Stresses of Modern Travel – Off to Nepal

Much has changed in the culture of air travel in the years that I’ve been traveling. It has become much more affordable. In 1970 i simply would not have been able to fly to Nepal without a very major dent being formed in my yearly income. It would have been huge for me. While the total adventure

still is in many ways, the flight is now $1200 round trip. I can do that. Much in the way that you can now find $39 tickets to Las Vegas or $99 flights to Orlando, the cost of our everyday air travel has become much lower, We now expect it and scan the web from the comforts of our home for the cheapest tickets out there. Companies like Expedia and Travelocity have sprung up by doing just that for us. We no longer are suspicious about traveling with these second party tickets. It is the way of our times and the convenience of the power of technology.

However, these changes have not come without trade-offs. The numbers of flights have shrunk just as the space we have to sit on has followed suit. Flights are generally always full and in fact usually oversold. You have to pay for putting a bag on the plane and more for the second bag if it is even allowed. Overhead bags have now become a target of airlines as well. Choices of seat location can command more than a few dollars without even being in first class. There are many more places we can go with this.

Most of all I think it is the relationship between the customer and the airline that has changed. We as passengers no longer have the respect of the airlines and that is reflected in the total lack of customer service that is offered. Yes, flying has become more of a buyer’s beware culture. All of the things that once would have been totally not acceptable have now become commonplace. Flight cancellations, last minute time and gate changes, unadvertised baggage restrictions, and much more are now just simply part of flying. Almost makes you want to just stay home.

Tomorrow morning I am leaving for Nepal from Thunder Bay with my good friend, Lonnie Dupre. World renowned Arctic explorer and now also conqueror of Denali in the heart of the winter, Lonnie has invited me to join him and two fellow mountaineers, Elias and Bridget from Colorado, for an expedition to check out an unclimbed peak in the Khumbu region of Nepal. Named in 2013 in honor of the famed Nepalese climber, Tenzing Norgay, this peak is located near Cho Oyu, an 8000 meter mountain which is about 20 kilometers from Everest, the mother of all mountains in this world.

Yesterday we found out that our return flights have been cancelled. That’s it. Just cancelled. No “here is your new itinerary” but just gone with no alternative offered. This is the way of modern travel.

We are going anyway. Have to figure it out as we move along.

A Close Call – then Ushuaia at Last

Finished at waterfront park in Ushuaia

Finished at waterfront park in Ushuaia

The ride from Rio Grande to a campground in Tolhuin started out with everyone in high spirits. We had finished our last ride two days before traveling fast with favorable winds, today seemed to have that same promise. However, as we moved through town and settled back on the main road we were met by a nasty headwind that forced everyone to plow forward at a mere 9 or 10K/hr working hard. Visions of a very difficult 10 hour day ran through our minds. Damn. Thankfully, after 9K of struggle, the road swung to the left and heaven returned to earth. Now the speedometer jumped to over thirty and the legs were required to do very little. Yeah, this is more like it. The K’s started to fly by. Our road was narrow with no shoulders – there was a lot of traffic by Patagonian standards. I was riding with Barry, Yurg, Brian and Deb in single file since there was no room to do anything else and little room for the cars and trucks either. At a police checkpoint they stopped us to ask that we stay in single file due to traffic and it being a weekend. No problemo. We were following the seacoast on our left and mountains had started to appear ahead of us, the sun was out. Life was feeling very light. It was a happy group at lunch but as we studied the map we saw that we would have some more headwind for a couple of sections ahead. OK, let’s get at it. We still had 65K to do to reach our camp with a stop at a panaderia (bakery) about 5K’s from the end. Traffic here zoomed pretty close to our bikes and a couple of times vehicles flashed their IQ’s at us despite our efforts to stay on the right hand white line. We pulled down into the pastry shop relieved to get off the road and ready for a cold drink and some treats. It was only after we left the shop that Yoost caught up to us with the frightening news that Michelle had been struck by a car and was being brought to a hospital in town. Initially this type of news is a shock. No. It can’t be. Then it starts to sink in and your stomach tightens and your mind moves through all types of scenarios. We moved as rapidly as we could to the campsite for news. I wasn’t sure I wanted to ask right away – wasn’t ready to hear really bad news. Went through my routine, found a spot and set up my tent. Grabbed my bags and got them situated creating my little home. Didn’t want to hear any rumors or speculation so I skipped by my mates and headed over to Robert. “Did you hear? “ he asked, “Michelle was hit by a car. She’s at the hospital with Annelot. Nothing seems to be broken is all I know.” I settled down inside. Nothing broken and seems to be all right sounded almost too good to be true. I laid in my tent and listened to music. There had been some close calls on the roads since we started this trip in Quito. Patrick was clipped by a car and knocked down somewhere near Cusco. Most of us have had narrow misses. You wonder if they just don’t see you. Michelle had had close calls before. Today someone gave me the finger as they zoomed by. I was riding on the right hand white line. I couldn’t possibly get over any further. We have been treated with such respect most all the way here. Why does this happen now with only 110K left to Ushuaia? Rob brought us updated news after dinner. Michelle has no broken bones or internal injuries but is really banged up, particularly one leg which will be quite
black and blue. She was very lucky. The car struck her in the left side of the rear bike wheel. She was thrown forward and to the ditch side away from the car. There are other bruises of course. We walked out to look at her bike. Totaled.

