Puerto Natales - The thirteenth step ... Six months in South America - CycleBlaze

January 21, 2023 to January 24, 2023

Puerto Natales

Saturday 21st January 2023

I was busy making my second cup of coffee when Leigh suggested that I have a look at the cones in the morning light.   I got there a minute or two late but the warm light was still good enough to catch them in a different mood.

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After that we packed up hit the road towards Puerto Natales.  The plan was to split journey into two days, wildcamping at about halfway.  The road was already quite busy and I was getting really frustrated by the speeding drivers kicking up clouds of dust.  All I wanted was for the ripio to end.

The last kilometers leading out of the park.
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At the park exit, after fourteen kilometers, the ripio gave way to asfalto.  Sweet relief that didn't last long.  For the next sixty kilometers it varied between short patches of sealed road with longer stretches of ripio in between.   There were many short sheepish climbs and one longer one gaining two hundred odd meters which was mercifully tarred.  At the top of that climb we had our best views of Glaciar Grey in the distance. 

Glaciar Grey.
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A bad hair day. The wind was fierce but mostly in our favour.
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When we got to our planned stop for the night it was only two thirty so with not much food left and the wind coming over our right shoulders we decided to push on to Puerto Natales hoping that there would be more sealed road than ripio.  The hope was misplaced but we eventually got there at about seven in the evening. 

The Milodon statue at the entrance to Puerto Natales.
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We struggled up the hill to Camping Guino which was, as we expected, full.  So we headed to Jomar Hostal who work on the principal that the campground is never full.  It had a number of other cycle tourists in the yard, including Bruno and Sofia, and we squeezed ourselves into a spot next to their tent.  We were rather tired but it was good to catch up with the other cyclists.  A quick supper  and a  couple of beers was enough to send us to bed.

Sunday 22nd and Monday  23rd January 2023

A couple of lazy days spent catching up on journals,  emails and phone calls. Leigh managed to find a replacement set of sunglasses, having lost hers in Cerro Castillo and I was able to repair my kickstand that has once again given way to the weight of my bicycle.   There have been lots of cycle tourists staying here so many experiences and ideas have been exchanged.  We managed to get a good contact for a last minute deal to Antarctica from a couple from Oxford shire so, if all goes well, we will sail southwards on the 10th of February.

Despite all the laziness we have walked  a lot.  Much of it was done to the local supermarkets and back but we also walked miles trying to find a local restaurant that was open and serving parilla so that we could get a meat overload after so much tinned tuna over the past week or so.

Look away non-carnivores because it's parilla time.
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With the potential need to be in Ushuaia by the eighth of February we will start for Punta Arenas tomorrow,  probably taking three or four days to get there depending on the wind, the forecast for which looks rather ominous at the moment. 

Today's ride: 102 km (63 miles)
Total: 5,893 km (3,660 miles)

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