would be too difficult. One thing that is a pain in the ass in Chile is the signage. Once we started looking we saw 3 campground signs but with no indication as to their whereabouts. The other frustrating thing was that there were two good looking campgrounds but they only serviced the northbound lane (stupid divided highway). Or sometimes you'll see a tiny little camping sign and by the time you've read it you've past the turn (cause the sign is right at the turn!). So we continued for almost 3 hours trying to find somewhere to stay. This was about 1.5 hrs more than my limit. I was completely fed up with the situation. Finally we saw a campground sign and even though it was on the northbound side there was a break in the divider.

We followed the signs down a dirt road. The gate was locked. A girl with a very friendly puppy came out. The campground was closed for the season but Alberto convinced her to let us in. It was actually a nice little spot, even though we were sharing it with the cows.
Just us and the cows
Our campsite

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