Patagonia Archive

Patagonia

I’ve been  thinking about Patagonia an awful lot recently, and not just because it’s a damp, grey January… There is a little place inside my heart that has Patagonia in it.. I can feel a tug there every time I think about the place. In 2016 I feel as if I must deal with some unfinished riding business in Central Asia .. so I think that’s what I’ll do this year by way of a …

gasoline….

“it’s really gasoline? You know, like gasoline gasoline..?” “yep, it is definitely gasoline” “so not alcohol or anything, definitely gasoline?” “yep, definitely gasoline, it came out of a Petrobras pump in Puerto Natales” “oh cool, I’ll have it then, pour it in there….” I packed up my tent for the last time this morning ready to move to a hostal in town for a couple of nights prior to my flight… mainly to make it …

Ushuaia…

You know those vaguely damp looking patches of fur you see on the road sometimes… that may once have been a rabbit or fox but reduced to anonymous flatness by passing traffic… I felt kind of like that once the satisfaction of arriving had worn off, hehe, although Nina’s BBQ innovation of bananas cooked in their skins but slit and filled with dark chocolate went some way to alleviating that.. or perhaps it was the …

the bottom of a continent & the end of the road…

I was hoping the girl in reception would offer me a free night in a 5-star suite for my trouble. She didn’t… must have been fully booked – I cannot imagine any other reason why she would not have wanted a somewhat scruffy but otherwise excellent quality cyclist to stay in her hotel. I thought my hint of “oh I am looking for somewhere to stay the night….. could you perhaps tell me where I …

Rio Grande…

I have been in Rio Grande two days… Southern Patagonia has been hard going and with successive stormy nights I’m feeling somewhat shagged… besides with some time on my hands before my flight out of Ushuaia I figured this perpetually cold & windy town was at least worth a look. It is a strange place without a heart, just a lot of intersections, traffic lights and a jumble of concrete. There is a plaza but …

Tierra del Fuego…

I think he wanted to play at Captain but instead was being forced to deal with The General Public.. oiks like me for example ;-) Unlike the captain himself the chap managing the boarding and taking tickets for the ferry to Porvenir was a grumpy old duffer… or maybe he just hated cyclists. Either way when we had questions or asked where to put bikes we were ignored with nothing more than a brief but …

once more unto the pampa…

The Furious Fifties were howling appropriately as I lay in bed feeling the building rock with each mammoth gust and thinking “oh it could be a bit rough on the road today”. It took quite an effort to wrench myself away from Puerto Natales that morning, I’d found very much a home away from home there with days filled with easy conversation, reading and the drinking of much coffee, tea and beer.. not necessarily in …

Penne al’Arrabbiata al’Torres del Paine…

“well you’ll still need a tray.” “No, I will not need a tray. I do not need a tray to kill you. I can kill you without a tray, with the power of the Force – which is strong within me – even though I could kill you with a tray if I so wished. For I would hack at your neck with the thin bit until the blood flowed across the canteen floor…” “No, …

square wheels…

I have concrete, possibly square, wheels on my bike… or this is how it seems. The last two days my efforts to leave town have taken me as far as the breakfast table where I invariably settle down with a few good coffees, some wonderful home-made bread, pull my map out, do a little arithmetic and think “ah, I can stay here another day, still make a loop of Torres del Paine and still get …

primary colours

The sun came out this evening. There is a little house with a red roof across the street from my window, I have been looking at it for the last couple of days… just enjoying the geometry of the roof and the overhead wires around it.   There is also a little green house… With the clear air down here the light here is fantastic in the late evenings. Despite midsummer being a month ago …

Puerto Natales…

Fireplaces. This was the metaphor that sprang instantly to mind when I thought of how to compare Puerto Natales with El Calafate. No idea why but it works for me. Apologies to any readers who have a cheap and shiny.. either fake brass or marble, fireplace, perhaps from Argos or B&Q if you’re English… that is El Calafate, a bit brash and tacky and possibly with a little porcelain dog on top. Puerto Natales however …

the camp stove sessions…

I must have picked up some bad karma along the way I think, possibly something to do with my comments about the tourists here in El Calafate.. hehe, I was expecting some stronger words but the worst I’ve been accused of so far is being a “a little wry..” ;-) I’ll come back to that in a mo but first the karma… you see I have spent the best part of the last few days …

the Pampa…

“ach, the fuc*ing wind…!” is a phrase I have heard often over the last few weeks.. it is usually the second, if not the first thing cyclists I meet coming from the south say to me. Regardless of their native language they at least have this much English. Statistically it is true, going to the north is harder… in theory, the winds down here mostly blow from the west/northwest. It doesn’t always work like that …

a salad of meat and beer…

It is strange how not being able to do something increases ones desire to do that very thing… in this case cycling, the motivation is back after a couple of days hiking and a couple of days chilling… but there is little point in rushing south from here. I have to go back into Chile to continue, either to Torres del Paine and at any rate to reach Ushuaia, isolated as it is on a …

Jedi cat & the end of the Carretera Austral

Surely cows need to sleep too? It was a question I asked myself many times while camped on a farm one night out from Cochrane. Throughout the night, like a foghorn going off and with the same mechanical regularity. Every 5 seconds or so a great bellow that not even my earplugs could attenuate. Still, it was not all bad.. a night in a beautiful spot on the banks of a river, oven-fresh bread courtesy …