Wednesday, December 12, 2012


I had picked out the D&R hostel in Santiago not really knowing where the right place in the town to stay.  But I had located the KTM dealer and figured anything close would be good.  On the road to Santiago we ran into a KTM rider and his wife from Santiago.  He was very familiar with the KTM dealer and said that they were no longer located there and had moved to another area of town.  That was not on their web site!

This is another thing we seem to run into all the time.  Web information, e-mail, contact numbers, addresses; nothing seems to be right.  It’s almost like most businesses just say, if you don’t know how to get in touch with us then we don’t need your business.  But sometimes it can be downright frustrating trying to find something.  The KTM dealer had moved but did not update their information.

Anyway, the Hostel was right where it said it was, although not well marked and locked up.  So we weren’t sure we were at the right place, but in order to get someone’s attention we had to ring the bell and then deal with the language barrier if we were wrong … but we weren’t. 
Alfredo, one of the owners, at D&R Hostel (I am coming to Texas!)

Alfredo and Francisco are the proprietors/owners but don’t speak much English.  When we asked if they had any open rooms, they said no!  But then they had Makarana (yes, like the song) come down.  She spoke English pretty well and after a lot of back and forth between them, they decided if we would take a room they had not yet finished (like still under construction) that they would give us a break.  We looked at it, it was fine, no curtains, no beds, and a lot of clutter but who cares.

We developed quite a friendship with these guys.  They are young but are trying very hard to make a business out of their hostel.  The service was good, the building and room were adequate, but the friendship, assistance and sense of belonging was GREAT.  I recommend this place to anyone.  Don’t expect a Hilton or a Marriott but do expect to get treated right.

They agreed to add a couple beds and we went to find the KTM dealer.  I had left the key on while we were inside, so when I returned my bike would not start.  We jumped it with Chucks bike and it started fine and ran fine, so off we went.  But about 2 miles latter my bike started acting up.  Bogging down, not running, dying.  We tried to get on the highway but it would just die.  I didn’t like not having a shoulder on the highway so I found the first exit. 
Dead on the side of the road.

I stayed there on the sidewalk while Chuck went on the to KTM dealer.  It was about 5pm but Chuck did not return until about 7p.  No one could come and there wasn’t a tow truck anywhere.  The freeway had slowed from rush hour, so we decided to limp to the dealer.  I found if I turned the key off for a second or two, the bike would start running right again for a little bit.  But, when I started it after a two hour rest, it ran fine, to the dealer, back from the dealer to the Hostel for the night and then again back to the dealer the next day.  I have written this up in detail because this problem is still vexing me today as we rode from Esquel, Argentina to a small town called Rio Mayo (rio mah’ sho). 

Anyway, we got the bike to the dealer, met Josephina who is about the only one there that speaks English and got the bikes in for service and I was thinking a look at the problem. 

I had decided since Chucks wife was coming to Santiago and I was going to be on my own for a while that I could almost economically justify buying a plane ticket and coming home for Thanksgiving.  So that is what I did.

I left my stuff at D&R, the bike at the dealer and came home.

Back Again …

I showed up to a home coming at the D&R, with Alfredo greeting me like a long lost brother (or may be father).  I got settled, reclaimed my luggage and set off for the dealer the next morning.  The only thing they had done was to change the oil.  How disappointing.  I asked them to change a tire I had brought back with me and I was very fortunate that they even did that.  I was not very happy, mostly because I still didn’t know what the bike had done previously and they didn’t do anything to fix it.

I met Chuck later that day at the hostel and the next day we were packed, safety isn't as big of a deal in South America as it is in the US.  I took this of one of hostels neighbors cleaning his windows.  
Safety third - 30 foot drop to the parking lot below

We bid Alfredo and Francisco caio and we left for Temuco.  Again, thank god for cruise control.  Lots of highway miles and nothing interesting to see.  We were stopped by the police at a regular policia stopping.  We thought we were going to have to go through the old "show us your insurance card" routine again.  But, the first officer asked Chuck for his motorcycle documents, and Chuck immediately produced his Aduna registration, I started to get mine, but before I could the second officer just waived me off, and said go ahead.  Then we started joking around and eventually it was just a fun time.  Here is Chuck surrounded by the two police officers.  I could not persuade them to pull their guns! :-)
Obviously guilty!
Francisco had told us about Temuco, it was nice and safe.  It may be, but we sure didn’t feel safe and the area was anything but nice.  We met Alonso at his hostel Mackay.  Again, no sign, we just had to guess.  He eventually came out and flagged us down.  Nice guy, we asked about dinner and he just shrugged and said, “Sunday, the only thing open is McDonalds.”  Ok, McDonalds it was.

Our original plan was to continue south to Puerto Montt, grab a ferry and ride the Caraterra Astral.  But, after looking at some of the problems with the ferry schedule and with the road after the ferry (there is several miles of “bough” you had to travel through) we decided on another route up through Argentina and ruta 40.  We stayed only that night and we were up early the next day and gone.

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