1,830 meters climbing and 1,540 down – 80 k gravel
(Editor’s note: Kaye’s email originally said 18300 metres climbing, which I thought was unlikely, I figured there must have been an extra zero on the end)
I woke up feeling stiff and sore, so decided to take the lunch truck rather than ride and bounce around on loose gravel. I swapped to the dinner truck when it came past so I got to camp about 1 pm.
As it turns out there was a lot of gravel, but it was not loose gravel so it would not have been too bad to ride on. However the climbs are quite steep and it was overcast and misty, and looked like it was going to rain, so overall I was quite pleased not to be riding.
There were long stretches with no towns or housing at all, and occasionally what appears to be free range cattle wandering across the road to watch out for.
There are lots of road works. The aim is to have gave the entire Carratera Austral (1,200 kilometers) paved by 2018. The lakes have salmon farms on them, and a number of yatchs and other other small boats dotted about.
The place that we were staying was a church with the surrounding grounds, quite small, and in the middle of a town. There was a hostel across the road where I could get a room for the equivalent of $25 NZ for the night so I took it.
It was a good chance to recharge all the electronic appliances, plus it had surprisingly good wifi. I was able to send photos, blog updates, and skype with my daughter Kelly. Even though we are going to be on a rest day the day after tomorrow we often have poor wifi at our rest day hotels.
Most of the places that we have stayed at have heaps of blankets on the beds, plus a number of other blankets available in the room, which is an indication of how cold it must get here in winter. The bathroom/toilets were communal, and both had a bath which looked very tempting, but no bath plugs!
I went for a walk to one of the number of mini markets in the street as soon as I got the room, and got some snacks before the 1:30 siesta. The shops were shut until 5:30 by the time most of the riders got in. I can understand siesta in a hot climate but it does not get hot here. However I guess it gives the mini market owners a few hours to get stuff done, and the locals are all used to it and clearly it works well for them. The fact that it is not convenient just for a bunch of weird Lycra clad foreigners, who will never be back, needs to be taken into account. A view I expressed to a couple of the more vocal riders who were complaining.
I am still feeling stiff and sore from the fall. Bits that did not hurt initially are starting to hurt today.