This is a dangerous sport.

We rode to Ushuaia on a bluebird day in Patagonia. It was warm enough to wear just your cycling jersey and a light windbreaker or an under layer. Speaking of wind, there was very little of that either. We all left together with a plan of two groups and a police escort for the 100K’s of travel. That didn’t materialize. Although I saw some police parked and others driving at different points during the morning, an escort was not organized and we fell into cycling in small groups as usual. We had moved from the Patagonian Steppes back into forests and mountains. It was simply beautiful. Of course mountains meant more climbing for us cyclists but we never had any seriously steep grades – maybe 3 percent – no problem for bikers who had conquered the Andes throughout this 11,000K journey. I rode with Brian and Deb much of the way, then stopped for photos. Barry caught up and I rode with him to lunch at 80K’s. We waited there for all to arrive so we could bike together the rest of the way. The police had gathered us into groups just past a construction area before lunch and now were ready to bring us into Ushuaia. We waited some time as it turned out that Knut had a flat and perhaps a slight hangover from a pre celebration the night before. All was good when he rolled into our stop – a little time for his lunch and off our group went to end a four and a half month adventure at 55 degrees latitude South. The police stopped all traffic so we could gather at a welcome kiosk for Ushuaia and take celebratory photos. I know we were all experiencing mixed feelings of joy, relief and a touch of sadness somewhere inside now that it was almost over. We got back on the bikes and rolled into town to a waterfront park where we were met with champagne, food, a blown up Finish marker and an Ushuaian cycling group who welcomed us to the party. It was time for hugs, handshakes, sharing memories and, of course, a few beers and champagne. We also had trophies for the three top male and female racers. In amongst all of this wobbled Michelle on her bruised legs and body – what a blessing to see her, as exuberant as ever even after her near tragedy with a car the previous day. Michelle was the ladies race winner. She promptly sprayed the two Norwegian sister runners-up with champagne and received the same back. James was the men’s winner along with Alfred and Joost on the podium. After an afternoon in the unexpected sun, I started to feel the heat on my face. Time to get to the hotel. We were right at sea level and had a little alcohol in our bloodstream when we discovered that the hotel was quite a ways up a steep hill. I asked Barry, “What sadistic bastard planned this?” as we struggled up this steep grade. “Rob,” was his simple answer, and then we both laughed. The same guy who led us to the miserable cold Cerro de Pasco, who put us on that horrible sandy rocky washboard ride up into Tacota, and who routed us west into the gale-force winds of Patagonia. Would we expect anything else? Hell no.

We have a group dinner tonight.

The end of a great journey for me but the beginning of a new one as well.

