Day 534 – All hell broke loose

Day 534 / Cerro Sombrero – Camping, Chile / 50 miles (Total 14,795)

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I have felt headwinds on tour, but nothing like today. Violent would sum it up. 40-50 mph winds slamming me in the face. I ended up in this shelter for over an hour figuring out if I should head back to town.

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Oh-look, pretty rolling hills. This is when all hell broke loose! The winds maxed out at this point and I’m guessing 60 mph +. I have never felt winds this strong in my life. There was no pedaling at this point. I was off the bike pushing and getting nowhere. The road was flat and paved, and I could not even push my bike at moments. Half of me was getting pissed, the other half was laughing at the situation.

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And life said “lets make it more of a challenge”. A rough, gravel road was placed in front of me. The torture of it all was the smooth, brand-new, paved road that the workers didn’t let me ride. Every time I tried to ride it, I got the boot. The headwinds kicked my ass, and the cross winds flung me literally from the right side of the lane to the left side of the ditch. Seriously some intense winds today. Dangerous winds.

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I ended up asking a worker if it was ok to ride the side ditch of the new road, cause the main road was too dangerous for me. Thank goodness he said yes. I still wasn’t safe to tell you the truth. This may look wide to ride, but the winds still blew me across the entire width. And the scary part was the steep ditch to the left. Some sections dropped over 10 feet and I was close to going over at moments. When the gust hit hard, I would drop my right foot and lean all my weight into the wind and tried to hold myself up. Holy crap – I love this $h!#

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For hours, I pedaled and pushed with nothing to show for, but I’m not here for that. I’m here for the experience of something new, and I fought for this story to tell. I was over the construction and a smooth,  paved road was under me, and a view to admire was in front of me. This may look like nothing to others, but to me, it was pure bliss. I worked, pushed, sweated, and cursed for this view. I came to a perfect rest area, dropped the bike, and absorbed the view. Tomorrow I will be pedaling across this from right to left.

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My goal for the day was a town called Onaisin that was on my map, but didn’t show up on my gps. By 6 o’clock I made it to this small shelter to take a break. My gut was telling me stop here and to call it a day. The room was small, but very clean. I made some dinner and decided to call it and not push the bike into town. Good thing I listened to my gut. The next day when I arrived, there was absolutely no town called Onaisin, just two small broken down shacks at the intersection.

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A nice shelter to call home for the night. It sounded like a freight train was passing me all night with the winds never letting up. The shelter was rattling from the high winds, but I was nice and warm.

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My tarp over the doorway and I decided not to set up the tent. Just my air mattress and sleeping bag for the night. The only thing I really had to worry about are the black widow spiders out her. Blah – who’s scared of those little spiders anyways. I was destroyed from the long day of pushing into the violent winds. My body has not been happy with the hard push since Calafate. My knees are screaming and the rest of my body feels the same way, but I have a deadline for Ushuaia. Today was one of the hardest days of riding on this trip. Once I laid down, I had one of my best nights of sleep.

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Day 533 – Tierra Del Fuego!

Day 533 / Camping – Cerro Sombrero, Chile / 70 miles (Total 14,745)

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My imagination runs wild when I see the cowboys in Tierra del Fuego. Sometimes I will not see a house for hours and a rider will be in the middle of the fields going for a stroll.  Dogs at their side and not a worry on their face. Life is different here.

Today would be filled with a few adventures, and I could use the diversity. Ahead of me would be a border crossing and a boat ride taking me off the mainland into Tierra del Fuego (land of fire). I slept great under my small bridge, but woke up to the winds pounding at my tent. Even packing up was a chore this morning with my tent wanting to break free to the fields. All packed up and the same song and dance today… Headwinds!

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My passport is taking a beating from all the border crossings of Argentina and Chile. Welcome back to Chile

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Glad I got a new passport for the trip. Down to a few more blank pages left

 

The border was only 10 miles and you can imagine the time it took with a constant headwind. I made it with a wind a burnt face and ready to get back into Chile. I have crossed back and forth into Argentina and Chile numerous times, and this one was a little different from the last few. A long line to get stamped out, some paperwork and a few drug sniffing dogs. The first border crossing in 13 countries with dogs snooping through my gear. Both countries share this crossing which made it a little easier though. Got my last stamp into Chile and I made my way to a boat ride. I had 10 miles to go when the road turned to the south and it was game on. A full on tailwind had me giggling all the way to the small ferry port. Feet off the pedals and rolling fast.

