Wednesday, Dec. 27th
The most sleep depriving noise that one can hear is the roar of a mosquito cruising at low altitude just above your head at 2:00 in the morning while sleeping in a van. Did I say sleeping? Not a wink for hours on end as I tried everything in my power to rid the van of that pest. Last night was brutal and neither one of us slept as chunks of flesh went missing in the night. The next morning Sarah pointed to a mosquito that looked satiated and said, “There it is." I gave it a thwack with my finger. Honestly, we were both surprised by the amount of blood that burst forth from that critter. He must have been working for a Chilean blood bank!
That is how our day began, soon followed by coffee and a workout. We decided to drive to the coast and the scenery along the way grew more beautiful with each kilometer. We set up camp just outside of the town of Buchupureo. We found a place to park right next to a surf camp on a black sand beach. The beauty of the area reminds me of the coast of Oregon.
Thursday, Dec. 28
Waking up to coffee and the sound of the surf is amazing. Started the day off troubleshooting our headlight. The main bulb burned out on our van and needed to be replaced so the search began. We took a drive to see the area and came across a tiny 10'x 10' auto parts store in a small village. What are the chances they would have the part we need? Muy grande…we scored! The rest of the day we combed beaches looking for rocks and had a session of yoga on our deserted playa.
We chose to go out for pizza and found this wonderful restaurant where the waiter spoke French, Spanish and English. We also met a local couple (Francisco and Valentina) who had a couple of small children. They had just moved back from living in Bali for the past three years. They spoke great English and we made an instant connection. By the way the pizza was fantastic.
Friday, Dec. 29
We left Buchupureo and headed south in pursuit of another light bulb. Why? Because while I installed the new one I forgot to remove the protective covering and it melted onto the light when I turned them on. So there you go I outed myself. Thankfully the shop had another one which I installed while stopping for lunch and a siesta at beautiful beach.
We found a remote campground while driving North of Tome run by a young guy named Andres. After struggling with our Spanish we were able to stay for 10,000 pesos. No electric but there were toilets and cold showers. The showers were made from wood pallets and fencing.
Sarah took most of the night trying to get her feet warm again after we showered. I could not say enough about the beach where we enjoyed a nice long walk.
Best of all were the toilets. They had converted an old cargo container to house them. As you can see the name of the vessel was the Maersk. At this point Tom Hanks would have been proud of me as I took the distinguished title of CRAPtain Phillips! A great day all in all.
Saturday, Dec. 30th
Today we did some shopping at Decathalon as Sarah wanted to get a warmer jacket. We are beginning to think Patagonia is going to surprise us. We ended up finding a wild campsite right next to a river. In fact we are so close to the river our tires are wet.
Sunday, Dec. 31st
We got an early start today because we wanted to visit a church (Calvary Chapel) in Temuco. We drove three hours stopping along the way to cook ham and eggs for breakfast.
We arrived around 11:30 and asked a man where the church meets. No English....but no problem. He went and got a man who spoke English (Pablo). He became our interpreter for the day and we found out that love needs no interpretation. We were treated like family and royalty. Everyone wanted to meet us and try out their English. A mom and son were also visiting from Peru. They spoke very good English and so did the pastors son. It is amazing how having a common faith creates an immediate bond no matter where you are in the world. We were invited to come to their homes afterward but we decided to move on. Before we left, they sang happy birthday to Sarah as today she turned 60.
We drove though some gorgeous countryside to arrive at Pucon, a small village next to a lake and an active Volcano. As we pulled into the entrance of a campground another camper pulled in before us. They were from the Netherlands and I began chatting with them because neither of us could figure out how to open the gate.
Right then another car pulled up and we gained access to the campground. But you know me, I was already building a new relationship with Mark and Jeannette. They had just come from the south of Patagonia so I wanted to pick their brain. It was a great day. Sarah had all the happy B-day greetings pour in via text and of course the whole world was celebrating New Years Eve. Let’s hope that 2024 will be a good one.
Refugio Villarrica - from our campground in Pucón.
Monday, Jan, 1st…2024
Here we go, it’s a new year! We started off the morning chatting with Mark and Jeanette. They also happen to be tandem cyclists and shared an amazing story with us. They had their tandem stolen in Canada at an Air BnB shortly after they had arrived on a KLM flight from Holland. They reported it to the police but in the meantime bought new bikes to continue their trip. Upon returning to Holland they were in for surprise. The owner of the Air BnB was contacted by the Canadian police. They had recovered the tandem. She contacted KLM airlines and the airlines got in contact with Mark and Jeanette.
What transpired is amazing! KLM initially asked them to fly back to Canada to retrieve the bike but they declined. That’s when KLM decided to fly the bike to their home in Amsterdam. Unbelievably, they made a commercial of the bicycles journey. Talk about customer relations! I have attached the link for you to copy and paste. In the article you will see a Facebook link where you can watch the video. It is worth the watch. I think we will fly with KLM from now on.
Tuesday Jan. 2nd
We took the day to do laundry and roam around the shops of Pucón. When you are on the road, doing laundry is a chore and you have to get creative. We found that our ice chest comes through in a pinch!
Sarah bought some new hiking boots and we finished out the evening dining on some BBQ.
Keep on rolling,
Scott and Sarah