Chile 8

On Sunday night, the 19th of February, we return back to Santiago.  The ride with our new Chilean friends comes to an end, but a new adventure begins.  Sandy's sister, Kathy and her husband, Steve, fly down from Sacramento, California to spend a little time in Chile.  It is Kathy's first trip outside the United States.  She likes her comforts and is nervous about visiting South America.  We keep teasing her and tell her that it is time to "Stretch her personal envelope".  Peru and Ecuador may have shredded her personal envelope, but Chile, being as mild as it is, is the perfect spot for an introductory trip south of the equator.

So....  We head to the Andes to show them the big piles of earth (the Andes) East of Santiago.

A quick lunch break in "Los Andes".

Our BMW motorcycle gets a respite while we see how the Peugeot rental car performs on some of the dirt roads we had already covered on the R100GS.

Kathy likes it.....

My primary concern about driving a car for a few days is that Sandy may "Get soft", and start wanting windows, heating, radio and a seat back.
We have crossed this road over the Andes twice already (during our earlier visit to Mendoza, Argentina), but it is still jaw dropping.
We crossed into Argentina, but did not go far enough to actually have to have to go through customs, which is about 12 miles into Argentina....

On Tuesday, Kathy and Steve gave us a great excuse to revisit Valparaiso and Vina del Mar which we enjoyed so much in December.

It was also another reason to re-ride the Ascensor's of Valparaiso.

Another "Envelop stretching" experience for Kathy.

How 2 sisters can have such different envelopes is amazing!

Neat old classic electric bus of Valparaiso.
The Ascensor's of Valparaiso have been operational since the early 1900's, but Kathy is sure that they will fail on her ride up.

At first she was afraid to stand near the windows.

I hear faint ripping sounds as her personal envelop is "Stretching".

The mix of old and new, from the top of an Ascensor in Valparaiso.
The 14 ascensors climb the hills of Valparaiso at angles of 35 to 60 degrees.

I assure Kathy that there are multiple backup systems to the backup systems which make any "Free Fall" impossible.

(Yeh.... sure.....)

Lunch, in the seaside town of Concon, just north of Vina del Mar.

Steve is getting to be suspect that our "Tough" travels in South America are a crock of you know what.

I try and tell him that the steak on the table is the first I have seen this year.

I don't think he bought the story.

I tried to explain that we are on a tight budget which does not allow these luxuries.

In order to replenish my budget for the day, we visit the Casino in Vina del Mar, and earn enough to pay for the extravagant lunch.

Notice the odd shapes used for chips.

On Wednesday morning we walked around downtown Santiago.

I walk Steve and Kathy into the Ministry of Exterior, where we had previously taken "Then and Now" photos from the roof top.

I was going to explain and show them how tough the security was in this building.

The guard, Sergio, noticed us from our previous visit.  He had also seen his own picture on our web site.

He insisted that Steve and Kathy see the city of Santiago from the roof top.

There goes my story of how tough it was to gain entry into the Ministry!

Although it was overcast, Santiago is still a beautiful city.........

Especially when viewed from a location that few get to visit....


A very special treat was that Sergio took us to the helipad in the Presidential elevator!

After spending so much time in Santiago (during November, December and February), it is starting to feel like home.

It will be tough to leave.

Steve, Kathy and Sandy.

I am very frustrated having them join us for only 10 days.  There is so much to see and so little time.

I want them to enjoy their South American trip, and they get to see so little.

It is also a real enlightenment on how fortunate Sandy and I have been to spend so much time and see so much of South America.

And we are only scratching the surface of a fantastic continent! 

For some more stretching of Kathy's personal envelop we visit San Cristobal Park, in the center of Santiago.

We ride the Funicular and the Teleferico.

The Funicular is an ascensor and the Teleferico is a cable bucket ride like the old skyway ride at Disneyland.

View of Santiago, from the top of the ascensor.

Santiago is big.

You could aim the camera in five different directions and get the same kind of picture.

We end the day, on this "Tough and Tumble" trip in South America, with dinner on a slowly rotating restaurant in downtown Santiago.

It is a sad night for Sandy and I as we know it will be our last night in Santiago.

  We will go back in a year or two......

We will miss the city and our new friends of Santiago.

