Day 87 – Santiago, Chile

[QUICK NOTE]Our internet connection is too slow to upload pictures today, but it’s been a while since we updated so we wanted to post anyway. We’ll go back and edit later when we have pictures to share, and apologies in the meantime for all the words and no photos to break it up![END NOTE]

As we always find on a “day off,” there’s a certain pleasure to waking up and knowing you don’t have to make any miles today. The only reason we set the alarm at all was to make sure we didn’t miss breakfast, which was included with the hotel. Leisurely got up, read a bit, went down to breakfast (which was surprisingly lame) and generally enjoyed being lazy. Went out afterward to get me some Diet Coke, because I’m *really* enjoying being in a country where I can find it again, and then back to the room to be lazy.

Honestly I forget what we did in the morning. We were killing time until our laundry came, and then I think we planned to go out and see some of the city. There was a park nearby that our hotel had told us about; you could take a tram to the top of a hill and see the city all spread out, and the mountains surrounding it. That sounded nice.

At around 1PM, Kay went downstairs to check on our laundry. He returned victorious! Everything was dry; they’d hung our moto gear to dry since we’d told them it couldn’t be run through a drier, and we were thrilled to have clean clothes. It was glorious for all of 30 seconds, until I started separating things.

Turns out, I was missing a sock.

It sounds trivial, I know. Socks go missing all the time. But these are tall Smartwool socks that work great under my motorcycle boots, and they’re quite expensive in the US ($26+ per pair). I had three pairs with me, and with a missing sock, I’d be down to two pairs. That simply wasn’t cool. At any given time, since my waterproof boots are no longer waterproof, I might have a dirty pair and a wet pair, which gives me one extra pair to play with. With only two pairs, I envisioned a world of eternally wet socks. Plus I was upset that I have so few possessions on this trip, and I’m so careful with them, and the *second* I let something out of my hands, it goes missing.

Needless to say I was not pleased. I asked Kay to go back down and ask them about it, because I knew I was overly upset and didn’t want to be a bitch to them. He returned saying that they were very sorry, but they had no idea what might have happened. They showed him where they had hung the clothes, and Kay had been there when they took them off the hangars and they didn’t seem to think there was any way it could have gone missing. It had just vanished.

That left me in a funk. Again, I know it sounds like such a small thing, but I’ve been so careful with my stuff, and I have so few clothes – it’s the one thing I always wish I had more of. And I was not optimistic about finding a pair of socks to replace them. We were in a huge city, but our $20 cab ride from the day before discouraged me from going out to explore it. Santiago does have what appears to be a pretty comprehensive subway system, so there was always that option, but I spent a while resenting the necessity of going to look for socks and generally being in a bad mood. Which I regret now, but… *shrugs*

Eventually we went out to eat, and we decided to try the KFC not far from our hotel. It’s totally lame to eat fast food from the US, but there are times when you just want familiar comfort food from home, and KFC seemed like a good call. Unfortunately, the KFC in Santiago has very little that is recognizable from the KFC in the States, and the food that we did get was underwhelming at best. Boo disappointing meal.

Back to the room where I pout some more, and then decide we should maybe hit up the camping store that had an ad in the hotel lobby to see if we could replace my socks. But wait – they have a website! Before we try to get there, lets see if we can find similar socks on their website.

Well, there’s a pair that *looks* similar, although it’s not Smartwool… how much? Oh. A little over $40 US.

Yeah. I’m totally bummed about not having that sock, but not $40 for a pair of socks bummed. That’s one or two nights in a hotel, or several meals, or gas – not gonna waste it on a pair of socks. Especially with moto repairs of unknown cost hanging over our heads. So I nix our foray to look for socks, and read more. We watch a bit of TV on the iPad and eventually head out for dinner, which culminates in another disappointing meal. I’m annoyed that with this ginormous city and probably hundreds of restaurants, we keep finding the bad food.

Lesson kids? When you’re in a bad mood, you carry it around with you. Don’t do that.

Back to the hotel, and wait! They’ve found my sock! They’re very sorry about the inconvenience and they don’t know how it happened, but they’re happy to return it to me.

Yay for the sock! And now double boo that I wasted all day being upset about it.

Back to the room for some more TV on iPad, and then we decide we should watch the “off road riding technique” video that Stephen gave us in San Cristobal. It turns out to be surprisingly short. It contained some good tips, but sadly I don’t think I’ll be able to practice before we get to the dirt itself. Baptism by fire for me!

Then we ponder route a bit. We’d really like to ride Route 7 here in Chile. Everyone says it’s beautiful and wonderful and the photos I’ve seen are gorgeous, so we’re in favor of it. Plus one of the guys on ADV said it was mostly hard-packed dirt, while Routa 40 in Argentina consisted of a fair amount of gravel/rocks/sand, and the hard-packed dirt sounds better to us. So we look into the ferries and how far we could get.

Unfortunately, to do route 7, there’s a series of ferries of varying lengths you need to traverse one stretch to the next. And the second ferry on the route only runs in January and February – it’s March now, which means we’re too late for that ferry. To go down to that point is only 28KM (or miles? I forget) on routa 7 itself, which pretty much nixes that for us. Looks like we’ll be crossing into Argentina and doing Routa 40 after all. It seems to be mostly paved, according to our map, except for a roughly 500km stretch (which we could bypass, but won’t) and a little over 100km section near the bottom. So route is decided, and the day is pretty much done.

Not being on the bikes was a nice break, but in all, the day could have gone better (mostly due to my bad mood).

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