Day 224 – Puerto Madryn to Tornquist, Argentina

Day 224 – Puerto Madryn to Tornquist, Argentina      04/02/11      Mileage: 442

The morning air was noticeable warmer than it has been which is certainly due to my progress north. I broke camp and got back on the road and was also delighted that the wind was calm. Now I was able to whip up the pace and really make time on the arrow straight roads across the bland scenery.

Sleepy cat…

Half way through the day I was able to switch back to my summer riding gloves…which I like riding with much better and haven’t used in weeks. It was all business though getting north…hopping from YPF station to YPF station. I was still on the road at sunset which compelled me to stop for the first time today to take a picture.

There were also some small mountains off to the east which not only made for a good sunset picture…but also might offer a good stealth campsite. So I hung a right off the main road and headed up into the mountains.

 Sure enough I found a wooded picnic area that fit the bill and I even had a picnic table…luxury! Tomorrow, it’s on to Buenos Aires…and another one off the life-list…

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Day 223 – Caleta Olivia to Puerto Madryn, Argentina

Day 223 – Caleta Olivia to Puerto Madryn, Argentina      04/01/11      Mileage: 352

The hotel let me put my bike in the lobby last night and while I had a good place out of the weather, I figured it’s also a good time to change my oil. So I went to work on the bike and the owner didn’t seem to mind and was asking me questions about the trip while I worked. That done I packed the bike and headed out of town. My rear tire was almost gone and I had to put the other that I’ve been carrying on. The owner of the hotel had told me about a good Honda dealer in the next town…so that’s where I was heading next. I found it easily but they literally closed the door in my face….? Damn siestas! They didn’t reopen until 3:30pm…3 hours from now…and I didn’t feel like waiting around that long. I went a few blocks back to tire repair shop and asked if they could swap the tire for me, which they could….sweet.

So I pulled the rear wheel off, and using the tire changing machine the mechanic had the tire swapped in 10 minutes. I’m embarrassed to say that it took me (even with Marshall’s help) over 90 minutes to swap the rear tire by hand back in Uyuni. So to me that is $7 well spent! Back on the gas the wind was not quite as strong as yesterday, but still gusting heavily in spots. Late in the afternoon the road turned more northeast which put the wind primarily at my back…making it much easier to ride. At sundown I started to look for a stealth campsite which I found 100 yards off the road by riding into the open range through a gap in the fence.

My stealth campsite near Puerto Madryn

Tomorrow it’s more of the same…and I hope the wind continues to get more manageable as I make my way north…

Day 222 – Rio Gallegos to Caleta Olivia, Argentina

Day 222 – Rio Gallegos to Caleta Olivia, Argentina      03/31/11      Mileage: 442

The wind…it blows…and by that I mean it sucks…big time. The famous westerly winds howl with a furry at the tip of South America…unimpeded on the east coast by nary a hill nor tree. The road of course runs north/south…making it the most unrelenting cross wind I have ever encountered and it’s hell to ride in. I spent the entire day wrestling the bike to keep it upright for hundreds of tiring miles. I didn’t even stop to take a picture…as the scenery was uninspiring and it would also just prolong the misery. YPF is the largest gas station chain in Argentina, and for me they have become a little oasis and refuge…someplace to fill my tank, my stomach and rest before venturing back into the gail force winds that have become my nemesis. In Caleta Olivia I called it quits and got a room for the night. Tomorrow I hope the winds are more favorable…

Token picture for today: Sunset over Caleta Olivia, Argentina