31 January 2011


I needed a rest day or at least a day without a headwind, but I would not get it. The tent had held during the night and it was very cold and dark when I awoke. The wind had not stopped blowing and now it blew cold and gusty it was a challenge packing the tent.

Because of the cold I wore my leg warmers, booties and fleece headband, along with my thermal layer and wool sweater. I found my bright yellow rain jacket worked well as a windbreaker. The wind was strong and cold and I needed to make the petrol station at Garayalde.

The battery in my camera went dead after a single picture. I had not had a power source to recharge my electronics since Trelew. I also realized I had only 10 pesos left after paying Guido 100 pesos for the asado at his estancia. I figured I could pay with my Visa card at Garayalde. I put my head down and rode and counted off 10 kilometers at a time and took short breaks and ate a few cookies and drank water. There was nowhere to stop across the rolling Patagonian steppe.

Where Ruta 30 heads east to Camarones there was a service station and I stopped in and asked if they took credit cards. They did not, but said at Garayalde they would. 15 kilometers ahead I saw the white and blue sign of the YPF on the other side of a deep gorge. I rode down fighting the wind and then fought the wind up the ascent and parked the bike against the window and went in.

I ordered a large café con leche and filled my tray with juice and chips and sweets and handed the cashier my card. They did not accept credit cards. The people in line around me stared as I put the items back onto the shelves and into the refrigerator. The cashier took my last 10 pesos for the café and I sat down.

A woman sitting with her husband and children walked over to my table and gave me two packages of cookies to eat with my café. I told her I had money, I really did, but could access none of it and she smiled. I did not want to accept the cookies but I was too hungry not to. It is a gift, she said, and left with her family. The coffee and cookies tasted wonderful to me and I recharged my camera battery as I sat in the service station and rested.

I set up my tent behind the building and tried to ignore the odor of feces and urine blowing from across the fields. The truckers parked at the station used that area to go to the bathroom during the night. I cooked a pasta dinner with a cup of coffee and pulled the rain fly over my tent to keep the smell out and give me more security. I had two days of riding and 185 kilometers to Comodoro Rivadavia, a large city on the coast. I planned to take a rest day there.


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