And a special "Thank You" to Jose..... You helped us in so many ways..........

So off to the Lake District, with Steve and Kathy in a chase vehicle.

We are not used to having the support of others while on the road.........

(Notice volcano in background... Very common in the Lake District)

As it turned out, we needed the support.

Somebody up above was looking out for us.

We had a flat on the rear wheel. 

The wheel should be tubeless, but we have cracked the rim, and now must run a tube.

Total downtime was only 1 1/2 hours.

I got bored, so I unloaded the iPod and listened to Diana Krall.

It seemed as though they were back in 10 minutes.

We spent the night in Temuco at another PanAmerican hotel.

On Friday, the 24th of February, we finally arrive at the northern edge of Chiles famous Lake District.

When you have a Chase Vehicle, you also have somebody to take your picture.

More cute kids in South America!

With limited Spanish I was unable to get their mother out of the picture!



If you believe that, I have a bridge for sale in New York......

This is another "Tough and Tumble" day in South America.

We HAD to go for another boat ride to get another "Then and Now" photo in Pucon, on the shores of Lake Villarrrica.

Hey.... Somebody has to do it!

The jungles of Ecuador seem like they are a million miles away....

It seems like it has been years since we were sweating on desert shores in northern Peru....

Again, we are not taking a single day of this adventure for granted.

Another view of the Volcano Villarrica from the Lake of Villarrica.
This is the view of Volcano Villarrica, from the end of the dirt road which climbs it's side.
Sandy and Kathy, with Lake Villarrica in the background.

The picture was taken from about 1/3 the way up Volcano Villarrica.

Sandy, walking the streets of Villarrica, which is on the shores of Lake Villarrica.

And the Volcano of Villarrica always looming in the background.

Time for one of the southern most "Then and Now's".  The picture is from the book called "Fireside Travels in South America", printed in 1948 by James Fitzpatrick.  The book I own is signed by the author, so it seems very special for me to visit many of the places which James visited over 57 years ago.  I bet James had no idea that his photo would influence somebody to take a boat ride 57 years in the future and try and take a picture from the same location.  Thank you Mr. James Fitzpatrick, as I will always be indebted to you for the motivation to visit locations I would have never seen without reading and being inspired by your great book of 1948.

The caption, from the book, for this picture reads.... "In the lovely Lake District of Chile snow-capped Mount Villarrica forms a scenic background for the Hotel Pucon, popular center for vacationists".

The caption is still appropriate.  The hotel has changed some, but the backdrop is as beautiful as the day James Fitzpatrick snapped his photograph.

On Saturday, the 25th of February, we leave our cabin on the shores of Villarrica and head for Puerto Montt.

We could have spent a week in Villarrica, but Steve and Kathy have only 5 more days in Chile.

About 11 months ago, we received a letter from a friend, Dr. Greg Frazier. 

He has circled the world more times than anybody else (five times, I believe). 

Dr. Greg Frazier knew how much I like Studebakers, and that we drive an Avanti (see Avanti ).

The letter included many pictures he had taken while traveling through South America, of a Studebaker Museum located 12 miles east of Osorno, Chile.

Very cool to have a friend remember our personal interests and take the time to send pictures, while traveling the world.

A sincerely thank you Greg.........

Greg... You cost me a "Studebaker T-Shirt from Osorno", that I can't wait to wear to the next Studebaker meeting we attend when we return to the States!

Sandy, waving "Thanks" to Dr. Greg Frazier.

My father drove a 1957 Packard Clipper Station Wagon.

This is a very similar 1957 Studebaker Station Wagon.

Who would have thought that we would find something like this 6,500 miles from home.

My father also drove a 1953 Studebaker like this one, from Minnesota to Acapulco, when much of the driving was on dirt roads.

Hey....  Maybe I got a long distance and dirt road "gene" from my father?

Our thoughts are frequently with you Dad!  Hope all is well....

Sandy and Kathy's father had a Chevy similar to this one in Chile.
A beautiful yellow "Bullet Nose" Studebaker.
Although it was in bad shape, there was something about this rusting 1955 Oldsmobile that I really liked.
Do you have any idea what it is, that I liked about it?



If I have new travel business cards made, I will use this as the background!

