We left Punta de Lobos a few days ago after a full two weeks there. We were anxious to head North, get some miles in; conscious of our schedule and increasingly aware that Chile isn't a cheap place to stay. That said, it was an amazing two weeks. We ate so well every day knowing that we would soon be camping and things wouldn't be so easy, we read loads of books, surfed and took photos of the locals surfing. We even managed to earn a bit of petrol money asking for a small fee for photos to fund the way. The lads we sold them to were so happy to get them and more than happy to help us on our way even throwing in a bottle of Chillean red as a thank you. If you are reading this cheers Matin and Andrew.
We feel pretty lucky to have had such a good time in Punta De Lobos, because Alejandro and Karin gave us the keys to their cabaña we were able to truely relax and not stress abut money. As for the waves, Tom got to surf waves bigger than anything he's surfed before; big enough that he had to ditch his board on a set wave and powerful enough to rip the bottom of his tail pad off. I jumped off the famous Los Morros into the surf enough times that by the end of our stay I was no longer shit scared of it. We managed to surf the point just the two of us on some occasions but most of the time there were at least twenty other people willing to sit deeper. We surfed with whales, sea lions and dolphins with huge pelicans flying above us.
We spent an evening planning our next route, using a trusty Copec map of Chile and BikeHike for the Garmin (GPX tracks). We decided to travel to a place that some of the locals had mentioned, a place they informed us came alive on the weekend with skate ramps, pizza oven, campfires and a point break peeling, less crowds and a more relaxed atmosphere. We Google Earthed some of the tracks and were pleased to see dirt roads most of the way, keen to avoid highways and big lorries blasting past us we are becoming more drawn to them, our bikes are perfect for them too. The two weeks in Punta De Lobos had helped me increase in confidence riding off road. Particularly hill starts in rubble.
As a final thank you we cooked Alejandro and Karin our favourite lunch of Huevos Rancheros gringo style. It was pretty tough saying goodbye to those two after all they have done for us. They never asked for anything in return and made such an impact on our trip. Thanks so much for everything guys, we really couldn't have got even this far without you.
As we loaded up the bikes it felt like for the first time we were on our own and truely heading into the unknown. I loved every minute of that first ride. We rode down dirt roads for miles, loose gravel, sand; past vinyards, fruiterias and narrow tracks with tall trees eitherside. Passing cars kicking up beige dust clouds engulfing us every time. We saw tarantulas on the roads and came out on the other side filthy. I loved every bit of it, until we reached the final stretch. Tired, hot, and hungry we took the turn that would take us down the mountainside and the view was incredible, miles to the North and South, jagged mountains leading to a vast ocean. To the South was a point break tucked into the cliffs and to the North was the pueblo, Tom later described it as looking like 'Never Never Land', misty rocks in the sea with steep green mountains dropping off to the beach, dotted with remote hillside cabañas. The road however was pretty terrifying, a series of around fifteen hair pin turns, 30 degree gradients on pure dirt with a sheer drop to the side. The thought of going back up kept me awake that first night.
We camped for four days, I cleaned toilets for a discount and Tom got the nicer job of taking photos of the campsite. We didn't have much cash and there was barely a shop let alone an ATM. We were worried about petrol so walked a lot and one night hitch hiked to a dinner we had been invited to by a local chef we had met on the first day. The guy was amazing, again, cooked for us and treated us for no other reason than kindness, he seemed to even feel sorry for us and sent us into the night with a small torch, a bag of eggs, some local bread and a pot of chutney that he'd made. We made the 40 minute long walk home with Tom carrying a rock the entire way just incase a rabid dog approched, the night time makes the many stray dogs a little more sinister. For three days we surfed a really mellow left hand point break twice a day that's not in any of the guides so crowds were considerably thinner. I struggle a bit competing at point breaks so it was perfect for me and I had one of the best surfs I have ever had on a glassy, three foot sunset session. Riding back to the tent that night across the sand through the woods felt pretty good. I even enjoyed my cold, dark shower, sleeping well after a good surf.
We finally made it to Valparaiso after a fun but fairly uneventful 24 hours including a night in the wierdest campsites we hope to come accross. So far the city seems pretty cool but we will write about that in the next blog post.