arthurs pass

Towards Arthur

Six years ago we set out for our first big tour, three months in New Zealand. Our second morning riding towards the Torlesse Range and later Arthur’s pass. Great views of Castle Hill Peak with a fresh dusting of snow. Our tent had ice on it when we woke up, so a very “fresh” start to the day, though Porter’s Pass soon warmed us up.

riding north

Riding north

Farsebook is funny and great now and again. Today it showed me this photo I took when we rode north back in Aug. 2010 as a warm up for our New Zealand tour later on in the year. Photo was taken as we were cleaning up after a well earned cup of tea.

http://www.woollypigs.com/2010/08/riding-north/
http://www.woollypigs.com/2010/08/leaving-luton-direction-lancashire/
http://www.woollypigs.com/2010/08/what-goe-down-must-come-up/

Back into the wind

Back into the wind

The wind turned and so did we and guess where it all ended up, yup right into it we pointed. At the junction where we turned, there was big massive signs telling us that Chile was moving forward into the world – with the help of asphalt and concrete! I wonder if the road is now nice and smooth or the sign still stands.

Read the blog post that belongs to this photo here – http://www.woollypigs.com/2012/02/the-fuegian-road-less-travelled/

Pumping water

Pumping water

One of the best cycle touring investments we ever did was getting a Katadyn Pocket Water Microfilter.

We often ran out of water and the only thing near that looked a bit like water you wouldn’t drink as it was. We would scoop up some water with our Ortlieb “kitchen sink” and start pumping – I even managed to catch a very small fish one time.

We couldn’t just pop into a “estancia” aka farm and ask for some water, because they would often be at the end of a five or more miles long farm track. That would be 10 miles or more round trip on a very rough bit of gravel track, where we wouldn’t know if there would be water at all.

Small lakes, streams and even dirty looking puddles was our source of water. 15 minutes pumping with the Katadyn and all our water bottles were full with very nice and clean drinkable water.

If the Red Cross and the US Army, to name but a few, rely on the Katadyn – it would be good enough for us.

Read the blog post that belongs to this photo here – http://www.woollypigs.com/2012/02/the-fuegian-road-less-travelled/

Tailwind at last

Tailwind at last

The last eight miles and for the next 10 or so – we had tail wind! Sadly it was so short but we made good time. Even the ripio was good, only on the steep “ups” was the road rough. We truly enjoyed it and the more than blue sky.

Read the blog post that belongs to this photo here – http://www.woollypigs.com/2012/02/the-fuegian-road-less-travelled/

running out of food

Running out of food

About here – after a failed attempt in riding at night where the strength of the wind is a weakest – is where we figured out that we were low on food and we had more days of riding to go than we planned for. We had timed this to take around five days and took with us six days worth of food. We had at best two and a half days of food left and we had at least four days of riding left.

Read the blog post that belongs to this photo here – http://www.woollypigs.com/2012/02/the-fuegian-road-less-travelled/

Cloud and skies

Cloud and skies

This picture does not justify reality of how big, amazing, stunning, blue, white. They went on forever – to quote a famous song. One fella told us that you don’t get these clouds – ok not the ones pictured above – anywhere but South America. I don’t know if I dare to tell him, that we saw them in New Zealand, USA and in Yorkshire where are now based.

Read the blog post that belongs to this photo here – http://www.woollypigs.com/2012/02/the-fuegian-road-less-travelled/

Smile

Smile

Not sure what the smile is for, it could be for a few reasons : that she managed to climb the hill without falling off or the need for a rest, that she saw me looking silly, that she saw the gravel would become rather good (albeit only for a few yards) again. I think it is all the above reasons and then some.

It is great to see that she could still smile her beautiful smile. Even when this was turning into the hardest riding we ever had done and that we were running low on food. Along with the wind that was stronger than anything we had felt before. The ripio or what supposedly was the road was becoming harder and harder to ride, not at all helped with the steep hills. This all slowed us down to a record shortest – day long ride – 5-8 miles in eight hours of riding, well more like – walk, push, pull, swear, slide around on the loose gravel, into the wind, swear, attempt on moving forward.

Read the blog post that belongs to this photo here – http://www.woollypigs.com/2012/02/the-fuegian-road-less-travelled/

Cordillera de los Andes

Cordillera de los Andes

It is rather amazing to know that the mountains in the distance is part of the same mountain chain. That runs the length of South America, about 7,000 km (4,300 mi) from top to bottom.

Read the blog post that belongs to this photo here – http://www.woollypigs.com/2012/02/the-fuegian-road-less-travelled/

Nowhere: there is a road into it

Nowhere: there is a road into it

Yup, the map and GPS were right: nothing but nothingness and remoteness for miles and miles, well that meant we were on the right track. Rough gravel roads, strong winds and barren landscape, yet stunning, beautiful and the right place for us to get “lost” for a few days.

