Carretera Austral II

Kevin had mentioned that it has rained at least one day during each trip he’s made on the Carretera Austral. Well, today was not going to be one of those days. We again were blessed with weather conditions perfect for riding and photography. The only down side was that we said good bye to Julian. His back was still in spasms. Last night, a doctor had advised against his continuing to ride. We will miss having the “Crop Doc” from Fresno as part of our team.

With the Globebusters people busy making evacuation arrangements for Julian and his injured bike, Terry, Peter, and Chuck took me under their caring wings for the day’s ride. I have no problem, and thoroughly enjoy, riding alone on paved roads. Changeable unpaved roads are another story. There are so many opportunities for disaster from a simple foot slip at a stop in loose gravel, to riding a bit too close to the edge of a narrow road and winding up in the ditch, to a major crash, that I prefer riding as a team under such conditions. One thing with group riding and road directions that may have changed since scouted, is that sometimes we wonder where to go. A conference at one junction led to the photo of Peter, Chuck, Marcelo, and Terry all pointing different directions as the way to go.

We’re now far enough north in South America that we entered the area of subtropical rainforests. The greenery was lush. Giant leaves threatened to grab us from our bikes and become their next meal.
Villa Amengual was the spot for our coffee and rest break. With many gauchos in the area, the local “Supermarcado” had spurs and saddles as well as groceries and beer. Terry invited a young boy to dream from the seat of his BMW R1200 GS Adventure. It got me thinking about what opportunities are in that boy’s future considering that he lives in a tiny village in a remote part of the Andes.

Although unpaved, the road was gentle enough to allow appreciation of the superb scenery and for personal reflection. I began thinking of my Women On Wheels friend, Sully Myott. A collision with a deer had permanently affected her ability to lift one of her arms. Yet a few years ago, at the AMA Women In Motorcycling Conference, she and I hooked up and participated in the timed obstacle course competition. Despite her compromised arm, she maneuvered her Gold Wing beautifully and didn’t give up just because a few cones took hits. The next summer, she was not at the annual Women On Wheels International Ride-In. A very aggressive cancer had taken hold and took her life. I hope that the lack of strength and mobility I’m currently experiencing in my left arm is not permanent. Until I find out, each time I struggle, I will think of Sully’s courage.

German settlers built our home for tonight in 1957. In the 1930s, 4 families came to the area and established Puyuhuapi, a town of 500. Of all the lovely villages we’ve visited on this trip, this is my current favorite. Located in the valley below snow capped peaks, on the shore of an ocean fjord, is a little bit of heaven. Casa Ludwig, now owned by the settlers’ daughter Louisa, is a huge, yellow, wooden house and is the oldest home in the village. My cozy room looked out over her husband Jamie’s vegetable garden and greenhouse. It rains so much and is so cool in Puyuhuapi that Jamie can only grow potatoes, carrots, cabbages and similar vegetables outdoors. In his greenhouse are the warm season veggies such as zucchini. Jamie first came from California to the area to fish, a major activity in the area. Soon he became a regular and eventually he and Louisa married. I could easily understand his reasons for moving here.

24-Jan C Coihaique – Puyuhuapi 135 miles

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