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Part Fifty Three: Carratera Austral – Northern Patagonia


The Carretera Austral or Route 7 [formerly Carretera General Augusto Pinochet], is the road/highway running north/south through Chilean Patagonia. It is part dirt and part sealed but all beauty. Being the well-traveled and weller-experienced adventure cyclist that I am, of course, I have always considered the Karakorum Highway running from far western China south into northern Pakistan to be the ultimate bicycle touring road. After a few more days on the Austral I may have to reassess this.

Veiw from the campsite north of Travelin, Argentina

Same Campsite. Probably the prettiest of the whole trip.

I made the left turn onto the Carratera Austral at Villa St Lucia having crossed from Argentina near Esquela/Trevelin. Still holding tight to the notion of pedaling every kilometre southwards from the top of Alaska to bottom of Argentina had declined the opportunity to cross to Chile further north and endure a ferry ride for part of the way where Route 7 is cut for a while.

As it turned out, staying in Argentina and cycling through the southern Lakes District was a bonus as just north of Travelin, the National Park was a very pretty couple of days of winding dirt road surrounded by a lovely collection of lakes and snow-peaks. The road across the border laid on the alpine vistas as well. Getting difficult to find an ugly spot in this part of the world.

On the Carratera Austral. The incline was not that steep but the sign looks impressive.

The seaside village of Puyuhuapi was the first wheel dip in The Pacific Ocean since Costa Rica.

Can’t get enough of the lakes and snow peaks.

Goucho country north of Coihuaique

Today finds your correspondent in Coihaique a mostly unpronounceable and unspellable provincial town full of gauchos. There were echoes of Australia this morning as I was awakened to the dulcet groans of a lawn mower churning through a ‘nature-strip’ outside the tired but comfy Hotel Austral (the owner of which turned out to be a prize-prick!). The women are intent on sporting the latest butt-lift jeans which cause all manner of odd contortions to the buttocks and abdomen.

The ride just north of here turned into a bit of a chore in that the derailleur decided to fall off and had to be wired into place and therefore I had one gear with which to ride the last 75km. Quite hard-core I have to say.

Comments

  1. Nice work Bob – great photos too. 75kms in one gear…ouch…yea very hard core.

    You will be pleased to know by comparison this morning I rode 45kms then and stopped at a cafe for a coffee, eggs and bacon. I feel somewhat in adequate in comparison to your daily endeavours…

    I really enjoy reading your blog and from a selfish point of view will be sad to stop receiving them when you finish. Always an enjoyable read. Enjoy the fine viewing, wine and beef.

    Cheers Josh

  2. Some delightful pics Bobbo – pity you didnt catch the northern sections as there are some jagged, snow smattered mountains lining the stillest of lakes in PN Pumalin. You could have spent countless hours gazing at your hardcore design and nature in them.

  3. G’wan ya good thing!

  4. Is that your new challenge ? Killing as many driving system as you can in the lesser time possible ? You are doing well, keep going … 🙂

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