My Cycling Tour in Chile, Day 12

March 21 Tuesday, Nueva Toltén to Puerto Saavedra

Day 12 map

Day 12 elevation profile
55 miles, 833 feet of climb, 230 ft max

This was not a good day. I had my first flat tire, heard my first angry beep, and was lost much of the day. The route north looks clear on the map, but there are lots of unmarked intersections on the unpaved back roads. The shape of the track on my GPS doesn't bear much resemblance to the roads on the map although I was going generally north as I was supposed to.

View of lake shore One Spanish phrase I am getting really good at is, "¿Cómo se va a ...?" (What's the way to ...?). At one point a young fellow on a bicycle was kind enough to lead me to the next intersection. At another three-way intersection I asked the driver of a disabled bus but he didn't know. Fortunately a few minutes later a local wandered by. He said you can go this way by the beach or this other way which is simpler. Simple sounded good to me but I soon ended up on the beach anyway.

Field with gate in foreground At some point during the day I rode into a little village that was having some kind of event. Tables and booths were set up and there were lots of people around. Several young boys were fascinated by my bicycle. They told me today is the monthly market day in the village. I wanted to get a photo but there was no way to do that unobtrusively. I bought a "completo" (hot dog with everything) from a booth. Next time I order one of these things I'll have to remember to tell them to leave off the half-inch-thick layer of mayonnaise on the top.

Road with sea in background They must have recently re-graded the roads I was on today because there was a 2-3-inch layer of gravel that made riding virtually impossible in places. For awhile I rode on a footpath worn into the grass by the side of the road. When that disappeared I found a narrow strip of thin gravel right in the center of the road. Every time a bus or truck came along it had to squeeze over to get around me, of course leaving a huge cloud of dust as it passed. At one point I got my first angry beep of the tour from (of course) a pickup truck. I guess he didn't want to steer around me even though there was plenty of room.

Fence with field and lake I also had my first flat of the tour. It was a sidewall cut that I was able to fix with a large patch. When I get home this bike gets a new rear tire.

Road, looking down hill Sr. Gallegos yesterday recommended I visit the Mapuche community of Puerto Dominguez on the east side of Lake Budi. On the map it doesn't look too far out of the way. About 4 miles after turning off in that direction I saw a sign that said Puerto Dominguez 8 km (about 5 miles). I did the calculations and at the speed I was going on the bad roads I figured an extra 10 miles might put me into Puerto Saavedra dangerously close to dark so I turned back. It turned out to be a good decision.

Lake, field, and cows I spent much of the day today riding in the vicinity of Lake Budi, but I think the only time I actually saw it was when I passed over the mouth of the lake where it empties into the sea not far from Puerto Saavedra.

Boats in Puerto Saavedra harbor By the time I finally rode into town it was 6:30, about a half hour before sunset. (I actually took these last three photos the next morning.)

The 'Gringo' market in Pto. Saavedra Somehow I came into town from the north. I bought some supplies at the "Gringo Supermarket" and learned that the places to stay are south of town. If I had come into town from the south as I was supposed to I would have passed right by them. I stopped at a nice-looking hospedaje but the lady said they were completely full - no vacancy. I rode on farther, and down near the beach there were a number of places advertising cabañas. I picked one more or less at random.

My cabin in Puerto Saavedra The cabin the young woman showed me was good-sized, with a single bed in the outer room and two beds in the inner room. It smelled kind of dank and I could see spots of mold on the walls. I asked if there was hot water. She hesitated and said no. I can see the water heater mounted on the wall but either she doesn't want to be bothered lighting it or the gas is turned off for the season. 14,000 pesos. For the first time I tried to talk down the price of a room, but the sun was just dipping below the horizon and she could see I'm on a bike so I didn't have a strong negotiating position. Basically I'm paying the same price that a family would pay to occupy the cabin.

I gave her 15,000 pesos to pay the 14,000-peso bill. She had to use a calculator to figure the change. And got it wrong the first time and had to do it again. They do have a nice dining room. The same woman acts as receptionist, waitress and cook. I think I had lomo a lo pobre again; I do recall the food was quite good. She miscalculated the bill (overcharged me 100 pesos). Obviously she's better at cooking than math.

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