We seem to be losing in the game of outrunning the ash of the temperamental volcano Puyehue. We left Entre Lagos in search of clearer skies, but didn’t really have a destination. So, we followed the dusty path to the town of Puerto Octay… described as “quaint” and “German”. A bit of a stretch in our opinion. We stopped at the town square to pick up some empanadas for lunch and stumbled upon a big bike race that was going to start soon. Not exactly the weather I’d pick for a bike race. The day was still hazy so we decided to keep driving.
Out of town, we also passed by many overland bicyclists. Apparently this is a well-known route for them, too. But the ash and the enormous biting insects made their ride look unbearable.
We drove around the lake to Ensenada. Another town we thought we might stop at. It is summer vacation here in Chile, and the lake towns are packed with holidaymakers. Every one of them carrying a tree branch and swatting away the giant flies.
We drove up to the foot of Volcan Osorno thinking we could camp there. It was a beautiful drive, and Red Beard made it up with little problem. The area we were told had camping had a big sign that said no camping, so after a quick look around and some photos, we started down. When we reached town, the bike race participants from Puerto Octay were just starting the climb. Bugs were circling them as they climbed the volcano, and they all looked pretty miserable.
There are two campsites on the outskirts of Puerto Varas, the cheaper one being about $36 USD for 24 hours. When you pack a extended Chilean family in there for an all-day asada, maybe that isn’t a big expense. But when you arrive at 8pm and just really want to make some noodles and sleep it seems exorbitant. No discount for 12 hours.
We haven’t seen rain in a long time, and we have apparently come far enough south to start seeing green and wet landscapes again.
And then, the storm came. It was windier than Aunt Edna after 7-bean casserole.
Bode had zero interest in sleeping in the pop-top in the storm, so all three of us were down below, along with all our possessions (we did leave the bike outside). In the morning, we packed up from the inside and took off to explore Puerto Varas.