Tierra del Fuego

weathered fishing boat on beach in Tierra del Fuego

weathered fishing boat on beach in Tierra del Fuego

biker along coast of Tierra del Fuego

biker along coast of Tierra del Fuego

sheep and estancia (ranch) along coast

sheep and estancia (ranch) along coast

Tierra del Fuego. Land of fire. A wild place in my imagination. We took the ferry from Punta Arenas across the Straits of Magellan to this wild place. It was a two hour trip on the slow moving boat. We bikers joined the cars and trucks up the middle metal gangway where we all parked our respected vehicles. There were about 15 motorized machines and 26 of us bikers joining all those travelers who were dropped off at the ferry and met by others on the far side. We all found warm comfortable quarters indoors as there was a strong cold wind happening on deck. Poznir was the name of the small town that greeted us on the far side – nothing to distinguish this place except the ferry. We had 90K’s to ride on an unpaved road to a bush camp just somewhere on the side of the road. Thankfully we were heading east away from the strong west wind – the road was one of the best gravel roads we have traveled here in South America. No corrugation, loose sand or rocks. We soon found the ocean inlet which we would parallel all day – Grassy slopes piled away from the water. No trees, just bushes, occasional sheep and a few guanacos to entertain us. The tailwind helped move us along. One could see the more mountainous land south across this inlet where on the southside lay our eventual destination, Ushuaia. But we need to follow the land here around to the east then south and back west to this final landing place for us bikers. The road wound around, up and down, over hills and down drops all the while keeping the water next to us. The terrain reminded me of some of the large fishing bays in northern Alaska – occasional temporary shacks with rugged fishing boats slid up on skids helped bring this thought to the front of my brain. We also passed remote Estancias (ranches) with corrals and sheep. It was a wonderful day of cycling. This place seems so unreal. Romantic in the imagination. The sea, the rolling terrain, the old weathered detritus of fishermen along with their rough heavy boats on deserted beaches. The K’s rolled by, I stopped for photos and conversations with fellow cyclists. We only have three more rides left in this long journey and the end doesn’t seem real either. Such a simple rhythm of life we have all fallen into for these last four plus months will come to an end – and replaced by what? None of really know what we each will retain of this lifestyle. I came around a corner in the road and there it was – the Bike Dreams flag signifying our camping area. Slid down a small finger of a trail toward the sea and the few tents already up ruffled in the wind. This is where I am for now. Today we followed the sea inlet east until we arrived at the Argentinian border. We passed several large estancias and a few flocks of sheep but basically the terrain was flat and uneventful. So was the border crossing with the exception of the music playing in the Argentinian side where we listened to the likes of U2 while they looked at our passports – they didn’t even look at Roberts truck probably because it was so windy they didn’t want to be outside. Off we all headed into Argentina again. As the inlet narrowed and ended we paralleled a large hill until it too ended and we headed south with Atlantic waters now on our left. It was very windy and the tailwind we had traveling east now became a strong side wind on our southern route. The total distance today was pretty big (158K) since we were combining two days into one. The camping place in San Sebastien is no longer available so we have a long day to reach a hotel in Rio Grande. Tired bikers today but a rest day tomorrow and hopes of lighter winds when we continue our journey on Saturday. Today was also the last of our gravel road travel for the trip – paved road for the last two cycling days into Ushuaia. The last day we have to travel west and it could be a tough day if these winds don’t subside. Terry left us in Punta Arenas. He took a bus to Ushuaia because he is flying home a couple of days early in order to attend his son’t graduation from medical school in Australia. I wish he could be riding into Ushuaia with the rest of us on his bike but priorities prevailed. He has been a great guy to have on this trip and has become a very good friend of mine. I hope we will get together again sometime in the not too distant future. He’ll have two days in Ushuaia to enjoy the attractions there. It is a beautiful small city surrounded by high snowy mountains and the ocean in front. Also an outdoor adventure headquarters as well as a departure point for those traveling to Antarctica. I look forward to seeing it myself. I will update again after we arrive in Ushuaia.

Punta Arenas

Torres del Paine with iconic towers on right

Torres del Paine with iconic towers on right

We left Torres de Paine after a night of fierce winds and sideways rain. Tents were flapping incessantly all night long which left some sleepy eyes at the breakfast table. Forecasts for this day were for winds reaching 99K/hr but we were all assuming that the winds had come early during the night and this mornings quiet conditions showed real promise for a beautiful day. The sun felt great on the tents early – it’s light here now before five am and stays that way till well after ten at night. The route to Puerto Natales takes us back to salt water along Chile’s inland passage. It was almost all gravel through the rest of the Park – we retraced our route in but then turned right when we reached the main road. It was when cyclists reached the top of a long climb that the winds hit with full force. It soon became unridable. Everyone had to get off the bikes and walk as best they could into this gale all while trying to hold onto the bike and keep both from being blown off the road. Alfred had his bike pulled out of his hands, then the wind switched suddenly, and the bike was now chasing him. Hardy has that on video. Brian’s bike flew out of his hands and into the ditch along the road. Deb was blown off of her bike as was James. Joost and Michelle both caught tailwinds during the day that pushed them up to uncontrollable speeds. The lunch truck was at 48K – the earliest riders to reach that mark took five hours. Most riders didn’t get past the 23K mark and ended up laying in a group in the grassy ditch along the roadway waiting for Walter and the truck to come and get them. Brian and Deb had to get off and push their bikes. They, too, gave it up at 23K. They could make no headway against such a force. Only six riders completed the trip today – they all had several scares and a very long day. There were more riders needing a truck to pick them up than Walter’s truck could carry. Our lead driver, Robert,had to go back to the 23K mark to get the rest of the cyclists. A crazy day. The last cyclists came into camp just before 8pm. We started at 8am. Dinner was a very late affair, especially after such a demanding day. Bike Dreams Rob was asked if this wind was typical for previous trips. He laughed and said, “No. This was truly extreme. We have not had such a wind before.” Extreme, even in Patagonia.

