Wednesday, November 28, 2012

the road between somewhere and nowhere

Pleasase remeber to have a look at and think about making a donation or pledge to the ithembaletu home or the ethembeni school .

Ok , so after my near break down on arrival at EWñcalafate i was feeling much better the next day and went off to see the Perito Moreno Glacier .
I took as bus and when the bus stop on the way there and we were told that there was an optional boat ride  we had to wait an hour for the boat to return . there were only 5 of us nthe bus would opted not to do the boat ride as it was not reallly in our budget so we went on our own hike .
from let to right , Ricky , alec,amber ,shaun and luke 

 we had a great time . turns aut they were all from the Uk and shaun was the very sam e guy who had passed me on his bike on my forst day . he had to take a break as he had sprained a wrist. thanks for a great day of english company guys .  th eglacier was spectaculer and we were lucky enough to see a huge chuck fall off .
Perito Moreno

I set off from El calafte the following day and had to back track 32 km to get on the correct route again .laterthe morning when i had done about 40  km i had the shit scared out of me when  shaun arrived on his bike , i did not hear him coming at all becuase of the wind and he came right up behind and and said " HEY Rich" . i nealy jumped outta my skin .

Lake Argentina in the back ground
I got my last view of the lake Aregentina  and headed on . i spent hat night on the side of the road  . i had just had enough of looking for a spot to camp so i set up my tent right on the side of the road and climbed inside and went to sleep . lol. i left my pram just standing on the side of the road . i drew a couple of hoots and waves but was pretty much out for the count .

next day was anothe hual from somewhere to nowhere and another night next to the raod but at this one i was lucky enough to find a bush , not a big bush but at least it was more than a meter tall .

The day after that was a spectacular beautiful run , th ewind turn and was behind me , it was joyous , happy and i loved it , 57 km in no time at all and i was at La Leona which was a little roadhouse in the middle of nowhere but on the way to somewhere ,maybe .

i decided to camp there but had to pay a fee but for a hot shower and a chance t sit insde for a bit i decide i would .
I met two french girls and an argentine guy who could speak some english so we had a good chat and i spend about 4 hours nursing my cold cup of coffee.
he reason for the roadhouses exsistance was the fact that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid had hidden out here for 5 months after robbing the bank in Rio Gallegos befor ethe fled t Chile . what i didn´t know was that Butch Cassidy´s girl friend , ethel page , was with them , i always assumed with names liek Butch Cassidy and Sundance kid that hey were .......well ....lets move on 
My camp site at La Leona

My friends at La Leona , Louise , ricky , leticia and verlimo
Leaving La Leona the next day

 my goal for the week was Grobernador Gregores but i still had a long way to .

At tres lagios the tar ended and i was battling the wind . a car pulled up and after a long windswept conversation , in languages that none of us understood i establish the the man in the car had a Argentine flag in his boot tht was 2000m long and had 5 million signatures on it , its a patriotic kind of a mission i think . we swapped pics and i got to sign the flag .
Abel and I at out flag signing in the howling wind

It took anothe rfew days for me to get to Grobenador Gregores and i met some interesting popel on the way

Nelso the lonely farmer in th emiddle of nowhere

my spoty at nelsons farm

Neslons farm house , wher ehe lives alone and seems to only eat meat .

richard the motor cyclist from Newyork

Old truck at Estancia Siberia
The two frencha bicycle guys

Estancia Siberia wasa starange place , . i ran out of food this night but although the farm was deserted it was defintely not abandoned , i could see a whole pile of fresh potatoes through th ewindow but just could not get near them . i camped in an empty outside store room and kept thinking someone would come but alas i remained alone ,

The next day i decide to mke a big push , 70 km , to get to Gribenador Gregores as my food was done .

I was running alone after about 40 km  when a convoy of trucks carrying sand passed me , it was the wierdest thing ever.
As each truck approached it slowed and each driver held something out of the windows
truck one  - 4 cream biscuits and 2 slices of apple pie
truck two - one orange
truck three - a packet of cream crackers and two liters of water
truck four - a styrofoam plate with steak and <mash .

thanks Guys .

grobenador gregores people
Eventually i got to Gobernador gregores and wa shelp to get accomadation by Mabel , Lukki and not sure 

just in a quick summary .
things that are missing so far

1 phone -  i lost  it
bike lock , sleeping bag inner an 3 tent pegs - confiscated by the Chilean police
1 wrapp around - no idea where it went
1 pair dark glasses , hanging on a hook in a farm barn ,  .. sorry arnold
1 buff  - gone with teh winfd ...sorry again arnold .
1 towel - left in calñfate
1 solar charger - abandoned after i stood on it .....sorry  rob
1 book , - it was annoying me so i tossed it .
 . i am sure there is more o just have not noticed yet 



