We are supposed to be heading South but today we are going to do a U turn and head North West why the diversion well there is a must see glacier called Perito Moreno that is on my shiny object distraction list so hence the change in direction. As we want to stick to tarmac this is a bit of a detour to Rio Gallegos and there we do a quick calculation and decide we can make it to the next petrol station so we do not go the 20km into town to fill up. When we get to the next gas station at Las Horquetas we are running on fumes and you guessed it there is no fuel available fortunately I have about 7 litres in 2 old plastic oil cans strapped to the back of Daisy (you where wondering what those where were you not) and Alex has 4 litres strapped to his so finally time to bring out the reserves its 60km to the next station so no reason yet for concern even with the horrendous fuel consumption I am getting at the moment due to the strong winds it can make a difference of about 7km to the litre when you are riding into the wind so that gives you some idea of the strength of the wind and this has been constant all day.
They do have food so we fill up on empanadas and hit the road again it’s a lot cooler and the wind is up so warm weather gear has been pulled out wearing the lining in my jacket for the first time since Canada and the warm winter gloves are on.
Wind warning signs slight tilt to the right it will get stronger!
Next station has fuel so next stop El Calafate we are debating on staying in town or pushing on 80km as we had heard there was a campsite near the glacier.
We pull into El Calafate at about 5pm and fill up again there and there is bit of a queue so while I was signing the credit card slip Andrea thought she would be helpful and move Daisy away from the pumps so that the next car could start filling up but I am guessing Daisy is heavier than she looks and before you knew it Daisy was on her side with a very embarrassed Andrea struggling to pick her up oops a daisy. I had to laugh as I ran across to help her to get Daisy up right good entertainment for everyone at the pump Andrea was mortified at what she had just done. After a quick inspection of Daisy it looked like the radiator cover had a crack in it. Oh well you do not travel over 50,000km without picking up some battle scars no one was hurt and Andrea was shocked and embarrassed so I can milk this one for a while 🙂
Alex was also having bike trouble for some reason his chain was suddenly slack even though he had adjusted the chain this morning and it was making an awful crunching sound when pulling away so after checking the obvious which was fine we decided to hole up in town so first some food and then to find a campsite and set up camp and then we looked at Alex Bike. We had checked the obvious and where now working on the not so obvious so I said perhaps he had lost a couple of teeth of the front sprocket and that could explain the sudden slack as the back end so when he took the side cover off I was right the front sprocket was starting to disintegrate a couple of teeth very worn down and others hooked it looked completely knackered not at all like a sprocket that only had 18,000km on it should be able to do double that and the fact that this happened all in one day this is normally a slow process not a one day process so I think he had a duff sprocket but the problem now was how to get another one In Argentina not so easy so he hit the internet to contact our new friend Daniel to see if he had any ideas.
Pleasant evening as the campsite it had a kitchen where everyone congregated working on this and my photos and chatting to the folks there.
Late night and back in my tent for a good night sleep.
Camping and liking it at the moment !!
Perito Moreno Glacier Cool 🙂
Alex had sent out a couple of E-mails last night about the sprocket issue but as yet had no responses Andrea made us breakfast and we decided we would go and visit the Glacier me and Andrea on Daisy and Alex would hitch hike the 80km and we would figure out what to do when we got back based on any responses on the leads that Alex had posted. First we check out the buses to the glacier but far to expensive and there is not one for a couple of hours so we walk to the road to see how the hitch hiking will work and within about 10 minutes he has lift and is gone so me and Andrea head back to the campsite via the supermarket as I needed my daily fix of Gatorade (my latest addiction) and we both needed our biscuit supply’s topping up.
Full bike kit today as it was cold and I expect to be colder still at the glacier I am not sure if Daisy will mind having someone on the back especially when that somebody ceremoniously dropped her in the middle of a busy petrol station scaring her radiator cover yesterday. Its has been a while since I had someone on the back as well and it was going to be interesting factoring in the wind as well. Turned out okay Andrea is an excellent passenger she should be considering the number of miles she done on her trip and we were soon whizzing our way to the Glacier. Nice ride and we met Alex at the entrance to the car park and he had been waiting there for a while so I blamed Andrea she blamed me and we offered him biscuits and all was well.
