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November 13th 2005
Published: November 17th 2005EDIT THIS ENTRY

The Before ShotThe Before ShotThe Before Shot

It begins ....
Of all the problems I thought we might encounter along the way, having Christie´s pedal fall off 40kms from the start was not on high on the list of probabilities.

Today had started well - Christie didn´t bang her head on the roof, and didn´t say we´re not going anywhere. In fact she was out of bed, and half packed and ready to go before I had roused myself.

We got the obligatory photo take outside the hostel, and to a solid farewell from George, and a bit of a yoodle from Beat we were off on our great adventure ... we went down half a block, took a right, the next left and stopped ... we´d made it to our first bakery!!! After stocking up there, we proceeded another 2 blocks to the supermarket to stock up on chocolates, then the hardware store for fuel ... it was nearing 10am before we finally were on our way up the hill and out of town.

The 30km ride to Licán Ray had a couple of solid uphills, but nothing too steep and in the main very quiet and enjoyable. In many ways it´s amazing the similarities (particularly the flora) between Tassie and this region of Chile. We stopped at a nearly deserted beach in the middle of town for lunch, followed by second lunch at a bakery we stumbled across on the way out of town. It was all coming back to me why I liked cycling so much.

Our map told us it was only another 14kms to Coñaripe where we planned on spending the night, but it turned out to be closer to 25kms. All was going well until I decided to stop and take a photo of one of the election signs. These signs are the biggest crack up in Chile at the moment ... There are all these signs with pictures of old men (that make John Howard look charming) beaming at you from every second fencepost and farmhouse ... it´s great. You can amuse yourself for hours wondering what you will see next. God help Chile I say.

Anyway, as we set off from my little stop, Christie´s right pedal fell off ... On closer examination she'd misthreaded both her pedals in Santiago, and the right one had basically stripped and fallen out.

Stripping her pannier bags off so I
Our first uphill ...Our first uphill ...Our first uphill ...

acutally, it may have been our second.
could get a better look at it, we discovered that one of the bolts on her front pannier rack had also fallen out. We were 40 kms from the start and we weren´t in great shape. I´ve decided that when it comes to mechanical skills Christie is not her father´s daughter ... she must be adopted.

I managed to scrounge a spare bolt for the front pannier rack off another part of the bike, but it took a long time to get the pedal back on the correct thread. I´d almost given up and become resigned to returning to Villarrica when we finally managed to get it back on. Ended up having to thread the pedal through from the inside of the crank thingy to rethread it, and then we managed to file and hack off the outside of the thread so the pedal could be forced back in the correct way.

I´m praying we don't need to touch that pedal again until we´re packing the bikes up to come home.

Fortunately, Coñaripe was only another 5kms down the road. Unfortunately it was a dump. We finally hit dirt road on the outskirts of town (we´d expected
Licán RayLicán RayLicán Ray

Lovely spot for lunch. notice the black volcanic sand.
it from Lican Ráy) and cycled another 2 or 3 kms out of town until we found an 'eco camping´sign outside a farmhouse. Ended up having the campsite all to ourselves for the princely sum of 2000 pesos ($A5). It was right on a nice little beach, had clean toilets ... we even had our own cows and four of the cutest pigs too keep us company for the night.

We´d survived our first day! No more busing for us along the Gringo trail ... We´re cyclists!!

Days Trip: Villarrica to 2-3 km west of Coñaripe.
Days Total: 58.82km. Trip Total: 122.8km
Conditions: All paved road to Coñaripe, mostly undulating with a few longer hills but comfortable grades all along. Plenty of food available in Licán Ray and Coñaripe, even on a Sunday.

Additional photos below
Photos: 7, Displayed: 7


Political SignsPolitical Signs
Political Signs

They all had the whitest teeth and the best smiles. This wasn´t even one of the cheesier ones. I like the fat men who pointed at you in this commanding way.
Pet PigsPet Pigs
Pet Pigs

Christie will be bringing some of these home for Jazzy to play with.

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