Having had a great time in Santiago, Valparaiso and Rancagua it was good to get some real miles under my belt and feel like I’m actually travelling this vast continent. Over two days I covered almost 1,000 miles south and I’m pleased to report that both Bumble and I held up well. The ever present fear of a breakdown seems to be fading somewhat as Bumble and I get to know and accept each of our foibles (mine – occasionally forgetting to drive on the right..eeek!!! hers – speedo and dash dying completely while I’m riding along..just the once).
Over the 1,000 miles the scenery changed noticeably from the very dry, arid spitting image of rural New South Wales, complete with eucalyptus trees (who knew?) , to a greener, lusher, moister atmosphere more like South Wales in the summer.
A major highlight was a genuine WTF shout out in the helmet moment when I realised that wasn’t some kind of strange pointy cloud up ahead but a snow capped volcano poking through the clouds…truly amazing.
For a good few miles I felt I was in the film Close Encounters (for those of you old enough to remember it..) being inexplicably drawn to the strange structure in the distance. It turns out that the Chilean lake district is full of such volcanoes and I spent a good few hours cruising between the lakes, forests and small tourist villages that surround them. The lakes are crystal clear and in one rush of blood moment thought to myself “I bet I could jump off this bridge into the water”, it was so clear I could see the bottom. Thankfully I thought better of it, but I’m making no promises, I love a good wild swim.
Today I took Bumble off road for about 20 miles to gain some confidence before heading to the much less populated south. As always she was far more capable and composed than I, what with my whole 6 hours… (count ’em ) of off-road experience. I just had to keep telling myself that this is what the bike is specifically designed for as pot holes and corrugated ridges battered her suspension and my wrists…ankles…knees. I’m chuffed with myself that I didn’t drop her, even with one or two hairy moments where I was right on the edge. Yet again, the scenery was breathtaking and I’m reliably informed that it gets even better the further south you go. I can’t wait!