78 miles, 2326 feet of climb, 699 ft max
Riding east back from Lebu I noticed a strong crosswind from my right. Sure enough, 18 miles later when I turned north I had a wonderful tailwind that followed me most of the rest of the day.
I just had to take a photo of this store. The slogan says it all, "Alfa has
everything. - Good Pretty Cheap".
The plan today was to stop in the town of Lota, a former coal-mining town 25 miles or so south of Concepción. However, when I stopped for lunch the proprietor convinced me that Lota is not a good place to spend the night and I should push on just a little farther to Coronel.
Lota's economy has been severely depressed since the coal mines closed in 1997.
As I passed it on the highway I could see the shantytowns. The lodging in town
consists of a couple of beachfront casinos. Taking the advice I had received,
I rode right past them toward Coronel.
On the outskirts of town I pulled my standard trick of stopping at a store for a Coke and to ask where there is lodging. I met the manager (owner?) outside as he was finishing unloading a delivery and conversed with him for a few minutes. He assured me there is no lodging in Coronel but there is a motel just down the road about 4 km.
Sure enough I didn't see anything that looked like rooms for rent as I rode through town. At about the right distance I saw a small sign in the grass to the left of the road with the word "Motel" and an arrow pointing left. I didn't see anything that looked like a motel so I stopped and asked a fellow at a bus terminal. He pointed across the road, over the railroad tracks, on the other side of a street running parallel to the highway, to a one-lane residential street that angled off to the right. He said take that street, go over the bridge and down the street. There was a walkway through the grass over the railroad tracks. I met a lady coming the other way and she confirmed the directions.
At the end of the one-lane street there was a kind-of bridge, really more like a
culvert, to the right that lead to an unpaved street. I went several blocks down
the street and still didn't see a motel. An older gentleman came walking by and
offered to lead me to the motel since he was going the same way. We talked as we
walked about Mexican TV shows on Chilean TV, the fact that there are still working
mines in Coronel but not in Lota, etc.
The motel has a very nice courtyard with widely-spaced cabins. I wondered about
such a nice motel so far from the highway and with no good signs advertising its
presence. How does it pull in customers?
My suspicions were confirmed when I saw the room. The decor is all in shades of red. There's a canopy over the bed and a sexy print on the wall. It's the perfect secluded hideaway for lovers who have no other place to go for privacy. But it will do just fine for my purposes. The room is huge, the bed comfortable, and it has a nice bathroom. The price of 10,000 pesos is reasonable. A sign on the wall says the price is only good for 12 hours maximum, but I suspect there won't be a problem in my case.
The one problem is that there is no restaurant nearby. I didn't get a key to the room, but the lady said I can go ahead and lock the door and they will unlock it for me when I return from dinner.
After showering I put on a clean shirt and my polyester pants and rode the unloaded
bike back toward civilization looking for food. I found a food market where I
bought some bread, ham, and a Coke. I slung the plastic shopping bag over the
handlebars and rode back to make my dinner in the motel room.
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