This was our last day on the bikes. We only had 125k to ride back to Santiago if we took the most direct route. The direct route was on highways, so we devised a more interesting route back consisting of mostly back roads. One of those roads had a noticeable discontinuity on the map, which was mildly concerning. The topographical map for the back roads seemed cool and we had some time to kill, so we decided to roll the dice and see whether or not we could actually get through.
The first 5 miles out of Vina del Mar were much more scenic than our route into town. We snaked up some hills just south of town and took in amazing views of the Pacific Ocean, Valparaiso, and Vina del Mar from up high. We hopped on the highway for a few miles before exiting in Casablanca, Chile for the beginning of our back country ride. The country roads made for great riding: hilly, curvy, and very few cars and trucks.
We managed to connect the discontinuity of the roads on the map via another back road and then proceeded up an unexpectedly mountainous region.
We meandered through a few villages after coming down from the mountains and before hopping on the highway back into Santiago.
We once again missed our exit in Santiago and found ourselves going through the longest tunnel in history. By the time we got out, we were nearly outside the city limits. We got our bearings and headed back in for attempt numero dos. As I have done the entire trip so far, I lead/navigated. Just before entering the tunnel again, Davis saw he believed to be the correct exit and decided to leave behind his fearless leader and go it alone. I´m not sure if he was more surprised to see me get to the hostel first (because of course I took the correct exit) or the single tear I cried for having been betrayed by a friend. We hugged it out and all was well.
We returned the bikes to the rental place, ran/parkoured 5 miles back to the hostel (without getting lost this time), grabbed dinner, and hit the sack early in preparation for an early flight down to Patagonia.