Tapi Aiki - The thirteenth step ... Six months in South America - CycleBlaze

January 14, 2023

Tapi Aiki

It was a crisply cold but wonderfully calm morning when we woke up. Despite the generator running all night we had a good night's sleep. With the apparently calm weather and only forty five kilometers to cover we took our time getting ready. While drinking coffee, Robert and Magriet, a Dutch couple whom we had met south of Cerro Castillo passed by. They had spent the night at El Cerrito and had set out at six this morning to miss the wind. What wind ?

It was after half past nine by the time we left. The ripio was dreadful but at least the headwind that had come up was still light. It didn't stay like that for long though and by the time we had covered fifteen kilometers we were wishing that we had started a couple of hours earlier. 

Leaving the old police station.
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The ripio didn't seem too bad to start off with.
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But it seemed to start getting rougher as the wind got stronger
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The large round stones are worse than the corrugations.
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First distant views of Torres del Paine.
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The wind got worse as the day wore on and, to cut a long story short, we arrived exhausted at the AGVP station at Tapi Aiki at about five o'clock. Robert and Magriet had arrived much earlier in the afternoon and were relaxing in the station's kitchen.

Things have changed a bit since we camped behind the police station here five years ago. The AGVP station is now a haven for cycle tourists with beds provided in a trailer, full ablution facilities and a warm kitchen in which to cook, eat and escape the dreadful weather. All for free. The official on duty at the moment is the warm and friendly Javier and he went out of his way to make sure we had all we needed. The facilities are pretty basic but for a cycle tourist it is quite luxurious.   

The trailer with number of two bed rooms.
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Having got here a day earlier than expected we are in a bit of a quandary. We have a day's extra food, much of which we cannot take across the border due to Chile's strict biological controls. We have also booked a couple of days in Torres del Paine which means we would have to change the dates if we dont want to spend an unplanned extra day in Cerro Castillo. With the weather the way it us wildcamp is a poor option so I'm guessing we will have to push on to Cerro Castillo tomorrow. 

Today's ride: 45 km (28 miles)
Total: 5,639 km (3,502 miles)

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