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Highway 5 – The South American Version

In many ways, Chile is very similar to California. A long skinny state/country that spans almost the entire length of an America. Chile also happens to have a Highway 5, just like California. And if by some miracle you happened to be in a car driving down highway 5 in Cali, and woke up on highway 5 in Chile, you probably wouldn’t notice the difference. It’s a long two lane highway that runs the length of the country with nothing but fields of sometimes brown, sometimes green grass on either side. The only noticable difference is the size of the mountains in the distance. The Andes dwarf anything you would see running along the 5 in Cali. Oh, and we don’t have people running across the highway in Cali either.

Apparently there’s no way to turn around to go the opposite direction in Chile. Once you pick a direction, that’s it. It’s your direction for the rest of you life. You own it. That’s what happened this morning when we rolled out of Chillan on our way north to Pucón. The thing is though… Pucón is actually south of Chillan. Oh well. Too bad. We’re going north to get there whether we like it or not since there is no way to cross under/over the freeway to get into the southbound lane.

Finally, after driving for what felt like hours we found a way to get to the other side! Now I finally understand why the chicken did it! After all these years! It wasn’t because there was a horse over there…

…but because she could! And it was her only opportunity to head south on the 5. We also seized the opportunity, and we were finally headed in the right direction. That is, until we tried to find La Sala waterfalls. Google Maps couldn’t give us accurate directions (boo), so we were left with instinct.

So much for that plan. We drove down dirt roads, wandering aimlessly trying to follow a river upstream to locate some falls. We tried every logical step to find the stinking water falls, with no such luck. Eventually we came across the town of Yumbel. We were the whitest things to roll into town since Wonder Bread was first introduced here in 1974.

Determined to find the falls, we found an Internet shop (yes even way out here — Chile is ON IT when it comes to Internet) and re-checked Google. It wasn’t really much help other than hinting that it might be the other direction. So back we went. Why?

Because it was all worth it…

Even though the falls were a bit dry due to the dry season, it was still an impressive site.

Not quite Niagara status, but tall, wet, loud, and powerful. And very refreshing too I might add!

After taking a few more photos…

It was time to get back on the road so that we could get to Pucon before sun down. As we’d seen, it was already heard enough finding our destinations in the daylight. So we walked back up to the car, past the obligatory wooden chotzky tourist craps…

…past the cute Chilain girl in her pink dress drinking water from a spout…

…and into the Nissan Platina…

…on our way down South (yes, actually South) on the 5.

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