Truely toughest riding day

If “things happen for a reason,” I think I know why Larry broke his leg. With all his flat-track, scrambles and enduro racing experience, Larry is an excellent off-road rider. Larry also is a 14-month, Stage 4 Cancer of the Head and Neck survivor. Although he had done extremely well during the first six weeks of the trip, his strength is not what it was prior to cancer. Today was a major physical challenge for me. It might have been too much for Larry.
(I believe things happen for a reason. -Editor)

Our sunny and cool (45F) group ride to the Chile border was delightfully uneventful. Likewise were the border crossings. Such a contrast 24 hours makes. The guards had ended their strike and returned to their posts so we could continue our journey. This was good considering that we first had to leave Argentina, enter Chile, leave Chile, and re-enter Argentina farther south on Tierra del Fuego.

In Chile, we reached the Straits of Magellan where we waited for the ferry. The current and wind are so fierce that the boat has to thrust upstream just to go straight across. Did I mention the wind? Several of us chose to view the crossing from the upper deck. I felt as though I was Jim Cantore of The Weather Channel reporting from a hurricane location.

We had been promised gravel, dirt and other unpaved roads on this expedition. Likewise, we had been promised wind in Patagonia. In my optimistic, sales rep mind, it hadn’t occurred to me that we may encounter wind and unpaved roads at the same time. Never have I experienced such a scary and exhausting combination. We rode over 60 miles of gravel. It varied from so well packed that I was very comfortable, to loose, heavy gravel that sucked the tire in and shook around the front end of the bike as though a rag doll, to hard, washboard surface that had me thinking that the bike was falling apart. Fortunately, neither the V-Strom nor I fell apart. Each time the bike would bounce over a washboard hump, it felt as though the wind would pick up the front end and blow it away. Several times the bike veered down wind. When meeting big trucks, I hugged the right edge of the road.

Before our evening meeting, we toasted our success is conquering a tough day’s ride.

13-Jan Rio Gallegos-Rio Grande Argentina 225 miles

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