Read the blog post that belongs to this photo here – http://www.woollypigs.com/2012/02/the-fuegian-road-less-travelled/

Are you lost?

Are you lost?

Just before this photo was taken, a local in a car – the only one we had seen and would see all day – pulled over and asked us if we were lost. We think that he was a bit surprised to see us heading into emptiness that is Tierra del Fuego.

Read the blog post that belongs to this photo here – http://www.woollypigs.com/2012/02/the-fuegian-road-less-travelled/

Looking for the border

Looking for the border

Heading towards the border control at Bella Vista, loaded with six days food hoping that this next leg would take five days only. On the third day we had to eat all our fresh food, veggies and fruits along with our cheese, because you can’t take that into Chile.

Read the blog post that belongs to this photo here – http://www.woollypigs.com/2012/02/the-fuegian-road-less-travelled/

This might look boring

This might look boring

Let’s just say that this road wasn’t boring. The ripio was hard going at times, the wind was never stopping right into our face, and it was no where near as strong as a stiff south westerly that we get up here – it was much stronger.

Read the blog post that belongs to this photo here – http://www.woollypigs.com/2012/02/the-fuegian-road-less-travelled/

Ushuaia that way

Ushuaia that way

Fourth day cycling north in Tierra del Fuego. This was the day we figured out that the wind would be in our face for the rest of the time we cycled north in Argentina. It was so tempting to just turn around and go this way and rest for a day or two with the wind in our back.

Read the blog post that belongs to this photo here – http://www.woollypigs.com/2012/01/leaving-ushuaia/

La Ruta de Oro

La Ruta de Oro

The stunning La Ruta de Oro on Tierra del Fuego in Patagonia Southern Chile on our way to Porvenir in search for water and food.

A slight miss planning by yours truly, seen in the picture above taken by Peli, where I as was sure that 300 odd kilometres would take us around five-day, five and a half days tops. But on the third day it was clear that it would take more like seven days. The very strong wind (80km/h and above at times), very rough gravel road (aka ripio) and steep hills – slowed us down to an eight hours battle against the nature and our wills to gain just 15 kilometres.

The route we have taken does not have a corner shop that we could just pop into for a pint of milk, it was – really the middle of nowhere! Food and water rationing started, lucky we had our life saver our water filter from Katadyn. It was a few rather hard and tiring days cycling this remote, but yet very beautiful, part of the world. By the time we found civilisation and more important crisp, chocolate and biscuits again it was early afternoon on our eight-day and we didn’t have breakfast.

Mist on the Californian Coast

Mist on the Californian Coast

Cycling the Californian Coast on highway 1, a day or two south of Monterey. Lucky for us lazy starters in the morning, compared to the others who were up and gone by 7-7:30am, we actually got to see the stunning coast line which is often hidden by the mist. At night on the camp sites the early risers reported that they haven’t seen anything at all. We on the other hand did when the mist disappeared around lunch time, like you see here, the beautiful coast came out and we enjoyed the sun, waves and views.

Deception Pass

Deception Pass

Deception Pass in Washington State with a view of Mt. Baker in the background, on our way to the Saint Juan Islands. Stunning bit of the world though cycling here was rather hard work, hilly, tones of tourist traffic and also traffic for the Naval Airbase both on ground and above. At one point we had a planes zooming over us every two minutes and it felt like we could reach up and touch them.

Whale watchers San Juan island

Whale watchers San Juan island

While camping on San Juan island we were lucky to see two pods of Orcas swim by in the Haro Strait. We also spotted this group of whale watchers keeping an eye out for them too. If you look carefully you can see the fins of two killer whales. Sadly they didn’t get closer to the shore, but still it was pretty amazing to see around 50 in total swim past.

cycling food

Cycling food

One good thing about cycle touring is that you have a very good reason for testing out the local food. If you should find yourself in Fort Bragg, California, do stop by at Cafe One on the main drag. And don’t worry vegans you actually along with the veggies have more choice than the carnivores at this place. Peli spend fair good time trying to pick and I had little choice for once.

Our kitchen window

Our kitchen window

Weekly Photo Challenge : Happy-PlaceWhere do you go when you need to think? What do you do when you need to restore yourself, to ready yourself to take on the coming week with energy and verve? How do you get your sense of humor back? How do you recharge your groove? – I go camping or cycle touring. This photo was taken in Patagonia, while having a cuppa and a dip in the lake (yes it was >< cold 🙂 ) I missed out last weeks photofriday with this photo. This is our “window” and the view out from our kitchen.