I had finally packed the bike and was ready to leave early. I had breakfast at Hostal Ely’s before I just had to visit Hernando de Magallanes.
Duty over & photos taken I set off. The wind, well it had gotten stronger overnight & was blowing a hooly. So with a list of between 10 and 20o starboard I was on my way down ruta 9 Northbound. I hit the 50+ km mark when I knew I could rely on a garage, Aiken. Sadly on enquiring about lunch the guy told me the woman (whoever she was!) was not around. As he seemed incapable of knowing where the kitchen was let alone how to operate the stove, I was on my way pretty quickly. Some other customers, although just chatting as there was no food, suggested I could eat in Vila Tehuelches. There was not much chance of getting that far, so I plodded on battling a now raging head wind. By 3, come 3:30, I noticed the wind was dropping. I buckled down & spent my last reserves rolling in to Tehuelches, legs all wobbly!
I asked around and found a sandwich shop but not much else. Even though the village entry sign showed figures lying down in what must have been a bed there were apparently no beds. I suggested a bed was not an issue, I had a Tent! So I visited the local cop shop, which given the size of the town I must have been their first visitor for weeks if not months. They, for there were two of them guarding the place, told me I could stay in some place over yonder, I caught the word horses & could only imagine there were some empty stables. Sure. That was where I was heading. Sort of a one horse town but at the moment none.
Now hindsight is a wonderful thing, and if only I didn’t find my stove whilst preparing a few weeks ago I would have used my brand new one. I did find it, but sadly just about every seal on it had perished, petrol gushing everywhere. Must remember not to light a match near the stables for a while, otherwise the police would have been inundated with calls. At this point I met two other cyclists from Brazil, starting in the south like me. They’d only made 50 km today (30/11/2016) I said I’d made 103 km, they explained they had had lots of wind slowing them down. Well, we were all on the same road, same conditions.
So I had to make my way down the village to the sandwich shop. I bought some red wine to swill the dry sandwiches down. How so I was looking forward to pasta, but not al dente to the point of being not cooked. Just as I made it back to my stable, the heavens opened & down came the rain. I suppose in a way these little oddities make the journey, staying in a stable, nice n dry.
The other cyclists were suggesting they’d be off between 7 & 7:30, but as it was 7:20 & no sign of them I headed out. Wind had dropped so I hit the road. I was banking on my second food stop at Morro Chico, but the restaurant was shut and looked like it had been for some time. I ate dry bread and nibbled some of the spare cheese I’d bought to have with the pasta. The wind had really picked up now and the rain had returned. I struggled on, but by 3+pm. Some Italians stopped to photograph me but all I could recall was e una bruta gata de pelare, apt but not my best Italian. It was no use, I’d made very little progress in the final few hours, maybe 5km per hour tops, temperature solidly stuck at 8o, cold wet tired. I was hoping for another 100km day, but at 67km I had to call it a day & found a ditch. It was impossible to cycle any further. The ditch, quite nice really, offered some protection from the wind, but I still made sure I put two heavy bags in the tent before attempting to erect it. I half hoped it would drop, but by 6 it was still full on so I decided I would have two pieces of bread & a tin of tuna. Not ideal, but that was about it. I put some more clothes & went to sleep. Still cold.
I woke at around 4:30, too early! But the wind had dropped, At 5:30ish it was time to get up 5o now & always a struggle. Still some chocopix helped. On the road by 6:20. This was early but remember the early bird, I needed to get miles in before the conditions changed once more. Difficult, tired legs n all but just 10 clicks out of Puerto Natales I met another cyclist heading south for now but taking a respectable route back into Argentina & then joining up on the same route I am taking. Arthur, French from Lyon is on his way to Alaska. He put me on to Casa Lili. So this is now where I find myself hoping to recharge my batteries.
Stats: distance ~247km; Offered lifts: 2; Cyclists met: 3; People taking photos of me: 3
NB: according to http://www.letsgochile.com/tips/chilean-slang Minas means Girls, but I’m guessing the Chilean slang is way out here, although both can be dangerous.