I made a new page to track different stats from the countries I’ve ridden through. More stats to come…

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02/03 I’m glad I stayed behind the fence last night because when I went to use the bathroom at the customs office there were 3 young backpacker guys sleeping in the waiting room. That would have been a little crowded for my taste.

The ride today was like driving through Saskatchewan. In other words… boring. The 40mph wind blowing just a little behind me but mostly to the side helped break up the day. I did run into a stranded cyclist from Austria. The bolt that keep his seat post from moving was loose and he didn’t have anything to tighten it with. You can’t really ride a bike with the seat moving all over the place so he was just sitting on the other side of the road when I rode up. I happen to have 2 adjustable wrenches that did the trick. This guy gets the tough-guy award for the day. He was at least 65 years old to start with. He’s on his way up to Bolivia riding by himself into headwinds that I would find miserable to ride into.

In Rio Grande I heard there was a campground at a place called Club Nautico. The Austrian guy said he stayed there even though it was closed so I figured I’d be able to as well. I rode into town but didn’t know where it was so I headed over to the tourist info office to ask. The (cute) girl working there gave me a map and directions. It wasn’t far and when I got there I pulled into the driveway. The guys working there said they were closed and I couldn’t camp there. I guess everyone else just got there later in the day when no one was around. That’s what I get for being fast. I went back to the cute girl and told her it was closed since she had no clue. She told me a couple places to stay for cheap but they were full. I ended up tracking down Alojamiento Rawson for US $35. It’s waaaay overpriced but so is everything in this town (country). At least there’s wifi and heat in the room.

Elevation Profile
GPX track

This is how boring today was.  Last night I rigged this up so the honey trapped in the bottle would end up in something I could

This is how boring today was. Last night I rigged this up so the honey trapped in the bottle would end up in something I could

Mood:Good Weather:Sunny/Mild
Wind:Strong Wind Direction:Side
Avg Speed:12.7 mph (20.4 km/h) Top Speed:31.5 mph (50.7 km/h)
Avg Grade:1% Max Grade:%
Total Ascent:1679 ft (511.8 m) Max Elevation:381 ft (116.1 m)
Distance:55.98 mi (90.1 km) Total Distance:25454 mi (40964.2 km)

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02/02 Happy Birthday Jennifer! She’s the oldest of my 2 younger sisters.

For the 5th time I did the Chile/Argentina border crossing. I doubt I’ll beat that record again. That’s almost as many times as I’ve crossed between Canada and the US. OK, not even close but still. No problems at the crossing but I sure wish they didn’t have to stamp my passport every time I exit/enter. Those stamps take up a lot of space.

Getting to Tierra del Fuego means waking up at 6am to catch a 9am ferry. Of course it was raining which make things a bit sucky but the couple mile ride to the terminal in Punta Arenas went fast. I rode with two couples; one German and one French. A dog also ran beside us barking for the last mile and stayed (barking) until the ferry departed. The 2 hour ride was very smooth but very boring. CH$ 5500 to cross–no charge for the bikes.

After gathering up our bikes on the other side I went off ahead to find some lunch in the nearby town of Porvenir and never saw the other cyclists again. The road was unpaved leaving town but fairly decent to ride on. The rain had stopped and the sun made a rare appearance. The hills ended after 40km and then the road flattened out and it was the smoothest dirt road I’ve ridden on in all of Chile. With the wind blowing me along I was in heaven. This lasted about 2 minutes until my back tire went flat. Not sure what left the tiny hole–a nail I think–I had it fixed and was off again in about 5 minutes.

I thought finding a place to camp was going to be a nightmare but luck was on my side. There’s nothing after Porvenir. The ground is barren and aside from the occasional fishing shack along the water, there was zero protection from the wind. There weren’t even a lot of drainage ditches under the road to crawl into. Of course both sides of the road are fenced in so camping options are even more limited. Finally I spotted a clump of trees on the horizon and figured I would just ask the owners if I could camp there.

It turned out that this had become a rest stop of sorts and the only thing there was a small abandoned building and the clump of trees. The building was small (no way inside) and it took about half an hour to get my tent in a good spot so the wind wasn’t pummeling it. The only drawback was that people like crapping out of the wind so the side of the building was basically a toilet and it smelled like ass. Even after my tent was set up people would pull up over by the trees and take a leak.

Note to Chilean Government: your citizens are unable to pee next to the road; you should build rest stops for them or plant more trees so they don’t all pee in the same place and stink it up for the cyclists that have no where else to sleep. If necessary I can explain how to pee standing up even in high winds. I have done this hundreds of times with great success.

