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The Carretera Austral and Patagonia
By Lee Taylor - (contact)

Off to another adventure

Thursday January 8, 2009

This trip started like most of my trips, a vicarious journey via the internet. After reading of the beauty, challenges and changing culture of the Carretera Austral, I was drawn to experience it myself. I'd read that as the pavement extends further south, the area is changing and the uniqueness of the area is disappearing. The pavement brings growth and all that growth entails. A bit of background: The 'Carretera Austral' (Southern Highway) is a scenic mountain road starting in Puerto Montt and ending 1240 kilometers south in Villa O'Higgins at the foot hill of the Southern Ice Field. South of Villa O'Higgins is the Southern Ice Field and it is impossible today to build a road across it. Three ferries must be taken to follow the road from Puerto Montt.

Construction was begun on the highway in the 1970's by President Augusto Pinochet to connect remote southern communities with the rest of Chile. The highway opened in 1988 with additional sections completed latter. Paving of the gravel highway is in progress.

You'll meet the rest of the four amigos joining me on this quest to reach "Fin del Mondo" (the end of the world as Argentineans refer to Ushuaia) via the Carretera Austral. We set off for Osorno, Chile, rondavuing at Dallas-Ft Worth airport (they departed from Portland, Oregon, I from Tucson, Arizona).

Upon landing in Orsorno, we had trouble finding transportation to our hotel. One minivan offered to come back for us after delivering his passengers. Most passengers on the flight were being picked up by family or a resort shuttle.

About 30 minutes latter our van returned. I didn't think we would be able to get 3 bike boxes, my S & S coupled bike backpack case, our luggage and us in the van. The driver was inventive and we all crammed in.

We unloaded at the hotel and paid our driver, After he left I discovered I was missing my luggage bag, It was underneath a folded seat and I forgot it in the excitement. We had no way to contact the driver and everything I had but the bike was in the bag. We assembled the bikes, I was missing my racks and fenders, etc. That night we had a late dinner down the street. In the middle of dinner our driver showed up. He had delivered my bag to the hotel after discovering it at the end of the day. Wow, that was a relief!

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Route segment 1

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Route segment 2.

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Route segment 3

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Route segment 4


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"The Carretera Austral and Patagonia" Copyright © 2009-2014 By Lee Taylor - (contact). All rights reserved.
Page was created on April 1, 2009 14:48 PDT, last updated on June 29, 2009 21:18 PDT
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