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Stage 1
Ushuaia to Santiago
Jan 2012 - May 2012

Stage 2
Santiago to La Paz
May 2012 - Aug 2012

Stage 3
La Paz to Panama C
Aug 2012 to Nov 2012

Stage 4
Panama C to Phoenix
Nov 2012 to Feb 2013

Stage 5
Phoenix to P Rupert
Mar 2013 to May 2013

Stage 6
P Rupert to Deadhorse
May 2013 to Jul 2013

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Mar 14, 2012:

More Than Just A Bike Ride

Distance to Date: 1887 km , 1132 miles

We are currently about 1500 miles south of Santiago in Coihaique, Chile. It's the capitol of the Aysen region and the first hint of civilization since leaving El Chalten two and a half weeks ago (last update).

Since El Chalten, we:

  • decided to change plans and take our chances on the Carretera Austral. After the ripios south of El Calafate (see update Feb 20th), we were hesitant that we could visually handle the 1240 km (770 miles) of dirt and gravel roads that weave Chile's remote villages in the south together.
  • rode casually on a 37-km dirt road to Lago del Desierto to catch a ferry to the border of Argentina.
  • took the bike and all our gear through a single track hiking trail up and over a pass where we broke the derailleur hanger (again).
  • took the bike through 15 km of muddy trails during a rain storm to try to catch another ferry ...that turned out to not be there.
  • waited for a total of 10 days to catch a ferry to Villa O'Higgins while subsisting on 6 days' supply of food.
  • got to Villa O'Higgins and tried to find a welder for the derailleur hanger. There was a welder, but not one for aluminum parts.
  • managed to ride, run, and hike 85 km along a dirt road to catch another ferry to Puerto Yungay. The chain finally broke and we just couldn't ride anymore. (Because of the protests in the region about the price of gas, there was a gas shortage; therefore, only 3 or 4 vehicles passed along this road a day.)
  • caught the ferry to Puerto Yungay and somehow managed to hitch-hike to 120 km to Cochrane. This is amazing since it was probably only the 4th vehicle we had seen all day!
  • were miraculously linked with an 18-wheeler truck that was heading to Coihaique (300 km) the following day.
  • got to Coihaique and met a wonderful little 'ole lady who has a hostel that feels like home.

The trip has been more than just a bike ride. The people we've met along the way have been so nice and helpful! And when we share our story (our project) with them, they are amazed and often shocked. How can two people with limited vision do such a thing?! They see Tauru dependent on Christi at night; yet they can tell that Christi can't see well! But they know we are capable ...because we have come so far ...and that we have taken a tandem that's fully loaded with cycle touring gear through the hardest part of the Carretera Austral -- the 7 km of single track hiking trail over a mountain pass). Our journey continues...

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In El Chalten, the view of Cerro Fitz Roy is blocked by the chunk of dirt behind our camp.

We walk to the edge of town for a better view. Cerro Torre is the first spire to the right of Tauru and Cerro Fitz Roy's top is hidden in the clouds.

After deciding to scrap the plan to ride north on the Argentinian side, we load up with 6 days' supply of food and fuel to catch the ferry for Villa O'Higgins.

Along the 37-km ride on gravel/dirt road north of El Chalten to catch a ferry to cross Lago del Desierto, Cerro Fitz Roy pops out of the clouds.

Temptation ...temptation to climb it?

Yes, Tauru wants to come back one day to climb it! (Rock climbing and mountaineering are other hobbies that we enjoy.)

Another look ...another dream ...another project.

For the time being, we need to get to Lago del Desierto. Crossing these kinds of bridges is difficult -- riding a line and avoiding holes and separations between boards is difficult.

With two days to ride 37 km (next boat is at 5 PM the following day), we have a lot of time. Tauru finishes up setting the tent next to a lake.

He reminisces, but is more interested in what's for dinner.

The following day, we follow the river to Lago del Desierto.

It's only 2 o'clock and we are 4 km from Lago del Desierto. The boat won't leave for another 3 hours.

Christi soaks her feet in the cold river.

Tauru fixes his sleeping mat. He found the holes by submerging it in the lake the day before.

Duct tape does miracle wonders.

We catch the 5 o'clock ferry and cruise the 45 minutes to the northern end of Lago del Desierto where there's an Argentinian border post.

Beyond in the south is El Chalten and Argentina.

Approaching the pier.

Christi prepares to take the bike off the boat.

Off she goes...

Argentinian Immigration and Customs allows us to camp nearby.

No running water, but a whole lake at our disposal.

Tauru prepares dinner. The same meal as the night before? (He'll soon realize it'll be the same for the next 8 days!)

Late in the afternoon, Cerro Fitz Roy appears.

A good view of her the following morning looks promising.

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