Who was it suggested this route…
When we decided to come to South America for our adventure, we did as all good adventurers do and read up on the places we would be travelling through. However, when you read accounts of bikers in Patagonia and they talk about the high winds, you always think,’ well if they can do it’. H’mm. Our journey down to Ushuaia had provided us with experience of ripio roads and windy weather with wind speeds of about 60 – 70mph but nothing prepared us for what was to come.
Having left Ushuaia, we needed to visit Punto Arenas to get a new back tyre and we had heard through the biking grapevine of a chap called Alejandro who could help, and joy of joys, not only did he have the exact tyre we needed in stock (no mean accomplishment in South America) but he fitted it and cleaned the bike too. Bertie thought it was his birthday. The wind speed that day was horrendous but when we peeked out the next day, conditions had improved considerably so we decided we would head to our next stop in Puerto Natales.
We had hardly left the town boundary when the full force of nature hit us. For the first time in 4 years as a pillion, I admit to being absolutely terrified as the bike leant over at an alarming angle and Jim struggled to keep it on the road.When you think of being blown off the road, you imagine yourselves being blown over from the top. Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eimYerFT4aE&feature=player_embedded
In reality the bike feels like it is being taken from under you as the wheels slide across the road. For the first time on this trip, I admit to my prayers being for us and our safety and I also admit to asking myself what on earth I was doing there, when I could be at home making mince pies for Christmas. But then a voice came through my intercom asking if I was okay and in reply to my answer of being terrified, Jim told me that it was understandable but it would all be fine. And I knew exactly why I was there. To share all the experiences life offered with the wonderful man in charge of the handlebars. I wasn’t at all sorry though when at a small village a café loomed brightly and we celebrated with wonderful coffees and a huge piece of cake. Fortified we knew we had to get back on the bike and ride the rest of the road. We were amazed though to see cyclists coming in the opposite direction actually being blown uphill without having to pedal! We knew they had to be the group we had passed on our way down south in November. Spotting their support vehicle, we stopped to tell them how bad it was further on and they told us it had been so bad the day before many couldn’t even push their bikes let alone ride them. Humbled by their feat of endurance, we fired up the engine and when we finally reached our hostel, our host Nelson cheerfully proclaimed, ‘this is Patagonia’. And that about sums it up!!