45 miles, 942 feet of climb, 942 ft max
The distance from Chillán to Los Angeles is 112 km (70 miles) via Ruta 5, but much longer if you don't want to go by the freeway. I heard that there is lodging in the small town of Yungay, about half way in between, so that's where I headed. I don't remember much about the ride other than it was an easy day.
The photo shows a typical Chilean farm.
On the way into town I saw a store with a sign out front indicating rooms for rent,
inquire within. So I did and was told that no, there were no rooms available.
A man outside on the sidewalk told me there was a "residencial" in town and gave
me directions. But a woman came by just then and said there's a place much closer
with a room available and proceeded to lead me there. I didn't want to be so
impolite as to ride off in another direction and obviously ignore her help, so I
followed her to a cocineria (small restaurant) around the corner.
Yes, they did have a room available. It turned out to be basically a storage room in the back of the restaurant with a bunk bed in it. The bunk beds looked like they were mainly used for storing old mattresses and I saw only one thing that looked vaguely like a sheet so I secretly decided I would get out my emergency Thermarest mattress and sleeping bag and sleep on the floor tonight. There's a funky but usable bathroom just a few feet down the hall. The water temperature varied between lukewarm and cold but at least I got clean.
In the "bedroom" they pushed aside the boxes of empty bottles, etc. and asked if
I was going out for awhile - they would have the place cleaned up by the time I
got back. I told them not to worry, I didn't mind. It was still early in the
afternoon so I put my bike in the room and wandered over to the plaza to watch
the people and study my Lonely Planet Latin American Phrasebook to kill some time.
I came back and showered and changed in time for dinner in the dining room. They are normally not open for dinner so I figured I would be eating all alone. However soon after I sat down two kids came in. We had a great conversation while I ate, although I had to explain why I don't talk so good. Daniel is 6 and the girl (whose name I didn't catch) is 8. They said they are not brother and sister, just friends. We exchanged our life stories, at least as far as my limited Spanish would allow. They had fun learning the English names for all the objects in the room. What's more, at their age they might actually remember a few of them. They wanted to know if everybody in America is as tall as me, whether there are children in America, etc.
Later I talked to Mama. She said her name is Claudia. I said it's similar to Claudio Arrau, the world-famous pianist who was born in Chillán. She seemed pleased by the comparison.
When I got ready for bed I found someone had moved a real bed into the room with
sheets and blankets and everything. I had a good night's sleep.
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