Well today was one of the hardest days of the tour. Right up there with Ruta 40. Gale force winds, huge dust storms, narrow roads and very hot. Oh, and 750kms - a record for the trip. Phew.
We had breakfast at the hotel at Sierra Grande and were on the road by 745am determined to have a big bite at the distance still to go to BA. There was a mild zephyr as we left Sierra Grande but it quickly turned into a really good Wellington westerly gale as we headed north towards Cinco Chanares. It was brutal. The road was narrow and the seal was poor and we got hammered as we rode.
At Cinco Chanares we turned east and had the wind behind us for a while so sat at around 120kph for a while, but we could see the dust beginning to build. As we turned north again at Viedma (go and get a map!) we hit the first serious dust cloud. I have tried to take a photo but it doesn't come near to the reality.
Visibility was down to about 100metres and we were forced to sit on about 80kph with the wind whalloping us from the left. One good thing was that the trucks disappeared, or most of them anyway. Still lots of buses to push us around. And the traffic here moves fast!
At one point we dropped into a gully and the visibility dropped too. I could see maybe 10metres in front. I knew that Dick was behind me somewhere but I was concerned about oncoming vehicles. I tried slowing down but the wind made me too unstable; I just had to keep going, visor down and hope. It lasted for about 150metres. I was pleased that I was wearing my Ulysses club (brown) underdaks.
Obviously, because I am sitting here writing this, I made it! :-) I hope youse are too!
No point in going on about it. We stopped when we could find some shelter and rested and drank water. From Bahia Blanca we turned east again and the riding became a little easier. At about 6.30pm we arrived in Tres Arroyos and found a hotel. We are knackered! Totally exhausted.
There were some good points too. Gradually the terrain turned from scrub to farmland and we began to see bales of hay and crops of wheat being harvested. Everywhere we stopped we met people interested in what we have done and where we are going. The expression "mucho loco" was heard from time to time. I relate to that.
We have now had dinner, a beer and are headed for bed. There appear to be some problems with our bike exports. Our agent is apparently saying that we must remain in Argentina until the bikes are loaded onto a ship. Which is likely to be in mid-January. So we are a trifle worried. Especially with all of our flights already booked.
More details to come. :-(
Today's run: 750kms (a record?)
Location:Tres Arroyos, Argentina