Monday, November 19, 2012

fear fire and phones

what a week , i mananged to get my self out of Punta Arenas after a nice rest and headed north for Puerto Natales , day one went pretty well , the wind kept away for a while and i made a steady progress . after 20 km a guy offers me water and tells me in english that he thinks i am nuts . i agree with him and laugh . the cross winds pick up a bit but not to hectic and i manage 48 km and decide to find a camping spot by the lake . I have not seen anyone in ages or anythiung so when i spot what loks like and abandoned play park i go down and am suprised to find some guys building a filter or some such device . i ask if i can camp and they say no problem . nice rest , nice sleep and some hot pasta and cup of soup. before the workers leave they give me some water .

i set off early the next day and decide i will head for villa Tehuelches which is a spot on the map .
I push on and expect it after 42 km but there is nothing . i keep going as the wind is not howling and eventually i come over a hill and there is a small town , i arrive and attract a few curious look s
i ask if i can camp somewhere and after a while i get directed to a spot behind the towns rodeo .

<i chat to an old lady who is taking some children for a walk and then set up camp .  nice rolls and vienna for supper , the last of the food  ihave carrried from Punta Arenas . back to pasta from tomorrow .

i tuck in for an early night . ha who would have thought the next 24  hours would be whatthey are

. At 1;26 am my tent is shaken and i come wide awake . i hear something and look outthe air vent and see a rotund figure scurry away into the darkness . i shout  and get out my tent , pepper spray at the ready . they seem to have gone . i evntually go back to sleep sometime after 2 am . i know its after 2 am becuase i was told the genrator for the town turns off at 2 am and it is quiet when i sleep .

I am awaken again later that morning
I leave town as i am a bt nervous nw or the persons motives . (update to follow )

its 6:45 am an d i am on the road , its going quite well and i have just covered 10 km ..

i look back and see a car with flashing lights coming up behind me .
they pull over , itsthe police , one is the same one I gretted a day or so ago , so i assume this is another meet and greet
The cant speak english but seem to want to know if i slep t inthetown , which i did , they want to know about a fire . they want me to go back to town with them .

I agree and we head off in the car to town .

as we approach the town  i look to where i was camping by the rodeo and see only smouldering ruins .

They pull into town and drive to the rodeo and point atthe fire and look at me .

they think i burnt the rodeo down .
this is bad ,very very bad
no way they gone beive me , i get really scared .
we go to the police station and they start to interrogate  using google translate as no one can speak english .
i repeat my story to them .

eventually a fire man arrives who can speak some english .
I am intimidated and fearful for my freedom , everything seems to point to me , i am convinced the person who disturbed mre inth edark did this but the entire town seems to be looking at me as the one
he is a great help . i am emotionally wrecked bythe end of the day .
the police chiefs understanding and the translator fireman , Rapheal , were all that got me through the day ,

I will not go into much more detail at this point but eventually i was released and decide that t would be wise to head for the border , which i did the following day and crossed back into Chile . i wil re blog this post at alater stage but below is a photo from before i arrived and on from the day after i left .

the spanish version of events is atthis link

Rodeo before
rodeo after

My return to Argentina is awesome , i am relieved and look forward to a couple of goods days before elcalafte .

back in argentina at last . phew

the are four towns on the towns onthe map  between me and El Calafate .

1. canch cerrera - i arrive just after the border and the town exists of nothing , not a tree , not a building , absolutely nothing . 

I push on and eventually oafter 65 km i find a rad workers shed from days gone by so i pry open a gap in the already broken fence to fit my pram through. at least here is some coal and a drum fire that i get going and settle in . up side is that i only have about 30 km to Tapi Aike

My workers shed in th emiddle of now where on the road to tapi aike

2. Tapi Aike  - i arrive , nothing , ok I am lying , the is one building that is a petrol station with a couple of pumps but nothing else , no signal for phone , no trees , no where to camp .. Manage to buy coke , as you can have coke of fanta and biscuits , that's all . I push on , i hit dirt road and after 31 km i see a farm , i ask  to stay .  He speaks no english and i speak no spanish . but eventually it dawns on me that he is offering me a room for the night as opposed to my tent .

Mary ann and Jean paul the french couple who stopped and gave me water , water more water and food , and friut , vivala france

on the road to nowwhere

And who would have thought  an South african in the middle of nowhwer e, thosmas from radio kop , stopped and we chatted for ages and they gave me wate anmore water and snacks

I am thrilled and even more so when as he is opening the door to the shed behind the barn i see a bed .
I go inside my my joy turns to dismay . along the other way are hanging various animal body parts in various states of decay . 

