Thu 18th Dec
Congratulating ourselves on actually getting organised for once and hitting the road early we tanked up and headed off aiming to make swift progress on the ripio today. And swift progress we did make, right up to the 1km mark when the road was closed and we came to a grinding halt – it appears there’s been a landslide and the road is closed to all traffic.
To be honest, I could do with a rest anyway. Yesterday on the way here we hit two sets of roadworks on the ripio which were a bit of a challenge. At one they’d just laid 200m of fresh sand about a foot deep. First we got bogged in up to the back axle then with Jenny pushing I tackled it on my own, showering her with sand as she dutifully gave me the push start (oops, sorry honey, had no idea that would happen!) 200m of mad skidding across the full width of the road and with my heart beating like a drum (not as fit as I used to be) I pulled up on the firm stuff and savoured the smell of my burning clutch while I waited patiently for Jenny to jog back to me – come on honey, try to keep up (and please tidy yourself up a bit, you’re letting the side down). (Apols by the way, didn’t video it, bit stressed and forgot!)
You really have to try this road to believe it. The most spectacular scenery and you feel really out in the wilds. The road the gangs are working on requires lots of blasting and rock shifting and what they’re trying to do is a feat of engineering in itself. We wound our way past huge machines moving large rocks about (no ‘Elfs and Safety’ here) and not one rock was dropped on us. Video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0u-F0ObE2sk Then, after a long descent on stones and gravel around countless hairpins (bit like an off road Stelvio Pass but without the overpriced pannier sticker at the end) we finally got back onto normal ripio and reached Puyuhuapi (Pooh-Yah-Whappy) where a room at a log cabin awaited us. Video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYkbnIfSoGo
So a day later here we sit, having returned again to our cabin after our unsuccessful attempt to make northerly progress this morning. Holed up with us is a Belgian guy hitch hiking around SA and a French couple travelling the world for a year; pretty much all other rooms in the town are now taken as everyone waits for the road north to re-open. As I sit here typing this I wonder if we’ll ever get out of here. Only one road north and that’s closed; there is no other way except to turn round and go a long way back. The rain has been torrential since lunch time so what chance have they of sorting the landslide out? The road north is probably a sea of mud by now anyway. Ah, the uncertainty of it all – better just sit tight for another couple of nights and drink beer – sounds like a plan to me, best laid or otherwise.