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Mutts On Bikes

"I will rip your puppy head off" and ROAD REPORT

CHILE | Sunday, 1 February 2009 | Views [1147]

Instead of writing about things such as Bill Murray´s fantastic adventures with Toni Braxton and the rest of the MuttPack, this is the ex-cook, now half-assed photographer with reports from the road! This is maybe, besides the bird list, the only actual useful part of our blog. This is our route, and if any fellow cyclists have questions about the roads or routes, let us know!!!

Argentina: Ruta 7- Lujan-Mendoza (I didnt record much here, its all pretty much the same, and it didnt occur to me to take dilligent notes.) Flat. Crossed in 8 days. First rolling hills seen after Mercedes. All with ´No Bike´signs, but we did it without a problem. No shoulder, but wide gravel/grass on side to pull over for emergencies/trucks passing. High traffic, but safe. East of Lan Luis turns into 4 lane highway with grassy median, otherwise was 2 lane the whole way. Pretty farmland, fairly boring. SOS (help) phones along route.

Andes: Totally do-able, from Argentinian side. From Chile, it would be a challenge, physically. Little shoulder, high traffic, few supplies, few supplies, but can drink out of the rivers, especially with a water filter. Wished we would have biked it, but little preperation/knowledge of roads etc. And high high traffic for new years rush. Approximately 3-4 day ride.

Chile: Ruta 68 Santiago-Valparaiso- Shoulder, rolling hills, 2tunnels, first with large shoulder, and lit. Bike-able, if done quickly and with lights. The second is very sketchy. Hitch through it. No shoulder, sharp metal coming out of the walls. Short, lit. We really were preparing for impact from one of the busses passing through. This is the one time that i was screaming "Holy Sh-t!! We are gonna die!!!!!!" and Cat actually believed me. We found out in Valparaiso that you can call on one of the SOS phones for help, and they will come pick you up and drive you through the tunnels.Long descent into Valparaiso.

After Valparaiso, we jumped on Ruta 5 north.

Do Not bike into Parque Nacional Fray Jorge! Unless you have a full suspension mountain bike with huge tires. Thick sand, very bumpy road. Two mountains to climb, we had to walk our bikes up, and almost impossible to ride either up or down these mountains without immenent death. Not much notable about Ruta 5 now.

La Serena-Vicuna: beautiful ride, tunnel with no lights and sidewalk. ok to ride.

La Serena- Copiapo: not much. Vallanar is a big city.

Vallanar- around km 760: wide shoulder, wonderful. Km760-Copiapo: (more or less 50 km) patchy potholes, loose gravel in places, few short hills. Long descent into copiapo. Posada 70km south of copiapo, another 20km south. stop at posadas for water!

Copiapo-Rodillo: smooth, bike path for a ways north out of copiapo. few potholes, broken pavement but good.

Rodillo-Chanaral: great, beautiful coastal views. white beaches, ok shoulder in some places, whide shoulder after flamenco. flat. few rolling areas.

Chanaral-Pan de Azucar: oiled dirt road. bumpy but very rideable and beautiful!!!

Chanaral-Antofogasta: NOTHING!!!! las bombas-posada. mina la union exit to taltal- posada 5km from here. hosteria 5 km also. km1145 Agua Verde- posada, Copec gas station. After Agua Verde-good shoulder. at km1175 posada (before turnoff to oficina Alemania.) About km2000-bus stop for shade, but no food or water. Km 1281- posada. 1308km (71km to Antofogasta) there is a big frickin hand in the desert, but no food or water. 1354km gas staions outside of antofogasta. Note! We hitched this part, but we were "prepared" carrying enough food and water for 2 or 3 days, but. The good omens fell into line-deciding to Bolivia in the morning, realizing that we needed to hitch part of the desert to save time. We got on our bikes to ride out of Pan de Azucar, when the Amazing Flying Green Van full of Musicians from Santiago passed us, and we decided to go with them. Guess we got a ride for the worst part. This would be the hardest part, in our opinion. Do-able, if you carry enough water for 2 or 3 days.

Antofogasta-Caleta Buena: Ruta 1- long tiem to get out of Antofogasta more or less 10km. Excruciating, since we wanted to get the hell out as soon as possible. High traffic until turn off to Ruta 5, Flat until after Hornitos. Then easy rolling. Posada at 2cd turnoff to Mejillones. Definate Posada and small water store at Michilla. Caleta buena- Posada, Beach camping with tent. Small caletas until Tocopilla.

Caleta Buena- Rio Loa: Rolling hills, plenty of water, food, posadas, camping everywhere! wooooo! beautiful ride. moon scapes like hella.

Rio Loa-Iquique: Rio Loa is a Caravineros (Police) Checkpoint into Region 1. 24hr restaraunt, minimarket. Small roadside stand across from saltmine (the white crystals on the side of the road is salt dropped from passing trucks.) but if you continue 1km further, there is a small beach town called Chanavailla with restaruants, places to buy fruit and water, etc. Road is perfect with wide shoulder, smooth pavement low traffic, strong tailind that carried us into Iquique. Two notable climbs earlier in the ride. And when I say notable, i mean big pain in the ass, but still do able. Straight back down to sea level. Mostly flat with small rolling hills starting 20km south of Iquique, followed by a huge descent into the city.

And that is my crude attempt at stringing together english words into coherent sentences, when the majority of my communication has been in broken spanish ("i am of the having of the bicycle cat, you are the one with the big head in the bottle.") and the rest of my english has been fragments like, "i am the one, who shall be in pain until evening" or "did you take all my! nevermind." so. if you have questions. let me know.

happy pedalling.

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