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This guy actually wanted his photo taken. The closer I got, the more he posed

Every biker wants this once in a while. Feet off the pedals and 12-15 mph down the road

Every biker wants this once in a while. Feet off the pedals and 12-15 mph down the road with a great tailwind.

By the time I made it to the small port town, I was drenched from the rain. Not a long wait for the ferry and I made my way on with the other truckers.

A view from above

A view from above

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The Mother Trucker fitting right in on the boat. No charge for me or the Mother Trucker on this boat ride

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The Magellan straight. It was a short 20 minute ride, but I have never seen water so rough. Looks calm here. Once we were in the middle the waves came in every direction crashes into each other.

The Strait of Magellan, is a navigable sea route separating mainland South America to the north and Tierra del Fuego to the south.

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These trucks have nothing on the Mother Trucker

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Ferry’s constantly running back and forth when not getting shut down from the high winds here

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Always looking back

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Tierra del Fuego. A section of road I have read about for the last 3 years. Buckle up buddy, things are about to get real windy now!

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The winds were actually calm after the boat ride and I pushed fast and hard to the next town. Wish there was another small bridge to camp under, cause I ended up paying way too much for a room in Cerro Sombrero

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Day 532 – A little shelter for the night

Day 532 / Rio Gallegos – Camping, Argentina / 40 miles (Total 14,675)

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Pink flamingos for the morning ride.

Not a good night sleep. Well, I should say no sleep at all. I was in a dorm room with 3 others and my bunk buddy above me might be the worlds best at snoring. I thought it was a joke at first, but nope. All night long he shook the room with violent breathing. It was very annoying, even with ear plugs stuffed in. I finally crawled out of bed around 8 o’clock, and noticed the weather was a mess. High winds and down pouring rain was all I noticed looking outside the window. There was no chance I was staying in this city, not a big fan of it here. So, I packed up and mentally prepared myself for a rough morning.

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The winds were not in my favor today

I threw on 3 layers of clothes and the gusty morning winds still pierced through them. Right out of the city, I had a face full of wind to deal with. But, a sign a head of me sparked my soul.

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My first sign for Ushuaia! This really hit me hard knowing the end was is sight. 350 miles to go

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The only living creature out today were these giant beetles. They appeared out of nowhere, then there were hundreds of them on the road. Every time a gust of wind would hit hard, I would watch them tumble-down the road like mini tumbleweeds.

Through out the day I was hit with strong headwinds and a crosswind. I was averaging around 6-7 mph with a nice 40 mph wind slowing me down. It really wasn’t to bad, since I have heard things can get real bad out in this area. I was trying to make it to the border crossing and maybe setting camp behind a building, since there is absolutely nothing around here

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The rains came and went all day. When it did rain, it came down hard with the wind driving the water pellets into my face. Some flowers in the ditch and a few small hills was all the views today.

By 4 o’clock, I was making no progress at all with the winds picking up. I was getting a little worried that I wouldn’t make it to the border before I ran out of energy. I only had 35 miles in and my legs felt like jello. There was nothing else I could do, but to keep pushing to the border. About an hour later, I found my safe haven for the night. Out of nowhere was a bridge with a little protection from the wind. I didn’t even think twice about pushing on. I dragged the bike down and set my tent in a wild mess of wind. Got out of my wet clothes, made some dinner, and collapsed in my bed. I was sleeping hard in a matter of moments.

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A little shelter from the wind, but it was still hitting hard under the bridge. Always a treat setting up in conditions like this. Plus there was nowhere to stake my tent pegs. A little creativity was needed. I searched around and grabbed the biggest rocks I could to hold down the tent for the night, with a little help of my saddlebags and bike

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I have decided to travel with no fuel for this stretch of road to keep my weight down. I was in the mood for a hot meal to warm myself up from the cold, wet ride. Found some wood and cooked a nice dinner over the fire.

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