That night the wind continued along with intermittent rain and became quite cold. I awoke early but was reluctant to leave my cozy little tent. We were camping in the yard of a hostel/restaurant and had the use of the kitchen and dining room for cooking and dining. I dressed in my sleeping bag but waited until the hostel doors were open to get outside. It was really necessary to have indoor facilities in this kind of weather. Plates fly, full cups skitter across tables, milk pours sideways into someone else if you give it any chance. Too much. We had a big day with 148K to travel and are leaving an hour late to give everyone a little extra rest after yesterday. The first hundred K’s we traveled east and southeast. It was really delightful to have a big tailwind to push you along. Big, but very controllable. I rode with Deb and Brian. Often we didn’t have to peddle at all. The wind just moved us along freely. Brian and I tested the strength of this force by seeing how fast we could go without pedaling at all. I hit 53K/hr and Brian was close to that as well. Very little energy was spent getting to the lunch truck. We knew, however, that once the road turned southwest at around 100K we would have problems. At best it would be a sidewind that we could control – however, turning that corner it hit us with an alarming force. The blow came directly across us from the west and wanted to throw us over into the other lane. It took tremendous effort to keep the bike under any kind of control. We were actually leaning sideways at about a 45 degree angle against the wind just to keep the bike under us. We came across a field where the soil was being lifted and which engulfed us with dust and dirt so we couldn’t see anything. Very frightening. My eyes were choked with dirt. I couldn’t clear my right eye and had to stop temporarily to try to improve my situation. The wind blew my bike shoe cleats along on the pavement and it was all I could do to bring me and the bike in my hands to a halt. After getting through that section we had no more dust storms but the sidewind made for a trying afternoon of riding. Brian was blown right across the road in front of the Bike Dreams truck as it approached him. We all struggled to keep our bikes in some kind of a straight line. Eventually the road turned slightly and we found ourselves with somewhat of a headwind. We were now moving quite slowly into it but more safely. Our destination, Villa Telhualches, was a welcome sight. It was really nice to get off he bike and into a bowl of hot soup. We celebrated a Dutch tradition after dinner. Everyone had earlier picked a name out of a hat – they then bought a gift for that person (limit of 100 Argentinian pesos) and wrote a poem about the person. These gifts were pulled out of a gunneysack one by one last night with the recipient reading the poem about them out loud. It was a lot of fun, some great limericks, and cute gifts. I received a Perito Moreno glacier shirt and a very cute poem which contains language not appropriate to include in this blog. This Dutch tradition takes place on December 6th and celebrates Santa Claus.

The winds subsided today and allowed us to have a pleasant ride to Punta Arenas. We all got in early for a change, I have checked in to a hotel in town as we were booked into a hostel with three and four to a room by Bike Dreams. I just wanted wi-fi that works and a little quiet to get a few things done. Including writing this blog. I’m meeting some of the gang for dinner this evening. I’m going to go to see the replica of the iconic James Cairn – the lifeboat that Shackleton sailed from Elephant Island to South Georgia in his epic journey to save the rest of his men left on Elephant Island. If I have time tomorrow I would like to take a boat out to see penguins and sea lions at one of the outer islands from this city. An indication of how far south we have come now – penguins! We have only 4 more riding days until we arrive in Ushuaia, the end of our biking adventure,

Torres del Paine and Chilean Patagonia

Tonight we are in a bush camp. We joke that a bush camp is somewhere that there is no place to pitch your tent and no place to go to the bathroom. It may be a joke but quite often it is close to the truth. We have camped in some really lousy spots. My personal worst was early on in the trip when we camped in a dusty dirty gravel pit next to a main road. It was an operating gravel pit so big trucks were driving through camp raising even more dust. There was no where to go relieve yourself without being seen from the highway, the camp, or the workers site in the pit. The dust got into your every pore, all your bags and into your tent itself. It was hot and there was no shade. There have been others that had their own miseries as well. Basically a bush camp is where we stay when there is no place to camp. Tonights camp is a large grassy field just below the road and is quite comfortable but on this treeless plain there is no cover – no bushes, no private place to do your business. We now take it in stride as we have all developed strategies to get around our inconveniences in these remote stark places.

