grand day out

A grand day out

Six years ago we had an eventful day out. We laugh and think of it fondly now, but there were a few low points.

The day before, Peli fell off a bolting horse, hurt her noggin and was a bit battered too (boulders do not make a soft landing). The next day we took the ferry over Lake Wakatipu and set off on the rather utterly stunning, yet rough road, towards Te Anau.

We didn’t make much progress at first, because we constantly had to stop to take in the views. Along with another drop from Peli, this time she even managed to graze the skin (I’ll spare you the gore). After some time taking stock of what was sore and hurt, she stood up to compose herself. Before I could shout a warning, she put a hand on an electric fence and got well and truly zapped. Jumped, lost her balance and grabbed what was nearest to her to steady herself and you guessed it – bzzzzz! She then laid down to figure out what was what and was not amused one bit that I was bent over in stitches roaring in laughter. This all happened so fast that I didn’t have time to warn her or get to her rescue, it is a bit hard to run when you are having a laughing fit. Sorry lass, but it looked so funny. There was one passing car that stopped to ask if Peli was ok, they soon set off when they saw me in stitches and her angry stare 🙂

The only big event that happened to me – a stone flicked from my own tyres and knocked the valve right off, never seen that before.

We pitched up at North Lake Mavora and preparing, eating and cleaning up after food was done walking around the picnic bench because SAND FLIES! We could walk fast enough to keep them a bay, but as soon as you stopped you were covered in them.

Here are a few snaps from the same ride/day:
http://photos.woollypigs.com/bicycles_cycling/a-world-pootle/
http://photos.woollypigs.com/landscapes_nature/my-past-time/
http://photos.woollypigs.com/landscapes_nature/sweaty-betty/

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.

Cycle Cross in PDX

Cycle Cross in PDX

While in Portland we had the chance to go and see Cycle Cross race or two. It looked mad, crazy and like utter mayhem.

Everything that you can add to a bike ride to make it as hard as possible jumps, steep as f**k hills, grass, tight corners and steps etc. And this was all done for the “fun” of it, I have heard that it is more enjoyable when it is dark, raining, muddy and bloddy freezing. If you don’t come home with something broken on you or your bike and covered in an inch of mud, cuts and blood – it has not been a good day.

So when can we have a go?

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.

A world pootle in 2012

A world pootle in 2012

This was taken by my partner while cycle touring in New Zealand. Which we enjoyed so much that we have packed our bags and bike and is waiting for the plane to take off on the 6th of January 2012. Where we will be cycling from Ushuaia in Argentina in the general direction of New York, USA. There is also talk about Japan, New Zealand and Kathmandu and a zigzag trough Europe back.

I will try to keep this blog going with some photos from the road. To read all about our adventures click over to http://www.woollypigs.com and sign up to our newsletter.

Happy riding and snapping.

honey brooks b17

The only bad part is …

… when you ride your bicycle with a Brooks B17 you can’t enjoy looking at the works of art it is.

A few weeks ago I got a new honey coloured Brooks saddle, which have since then been changing colour. I really loved it as it came out of the box, but after each ride it has darkened a little bit. And each day the new colour, along with the copper rails, makes it look even better.

Autumn vs. Fall

Autumn vs. Fall

This is a bit like the old tomato, aluminium and nike etc. thing. I say fall because the leafs are falling or is it because my English teacher picked the US version or because I have watched too many US sitcoms. But if it is the latter, why the heck do I say all the other words in the Queen English?

Anywhoo, what ever you call it, I’m about to bore you a bit with some photos of the season.