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Day62-It was a good day on the Patagonian plains, Sun, Feb 27, 2011

The terror of getting back on the road!

Start & Stop:  Punta Arenas, Chile to Puerto Natales, Chile

Mileage:  157 miles

Hotel: Amerindia Hostel, Barros Arana 135, Puerto Natales 6200000, Chile; Ch$ 30.000 = $63.33 USD

Fuel: $697 Chilean Peso /l liter ($1.46 USD/1 liter) or $5.51 USD per gal!

Currency Exchange: $1 USD = $476.51 Chilean Peso

Weather:  Overcast, cloudy, very light winds!

Lisa: We had to wait til 9:30 for the shop owner, and we only had 150 miles to go so we got moving about 8.  As I was standing at the bike packing up, a Solovidreo work truck pulled up to the curb and the driver waved me over.  Holy Cow – he delivered my repaired mirrors directly to the hostel!!  And they look awesome!  A little back info – Suzuki thinks very highly of their mirrors and there is no such thing as ‘repairing’ them – they are a sealed, complete unit and cost between $65 and $85 each.  Well, when I asked Senor Solovidreo how much I owed him, he was rather sheepish and said 4000 pesos (about $9) for both.  I couldn’t get my money out fast enough, handing him 4 bills, exact change.  He shook his head and gave me one back.  So for about $7 I have 2 great new mirrors!!  Sweet!

Dean: OK, here’s the skinny!  I was dreading the ride to Puerto Natales.  Even though it’s only 157 miles, it’s due north and into possible headwinds.  One of the things every Ushuaia rider talks about are the infamous Patagonian winds.  So stiff that many riders describe riding at 45-degrees for hours and being blown all over the road when trucks pass.  My VStrom did not handle the Friday’s ride from Ushuaia to Punta Arenas well.  The worst was the last leg from Bahia Azul to Punta Arenas, 152 km (94 miles) along the Straits of Magellan.  It was a southeast route and directly into a headwind.  I could not get the RPM above 2300 RPM and the bikes speed was 30-35 MPH.  At one point the whole bike hiccupped, loss of total power, felt like I hit something or lost my chain (I have experience with that feeling).  In a second the bike recovered but the event was noticeable to Lisa behind me.  It took 3 hours to travel that last leg into Punta Arenas.  It felt like forever to me.

I checked the route on Google Earth and while fairly straight, almost due north, but it looked like foothills and mountains!  This morning, I wanted to leave at sunrise hoping that would be the time of least wind.  But with Lisa’s mirrors becoming available at 9:30 AM, it was worth waiting for.

We headed out of Punta Arenas the VStromasourus choked and gagged through the gears and RPMs, all at 3K, then in OD (Overdrive) settled down to a steady 45-50 MPH!  We had a blessed tail wind!!  I kept waiting for the hammer to drop … headwinds and/or hills!  The entire 157 miles was fairly flat and 75% was in tail winds.  On the uphill grades the bike would slow to 40 MPH, on the down hill runs – 55 MPH.  The overall average is probably 45 MPH.  This was a good day.  I feel much better about the 745 mile ride from Puerto Montt to Vina del Mar.  If I can keep a 45-50 MPH speed that will be two 10-hour days.

Lisa: at one point we encountered a rather slight uphill and I remembered that I had told Dean I would carry his luggage.  So after some pantomime (we have no com system remaining) he pulled over and I took his large bag.  Lightening his load by 30-40 lbs can’t hurt.  And I think when we reach Pto Montt I will take his tools as well, giving him some lighter things I’m carrying like a bike cover.  At this point, we are desperate for HP and every little bit helps. Meanwhile the mighty Wee chugs along.  I realize that disaster could strike at any time but so far, it’s performed admirably and now is carrying extra weight so the man strom can limp along.  It’s a beautiful thing.

We spent some time wandering around town and just relaxing a bit.  Tomorrow we take a 12 hour bus trip into the gorgeous Torres Del Paine and we are very much looking forward to it.  We needed to pack a lunch and with the limited options here, it was challenging but with some fruta and a few other things, we should be fine.  Obviously we are both relieved to have gotten Dean’s bike this far and the feeling is palpable.  Once we get to Pto Montt, we’re in the home stretch.  And both of us are ready to get out of of of  Dodge.  It’s been a long 2 months fo sho.

9 comments to Day62-It was a good day on the Patagonian plains, Sun, Feb 27, 2011

  • Jeff Jones

    Awesome trip. I am so jealous – I’m hoping for a similar trip in a couple years when I retire. Enjoy your couple days on the road.

  • Brian R

    I need some clarification – is “Fruta”; McDonalds Burgers, Beer, Hot Dogs, or Cake – or maybe those new staples of Lisa’s diet are included in “Other Things”….

  • Enjoy the beauty of Torres del Paine; leave the driving to someone else and do a little well deserved sightseeing.

  • Enjoy the beauty of Torres del Paine; leave the driving to someone else and enjoy some well deserved sightseeing!

  • John H

    When I was a kid and got my first 10 speed bicycle, I traveled everywhere on that thing. My other single speed bikes had been great because they were better than walking, but the new 10 speed changed every hill that I used to have to walk/push up to a still difficult, but much faster 7-9 mph struggle, every yapping dog that was a threat at 12 mph was much less so at 25-26 mph.
    Then I got my m/c drivers license at 14 and could finally take my m/c on the road for trips. My little 125cc seemed huge to me and such an improvement on the bicycle that it was like an entire world opened up to me with the increased speed. The places I could get to traveling at 45-50 mph! High speed baby! Woo hoo! I was loving my new found magic carpet ride!
    So if you can’t fix the manStrom, just think how great it is to be adventuring on your little 125 and how much better it is than a 10 speed bicycle! It’s all about attitude and expectations.:)

    Sure hope everything goes as well as possible for y’all as you start the homeward bound leg and Iam looking forward to seeing y’all safe and sound in JAX.

  • The mighty Weestrom carrying the heavy load for the Manstrom!

  • chuck hickey

    VStromasourus or VStrromapotomus – or
    VStromatoroise – is more like it.

    how about vstrombackandforthorous?
    or maybe



  • chuck hickey

    supposed to be vstromotortois

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