18 January 2011

Bahía Blanca 2

I awoke late and the wind was blowing hard. I left the hostel for a café con leche and a grilled ham and cheese sandwich and I realized the wind was blowing south. It was too bad I was taking today off. I could have had that wind all the way to Viedma on Ruta 3 and put up huge mileage. There was no telling what direction the wind would be from tomorrow.

I needed a small camp stove and got the address of an outdoors shop from the Oficina de Tourismo. They only had the MSR version I had passed on buying in the US. You could not find fuel for this stove in much of Argentina and I did not understand why it was even being imported here. In fact, there is no camping gear made here in Argentina, everything is imported.

The man at the first store directed me to a second where a friend of his worked. Ariel was the name of the guy and Sherpa was the store and he carried a small Chilean made stove that fit into a small red plastic box. With the purchase of an adapter I would be able to use 2 types of fuel canisters to power the stove. I bought the stove, adapter and butane canister and went looking for cookware and silverware.

It was always good to walk through a city when you had some task to perform and to see a city in this way and I enjoyed all the going from shop to shop and not finding what I was looking for. I did eventually find silverware and then found a thinsulate lined pot and a cup at another shop. It was a good day of walking through Bahía Blanca and I returned to the hostel and cleaned my drive train and began to consider how I would pack the bike with the stove and accessories and the 2 full 6 liter bladders of water I was going to need to carry from here on into Patagonia.

After unsuccessfully trying to squeeze the stove and full water bladders into my panniers as I had them previously packed, I realized I needed to remove my sleeping bag from the rear pannier and to carry it on top of the rear rack with the tent and ground pad. It was simply taking up too much pannier space. I moved gear around and I found I could carry one 6 liter water bladder in each of the rear panniers and still have considerable room for food supplies. Though it was nearly impossible now to lift the bike off the ground with the water weight, the bike handled as before. I ate a baguette, sausage and cheese and a yogurt and went to bed. I was maybe a day, if the wind was right, from hitting the official border of Patagonia.


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