I cant back out now after agreeing to the room and to him this seems normal . so i spend the night i the butchers room .

 what a view ,........................

route 40 ,

3.) el cirrito - nothing , one house , with municipal worker 

4.) rio bote -  abandoned hospital with one resident . i am tired and lonely and the wind is howling , it takes 2 hours to do 5km , i nearly call it all off .

and oscar the loneñly sole resident of the abandoned Rio Bote and he gave me........yes you got it .,water and more water

 eventually get to El Calafate , at last signal . i can at last communicate with Sam and the boys , i have been so lonely  an d cold .

fuck , i lost my phone , i am shattered , i cry .
the lady at the hostel feels quite awkward . she tries to help . 

Sam calls me at the hostel , lol, i cry some more . then Steve , rob and my mom all call.  

el calafte

me and the gang of bikers
Today i feel better .

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Rio grande to Punta Arenas

just a reminder , spanish spell check does not work on english so your are on your own with the spelling ..:)

I set off after a great rest day with Nancy Perez and her friends in Rio Grande .
I  must say i had a great time in Rio Grande .
Me Martin and Yessica on my rest day in Rio Grande atthe shearing shed  

I was off at 5 am  after a quick bowl of instant oats and wearing fresh clean running clothes .

I set off with a strategy to beat the wind and take advantage of the wind free day , run 2 km , walk 200m  and repeat for as long as possible . The raod seems to fly by  . things are going well ,  the land scape is like the karoo , empty but enjoy it , i do miss home today amd every day butmore so today

i meet a French  guy who is heading for mexico on his bike , lol. i dont know French and he does not know English and nieether of us know Spanish , i should have learned more Spanish

I get through 40 km and see some buildings in the distances . the must be the Estancia Sara .
i head in and ask if i can camp.
Without hesitation the guy who i asked shows me a sheltered spot and disappear.

later the farmer appears to have a look at the camper ( me  )  they speak no english and i speak no spanish . the wind has pick up now and the farmer gestures me back into my tent and disappears .
view from my tent at Estancia Sara

i have a long cold sleep .

up at 4:50 am ,  going to apply the same stratergy as yesterday to beat the wind although  I can feel the wind is up before me today .

I set off , run 2 km , walk 200 meter ,......mmmmmm..not working so well so i adjust it , run 1 km , walk 200 meters  and run 1 km and walk 20 km

i expect i will only do 25 km today and stop on the Argentine side of the border . surprise , there is nothing but the border Post on the Argentine side at Sansebastion , the wind is howling .
i decide top take on the 12 km of no mans land . thats the end of the tar it seems, all dirt form now until Punta Arena , butnot to bad .
A bus pulls up next to me and the driver hands me two big sandwiches and some 7 up  .
i stare in and the pasengers stare back out , then they all clap , lol m i lagh and the bus leaves .
what a war .  after 3 and a bit hours , i complete the 12 km and have 37 for the day .

I find  the only b&b but  am shocked to hear they want  70 us dollars for a room that is the  equivalent o a Wendy house , i tell them i will camp , they shrug there shoulders and point out a spot  in the field , camping is free :) sure you would think that i would check the price of a coke before opening it simply based on the Wendy house prices .... well i did not . i did enjoy my 30 rand  500 ml coke though .

a bit chilly out here
i head of early . up to 30 km things go well but rain is in the air . i manage to make it to an abandoned herders hut just before the rain comes done solidly . i sleep for an hour while th rain passes and head on .  SMACK ...the wind hits me full inthe face . there is no shelter nothing  at all . on my map the is farm called peurto nerevo . io decide to keep going , over every hill i expect there will be shelter ,nothing ,
nothing like walking up to a mine feild to warm the blood 
eventually after a 13 hour day and 70 plus km  i arrive at Peurto Nerevo , its gone , its a ruin , levelled , on one tree and some old tanks . i and shattered . my rightachilles is aching and my prams wheel seems to be wobbling . I decide to address both issues in the same manner and just pretend they not there .
one of the only trees i saw in 130 km 

Its cold , i am tired , i am lonely . i climb the fence and take cover behind the old tanker . the wind howls all night and does not stop fora moment ,  i get so cold that i take the ground sheet out from under the tent and wrap it around my sleeping bag ....better ,

hiding from the devil 

the wind howls on the next day and i set off in the gale . i was reluctant to leave my tent , i did not want to go .but i do

i have not seen or heard a car for ages and only 2 cars pass the whole day . I am struggling at about 4 to 5 km an hour . fuck this i am not going ot freeze again tonight  , i just keep going for hours on end . forever it seems .
every last thing  i have said or done   that is hidden in my mind comes to say hello and provoke me into self questioning , . lol. the devil is chasing me in the wind .  iam constantly questioning my self and  my sanity .

eventually its over , i see porviner and call it a day . another 65 plus , 13 hours ,  i cant do these days again , the future must be less

I find a hostel and sleep like a log

next day is better , a hop skip and a jump and then on the ferry to Punta Arenas.

i visit the grave yard in Punta arenas , its fascinating and peaceful and weird . they keep all the kids togtehr in the same area , almost like a kinder garden for the dead children .
Punta Arenas
its immaculately looked after . and fresh flowers on almost all the graves ,even the ones that have been dead 60 years .


