Hi All wishing you a Happy New Year.
After an all night session in Tres Cerros, no not a party session I was on my laptop on a truck stops wi-fi. Not surprising I was tired out on the road. Tired from my lack of sleep but also from the wind continuing to pound away at me. My progress was slow, slow crawl-like. I persisted pushing Nirvana into the swirling winds which hammered away at me. Sometime it was even hard to breathe, suffocating on I ran, ran of sorts for 11km. Yes I need Nirvana to fill up with food and water but sometimes I find her to be a liability I know I could run much faster had I not got this physical bond. Looking back as I write this I could have run Patagonia unsupported with my 3kg backpack as I had in most of Central America and the Andes. Yes there are no hotels here and even if there were the cost is so prohibitive.
The people were so good at stopping to give me water I know I would have survived carrying what I needed in my backpack with just a little oatmeal and pasta to cook for my meals. Trouble is I need 2 litres of water per day for cooking. Yes I felt I could have gone back to the old commuting forward at the end of a days run to the next location with water returning the next morning having taken a bus or thumbed a ride from the very friendly people I am so fortunate to keep meeting. I know very well that is not something I could depend my life upon but still even at distances of 150-200km these are not too extreme. I could have slept in the culverts I have shown so many times on the site, sleeping in my summer sleeping bag.
The days are getting longer and longer the further south I run. It is now bright till 10pm. If the days are longer they are also colder. Clearly it is wise to run on a 24 hour basis to beat the wind but often having finished early it is sometimes hard to get going again. At this time the sun rises at 4am, often there is no wind as I stare out from my sleeping bag I can see my Irish flag listless in that morning twilight. Too tired to move, almost comatose I lie there before quickly falling back asleep, unable to get up even though I know it’s the smart thing to do. I have read so many travel books and have many travel friend who awaken one hour before sunrise, cook breakfast and break camp by dawn – I often wonder how they can do it.
Running on my own with a backpack I could have had much bigger days but marry that against loading up in a supermarket when I do come to a town and to be still eating a delicious Swiss roll or chocolate log after my dinner on the 5th day out is always so pleasant:) That is the price one must pay for going without support of any kind and electing for the backpack method!
That windy day I sheltered under the culvert after my 11 km battle with the wind.I took a three hour nap. Refreshed, of sorts I ventured out only to take another wind battering for another six long kilometres. If I had a towel to throw in that day it would have blown away! Just 17km for the day.
Next day I was seriously motivated to make up for the shortcomings of the previous day and did so with a 71km day, albeit a long, long day as so many people stopped me to talk.
First there was a man called Antonio from Phoenix who was near the end of his one year cycle from Fairbanks, Alaska all the way to Ushuaia. When he set out he was seriously overweight, 120 kgs he told me. He was so overweight that he was worried about starting in the traditional starting place of Prudoe Bay some 600 km north of Fairbanks. He told me he didn’t want to start in a wilderness and preferred starting in a city just in case he had any problems. I looked at him, tall, strong and a fit looking 80 kgs. An inspiration to overweight people if there ever was.
There were 5 stops day including yet another French couple called Jean and Lisa travelling around South America in their VW campervan. It looked like a tight squeeze as they had two young children they were home schooling.
Then a good day followed with a 51km with a lot of nice gentle downhill and a rare tailwind!
A couple called Able and Maria stopped me to offer 2 litres of water. They had a huge 200 metre Argentina roll up flag in the back of their car which had a couple hundred signatures on it, a cultural history of Argentina they called it.
On I ran into San Julian and spent another 26 hours straight on the truck stop wi-fi there. I got so many logistic issues coming up its crazy. I also finalized my Asian route and modified the European route. One thing is for sure, these will be modified again, that’s a certainty, rarely does a traveler ever stick rigidly to a planned route.
At the end of that session when I went outside a nice thoughtful person left a banana for me on top of Nirvana, nice people.
This time I decided to camp in the municipal campground at US$3 a night surely one of the few bargains in all of Argentina! But for me the nice lady didn’t even charge. The municipal campgrounds have electrical hook-ups, free wi-fi and most important hot showers! So between my day in the truck stop and here that night it was as close to a rest day as I can manage at this point.
I got to make it to Ushuaia within 3 weeks and average 42km per day as my flights for my timeout and onto Oceania were paid u month ago. It was necessary for me to book early as I got a massive discount through a friend. That of course was a gamble as I had committed myself to about 2 months of needing to average a marathon a day! I dare not think what would happen should I not make it for injury reasons, or whatever as the airline tickets were non changeable.
After so little sleep in the last few days I dearly wanted to have an early night but my neighbors in the campsite had other ideas. They were a martial arts club, mostly kids out on a weekend break with the coaches and parents.They invited me to be their guest for an asado that night!
Same thing next morning a different group came over to me and as I can rarely refuse good food didn’t get going that day till 3.30!
Then on the way out of town I decided to stop for an ice cream. The owner said he saw me on the road near Trewlew and locos get to shop free in his store! he also handed me three bags of NUTS!
Another late finish gave me 56km for that day