We leave Osorno and head for Puerto Montt, which is the end of the PanAmerican highway, unless you take a ferry to Chiloe Island.

On the 26th of February, we looked out our 7th story window in Puerto Montt and see this ship in the harbor.

What was funny about this is when we were in Santiago, Kathy ran into somebody from Sacramento, that was on a 3 week trip in South America.  She was on a cruise on this ship.

Small world....

We drove about 30 miles southwest of Puerto Montt and rode the ferry to Chiloe Island.

We drove about 110 miles south to the end of the PanAmerican Highway.

We got to check off another one of those "Do it before you die" things!

Seems like we have been doing that a lot recently!

Steve, Kathy and Sandy trying to stay warm on the crossing to Chiloe......
Typical Chiloe Island construction.......
Another angle.....

Note the reflection....

We have now covered every mile of the PanAmerican Highway (except the Columbian section).

The plaque states that it is 22,000 Km (about 13,200 miles).

I think I am glowing!  I am proud to have had a goal and to have completed it.  It is a good feeling.

  As I sit typing this I actually have a tear in my eye.  After 15 years of collecting and reading books of others which have had the good fortune to travel and write about their journey's of traveling the PanAmerican Highway, I have finally completed the journey myself.  Makes you wonder how many people have actually traveled the road from Alaska to the Southern end of Chiloe Island.

I would think that we have experienced something which fewer than 5,000 people have experienced.  If 50 people per year have done this for the last 100 years, that is only 5,000. people.  For an old guy, I FEEL REAL GOOD TODAY!

Sunday, the 26th of February, was a good day.........

Steve, Kathy and Sandy at the end of the road.

On Monday we drive around Puerto Montt, Lake Llanquihue and Lake Todos los Santos.

The picture and the overcast skies do not do justice to the color of the waters in this river.

The color of the water was similar to Lake Louise, near Banff, Canada.

We may have been to the end of the highway, but there are many more places to visit....

Tomorrow we will take a boat west bound on Lake Todos los Santos, to visit the village of Peulla, which has a population of only 120 people.

Same sign post, with the lake in the background.

It is tough to decide which pictures to use.......

When we got back to Puerto Montt, we stopped to pick up our laundry.

Kathy wanted to know how they knew she was a Gringo?


Kathy.... the Chilean's have a finely tuned skill that allows them to identify a persons origin, with a minimum of clues......... 

And Kathy...  I still have that bridge in New York for sale.

We spotted this bird on the drive to Lake Todos los Santos.

I am not a birder, and have no clue what it is........

On Wednesday, the 28th of February, we travel about 30 miles into the Andes on a boat to the Village of Peulla.

It is a very remote area with no roads and few homes.

As I sit here on Thursday (March 2), working on the web site, Sandy really misses her sister (they flew home on Wednesday, the 1st of March).

It was a nice break in a long journey.  A welcome break from the isolation one feels when gone from home for extended periods.

Steve and Kathy, thank for you for the enjoyment you added to our trip.  You are missed.

The boat ride has an "Alaskan" cruise feel to it....
A few boats along the shore line.....

With cabins hidden in the trees....

Waterfalls and azure colored waters.......
Puerto Peulla, with Sandy, Kathy and Steve.

We sure hope you guys enjoyed the short time you spent here, as much as we enjoyed having you travel with us.....

And Kathy.... Life is not bad with a few tears in the envelope....  Is it?

Sandy, and a few of the homes in the small village of Peulla.
There are NO roads in this area, so people get in and out of the area by stopping the boat for a ride back to Petrohue, where we started the trip.

The boat travels the lake once a day.

After dropping somebody off on the boat, he heads back to shore in a very remote area in the Lake District of Chile.
This was a mail drop off only..........

No Fed-Ex or DHL in this area......

Steve and Kathy....  Thanks again for spending the time with us.  We enjoyed it, and you guys are sincerely missed.

Right after you left, we rode off and found some dirt roads and headed back to Puerto Varas.  Sorry that the weather was not the best during the last 4 days of you trip.  This is what it was like, just as your plane departed.  Go figure!  That is Volcano Osorno on the left, which you guys never got to see......... 

Hey... If you guys retired early you could return and see it yourself!      Think about it...

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