The pee station was 18.7km before the junction with Cameron. For the day I rode 58.62 miles with 2205 of climbing. There were a couple smelly little creeks to get water along the way.

The road is killing my GPS. It’s shutting off a lot more these days. While researching something else on it I discovered that it’s possible to bypass some sensor inside by soldering on a new capacitor. I think I’ll just replace it. The thing I was researching was a feature in the settings for the Garmin 60CSx called battery saver. There’s nothing about it in the manual. Well, the setting apparently decreases how often the GPS fetches satellite signals which increases battery life by 30-50%. FML. I’ve been using it in that setting for 3 days now and still have 3/4 bars left. The only drawback is that the accuracy diminishes somewhat but for road navigation it’s perfectly fine. I always thought the setting just turned off the GPS if it detected no movement for a couple minutes.

Today was uneventful but the road was horrible washboard almost the entire way. I did manage to ride from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean in one day though. 🙂 The road is paved now until Ushuaia which means this was the last section of unpaved road I ride in South America. So sad. Rode 47.57 miles. There are a couple little buildings that would make great shelters on this stretch. The 2nd place even had 3 beds with mattresses inside (that I would not ever sleep on).

I’m staying in the tiny border town of San Sebastian, Argentina which is exactly 15km from the town of San Sebastian, Chile along the same road because that makes sense. They have big bottles of beer and hot empanadas in the restaurant/old gas station across from the customs office. They also let people camp in the back behind an amazing fence that blocks all wind! It was also possible to sleep in the waiting room by customs. The room is heated, has a stove and water. I think there’s a shower too. I prefer my tent and baby wipes though.

Elevation Profile
GPX track

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A little mobile home. :)

A little mobile home. 🙂

Not a lot of room out of the wind

Not a lot of room out of the wind

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These guys were watching me in the morning

These guys were watching me in the morning

A tree.  This thing is on every bicycle blog in the world. :)  Yes, the wind is freaking crazy here.

A tree. This thing is on every bicycle blog in the world. 🙂 Yes, the wind is freaking crazy here.

This was one of the nicer things written on a bus stop wall and only a few days before I got there

This was one of the nicer things written on a bus stop wall and only a few days before I got there

My bike fell over and broke the front fender :(

My bike fell over and broke the front fender 🙁

Birds

Birds

My lunch shelter.  This is the one with beds inside

My lunch shelter. This is the one with beds inside

This has been the last 2 days

This has been the last 2 days

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Today would be a bad for for a boat ride on the Strait of Magellan. The winds are fierce and it’s possible they’ll cancel the trip anyway. Regardless I’m not really big on crashing around on huge waves for the 4 hour ride there and back so I’m staying put. There’s also a King penguin colony on Tierra del Fuego that I might be able to see in a couple days. Tomorrow I’ll cross the strait and continue on.

And for the big news… I’m going to Europe! Here’s the plan of attack:

leg4


I’ll start out in the Netherlands where I’ll visit my friends Karin and Marten who are back home, settled in from their tour. Koga is hopefully going to ship my new frame to their house and I’ll build the bike there. That way I don’t have to pay any bike transport fees leaving South America. I’ll just remove everything I want to keep from the old bike and stick it in a duffel bag.

Next, I’ll hop on a boat/train (not sure) to the UK and see what’s going on there. Then I’ll head over to Ireland and drink Guinness until my liver explodes. After that it’ll be another boat back to France where I’ll start heading across and up to Saint Petersburg, Russia. The rest is on the map but the eventual goal will be Istanbul, Turkey.

I haven’t forgotten about Australia/New Zealand and if things go well maybe someday I’ll head that way too. This just worked out better with the seasons and because my bike frame needed to get replaced. OK technically I could still ride it but I don’t like knowing that my front rack could clamp down on the wheel at any time and send me over the handlebars.

Before I get to Europe I’m planning a stop in Florida to dump some cold weather gear, visit family and friends and eat some greasy chicken wings. If things go well I should be back in Florida on February 19th.

The weather in Patagonia deserves a special mention. I read in a travel guide that you can experience 4 seasons of weather in 5 minutes here. They weren’t kidding. If you are out of the wind and the sun is out it is blazingly hot. The wind is cold so even with the sun you still freeze. The next minute a hail storm could come through and then maybe it’ll rain for a few minutes and clear up again. It’s crazy.

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