It seemed that the 267 miles planned for today seemed quite short considering that the road is so straight along eastern Argentina. With the wind we had today, 267 miles was plenty. Generally, I hunkered down leaning the bike into the westerly wind. All of a sudden, sometimes around hills or near the ocean, the wind would be blasting from the east! Guanacos grazed on the sparse brush. Smaller, ostrich-like creatures called Rheas raced along the fence lines. It was so windy that I was waiting for one of them to blow across the road like a fuzzy beach ball. All that blew in my path were tumbleweeds. This made for interesting riding. My little bike, and the big ones too, were blown around like kites. Sometimes toward the shoulder, sometimes toward oncoming traffic. We had good reason to hold down our speeds.
Speaking of speed, or lack of – I have a new appreciation of the US Postal Service. Last night I realized that I had left the hotel in Puerto Madryn with the fancy key on a large fob still in my pocket. Many years of business travel with throw away key cards has DE-programmed me from turning in keys. Since they would need it back and we had ample time, I thought, before today’s 9am departure, I set out to mail off the key. The Carreo, Spanish for Postal Service, was an easy walk from the hotel. I timed it so I would be there before the scheduled 8am opening. Note – I said scheduled. I was in line at 7:50 and they finally opened the door at 8:07. The queues quickly filled. I was 3rd in line. This should be quick. Wrong. It turns out that not only can you buy stamps and ship packages at the Carreo, you can also apply for Social Security benefits. The woman heading my line had a mountain of forms. After being at the Carreo for 45 minutes, I finally escaped, key on its way back home.
By now, I was scrambling to get suited up and packed to make our 9am clutch out time. Well, you know what tends to happen when one hurries. Something goes wrong. I pushed “2” on the elevator. While waiting for the door to open at 2nd floor, I realized that the rear door was the one to exit. As I grabbed for the closing rear door, my current room key slipped from my hand, into the door opening and down the elevator shaft!
Maybe the wind in Patagonia isn’t so bad!
10-Jan Comodoro Rivadavia – Puerto San Julia, 267 miles
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