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Published: November 25th 2014
Gerardo sorting the mud and slush
The reconstruction of the road is full on to be finished by 2020
We have all arrived in Chaiten, the Chilean town that was covered in volcanic ash during the 2009 volcanic eruption, at that time our 2009 Patagnia Expedition was booked in for a nights stay, but we had to divert to Trevelin in Argentina.
Five years down the track and I found the town to be one of the most depressing places I have been to, that said, it has been a huge struggle for the residents, as many died and the town was evacuated and basically left to rot away, but the people wanted to return to what they had, so the government began a clean up program and this is ongoing today, but the people living here, some in third world conditions look and feel happy enough with the progress.
The ride through the Carretera Austral was demanding for some riders, as the major road works that are turning this motorcycling treasure into just another highway are working seven days a week, mind you it will still be a spectacular ride when it's finished in 2020, as the majestic scenery will still be there.
The ride from Coihaique to La Junta was only a 288 km ride,
So only 3704 kms to Arica
Arica is on the border with Peru
so with a relaxed start and a decision to go Puerto Aisan for lunch, we all set off.
Just as we reached the turn off to Puerto Aisen, we spotted the Shadow (Jack) turning right towards La Junta.
We had a roadside committee meeting and agreed that the Shadow was the cornerman, indicating that the others (Tiny, Rippa and David) had changed their minds about going to Puerto Aisan for lunch and headed north, so off we all went following the Shadow.......
We (Gerardo, Noel, Cristian, Paul, Melean and me) stopped in a small village and had some lunch. During lunch, Rippa arrived ? he had been to Puerto Aisen, but saw no one else there, so continued towards La Junta and found us.
After lunch, we rode good seal for about an hour and we came upon 'The Shadow'. Now it turns out that he was not the cornerman, he was following his GPS to La Junta, forgetting that we were all going to Puerto Aisen for lunch?
Now, he had been 35 kms further up the mountain and found out the road was blocked until 5.00pm because of rock blasting long the reconstructed
About then, Tiny and David turned up, having also been to Puerto Aisan and found nobody there, then headed towards La Junta, as they had had no lunch, Melean somehow scratched up hot tea and cookies for the hungry ones (amazing what Mothers can do!) while others including me had a Grandpa nap on side of the road.
The rest of the ride to La Junta, was a stop and go affair, with major road works as I mentioned above.
The warmth and shelter at our hotel, along with a great dinner, was well earned today.
Tomorrow we have a 5.30 am start to catch the ferry to the island of Chiloe.
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