Sorry, Patagonia is Closed.

Life goes on in Coyahaique. You just can’t enter or leave.

We moved out of the bus, and left it near the gas station. We needed more space and also needed a bathroom and shower.

We’ve rented a cabin where we can cook and shower and other normal things. We go and check on the bus and make sure there is no gas line about 3-4 times a day. Bode and I sleep here, Jason goes and sleeps in the bus…just in case.

Bode and I bring him coffee if he isn’t back by 9:30, I also bring my uke or a book in case I have to sit in the bus for a few hours. But for days, there has been no line and we just lug all the stuff back and forth. Everyday, someone says ‘maybe today’. There is one other person sleeping and staying in their car—an Argentinean guy who seems to sit outside his truck and drink mate all day and night.

The store shelves continue to empty and get more and more bare. There are no fresh fruits or vegetables, but still some beef and yogurt. No one is panicking, but today looks like the last day of bread. Still, it seems a lot more civil than a Safeway in the U.S. the day before Christmas.

We watch and try to translate the fast-paced talking on the 24 hour news channels. But there is a big festival in Vina del Mar, and it’s back to school time. These things seem far more important than the fact that this region is blocked off from the rest of Chile and the entire region is shut down. The ‘live morning news’ shows broadcast out of Santiago just seem to show smiling hosts gyrating to techno music and talking about the latest celebrity gossip. Sound familiar? One of the big complaints here in the Aysen region is that the rest of Chile doesn’t recognize their problems.  Based on the way the news is treating this, I can see their point.

I know how lucky we are to be in this town. Everyone we meet has been very nice, and they make calls to see if they can find us the little bit of gas we need to make it to Argentina. We are in touch with some other overlanders who are north of us who might be able to help us with a special delivery… but they are starting to feel the effects all the way up to El Bolson, Argentina now.

We did get a bit of scary information last night. We were told that there is only enough diesel to run the generators for the city’s electricity for another few days. So, if you don’t hear from us, that’s why.

13 thoughts on “Sorry, Patagonia is Closed.

  • March 2, 2012 at 9:45 AM

    This trip is mind-blowingly amazing. I dream of one day setting out on an adventure of this magnitude. It makes our 9,000 mile US road trip this past summer seem like nothing more than a drive around the neighborhood. I’m incredibly impressed and inspired. Good luck!

  • March 2, 2012 at 10:11 AM

    Oy vey. Good luck, and remember, if it comes to this: Eat the fat ones first. They’re slow and easier to catch.

  • March 2, 2012 at 10:27 AM

    I hope things are resolved soon! Take care and good luck! Thanks for all your photos and writing. 🙂

  • March 2, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    So I guess having access to gasoline is a bit of a moot point…if you can’t leave anyways due to roadblocks.
    Could be your new mailing address for awhile !
    Enjoy…we have a foot of snow here and cold.

  • March 2, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    On one hand I’m sad we missed meeting up with you folks. On the other hand I’m glad our meeting didn’t take place over a week in a gasoline line!

  • March 2, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    Bummer – put it always seems that Patagonia is the forgotten part of Chile. When we were there the same happened on a smaller scale, but on two fronts: there were some protests and road blocks for several days in Aysen, and more concerning back then was the situation of the people in Chaiten, only a few weeks after the volcano had erupted, still fuming and spewing lava 24/7, and 100s of people left behind in a town covered in 4 feet of ash, with services being cut one after the other, and finally their petrol station being shut down. These people had only one home, which was in Chaiten, and government assistance wasn’t forthcoming (most promises were NEVER fulfilled!).

  • March 2, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    One day, sitting on the front porch, you’ll say, “Remember when we were stuck in Coyhaique?” 🙂

    Hope the gas truck shows up soon. Maybe Bode can catch some trout for dinner.

    Take care & have fun!


  • March 2, 2012 at 8:37 PM

    Hi Jason, Angela, Bode –

    I stumbled across your website a few weeks ago and have enjoyed reading your story. We have a 1984 VW Vanagon, and I have truly sympathized with your mechanical ups and downs – as well as appreciated your patience, perseverance and good humor.

    Hopefully this stalemate will end soon and you will be back on the road again. Good luck and take care.

  • March 2, 2012 at 9:23 PM

    We have been reading your blog with great interest. Four of us have been planning a trip to Aysen to stay at a Hacienda 5 hours drive south of Balmaceda. Your blog has convinced us to cancel the trip and do it some other time! The Hacienda never even told us of the problems, but we have a cousin in Vina del Mar who alerted us. Now we are following your progress to see what might have been for us.
    We are staying at home in Marin for now.

  • March 2, 2012 at 10:47 PM

    If I win the lottery I will personally send a plane down there with fuel and parts. This journey must continue!! For over 2 years your blog has been my escape from work. Each day I am closer to retirement each day I fund a 401K that goes nowhere (at least it hasn’t gone down)

  • March 3, 2012 at 8:28 AM

    i thought perhaps you would refer to the guy’s green pants. you know me and pants ……..

  • March 3, 2012 at 8:35 AM

    Julie- the photo was for you, mention of said pants was implied with giggle.

    Jody and Ned- I do hope you’ll reschedule the trip at some point. It is amazingly beautiful here. Normally, I wouldn’t be an alarmist, but with this standstill, I agree with your decision to postpone.

    The tour operators here are plenty worried. I’m surprised that they didn’t contact you. They probably were hoping it would be resolved by now.

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