Maybe it’s because it’s become a routine. Perhaps it’s beginning to feel like work. There’s always the chance my mind has simply become clouded. Either way, the words for a blog post haven’t come easily since disembarking from the ferry and setting off from Puerto Montt.
Sophie and I had agreed that we’d put a pause on sightseeing at least until Santiago, if not all the way up to the salt flats in Bolivia. If we were to detour to even a fraction of the interesting places we hear about, we’d still be cycling well into 2020. Perhaps that wouldn’t be such a bad thing. But I’m too impatient to let go that far and besides there are friends and family back home who I’ll miss.
250 miles a week is the target we agreed on. 1,000 miles a month.
We’ve stuck to that target since hitting the Ruta 5 in southern Chile. We’ve kept a discipline, pedalling steadily up the Pan-American highway throughout May. And it has become a routine. Wake with the sun, pack down the tent, crackers and jam, pedal all morning, soup, pedal all afternoon, find a suitable spot to camp (usually a gas station), pasta, and hitting the hay early.
Rinse and repeat.
Of course, we’ve seen plenty of tarmac and trucks. And gas station coffee cups. Stray dogs with hungry eyes and piles of grotesque bone and blooded fur that once were man’s best friend.
Past volcanoes and damp orchards and misty vineyards, through the green mountains of southern Santiago, and into the capital.
And we’ve made the miles. Stayed tight to the target.
In the city now. A huge metropolis with six lane highways, skyscrapers a hundred floors high, incredible malls with climbing walls. And somehow room enough for 7million people.
It’s a developed, efficient, cultured and fun capital, beating even London for some consumerist choices (the diversity and quality of the sports shops is beyond belief). We’ve been staying with Daniel and Luz – a couple we met through Warm Showers. They’re heading on a bike tour of their own in a few weeks through Spain and France. They’ve been wonderful hosts, showing us around town and sharing their space with us. I hope to be able to return the favour in the future.
We’ve needed the time to catch up on rest and sort a few niggling jobs. But already the lure of the unknown is pulling me. It’s been 6 nights and I’m starting to miss sleeping in a tent, feeling the grime of the road in my skin, stinking of sweat and not knowing where I’m going to sleep. Somehow it makes me feel wholesome.
Soon though, the Atacama!
Vida! Saúde! Felicidade!
As ever, if you’ve enjoyed reading these posts, or if you see value and a challenge in this trip, or if you’d simply like to support a wonderful cause, it would be great if you drop a little sum towards my fundraising goal for the Teenage Cancer Trust. Head over to https://www.justgiving.com/Mike-Edmondstone/ to get involved. Thanks