Quellón, Chiloé, Chile (18,134 kilometers – 11,268 miles)
We are proud to share that the Conbigotes Chilean Fruit Examiners have tied the knot. Not to each other as some of our pictures and tight cycle related clothing would suggest, but to a fellow rider. Mr. Robert Frank Sargent (the devil pictured above) has joined the squad for the last bits of this sojourn south. So now, we are three.
Rob, who will forever on this ledger be refered to as “Sargent”, proposed to us in Villarrica, Chile while he and his sisters were admiring our bicycles and enjoying an alcoholic beverage in the incredibly touristic part of town. Who knew we would find love after previously enduring such a retardedly long day and losing each other? After Ryan was nowhere to be found and the sun had just about buried itself for the evening, I was freezing, with no food and figured the only thing I could do to stay warm was pedal my ass for a few hours in the dark to get to Villarrica. The following morning, Ryan pulled into town having stealthy camped the night before with only the rain fly. He found me stealing wifi and sucking cold instant coffee. “Sargent” must have seen this exchange, as he gingerly strolled over and the conversation went as such…
Sargent: “North or South?”
Sargent: “I am on a bike also…my sisters aren’t”
Brett: “North or South?”
Brett: “Sign here and welcome to Conbigotes!”
So there it was. A gorgeous set of vows that will go down in South American cycling lore.
Since the joining of bikes and cooking equipment, we have been zigzagging our way southward through some goddamn gorgeous bits of the lakes region on our way to the island of Chiloé. Jesus, I’m wracking my brain to come up with some newsworthy info to report, but there really isn’t much. I’m certain nobody wants to hear about unseasonably warm and non-downpoury weather for this far southward in Chile making riding just about fucking perfect. Nor do you really care to know that each night, glorious camping happens on hidden lakes that have the evening glisten similar to that of my pathetically non-hairy chest in direct sunlight. Ummmmmmmmmmm, that is about all to tell you the truth.
WAIT! Holy shit, how could I forgot this. It may be advantageous for you to be marginally informed about possibly the most incredible place I have seen down here. Potentially the must unreal thing I have seen, ever. That said, I’m sure I will do a terrible job trying to convey the magic of the Cochamó Valley so I will spare you the long-winded stuff and give you bullet points and pictures. (I will also update a link to a trip report on Cochamó I did for Ames shortly, so just hold tight damnit.)
– Yosemite, but about 200 years ago and with no roads.
– 2,000 foot granite walls that surrounding you like the guys who work for my college football bookie.
– Rivers clearer and more blue than the eyes of those people who buy the colored contact lenses.
– Wood and fire.
– Wood and fire and horses.
– Wood and fire and horses and whiskey.
– River crossings in a basket on a rope.
– Dudes who climb a lot.
– Hidden waterfalls with natural pools that are colder than we thought they would be.
– Other folks who like me, thought we were in a place that words really can’t explain. Other folks who could barely breathe after the 6 hour hike in to arrive at a clearing in the forest floor and get the first look at the valley. Other folks who couldn’t speak for the first 10 minutes while you choke on what you are looking at. Other folks who would and could probably sell everything they own in order to have 20 more minutes in the Cochamó Valley. Other folks who might understand this list of bullet points.
Okie doke, that almost gets us up to date. We currently rest here at the official end of the Pan-American Highway from Anchorage to Chiloé. We are hopping the ferry tonight back to mainland Chile and a closer look at this son of a bitch: Volcan Corcovado. From there, its due south through the heart of Patagonia on the dirt and gravel roads of the Carretera Austral all the way to the bottom…or close for that matter. Therefore, this may be the last post for a healthy amount of time. So for now, please ponder the significance of the end of the Pan-American Highway…because I certainly can’t. For some reason it is impossible for these cycle related accomplishments to sink in and mean much, because this isn’t just a vacation, it is our lives. It is all we know. It is as normal as the morning cup of coffee. We get up every day just like you and put in the same 8 hour days. The only difference is our 8 hours are spent on a bike and our legs move real fast. I hope someday it will all make sense and I will be able to get an idea of what the hell this is all about. If I figure it out, I’ll let you know.