Monday, 28 February 2011

For Hugh grant in love actually its airports, for me its services stations, ok there's no love, but they all have food, cold drinks and they are always open. Most have cafes or seating areas, I enjoy sitting and watching the people come and go. It’s always a welcome sight to see a service station.

Or it was, I had a slight tiny problem, I ran out of money I had about £1.70 left I hadn't been to a town big enough to have a cash dispenser (I can't draw cash out over the counter like an Argentinian can, only big towns have cash dispensers) I do have a backup 50 American dollars which I am sure someone will take.

I had been camping for 6 nights in a row, the ground is dust that gets on everything, and I’m filthy when I put sun cream on with the dirt on my skin it just turns into a paste. I was looking forward to a hotel room and a shower.

I only have two patches left out of the twenty I bought out. All three spare tubes have punchers as well; I am going to need to find a bike shop very soon.

I stopped at a service station there wasn't really anything I could buy but hot water I had a couple of coffees standing there cursing myself for being so stupid, I should have checked I could get money out. The next big town was just over 100 miles away I still had some fuel and some dried pasta. A big day and I would reach the town or worst case be there next morning, I would go hungry but it was possible to do. I set off.

If you go to any internet forum or read books on cycling in Patagonia, they all ways go on about the wind, its strong, you have to lean into it and suddenly it will drop just as you stop leaning it comes back and pushes you of the edge of the road because there was an 1" or so drop I couldn't bump back up it without risking breaking a spoke so I would have to stop and get back on the road slowly. This happened hundreds of times and was so frustrating. At lunchtime I cooked some pasta it wasn't very nice but I had to eat something. It started raining with the wind it got very cold I had most of my winter gear on but was still shivering at 6 o'clock I had only done about 50miles but I was so cold, wet and tired I knew I needed to stop, pitching my tent in that wind with numb hands was so slow and frustrating. The next day I got up and got on again the wind was fierce and I was climbing I hadn't eaten, I needed to reach the town by the evening, it was painfully slow going it was still wet and cold as I stopped by the side of the road behind a pile of earth out of the wind I noticed my breath was condensing it was cold, how I thought? A week ago it was mid-thirties it can't get that cold that quick. The Garmin said I was 2500 ft. above sea level I knew at my current pace I would never make the town by nightfall I was going to try though. With about an hour of usable daylight I had 26 kilometres to go, I couldn't do it. Oh well I'm not far out now one more night in the tent. I was suddenly treated to 12k of descending it was fantastic the views were immense; I didn't take a single picture my hands had been numb for so long I couldn't open the pannier to get the camera out. On the way down I saw a cyclist loaded up going the other way I stopped and we chatted he was from Argentina he was on his way back from the south, he was in full winter gear, his lips where all chapped and he had more stuff than me. He asked where the next supply point was I told him he had almost 100 km, I offered him the last of my water he declined "I'm always running out" he said "I just stand in the road and stop cars, they always let me have water" suddenly I didn't feel too bad about running out. After about 20min I pushed on, no way I could make town tonight. It was also hard to find somewhere to camp as it was outskirts of an industrial city. I saw a sign for camping, I got there pitched tent I was just 6 miles away from town. I fell asleep quickly looking forward to eating something the next day.

In the morning I got up about 8, packed up and set off. As I got into the town it was about 10 I was starving I saw a sign for a cash dispenser I went and drew out 1000 dollars next to me was a big building I could see a cafe type place and a sign for sandwiches I went straight over some school kids were differing about so I rudely pushed passed them 'sorry I have to eat' was all I could say. The woman serving looked confused I get that a lot people don't expect to see someone in cycling gear covered in mud. I ordered 3 ham and cheese rolls and a family pack of biscuits and went and sat down for 15min all I did was eat. After a while I looked around the place was full of school kids "hmm must be a school nearby I thought" it took about 5 more minutes before, I guess sugar to get into my blood and me to realise I had just walked straight into a secondary school and was sitting in the canteen. Oops well I wasn't hungry anymore.

I spent the next two days in Comodoro Rivadavia, it had warmed up again the sun was shining I spent a bit of time thinking, I realised I had to change what I was doing I need to cook more and plan better. I am going to be doing this for a long time.

Today I set off again, I'm keen to get back on the road. I was nice to have a break but I don't like being still for too long.

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