Hitchiking Part 2

Trip Start Feb 11, 2008
Trip End Mar 2008

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

In traveling through places without guidebook or for where a guidebook doesn't exist, forces you to communicate with the local populace. For a somewhat timid person like me, this is a good thing. In Pichilemu, we were looking for camping so I stopped by a kiosk with a woman selling souvenirs and jewelry. My question turned into a chat and after about 10 minutes she invited us to stay with her. Middle aged women seem drawn to me (it happens again later on in the trip). They miss or don't have their sons and somehow they sense or believe that I can relate to them. She drove us to her home in a car that I'm amazed still works and showed us a shack in the back. Inside there were two mattresses and a bathroom (all we needed). When she found out we were only staying one night and leaving the next morning, she was devastated. I felt like I was abandoning my mother, but the next day we pushed on.

We took a local bus out of Pichilemu to Bucalemu to a part of the coast where the paved road ends. We waited for a while on one side of a bridge and finally our first ride of the day picked us up around 2PM. Two guys bringing back ingredients for bread to their small town on the coast. A quick ride in a pickup truck took us to a fork, one way paved back toward the highway, the other way a dirt road through the hills toward the south). A crew was beginning construction to pave the road but in the meantime they were watering the road to keep the dust down. The water truck drove us a bunch of kilometers while spilling his cargo in constant increments like a Zamboni for the dirt. We passed a salt flat and the adjoining town sold nothing but the stuff. He left us off among barren fields, but luckily a family in a pickup let hop on back and took us to another fork. Straight went to a small town on the coast called Llico and up a steep hill took us south. Another pickup truck took us over the hill through forest and near lake.

At this point we arrived to a somewhat posh resort area around Lake Vichquén (only dirt roads still which caked us). Tourists ignored us, but local workers gave us very short rides. One said the head of Subaru had a house hear. At another fork we could have taken the longer but more traveled route through Lincantén but instead opted for the shorter, more beautiful, more desolate ride to the coast. One of our best rides took us over the hill and in somewhat a repeat of Pichelmu we descended to the coast in spectacular fashion. We stopped off in Lloca for some fresh bred but the truck took to a crossroads outside the hamlet of Lora. We waited going south. Trucks full of wood and lumber passed us. One stopped to let someone off, but when I asked for a ride he said company policy prohibits it. A construction worker waited with us. The first wood truck stopped and let him on. Finally a giant tanker stopped for us. A small meek man drove it while smoking. He took us to Constitución. At first I thought we would sleep in the forest on the outskirts of the small city, but before I realized it he was taken us down the hill toward downtown. He let us off at the bottom. Huge lumber and paper industry loomed over us and blew their thick flumes of effluvia into the sky and onto the city and its people. I'd never heard of his town till about an hour ago, no guidebook mentioned it, and I was fascinated. Now we just had a find to place to sleep. It looked like there was hill where maybe we could crash among some trees, but we decided that probably wasn't the best idea. I walked into a restaurant to ask see what they knew...

Note the included map. The upper left is Lloca, the middle left is Constitución. It´s a tourist map, so the roads we took are not included.
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