Rio Grande to Punta Arenas


Phil and Joyce

The northern half of Tierra del Fuego is flat and windy. I headed out of Rio Grande and put in a longish day to reach San Sebastian, which is the border with Chile. Went through fine and then passed a sign reading "Fin de Pavmiento". From there on it was a case of eyes down and look at gravel. But there is a knack to riding on this stuff and soon enough I was looking around enjoying the scenery again. The scenery consists of miles and miles of nothing apart from the odd sheep or llama. At the Chilean version of San Sebastian 15km further on I grabbed a steak sandwich in an american dinner style place and changed over to chilean pesos you get about 6,540,000,000 to the pound (possibly) so your mental arithmetic needs to be sharp. Then I camped in the absolute middle of nowhere.

Woke up and there was a tail wind! Wolfed down some dulce de leche (a bit like condensed milk) sarnies and hit the gravel. 50 clicks later passed Phil and Joyce a cycling couple from Bath who have come from Peru a similar route to the one I am planning and gave me pleanty of useful tips and info. Ta! They told me of a campsite by the beach between 40 and 45kms from Povenir. So I nailed it to there and got a little campfire going with heaps of dried out sea-weed and drift wood. I love cooking on an open fire, it saves fuel and after I´ve finished cooking I have a nice cheery blaze to eat by. Only trouble was that the tide came in and the sea was very noisy with crashing waves that woke me up a few times. Today the going was tough as the road was washboard gravel tracks with several undulating hills and the head wind had reappeared. Took me 6 hours to cover 40km. Then I arrived in Porvenir (bit of a ghost town) and waited for the ferry to take me to Punta Arenas. I´m now safely installed in the Backpacker´s Paradise for 2 nights to get a bit of rest before heading up to Puerto Natales and then Torres del Paine (which I am very very excited about) where I´m hoping to do a bit of trekking in the mountains.

Equipment is all doing well. Especially the bike, she is a grafter. The sleeping bag is very warm. Tent´s ok but not really been tested by a soaking yet but does fine in the wind. Trangia for cooking is great and I found "alcohol industrial" easily in the supermarcado. Its usually easy enough to build a fire instead anyway. Panniers all do what they are supposed to, I like the Crosso´s for the twist closing but prefer the clamps on the Revolutions.

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