Monday, November 5, 2012

Well a week has gone by and this is my first chance to get to a pc.   And what a week it has been. 

After arriving in Buenos Aries I was taken to the home of Martin and Carolina.  Martin is an avid tennis player and Carolina is a mom with three little ones.  It was decided that we would have a Braai..Wine flowed and martins father told me all about life in the old days in Argentina compared to where it is now . He does not seem to be a fan of the current political system .  I ate some really tasty Argentine Steak and also had a thing that could have been an intestine . they insisted I try it , it was not so tasty .

It rained that night , and rained and rained and rained . At 6 am the same guy who dropped me arrived to fetch me to take me back to the airport so I could fly to Ushuaia .
Trafiic in Buenos Aries rain chaos 

The trip started fairly well, not too much traffic at all until we hit a section of the high way y that was flooded. We inched along and time was ticking.  I knew we had problems when motor cycles started coming back on the high way head against the traffic. The next thing chaos erupted and cars were making U turns on the high way and you had cars traveling in both directions in the same lanes.  Jose, the driver, was determined to get me to the airport. With a nifty u-turn and then a short cut across the island we were moving again. Even when we were rear ended it did not slow him done.
Eventually at 8:10 we got to the airport. Not that it helped, we took off at 14-.00.

Rob, a chap I had connected with via the internet found me at the airport in Ushuaia.
Ahhhhhhh……….panic, they lost my pram, I don’t speak Spanish. I should have learned even a few words.  Rob asked a couple of questions and then wahooooooooooo…… they found it, who needs Spanish J .

We head to Robs home , which is also his base for his YWAM operation .  Rob was a star and between him and his wife Silvina and there friend Cecilia they help will everything I needed. I went shopping , got food , and benzene for my cooker . I then went down to the local Scandinavian outdoor store  to meet Marcos the manager . Columbia Clothing  in Argentina had said the would help me with some gear .
I traded in my + 5  degree sleeping bag or a – 5 degree one  as well as getting some good gloves and a Columbia Titanium Omni heat jacket .

At the Scandinavin outdoor store 

 Rob and I in Ushuaia
Next day at 6 am I was off , it was quite coincidental that I started my last run with a Rob  ( Rob Korb) and here I was again starting this one with a Rob ( Rob Thiesfield ) .
Rob stuck with me and took some great pics un till we were well out of town , We stopped at the mountain of idols ( lots of shines to the saints ) and said our good byes .

I got to 38 km quite comfortably and was met by a young fellow who offered me ……yes …who would have guessed …. A coca cola  J .  He said I had to make a decision and camp now or do the 14 km over the pass as I did not want to be caught on the pass that night .

I decided to go for it .  eventually I got over the pass muttering and grumbling all the way but thrilled that it was now done . I  took an abandoned track down to the lake and set up camp ..

cold road 

Awesome … I nearly froze to death !

 Next day I headed to Tolhuin , also a 52km day , I must be stupid to start out like this .
I managed to get lucky on  route and was met by Mabel and Julio who had a house in Tolhuin and said I can stay .
mabel ; Richard and Julio 

Later Rob showed up and gave me some Wedgewood Race food nougat that I had forgotten behind .  I love this stuff . I think I may live on it .because dry bread is not so nice , however dry bread with nougat on it is awesome .

 The next day was a good day , I put a nice 40 km under my belt and came upon an abandoned camp ground just as the rain started to come down . I set up behind the bushes out of sit of the road and settled in for a nap . cooked some pasta and soup and really enjoyed the afternoon .

cosy as can be

Then  I had a solid sleep until 5:30 am.

I packed up and set off. No runnining , only walking , my legs are tired . eventually I got to 20 km and thought I would push on to make 40 km . HA . I cam around a bend and some one hit the wind switch that stopped me dead in my tracks . the next 7 km to 2 hours and was really hard . even on the downhill’s I had to push with all my heart to keep the pram going .  I eventually got to a farm and went in to ask for assistance . I had my translator ready on my phone so that I could communicate however they farmer , Thomas Ayerta , a bask fellow with a sloping beret , took me to the workers abandoned hut and said I could stay there . he also told me I could eat with the farm hands  in the mess hall  .
me and cook on the farm - estancia 

Head to Rio grande the following day and stayed Nancy Perez and her magician son . They had  pile of friends come over who were all wanting to learn English so the evening was filled ith lots of slow well pronounced conversation , well that was with the exception of Fernando who can speak English fluently and at the speed of lightning .
The rest , Matin , Jessica , Natalie , and David were all great company

So here I am in rio grande  ona rst day and willhead for San Sebastian  tomorrow .