Cycling Chile/Argentina '04 | Coyhaique Index Day 37 Day 39
Day 38: Cochrane -> Camp Carretera #2 27KM Please Don't Follow Us

Our tent was officially gone.

Brian used one of the patches Graham gave us to fix one of the bigger holes and that seemed to fit the problem. Gabi stopped by in the morning to give us her spare glue. Now with patches and glue, even Brian's tube now looked like a grandma's handmade quilt, there was no leak anymore. At least for now.

We were slow to pack while waiting for our cloth to get dry. 11:30AM, Chris came by asking Brian to help him find the bike repair shop. He had been riding on a bent front wheel since Candelario.

At noon time, just as I was about to leave the hostel to meet Brian, I heard a prolonged siren quite similar to the one we heard in Tortel. There are no boats here. What was wrong? I jumped on my bike and rode to the Mercao where Brian just walked out of the door. He looked quite happy.

"Got new tent! Cranky, just in time." Brian reported. Behind him, people were rushing out of the Mercado like a big school of fish. Some of them were taking off their shirt, some looked somehow familiar. What was going on, looked like everybody who worked in the Mercado was leaving. Fire? But no smoke.

No fire and no air-raid, it was simply an everyday routine -- Lunch Time. The siren must be for the shoppers who need something quick, because otherwise, you would have to wait for another 3 hrs. That's quite helpful actually.

Another small puzzle solved.

Brian took Chris to find the bike guy then met me in the town plaza to have our almuerzo (lunch). And of course, just as we set down on the park bench, it started to drizzle. None of the locals including school kids coming out of class was running so we tried to be calm and contined on with our lunch.

Drizzle turned into rain when we were ready to hit the road. For a last ditch effort, we went to the radio station one more time and gave the manager our email address hoping someone would contact us later about our tent.

Pouring rain as we cycled out of Cochrane. A truck-load of construction workers in yellow jacket cheered at us as they passed us by.

You could never go wrong by assuming after a big downhill, an up was not far away. Right after leaving Cochrane, what a surprise, uphill and quite the streunous ones too since we were fully stocked on goodies, cookies, tomatos, and even a big can of cherry with juice. (Those sweet memories of Guinda ...)

A horseman with his dog was the only other person who shared the road with us. When we rode uphill, he passed us; When we came downhill, we passed him. We did this several times before he somehow disappeared.

Over a prominent mound extending way out into the valley, we could see Cochrane covered in rain clouds. Incredibly, we had successfully escaped the rain. The sun was almost out, the few drops of sunshower was not even cold.

"Please, rain, stay there, don't follow us."

Eventually we came to a huge downhill that took us to a bridge at the bottom of a river gorge. And not surprisingly, it was time to start going up again on a even steeper hill - we basically gave up all the climb we did for the past two hours to go over a 10 feet long bridge.

With lessons learned from going to Cochrane, this time, we started looking for camping spot way before sunset. We pushed another hill after the bridge and saw many great places to camp, but there was no water, so we kept going and going. We could see waterfalls in the distanct mountain and could even hear the roaring noise of either a river or big waterfall.

But we didn't see any rivers. At 6:30, we came to a grassy area and decided not to chase the illusive sound of the water anymore. We had enough water for one night.

What seemed to be a grassy area was in fact quite rocky underneath. We took out our new tent but before we could figure out how to set it up, the rain had caught up with us. No!

The tent was unruly, especially when we had to set it up on grass that was almost to my thigh. Without staking to the ground, it looked like a hanging castle; after anchoring with stakes, its dome shape turned into an ugly pear and inside, what was supposed to be a 2-person tent had only enough room for a half-length thermo-a-rest. Our castle was quite spartan, but at least it kept us dry and we enjoyed a nice dinner listening to the rain.

Index Day 37 Day 39