John R another one for you what is it ?
Got to love nature!
We walked to the glacier from the car park and this was a great way to be slowly introduced to the glacier we had already seen it from a distance on the way in and it was great but as we got closer it got better and every now and again you would hear a huge crashing noise as bits broke of and fell into the lake cool. There is about 4km of viewing platforms around the glacier and we probably covered most of it just walking and enjoying the sights, which was gorgeous. A very nice day well worth the big detour from our main goal of Ushuaia we were tired so got Alex a lift back and me and Andrea then walked all the way back to the Car park and I was well knackered when we got back to the bike and the biscuit supply.
It was a nice ride back trying to stay awake was difficult at one point I turned around to say something to Andrea and she was sound asleep 🙂 so either she has total trust in my riding abilities or like me she is totally cream crackered.
Back to the campsite Andrea cooked for us again pasta this time which was nice I am tired of eating out all of the time no news on the sprocket front but we figured that they could still ride with the current one even though it’s a mess so they where heading back Rio Gallegos and as I had done that route before and I will be coming back through there so I am heading for Puerto Natales I will ride with them for the first 100km to La Esperanza and make sure they are all right and I will meet up with the later in Ushuaia. Alex is pretty sure that I am not needed as we did think about shuffling with the luggage me taking Andrea him taking my tent bag to reduce the load but we decided to go for it as its only 360km to Rio Gallegos and he thinks he can get it fixed there. I have driven for miles with knackered old chains and sprockets on old bikes in the past as I was never one for good chain maintenance so I was not to concerned about this one it may sound awful but they could keep on moving for a while.
Another pleasant evening in the kitchen and later by the tents and then to bed another late night under canvas, which I am still enjoying!
Minors memorial for me Dad!
Day began with left overs for breakfast which is always nice and I was going to ride with A & A to La Esperanza where they would turn left in search of sprockets and chain and I would turn right because I did not want to do the same road again and we would meet up in Ushuaia or before.
It was very windy even in the sheltered campsite so I was a bit concerned how it would be on the open road but as we headed to La Esperanza it was not as bad as I expected but that was mainly due to the fact that we had the wind in our backs for most of the way. When I turned right I was heading straight into the wind and had it on right in my side, which made life for Daisy and me considerably more difficult so fighting with the wind for the rest of the day. Another border crossing the problem today was I could not find the road and my good friend the GPS was playing up as I was only about 30km away but when suddenly it was 130km away Homer Simpson Doh!
Very few photos taken during the day as I was to scared to stop just in case we got blown over by the wind and could not get back upright again!
Yet another Border crossing !
I finally find the road, which is not a road but a dirt track, and I find my way to the border. I am the only one there so get out of Argentina easily and another 14km of dirt road very windy and a bit of rain just to try and finish me of completely and I am trying to find somewhere where Daisy will not get blown over and I am going through Chilean customs. No one there either so chatting with the customs guys who are telling me that the winds have been gusting up to 100km an hour and idiot boy was out in that will he ever learn. You may have noticed that not many pictures have been taken today that is because my official photographer has gone of the other direction and that I was to shit scared to stop just in case Daisy and I got blown over in the middle of nowhere on me own and that I would not be able to get her upright due to the wind. So I was not surprised to hear about the strength of the wind, as the evidence of this was in me underpants! As I been kacking myself for most of the afternoon. So back in Chile again a short run to Puerto Natales and to the Hostel I had the name of and i checked in and did my usual wander around the town or today I was blown around town as the wind was still quite strong then to a short presentation on the national park of Torres del Paine which looked great but I had a date with the bottom of the world so no time for distractions as I am getting closer and closer to my goal.
Gorgeous wind related sculptures very appropriate!
I went for a nice Pizza where there was one long table that you joined and I was sitting and chatting to a nice German couple who had been traveling for 2 years and doing South America by bicycle and had also been defeated by the wind today. I like this set up as it is sometime difficult to talk to folks strangers whilst on the road especially for a shy bloke like me 🙂
Back to the Hostel and the never-ending chore of updating this blog and it is like the wind relentless!