Chaiten > Puyuhuapi – 191km > Coyhaique – 238km

First and most importantly – today is the 30th January so that means……it’s CHARLIE’S BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We are travelling the well known Carretera Austral in Chile – a birthday to remember.   xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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We were told by a fellow traveller that the Ruta 7 was closed each day from 1-5:00pm so we opted for an early brisk start.  We were surprised to find 40km of paved road before we hit the gravel, and other long stretches during the course of the day too, in fact could have been about 50/50 for today’s run.  (Dick and Diana you will be surprised by that no doubt, as I think it was all gravel for you just two years ago).  Wont be too many years and the Carretera Austral will be sealed.

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Looking one way from the bridge…

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…then the other

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However once we hit the roadworks it was a pretty wild ride – it was more like a track with two-way traffic and road building machinery, dodging the cut down trees in the road , riding through freshly dug up soil, etc – WOW!!  Talk about rough!!  No photos sorry, we had to concentrate, but lots of laughter and relief at the end of it.

In one section to get through the mud, we had to go follow a deep tyre track in semi-soft mud – Charlie started to paddle his way through but told me it was harder to do that so just gun it.  I did.  Haha – had legs splaying left and right keeping myself upright!!

Another section we had to ride through some freshly dumped river stones that had no tyre tracks through them and they were as big as cricket balls.  Took all our skill and prayer to stay shiny side up!!  But we did, yay !!

The stones on the far  left of this photo are like what we rode through, the rest of the road is “normal”

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A nice easy bit

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We got to Puyuhuapi but couldn’t go any further as the road was closed ahead until 5:00 in two more places, so that meant an early finish to the day.

Went for a walk – the only petrol station here at the end of a No Exit road.

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Many of the houses are made of this shaped wooden shingle – and most double up as a business – this one is a clothes shop, there are also mini-markets, restaurants, hostals

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Then had a nice meal in a restaurant looking out onto the fjiord for Charlie’s birthday.

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Puyuhuapi > Coyhaique – 238km


It rained in the early morning and when we got up there was low cloud around town, but where we were heading it looked a lot brighter so we packed up and were on the road by 8:45.   At least there was no dust, and the potholes were easier to see as they were now full of water.

Rode about 25km along a nice gravel road beside the inlet before we hit the next lot of road works.

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Have to stop with other vehicles then we all go through together, so it is difficult to get photos of where the road is really bad. Besides, momentum is your friend so don’t really want to stop anyway.  Where we can stop, the road is wider and so doesn’t really capture it – these are for you Guy.

Zoom in and you will see the guys on the rock face on the right, they are doing the dynamite.

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We had to ride through a couple of water “hazards” which stretched across the road, one was quite deep – “Keep your feet up and don’t stop” were my instructions from my beloved.  (Not the little puddle in this photo of course)

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What was dirt yesterday, was mud today.  The truck is halfway up the hill, and the whole thing is just mud.

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Sorry, the photos do not show the half of it – it all looks quite tame.

Then came the roadworks over the pass.  So now we have tight hairpins with loose gravel and large humps to negotiate, and of course it was all wet and slippery.  Was worse going downhill.  But finally we got through it!!!  And happy I was about that.

Back on to the good gravel road, beautiful

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We thought we better get one photo with the name of the road – look how dusty my black bike jacket is!!

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We then hit the TARSEAL – and with it was a sweeping, well cambered, winding, very scenic road.  One impressive mountain after the other all day, ice melt rivers, lots of trees – just loved it.

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Coyhaique in the distance

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And so ends another memorable day.




  • Gordon & Marilyn

    Happy Birthday Charlie!!

    February 1, 2015 at 7:30 pm
  • Tom Patton

    Hola Sr y Sra moto aventureros,
    First, Happy BD CR!
    So last night and today while nursing a cold in Cuenca I read you blog from cover to cover. Checked every pic and watched every video. A six to seven-hour job if you keep the rpms up. You’ve done a phenomenal job documenting and narrating this long tour. And an equally great job navigating all the potholes and topes literal and metaphorical. Kudos to you both and may the infinite blessings and courtesies you’ve encountered continue.
    It was fun seeing where our paths crossed in and out of time. On December 13 we were at the same place and time in Puerto Lindo Panama. Then you sailed southeast to Cartagena and I drove west to Boquete. A few weeks later I had a beer at the Las Lajas Beach Resort Hotel where you stopped a few weeks earlier. Our photos are nearly identical. Your photos of Yosemite and Sonora Pass in California were also very familiar, as that has been my riding backyard for years while I lived in Northern Nevada. Then it was frustrating to learn that our paths easily could have crossed again on January 7. Since that was the day you arrived to Cuenca, and where I had arrived one day earlier. Due to my inaction I didn’t learn of this until I found your blog on January 13, just a few days after you left Cuenca, and so I missed the opportunity to say hello again in person. Que lastimada.
    But I know the many details of your blog very well now. And I want to tell you again what an inspiration it is to follow this trip, and to also let you know it is causing a shift in my plans. I’ve traveled to various locations in Central and South America with a suitcase for the better part of two years now. But I like your rapid mobility and panniers set-up better. Thus I plan to return to Nevada by early May and by early July hopefully I can be ready to head out and retrace your path up to Deadhorse and Prudhoe Bay. I’m thinking I’ll acquire a V-Strom 1000 as my BMW K1100LT is clearly not the right bike for that.
    Please excuse the verbose comment but I wanted to thank you again for the great effort you have made to chronicle and share the details of your adventure. And please send me a real contact e-mail address when you can, to tomasp43@hotmail.com. I’d like to pick your brains when you get settled back home about riding to the extreme north of Alaska. I’m curious what it takes to keep your feet warm in that environment, not to mention the one you are in now. You have electric socks or something?
    Meanwhile, maintain your course, safe and sound, with the rubber side always down. Tom Patton

    February 2, 2015 at 2:19 pm
    • Janet & Charlie Russel

      Hi Tom
      It was a real pleasure reading your email and hearing the positive feedback, thank you for your comments, and we are so delighted that you are going to start your own adventure too. You even have a date3!! We were inspired by others who had written blogs, and that was part of the reason for us doing this one.

      What a shame we missed each other in Cuenca, would have been good to catch up again.

      You can contact us on charlie@russel.co.nz – we would be happy for our brains to be picked. And no electric socks 🙂 just great bike boots and woollen socks.

      We look forward to hearing from you, both in your preparation and of your journey.

      Charlie & Janet

      February 7, 2015 at 11:12 pm

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