An endless kaleidascope of scenery, beautiful but all different. The 642 miles from Santiago to Puerto Montt can be easily ridden in two days, but one really should take a full week just to enjoy the endless visual delights. Miles and miles of vineyards, giving way to rolling hills and scenic low mountains. It was as if I suddenly went from Lodi, California to Ouray, Colorado within the same morning. Then into beautiful forest lands, lush and full but with large and ranting sawmills converting the beautiful trees into logs and then lumber.
Ten hours down Ruta 5, suddenly vast and beautiful meadows and pastures provide grazing for large herds of fat cattle and sleek horses. Huge herds of sheep and goats remind me that I am in wool country. The richness of the earth is truly manifested in the beauty and fatness of these animals.
And suddenly around a curve, over the last low mountain and the beauty of the saltwater bays, surrounded by snow covered volcanic peaks, reassure me that I am now in one of the southernmost port regions in the world. A long dream of riding a motorcycle to the southern end of the world, seems possible, indeed probable.
The BMW R100GSPD, upon which I am so dependent, is running like the well oiled machine that it is now that Jose Meyer has worked his magic. Not a leak, new tires, humming along, every now and then breaking into a fast run, all the while moving south. And Ruta 5! Maybe the finest highway that I have ridden in the last ten years. At times reminiscent of I-10 in West Texas, but in better condition. As well it should be. Ruta 5 is actually a toll road with toll booths every 40 miles or so. The cost for the Goose and me, slightly less than $1 every toll booth. A bargain that I am happy to pay after some of the roads that I have ridden during this adventure.
I stopped today in a small town, 90 miles north of Puerto Montt, just to visit a southern Chilean village. While there I got a haircut. Cost, less than $3. I also visited a hardware store to buy a lock, screwdriver, a Coca Cola Light and some crackers for a total of less than $4. I can get used to this. Such a beautiful small town, I could have been in the mountains of Virginia. The Plaza bustling with people, both young and old.
The gentleman who ran the hardware spoke some English but told me that I was the first American he remembered visiting his town. He was an interesting guy, 79 years of age but looking as fit as a sixty year old. He immingrated from Jerusalem in 1960. I stupidly assumed he was Jewish, but he said no, he was Arabic. I then asked if he was Moslem and he told me that he was Catholic. I will someday learn not to make unwarrented assumptions.
I am now checked into a fine family run Residencial, in the port city of Puerto Montt, where the Goose is safely parked. Tonight dinner, maybe seafood. Tomorrow, I will explore Puerto Montt and maybe take a ride. After all, the Goose and I have only run some 10,000 miles in the past 58 days.