Wednesday 4 April 2018

Life Back on the Road

As you can imagine from the last two posts , life for us has been a bit up and down. However, I am glad to report that Cloud 9 is nearly fixed. 

Sadly some damage was caused by getting the vehicle upright but with the help of our friends Perry and Ellen all the parts that needed replacing have now been replaced. 

That enough of the negative crap.Its time to get back to the journey.

To continue from the the last place we kept heading north up Ruta 7 in Chile, the Carraterra Austral . It was a slow journey as at this stage we hadn't completed all the repairs and if were brutally honest we have changed the way we drive in these "Ripio " roads and now treat them with a lot more caution

Puerto Tranquillo was always on our list of places to visit and it was really nice to get there and do some normal touristy stuff, as this marked the first stage back to everyday life . Lago Tranquillo boasts a rather strange phenomena being a large collection of caves that are situated on islands in the lake. They have been eroded over millions of years into strange features and shapes. The boat ride out to caves was a bit of a stomach churner and I wasn't really looking forward to the trip back to port.

We  limped on to Coyhaique were we had the chance to catch up with the vet Manuel and his wife Florencia and have a junk food overdose . 

Our aim was fixed on Puerto Montt which was the first really big town on our route . We believed that we could buy all the vehicle parts there but it was still over 650 km away and involved some pretty bad roads and several ferries. After loads of discussion and googling we could see that we could in fact get one overnight ferry onto the island of Chiloe and then drive on paved roads all the way to Puerto Montt. 
The ferry left from Puerto Cisness and we embarked at after midnight and just hunkered down in the truck until morning. 

Although beautiful Chiloe Island looked bleak and drab as the weather here was now definitely changing and it felt like winter was catching us up. 
One of the famous landmarks on the island is the supposed end of the "Pan American Highway" 
I say supposed as we have seen another two other locations that also claim to be the end of this road.

However , If I had just ridden a bicycle from Alaska to this location I would be pretty gutted as the the monument  was pretty crap.

We headed in tandem through the island stopping at several pretty towns . The island has obviously been quite a poor area and the Churches are made from timber and looked like they had been built by local boat builders. They were absolutely stunning.

Houses on stilts in the estuary in the islands capital "Castro"

We arrived in Puerto Montt. Now maybe we have been spoiled by beautiful countryside and open spaces but we didn't really like it . It was  big and busy and we couldn't find any of the things we came for. We did however have a great evening catching up with two cyclists, Grant and Leslie, who we had met on the day of the accident.

The weather had started getting better so the resort of Puerto Varas gave us a few pleasant day in the shadow of Volcano Osorno  and we managed to get a few more jobs done on the truck . Call me a softy but I even managed to give Pat a window back. 

 I know what your thinking.     Cake decorating isn't for me.

I have mentioned before that there is a lot of German influence here and the Kunstmann ( Try saying that right after a few of their beers )  Brewery in Valdivia is a great example of this.

We stayed in their car park and drank loads of Bavarian style bear in a Bavarian style Pub , served by Bavarians. Slightly weird in the middle of Chile, but non the less very nice. 

The drive to the town of Pucon via Villarica was the first real introduction to real wealth. The fantastic Lake front properties were in a different league to the other parts of Chile we had visited .

Pucon is a very touristy town full of back packers, soap dodgers and people with flowery trousers who are "Trying to find themselves "  despite all this it was really nice and the town sits at the foot of Mount Villarica which is an active Volcano which last erupted in march 2015. Despite the risk of another eruption the property development in the area is immense.

Another great highlight of Pucon was meeting up with one of Pats Internet friends " Roberta " from Brazil who is also travelling a similar route to us . We tried to meet up in Ushuaia but just missed each other. Having met in the town she kindly invited us to stay with her at a house she had rented in the hills just outside town. A real star.

Just an hours drive down the coast near the town of Conaripe is a tropical Spa called Termas Geometrica.

Its nestled in the hills in a small valley above the town. The drive up there was a challenge as the roads were steep, twisty and narrow. But as usual you think you have done really well and deserve a big yourself a pat for getting there in one piece. Then you enter the car park and park up between all the coaches and buses and family hatchbacks.

What a well needed afternoon. It has over 20 pools varying between 9 degrees and 44 degrees . We just headed to the hot ones and turned ourselves into boil in the bag humans . Happy birthday Pat xxx 

The Congiullio National park is a little piece of heaven nestled between loads of semi active Volcanoes and Lava field. The lunar landscape at the entrance is strangely beautiful and the forest areas are the healthiest I have ever seen .

The drive through the park was incredible, with narrow twisty turns with overhanging trees and views of the lakes and Volcanoes .

The weather has now turned a bit colder so North it is. 

i don't know if it was the fact that it was a bank Holiday weekend here, but the traffic on the way out was awful

Lots of horns and no manners

Don't Forget our Places and Photos page shows our route and more pictures

Hasta Luego