Kleinbus. Lago Acuelo. Instant South American amigos.
Archive for October, 2011
Bode loved this town, and oddly, besides walking to town via the beach – we never went to the beach. There were too many other things to do, like these mini-four-wheelers. He rode these every day, and said his second-favorite thing about them was the helmet.
On the way out of town we spotted 3 kombis. My favorite was this bakery bus parked near the beach.
We’re headed to camp with with Kleinbus club…
And, if you were wondering what Jack Johnson and Pichilemu have in common… he shot this video here:
Pichilemu is a world-famous surfing spot, but too cold for us to swim. We found a cabin near the beach and spent the next day as hermits inside. Bode and Jason took advantage of the wi-fi, and I recovered.
Once we finally ventured out into town, we could see why it’s so beloved. Small enough to walk everywhere, but enough surfing tourists and beach-goers that they seem to have everything a traveling family might need. Yay, a lavanderia!
One of the things that stands out about this place (other than the Santa Cruz style surfing vibe) is that when you look around at the surrounding hills… they’re empty. No condos. No houses. Just cows. Strange when what you notice about a place is what’s not there.
We were desperate for some internet and I woke up with a stomach bug. We thought we could just head to the next town and find a place. It’s never that simple.
We drove up the coast until the road ended. Then, we turned around and detoured inland for another few slow hours on the dirt.
It was a beautiful drive, though I wasn’t really enjoying it and certainly not taking many photos. Wildflowers blanketed the countryside and entire fields were yellow, red or blue. By lunchtime, I’d developed a fever.
A bit of a rough travel day – I guess they can’t all be good.
We finally made it to Pichilemu, a cool surfing town. And just as we pulled into some cabanas near the beach, I started feeling better. Funny how that works.
We were driving up the coast – on our way back to Santiago – when we saw a hand-painted sign with ‘camping’ scribbled on it. We weren’t sure exactly where we were, but not terribly far from where we had started. We decided to take and look and pulled down the long steep driveway down to the beach. It was a beautiful spot with beach access and manicured gardens.
We met the owners who were clowns – literally. They used to travel and perform, but for the last 4 years they’ve put tons of time and money into building their own dream resort. The entire time, they have been living in a giant Mercedes truck, while building a spa, cabanas, and lushly landscaped gardens.
Two years ago, business was picking up and they were starting to become successful. Then, the huge earthquakes and tsunami hit the Chilean coast. They haven’t had much business since. In fact, we were the first campers to pull down the driveway ever since the tsunami.
The owners were really nice and quite talkative – there’s literally no one to talk to out and here and it was clear they were excited to have some company. They mentioned they were trying to sell the place and inquired whether we were interested. Or, if we knew someone that was. We’re not – and we were reminded how even though being out in the middle of nowhere may have its rewards, it just isn’t that appealing to us.
But, if you are interested in buying beautiful hill-side and beach-front resort in mid-Chile…they are asking $450,000 USD. Compared to California, that seems like a pretty good deal.
We had a blast in Chillan. We all decided we’ll be back someday.
After a few final runs on the longest piste in South America (13 km) we packed the bus and headed for the beach. Just like California, you can ski in the morning and go to the beach in the afternoon.
We cut across to Cobquecura – a quiet little beach town that seemed about right. Nearby is La Iglesia de la Piedra, which was good for a quick hike. We ended up at a campsite just north in the tiny village of Bucalemu.
The weather changes here – quickly. Still, an average day in the mountains is better than a great day anywhere else. I’m sure someone has said something along those lines before, but I’m claiming it.
Crazy cloud cover. Hail. Doesn’t matter. It’s always a good day in the mountains.