03 November, 2012

Day 122, 571km: Southern Chile

The country is turning more and more like Canada. Lakes, rivers, fast forests now constitute the landscape. An incredible change compared to two weeks ago when I entered the north of Chile in Arica. But hey, there's 2500km between the two places!

God to do one of these "lakes" pictures
 I didn't leave particularly early from Canete and knew that would be a long day towards Puerto Montt, with more than 500km. So I drove without much breaks. Plus the road was great, with a faire share of hills and fun curves.

Rhaaa beauty. Pity it wasn't 11:11 and 11 degrees C
Still, it was rather densely populated
 The place strongly reminded me of British Columbia, when I went north from Vancouver four months ago. It was fun being in a similar landscape again, and I strongly felt like I was in Canada. Except perhaps a bear-less  Spanish speaking version of it.
Another section of dirt roads to start the day!
 It starts becoming an habit starting the day with a dirt road! The road went across cute farms for an hour or so.

This picture is here by request!
 Nitin, you wondered if my bike is magic since it doesn't seem to require gas. Well I'm sorry I have to break-out the truth, Bertha is a heavy gasoline drinker. Her on-board computer tells me she averages 4.6L/100km (51mpg). Over 33,000km that's 1200L of gasoline. 1.2 cubic meters. That's a lot but pretty reasonable if you think about it. My expense tracking (buxfer.com, great tool) tells me I've spent about $1700 on fuel. I challenge anyone to find an airline ticket that lets you fly 33,000km for $1700 ... !

Also interesting to note is that 4.6L/100km is an unit of surface (dm^3 / m ~= m^2) that's actually 0.046 mm^2. A comparison is the area taken by the cross-section of six of your hairs. Yes, that is very tiny.

What does that represent? Well, imagine I had no tank on my bike, and there was a kind of "gasoline line", a tiny pipe that ran all the way from Canada to Chile, supplying gasoline to Bertha as she went along.
The cross-section of that pipe would be 0.046mm^2.

That is of course an average consumption and therefore an average pipe size. Regardless, it's impressive to think about how small the fuel consumption of the bike is in reality, if it could be fed by a pipe the size of 6 hairs.
It's equally impressive to think that if you had a 33,000km pipe the size of 6 hairs you could fill it with 1200L of gasoline.

I was then on the highway for the rest of the day
A beautiful, mostly empty highway winding across hills, farms and the occasional lake. All that under a beautiful day, that was a great ride.

I was in Puerto Montt around 5pm and hugely disappointed. The place is ugly. I decided to go back 30km towards Puerto Varas, a beautiful city next to a lake with great views.

A fun museum with, look at that, a 2CV!
 There were great views of the lake, with its two volcanoes in the distance.

View from Puerto Varas' center
Checked-in a hotel there and started updating the blog! It's been almost a week I had a lot to catch-up.
I might stay here a couple days, it's nice here and I want to visit a bit further south the lakes and glaciers (perhaps!) before I head back north to cross into Argentina.


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