Tomorrow we will enter Chile for the second time on this trip – we are on our way to Torres del Paine Nacional Park. This park consists of numerous glaciers, lakes, mountains, steppes, woodlands, a desert area and of course the famous rock towers, the Torres del Paine. There are also numerous guanacos, fox, condors, rheas and flamingos as well as other types of birds and a few more mammals including cougars. This visit will certainly enliven all of us after the constant daily view of the pampas and steppes we have lived with since leaving the lake district. The only relief from that was our one day stay in El Calafate.

The border crossing went very smoothly with just a couple of small incidences with our lead truck. Our driver Robert spotted a tour bus ahead of the truck on the gravel road with just a few K to the Argentinian side of the border. We need exit stamps and custom clearances from their side before Chile will let us in. Waiting for all the people in the bus to clear immigration and customs would have taken some time so Rob put the pedal down and passed them with just a K or so to go. The bus driver laid into him as he was standing in line, accusing him of speeding and passing too close to the bus. Rob was not near the speed limit on the rough gravel road and also had plenty of room to pass. Then the driver complained to the deaf ears of the Argentinian officials. He was a fiery Latino and not happy. When Rob and crew went through the Chilean side of the border they were asked to open just three bags to look for forbidden fruit and other articles – if those bags were all right then they wouldn’t look at any of the rest. Rob took three that he was sure would be fine including his own. Lo and behold Rob’s own bag had an apple in it that he had forgotten about. Damn! As luck would have it the apple had been there since we were last in Chile and had a Chilean sticker on it. Talk about truly blind luck. They let the truck go on. I saw 5 rheas and a condor on the ride today then two more condors overhead as we were eating dinner in camp. They sure are an impressive bird with huge wingspans soaring overhead. Camp here was in somebody’s backyard in the small town of Cerro Castillo.

We had a spectacular ride into Torres del Paine. The wind remained light all day, we had sunshine all morning, the views were wonderful and the wildlife cooperated as well. Throughout most of our Andes trip we had thought ourselves fortunate to see three or four guanacos – today we saw large herds of them. Right next to us as we cycled along. As many as seven condors were seen at one time, a fox ran by with a fat little hare, a rhea stood within a few yards of JR and posed, and a few gauchos were herding cattle – all with the stunningly beautiful background of the rock towers called las Torres as well as the adjacent snow covered mountains and glossy blue glaciers. It was simply a wonderful day here in Patagonia. Our first 30K were paved and moved along rapidly – then on to the gravel. It was a rough road but our frequent stops for photos seemed to soften the jarring. At 55K we officially entered the park and 8K’s later we were camped in a wooded glade just below the towers and only a half K from the trailhead to the base of the three famous rock edifices.

The trip up to the rock towers was a lot like the trails we are used to running on the hiking trail – up and down with rocky rutty surfaces and scenic vistas. Deb, Brian and I started our trek after breakfast at a hosteria just a couple hundred meters down from our campground. Bike Dreams does not have meals on our rest days. It is a day off for everyone. It was a great rhythm for the three of us as we are so used to running together. This hike put us back into that place and we really enjoyed the 10K hike to the cirque where the three towers sit above a beautiful aqua colored glacial lake and surrounded by white capped mountains. The wind was strong when we approached the area but as we moved down to the lake and sat behind a rock we were protected from both the cold and the strong breeze. The temperature was what our mechanic and buddy Lucho would call “frio.” Of course that means cold. The mist and fog can sit into this area despite the sun warming out area below in the camping area. And that is what happened to us. We sat there at the tarn waiting for the fog to lift for photos of this iconic landscape to no avail. After fifty minutes we started our trip back down the to the trailhead. Of course on our way down we spotted the three towers and wished we were back up but we have had many views on our way in. It was a great hike and a wonderful day.

