Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A moto family without direction

The trip has taken on a new form post Chicago. We no longer have a goal, per se, but rather are just wandering about until our return date of May 12 from Santiago. It is a subtle difference but one that changes the whole feel. Add that to the fact that the Southern half of Chile feels very much like the west coast of North America and you end up with more of a touring adventure rather than an exploration adventure.

As an analogy, imagine you are the coach of a really kick ass soccer team. With 15 minutes left in the game, you have a 10 point advantage so there is really no way to lose. You have already made your goal of winning the game and you did it in a style that felt great. Now you just have to run out the clock. You still get to coach your team, which you absolutely love, but you just don't have to do it with the same gusto as you did before. You can choose to keep going for it, but you don't have to. There is a difference.

[getting ready to leave Santiago] To keep ourselves motivated, we chose to head over to the coast and do a little camping along the way. Having not seen true forests in a long time, I couldn't really believe that Chilean coast is one large tree farm. It now looks a lot like the Oregon coast. When we hiked through a native forest at one point, we learned that before it was all cut and replanted, it was a little more exotic with bamboo and large deciduous trees, but now it is all pine and eucalyptus for as far as you can see.
We stuck as close as we could to the coast for 3 days before the weather started to turn cloudy and cold. At that point, we decided to jump over to the central valley where we hoped the weather would be a little sunnier.

Along the way, we ran into a Chilean motorcyclist named Germán (pronounced Herman). He lives in the resort town of Villarrica which is next to one of the first of the lakes in the lakes region of Chile. Lago Villarrica is a large lake with an active snow capped volcano looming overhead.
Germán was a saint when we arrived in town and helped us to get situated. He offered up his ranch for us to stay at, but we needed internet so we decided to stay in a hostel in town instead. He dropped two sea Kayaks off at our hostel for us to paddle around in. We could just use them as we will and he would swing by after we left Villarrica to pick them up.
[view from our room] We ended up staying inside most of the day working on Montessori 123 and talking with our friend in Seattle, Dan, who just the day before had broken his femur in an avalanche. Then with about an hour of sun left, we took the kayaks out on the lake for a sunset cruise. Since the wind had been blowing all day, there were actually waves on the lake so we could surf them a bit. It was a pretty nice luxury.

The next morning, we woke up and packed up our bikes. As we were getting ready to leave, the owner of the Hostel through a bit of a fit about the Kayaks. He wanted them off of his lawn asap. If we left them there for Germán to pick up, he would throw them out on the street. Now, if he had a small lawn and the kayaks were in the way of his other guests or impeded his operations in anyway then I could understand to some extent his fit. But we were the only guests (in fact I think we were the only tourists in town) and his 2 acres of lawn were in no way affected by the kayaks. So we took the kayaks off of his property, set them down on the planting strip in front and called Germån to come pick them up right away. We needed to fiddle with the bikes anyway so we sat there for an hour tinkering away while we waited. German showed up, all smiles, and we loaded the boats onto his rig. What a nice guy! We offered to pay him money for gasoline for driving back and forth from his ranch, but he merely replied that motorcyclists are a family and we help each other out whenever possible.
What a great family we belong to!

The coast of Chile
These birds were everywhere in the trees

Tightening the steering head bearing in a shop in Constitution (the hardest hit town of the 2010 Earthquake
Check out the fallen down building from the earthquake. It just plain fell down.

These birds were going nuts over something. Must be fish.

We went for a walk with this dog. He wouldn't cross the bridge, so I carried him.

Stir fried veggies with Thai peanut sauce over rice.
We let this kid Dan ride Megan's bike. Here's me chasing after him to ask him where he was going. He came back.

One of a billion cute dogs. We fed this little guy enough peanuts to make me puke. But he didn't seem to mind.

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