Days 606 - 619: The Passage of Time, Gravity and Other Christmas Miracles

Pichilemu to Contulmo, Chile 618 km

December 20, 2013  to January 2, 2014

Slowly, slowly we have been twisting and curving our way along the Pacific coast route, which much of the time has not been particularly well developed... or needless to say direct.  This has made for some interesting, quiet, and at time creative riding and navigation.  For the most part we have had paved roads, but we have had some very rough and very steep sections! Wild camping has been amazing, and we have had a chance to experience some warm Chilean hospitality.   No maps of this region seem to be particularly accurate, so we have had to take it as it comes... But, since it has been the holiday season we decided to recognize all of the Christmas Miracles that the world had to offer...

Because this route is is not well travelled by cyclists, we are working on a page with our route details, in case other cyclists want some info.  We will post the link when it is ready, but feel free to email us with any questions in the meantime. 

Central Chile: Part Two

The Christmas Miracles of Cycling

1) The Passage of Time

Sometimes it feels like we don't have enough time... There is always so much to do, so few hours in the day!   But, when cycling, the passage of time is a gift, it brings us closer to our destination when we are feeling tired or bored.   On Christmas Eve we had a plan to find a nice cabana with wifi so we could contact family, and a beautiful ocean view (not too much to ask, right?).... We kept pedalling and pedalling and there was nothing for miles and miles....and miles.  We felt that for sure we would find something in the little town of Chanco, but then at 4:30 pm, at the bottom of a steep hill, with the view of a an equally steep hill we would need to climb, was a sign saying 25 km to Chanco.... Far more than we thought!  Glenn was trying to stay positive, saying that the numbers would get smaller....and wouldn't you know it, half an hour later we had travelled some more kilometres and the sign said 16 km to Chanco... A definite Christmas Miracle, if I ever saw one. Turned out, there was nothing in Chanco...and we had to travel another 20 km before we found a place to stay, but it was the perfect little wood cabin.

2) Pine Forests

There have been a lot of pine forests on this stretch...and yes, almost all of them have been planted by forestry companies that are probably doing terrible things.  But, it has been a miracle of sorts to be able to camp in these delicious smelling and abundant forests, where the ground is covered with pine needles and all sorts of interesting bugs and birds hang out.  It makes us feel at home in a way. 

3) Ocean Views

The coast route, it turns out is not always that close to the coast.  We seem to be endlessly zig-zagging to and away from the coast.  This is coupled with endless steep many hills!  Because views of the ocean are far from constant, when it does come into sight it is amazing and stunning.  It reminds us how enormous the world is.  It is also fairly mind boggling to think that this is the same body of water that we saw in Anchorage more than a year and a half ago! 

4) Sunshine

What can I say, the sun can be really awesome. It dries out our clothes, our tent, it keeps us warm, it generally does good stuff.  Granted, it has been somewhat of an enemy in times gone by (the Baja, northern Argentina) ... During this stretch it has been a sweet friend.   When the fogginess and cool night air gives way to the blue skies and sunshine, it is a little bit like the world is giving us a warm hug.

5) Gravity

The force that keeps us on this also that force that makes climbing up hills with 100+ pounds of bike and stuff really really hard.  So, some might be wondering how this could be a miracle?  Well, it is of course, that this is also the force that allows us to effortlessly glide down those of the greatest thrills of cycling.   Just as we have had many sweaty slogs uphill on this stretch, we have also had much refreshing and beautiful downhill fun! So, thank you gravity.

6) The Human Race 

Sometimes, living on a bikes can make us feel a little disconnected from the human race.  A little like we are some sort of other species that lives in a very different way.  So much so, that when we we get to a town and need directions, I will often say "oh, look there's a human, lets ask him"... Or if we can't find anyone..."where are all the humans in this town?".    On this stretch the humans have been especially helpful, we have stayed with a few families and have been given food and water by many !   One particularly lovely experience was just the other day, we were sitting by the road having a snack, it was nearing the end of the day and we were tired.  An older man offered to buy us a juice, and we gratefully accepted and got talking (good thing we speak human!), and he said that we could come and stay at his house for the night, again we gratefully accepted.  It turned out that it wasn't exactly his house, it was his daughter Veronica's, and when she came home she was a little surprised...  But, so incredibly hospitable.   Veronica, her husband Carlos, and their two sons went completely out of their way to make us feel at home and totally comfortable...and we were complete strangers!   It was an unforgettable experience...  And certainly a miracle.