El Calafate and the race to lunch

Patagonian wind

Patagonian wind

We have arrived in El Calafate, a beautiful little tourist town of about 6000 people nestled in the Andes at about 50 degrees of latitude and situated on Lake Argentina – a smaller more remote version of Bariloche. It’s conveniently situated to Los Glaciares Nacional Park making it a busy jumping off point. It is also only 80K from the Perito Moreno Glacier with regular trips leaving from here several times a day. You can visit this huge glacier by boat, car, bus or van depending upon your situation. The trips usually include opportunities to walk fully equipped with crampons on the surface of the ice. Of course there are many other glaciers in the area but the Moreno glacier is huge and one can experience the power and roar when the ice calves in to the waters it meets if you are willing to spend the time waiting.

Our ride into this gorgeous setting was eventful. We had 109k to cover starting out moving southeast then swinging to the southwest during the first 73K before the paved road meets the Lago Argentina and finishing with 30k directly west. The reason the directions are important to us is the mainly westerly direction of the winds here. What that meant was that we would have a slight tailwind during the first portion of our ride then a strong sidewind as we moved southwest and ending directly into a headwind for the last 30K. This could be a difficult day. It proved true to form. A good day to ride in a peloton (group) so you could switch off from the hard work of leading to the easier going protection of riding behind in the group. I biked with the Norwegians during the morning – since it was a sidewind our foursome staggered across the lane with the inside person taking the brunt of the wind. There was another foursome just ahead of us and a couple of newcomers who hadn’t mastered the discipline of the peloton moving ahead and behind as their energy allowed. We made good time but I ended up spending almost all of the morning on the inside lane since the cyclists moving ahead and behind didn’t leave room for us to rotate as we normally did. There is not much traffic on this two-laned highway so vehicles behind us could easily pass when they approached our groups. The lunch truck was waiting at 67K and there were a half dozen cyclists there when we arrived. The race today was to the lunch truck and those here before us had been racing that morning. I was anxious to talk to Terry about the results since he had been hoping to help Barry get his first stage win here by working together with another racer to allow Barry to rest behind them until the opportunity to pull ahead might arise late in the event. Terry was quiet about it when I walked up to him now and said that it had been quite a morning – he would fill me in later. I noticed Barry wasn’t there and quizzed him. Terry replied that Barry had fallen from his bicycle and was taken by a car that they had flagged down to the hospital in El Calafate. Barry had appeared to have fainted and fell right in the lane of traffic though he didn’t seem to have sustained any physical injuries during the fall as he had slowed considerably prior to falling. No. What went through my brain as I sat through lunch – a stroke? A spastic fit of some type? A sudden drop in blood pressure? Why? Will he be alright somehow? We left lunch as one large group. A different strategy is followed in the peloton when going directly into the wind. We pair up and ride in as tight a group as we can trailing each pair behind the next and rotating with the leaders falling back to the end of the group and the ones previously just behind them now taking the lead. We had another near tragedy as James pulled out of his turn in the lead he drifted out into the lane of oncoming traffic without looking and came within inches of being struck by a fast moving car . He didn’t even notice it with the sound of the strong winds. I was shocked at the suddenness of this event and how close we all are to this kind of moment. Again, we had some new riders who didn’t fully comprehend the discipline and were a bit of distraction as they flitted in and out never realizing their role in the team effort and being very ineffectual throughout our 30K struggle against our common enemy the Patagonian wind. We were fortunate in that the wind velocity never did reach what we had been experiencing the previous couple of days – it was a force but not overwhelming and we came into El Calafate in under two hours from the lunch truck. Terry and I gathered our bags at the campsite, grabbed Barry’s as well and took a taxi to the hotel. After quick showers we headed for the hospital. As it turned out we had missed Barry by just minutes at the campsite – he had been checked out of the clinic and we ended up seeing him when we returned to the hotel. A CT scan and X-ray revealed no problems there. Of course we hit him up with the old joke that the brain scan had come up empty. Barry seemed his old self although tired. It was a big relief though we all wished that we knew why this had happened.

I had a very quiet rest day after nine full days riding. That is what “rest day” needs to be about now so we can be ready to get back on the bike and move on with new energy. This stop has only one day which means basic chores have to be done such as getting laundry cleaned and cleaning and tuning up our bikes as well as a myriad of other individual things that need to be cared for. I chose not to go to the glacier for these reasons. If I hadn’t experienced glaciers through climbing, hiking and kayaking many times in my life I would certainly have gone. Instead, Barry and I drifted slowly through town stopping for coffee, lunch and some small shopping then on for a siesta in the afternoon. Tonight we are going to La Tablita, the premier restaurant in a town of great restaurants. The currency rate here in Argentina makes great meals more affordable for us. I might have a glass of Malbec as well.