Friday, February 26, 2010

Pali Aike, Chile to Torres del Paine

The night in Pali Aike was cold, the wind was actually blowing through the wall beside my bed, so we were glad to be up and out early.

We rode through San Gregorio, an abandoned Town (some kind of company town presumably as all the buildings were of the same scheme and vintage). 
 The Town was also home to two shipwrecked hull.  The Vapor Amodeo above, wrecked in 1932.
The Barca Ambassador was wrecked in 1899.

We  stopped for fuel at the intersection of Ruta's 255 and 9, but were rightly refused service as we didn't have any Chilean Pesos.  We had not seen a bank since entering Chile as there were no larger Towns along our route and we had been allowed to pay with Argentine Pesos to this point. Facing a 200km detour to Puerto Arenas and back, we were saved by three old gentlemen in an old ford pick-up who had also stopped for fuel.  The head-man amongst them agreed to fill our tanks for a US dollar exchange ($23USD total) so we were able to continue north without delayand stopped in Puerto Natales for Chilean cash, lunch and more gas.  It seemed strange to withdraw $150,000.00 from a bank machine, but the Chilean Peso runs about 500 pesos to the dollar.
Chile is a beautiful country, but be careful where you camp!

The ride to Torres del Paine was spectacular, with about 125km of paved sweeping curves and the last 110kms to our campsite hardpack and gravel tight turns.
First views of Torres del Paine.
It was late by the tine the tents were up, so dinner was hard cheese and dry sausage, but washed down with a bottle of beautiful Chilean wine purchased at the park store.

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