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A few days of hellishly Cold WIND to get to CHILE(The land of Kerrygold butter!)

Written on: Friday February 8th, 2008

Ok so, The first town we stopped in after Ushuaia was Rio Grande, and as we approached the town it began to get windy and cold, like it had never been before. I mean it had been really windy before on the way down but this time it was COLD AS HELL (Ohhh fabulous use of juxtaposition Stephen, just fabbbbbulous) We got to Hostel Argentino, I had heard how it was THE place to stay in Rio Grande. Upon arrival we were instantly greeted by the owner Graciela with hot coffees with Tia Maria. What a welcome! We ended up staying two nights, as I wanted to try the fishing here as it was meant to be the best trout fishing in the world, or so they claim and we had a few bits and pieces to get sorted as well. First I had to look for a licence to fish, I ended up walking all over the town looking for a licence, after being directed to 4 different places I gave up. I decided to give the fishing rod away as I haven?t even used it once yet (sorry dad) and if I couldn?t manage to fish here, then where would I? Graciela made a call and one of her friends teenage sons came over and picked it up, he was delighted with it. I also got rid of some clothes and my camping chair as I was trying to loose some more bulk and weight from the bike. Although after this effort I went to the supermarket and picked up a fleece blanket for those cold nights in the tent; get rid of one thing, then pick up another. I was always bad at travelling light. At this hostel there was a Swiss guy, an absolute legend in my books. He was travelling around with a FULL SIZE SPEAKER for his music, no compromise for this guy! He was on his laptop all day long, supposedly translating the Bible or something, he sat there pumping out a really great and diverse selection of music ranging from Ella Fitzgerald to Smashing Pumpkins and from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs to Muddy Waters. On the second night here another Irish biker turned up, I had briefly met him in Ushuaia. His name was Arthur, again about our age he was over here backpacking and wanted a bike, so he just bought one from an American and fudged the papers to say the bike was registered to him. Seems to be working fine for him so far. On the last night Graciela gave us free Pina Coladas because she wanted us to stay longer, we drank them up but left the next morning. The next day and a half was a gruelling battle with freezing winds! The first 150ks was over dirt roads, we took a back dirt road, not the main dirt road as it was less travelled by the big trucks that cause corrugation and deterioration of these roads. It was relatively fine and we handled the wind well until we came across a section of the road they were trying to ŽimproveŽ. They dig up the top layer of dirt, smooth out the stones they have dug up and leave it for the cars to compact. Nightmare for bikes!! We were slowed down a lot as we went over the loose stones and dirt. At other times we were travelling on the compacted tracks left by cars. These were only about 3 foot wide and the wind tried its hardest to blow us onto the relatively high mounds of stones pushed aside by the cars. Moments like this I wished I had a 4X4. Once back on the asphalt road we sped up and the cold wind got colder. I tried wearing two pairs of gloves but still my fingers were numb with hours more to go. Eventually we decided to stop and at a garage we asked could we camp out back. We were offered their metal cabin to set up our tents in. It was a very windy night and we were glad of the shelter. Early the next morning we headed back into the very strong cold winds again. I was counting down the miles as we approached Puerto Natales. I tried rolling my fingers on the handlebars and tapping my feet on the pegs but regardless all four of my extremities were quite numb, I?m sure not the best situation for the cold I have had for a few days now. Once in town we found a place for Coffee and lunch, so warm now, so warm. And happy. We met up with Peadar who had been to the hospital on account of his cold that heŽs had about a month now. I decided to check into the hostel-B&B place he was in and put an end to the last month of constant camping which no doubt was the cause of my cold.Oh yeah and Peadar got on TV as well, he wasn?t asked for his permission or even told it was for TV as someone filmed his examination. And a few days later as we were sitting having dinner the owner of the hostel shouted over to us that Peadar was on TV. I have spent the last few days catching up on some rest and of taking my bike half apart trying to see exactly what the source of the problem with the leaking water was. A job that turned out to be much much bigger and take much longer than I had imagined and I didn?t even have the parts to fix the issue so I was just really having a look for the craic! All done in the laneway with the company of the household dog, who IŽd say had been shitting here all his life, it stinked there, it really did stink bad. It was easy enough to take apart but then quite difficult and frustrating to put back together, typical! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zMmLVm56ig We watched the match today, how close were we?, So close, really tense last few minutes. Next were off to the National Park for a 6 to 8 day trek, seem to be feeling a bit better now, cant wait for the trek, its meant to be amazing.

Oh yeah and they sell REAL Kerrygold butter here!, love it!


From Scarlet Pimpernel on Feb 9th, 2008

Who is that handsome young man on Chilean TV?

From flood on Feb 11th, 2008

where do i start man, Real kerrygold butter. Thats class! Just checked out the video man, funny stuff. White is a girly colour for a bike though! Thats hilarois about peadar being a tv star. Enjoy the trek lads

From flood ( again) on Feb 11th, 2008

by the way that lad with the speaker is an absolute LEGEND!!! I mean the size of the thing, what a hero!

From Sneaky on Feb 13th, 2008

Loving the pictures and stories man... could the Swiss guy have brought a bigger speaker, I think not!!

From Ciara Sheils on Feb 14th, 2008

Hi Stephen, sounds like you're having a ball, really enjoying the blog and photos. Enjoy the Kerrygold, you never know you might found some Tayto yet!! Ciara

From Jane-Ann on Feb 21st, 2008

MISS YOU BOTH LOADS AND LOADS.... One minute you look around, and hey! Where are all my friends gone...? Keep minding yourselves Xx Mwah Xx