21 January 2011

Near San Javier

I awoke and left the camper and went inside the house. Elbio was awake and we quietly shared a mate as the others slept. We whispered about where I would go to next and how far it was and the direction of the wind, and Elbio warned me of thieves in Carmen de Patagones. I told him I would stay in Viedma, across the river from Carmen de Patagones, if I stayed in that area tonight. But there were thieves there too, he said. The cities were not safe.

Gauchito Gil Shrine

I pushed the bike out to leave and the older son and his wife came out and I kissed them and Elbio goodbye and thanked them for their kindness (Argentines kiss once on the right cheek, both men and women). The wind was blowing from the west and but not so hard a cross wind that it was difficult riding. It was an empty stretch of land between Stroeder and the cities of Carmen de Patagones and Viedma, fenced in ranges of pasture and few trees and sometimes rolling country and even an area of windblown sand dunes.

Carmen de Patagones

In the afternoon I passed Carmen de Patagones and crossed the bridge over the Rio Negro into Viedma and stopped for a rest at a service station outside the city. There was a campground in Viedma that I could stay at but there was still light and, although it would be into the wind, I wanted to cut into the mileage westward towards San Antonio Oeste. I finished a sandwich, 2 bags of crackers and a 2 liter bottle of water and got back on the road.

The wind was blowing and gaining in strength and it was painfully slow riding west into it. I was more tired than I had thought and stopped at a fruit stand and bought some a peach, a pears and some apples. The woman said there would be great places to camp along the road ahead. I rode towards a small town called San Javier and found a spot on an access road back into the pasture where I could put up my tent behind the trees. I took a long shower with a water bladder, cleaning myself entirely, the water inside the bladder having been heated during the day to a perfect temperature for showering. I boiled pasta on my stove and lay in my tent drinking coffee and reading as the sun went down. The map indicated 180 km to San Antonio Oeste with 3 towns along the way. I figured I could stop at any one of them for supplies


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