Category 2013 Bike Packing South America

Chacabuco to Coihaique (80 Km’s)

Magnificent river ride
Man eating rhubarbs
Hot long climb
Where’s more water


We got off the ferry at 7:30 am and were told it is very flat to Coihaique. We believed them. For the first 60 km it was amazing, tail wind, good flat road. For this reason we passed up a couple of nic campgrounds as we were having a very lovely ride.


Click here to view Cycling in Patagonia


You can’t believe the size of the rhubarb plants.

Click here to watch a human being consumed by a plant


Click here to view Bamboo and Berries


The last 20 km were mostly uphill which surprised us. We climbed and climbed. It was hot and we were running low on water.

Right near the top of the climb was a gut wagon. What a pleasant surprise.



We consumed lots and filled our water...

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36 Hour Ferry Boat From Quellon to Chacabuco

Scapolomine and gravol
Eliminate queasy feeling
WiFiless for days
Technology withdrawal symptoms

This is our ferry boat, the Don Baldo.


Waiting to get on the boat.




Janis put on a patch and took some gravol and got through the trip in flying colours. During the night we were tossed around a lot, sometimes rolling us from one side of the bunk into the wall. It took about 4 hours to cross the open part and the. We were among the islands the rest of the way.
Click here to see our room on the ferry

We made lots of new friends on this journey.


We stopped between these two large islands. As you can see the communities on the islands are very near each other with a small bridge connecting them.




click here to view dolphins beside the boat


This i...

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Camping Don Juan to Quillon (46 km)

Hills are alive
Sound of construction
No Von Trapps
Only dump trucks

This was a great cardio. Two big climbs and lots of construction. We stopped at this river/falls and had a very refreshing dip.



We stopped and had lunch at a roadside cafe, with fresh eggs, home made rhubarb jam and alpaca.


Sue, you and Carol would love Quellon, full of sailors.

Highway 5 comes to an end In Quellon. It begins in Anchorage Alaska and ends at the southern tip of Chiloe Island.

click here to read about the Pan-American Highway



Click here to see a Summary of Quellon

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Chonchi to Camping Don Juan (36 km)

Cloudless sky above
Hard pavement below
Wind in hair
Hours pass quickly

It was a lovely ride today with nice shoulders and moderate traffic.


Click here for a mini video of birds along the way

Just when we were ready to call it a day, Camping Don Juan appeared. Funny hose that can happen.

We arrived and set up our tent and the campers beside us presented us with two small fresh trout they just caught (yummy).




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A Day At National Park Chiloe

Tides come, go
Days come, go
Experiences come, go
Memories lasts forever


A 40 minute bus ride and we were in the national park. The horse flies were almost the size of a small humming bird, and the bees even bigger.

The sea was calm and lots of frolicking in the waves.





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Castro to Chonchi (38 km)

Route decision made
Booked our ferry
Bike for days
Boat for days

Before cycling out of Castro we visited the old Woden church (UNESCO is helping restore it)




We met a new friend from Vancouver, Nick. He is on a motorcycle and has done 55,000 Km’s so far on hiss 18 month trip.


We have a few options off the island and have decided to bike to the bottom of Chiloe and take a 28 hour ferry ride to Chacabuco. There was lots of research done on weather to take this route or take the 8 hour ferry rode to Chietien. By taking the southern journey we will see more of the coast and miss a few hundred Km’s of ripio.

Lots of construction today along the rolling hills at times it felt like a ride along the Old Norwood Road with bigger hills.

We arrived at Chonchi late in the day.


Our hostel ...

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Committee meeting (25 km)

Up and down
Wetlands beside us
Birds of chiloe
Kept us company

The ride was very hilly, great shoulders along the way. We had done 25 km when a truck driver stopped ahead of us and asked us if we would like a ride the next 25 km to Castro. David and I had a quick committee meeting and I seconded the motion to get in the truck. Along the way the driver practised his colours in English and we talked about family etc. Indeed
it was a very hilly day and we arrived by 1 pm and checked into a hostel.

Castro is famous for its stilted houses (palmitos). This area suffered a devastating earthquake in 1960 but these houses were spared.


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A Day With The Penguins

Little waddling friends
Struggle on shore
Dive in water
Struggle no more


We met several lovely people at the hostel in Ancud. Dita and Zvi from Israel had rented a car and invited us to join them on a journey to see the penguins. We had a wonderful time. It was amazing to see Pingu’s relatives in the wild.



We boarded a boat and circled the three islands and saw several groups of penguins. They were amazing to watch as they waddle up and down the hills and how agile they are once in the water.




We saw both Megellanic and Humboldt Penguins. They roost here for four months per year, have their babies and then all swim off for 8 months at sea. These two species travel on different directions. Megellan currents and Humboldt currents.

Click here to see Pingu’s friends

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Riding The Ripio (52 km)

What is ripio
Will bikes work
How many falls
Is it doable

One of the unknowns for us is the 100’s of kilometres of ripio we will need to follow. These are gravel roads. At home with 23 mm tires on road bikes, we go out of our way to avoid gravel. In South America one must be comfortable riding this.

Today we rode 52 Kim’s. the first 6 were pavement and the last 46 was ripio.



By far the toughest day of cycling we have ever done. Several falls, Janis got knocked off her bike onto a rock pile by two nasty dogs (I was able to ping one with a rock from a distance but not in time). Sorry dog lovers but when you are attacked they don’t make you feel like man’s/women’s best friend.

The next time a dog crossed through a fence and started coming at me I got off, grabbed some stones and motio...

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Our First Day. of Riding (20 km)

Start our ride
Mental easels blank
Thoughts of adventure
Discovering new turf

We found our way out of busy Puerto Montt on Hwy 5 (pavement).

After about 1 km we took the paved side road to hug the coast.

After about 20 km we stopped at a campsite called camping Anderson (John, could be your distant relative).

The host and hostess were lovely and offered us dinner and breakfast They have a lovely piece of property on the sea. Steve was originally from souther USA, but relocate to Chile 24 years ago.



Lots of fauna and flora (Louise, you would love the roadside).


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