The Carretera

It’s been sometime since I last communicated on this trip. We were heading south on a very bad stretch of ripio (gravel) below El Bolson when my phone was jarred out of its mount on my bicycle and onto the road. I didn’t notice when it happened. We were now about 11K out of town. I started backtracking to try to find it.

When I was planning for the trip there were, of course, many decisions having to do with weight and volume on the bike. There is only so much room to carry things. Weight is definitely a factor. I have to be self- sufficient. Tent, sleeping bag, clothing, food…you get the picture. Do I carry panniers. Do I use a seat bag. What tools to bring, All of the little decisions can have consequences. Most can be adjusted for somewhere along the way to varying degrees.

I carry a Garmin GPS unit to help stay on course. I used to carry a Canon G – series camera for quality photos. I also would carry my smart phone for communications. As the trips evolved and smart phones become great little cameras, the phone became more the central piece of equipment. Other than the bike, of course.

So my decision this trip was to buy a new phone (iPhone 11 Max Pro) with a great camera and forgo the new Sony camera. Only one piece of equipment to carry. Less volume, weight, and simple to keep track of…..unless you lose it. Or a car runs over it before you find it.

Lee found it in the middle of the ripio. Face-down. Screen smashed. No more photos with this one. The touch-screen was gone. You couldn’t even open it up. All the info I had researched and saved for our trip now gone. Contacts gone. Maps and websites. At least a few things I had printed out. Ferry ticket. Basic itinerary.

All this to explain why you haven’t been getting my blog.

There are no iPhones to buy along these remote routes we are biking in Patagonia. No way to pull it all out of the Cloud. I did get a Samsung phone in Coyhaique that will keep me in email and FB contact. And take some adequate photos.

And the trip has been fantastic.

Great scenery. Wonderful people. Fresh air and wilderness. Good weather. All one could ask for.

I miss my phone for all the obvious reasons.

But the trip has been just as wonderful without being documented.

Tomorrow we enter Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. The next chapter in our bicycling route of Patagonia. I’ll try to get a few photos and a blog post out your way.

24 thoughts on “The Carretera

  1. Too bad about your phone, but in the end, maybe it’s a good thing to unplug. You can regale us with your stories on your return!

    1. You’re right. Just wanted to explain to all why they’re not hearing from me. Our trip from Bariloche all the way to El Chalten was spectacular everyday. Seeing on FB that you’re winter has been full of adventure too.

  2. Hi Buck, Sorry about your i-phone. It sounds like you are having a great ride. Stuff like this happens. When we were at the Moreno glacier I left my back pack on a bench and only realized it after we got back to the parking area. I had most of my important stuff in there. Our local park guide hiked back to find it and I had an idea where it happened when the glacier calved and we all got excited and ran around taking photos. The guide returned after an hour with my pack, saying it was exactly where I told him to look and a guy was starting to take it just when he got there. Very lucky. Somebody in your group must have an i-phone so you can access your i-cloud data by logging in with your apple ID. Even a computer should be able to do this. Lou

    1. Thanks Lou. You’re right, I could get info through another iPhone but I can’t load it into this Samsung with google cloud system. The propriety things make it more complicated than life should be. Add the fact that the wifi has been so weak here along the Carretera Austral that you can’t even open a document or load photos, much less download anything from any cloud service. Jane has her $10 a day AT&T service but the rest of us are living on wifi. It is much better since we’re off the more remote Austral.

  3. What a blow!! So sorry about the phone!! Hope it was insured or something. But the rest has seemed pretty fabulous…keep on enjoying 😊

  4. I was wondering why you haven’t said much. It’s all explained now. Sorry about crashed phone, but it’s a trip to enjoy with or without a phone.Looking forward to stories in person!

  5. was about to assign your group to the “lost and forgotten cyclists of cook county” when your post appeared. glad all is well. be safe. regards to the group of “no longer lost and forgotten cyclists of cook county” 👍😃😃

  6. What a bummer! So glad it is your phone that is out of commission and not you! Safe travels and thank you for taking us on your journey. Love all the photos and stories that you and friends are sharing.

  7. Great to hear from you, and your continuing adventures. Sounds like you lightened your load…by a few ounces. Keep flex!

  8. Sorry to hear about iPhone. I know that anxiety. Loss my in Mexico few nights ago but found it, in the dark six hours later on side of road.
    Still better the phone than you over the handlebars! Be safe and continue enjoying your amazing journey.

    1. Lucky to find yours, and unharmed too. Next trip I’m going with a new little mirrorless Sony for photos from the bike and stash my phone away in the packs.

  9. Still been fun following you guys on FB. Just miss your clever narrative. Thanks for thinking of us folks back home. Means a lot to stay in touch.

  10. Oh heck, some other bonus will happen your way to make up for the phone loss. Since I am the organizer/camera nut on our trips, I can only imagine what a pain this was. Now you will enjoy your trip in a new way. No guts – no glory on those downhills!

  11. I agree with ALL the above comments! That literal “gut wrenching” feeling that overcomes you when you realize the loss and all the complications . . . never exactly goes away. It’s like a death . . . you go thru the 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Glad it wasn’t YOUR face that was smashed!! I love all the email posts and am jealous on a daily basis.

  12. Thirty degrees, snowing and blowing here–greasy/slippery. Pedro de Valdivia felt the same way when he lost his knife. But I sympathize. I had the same indecisions, when choosing which camera body to bring to the field–old worn M-2, precious M-6, or crappy Minolta CL? As Tony says, better than you over the handlebars. Now you can relax, enjoy the scenery, and not get a stroke!

  13. What a bummer about the phone, Buck. My dad always said, “It’s only stuff.” Even when our house burned down, it was a consolation. You’re still kicking–YOUR screen isn’t smashed, and you’re with four wonderful people who are busy documenting the trip for all of you. ENJOY!!!!
    Ann Marie

    1. Hey JR! Great to hear from you
      Back down here to do the Carretera parts that we missed. Chile is fabulous. I have great memories of that 2014 trip. Remember that sandy loose gravel ride on the pampas in 100 degree heat that almost shattered everyone? Jesus.

      1. Hey JR. I have tickets out of Argentina but i could be put into 14 day quarantine for being in Chile recently and/or my flights may not fly. It’s been interesting. I was almost sent to quarantine an hour ago but I talked the official into letting me on this first leg to Buenos Aires. Hope I can do the same on the next leg. Pray for me buddy.

      2. I feel for you Buck. Everything is a mess, and the US and Canada has closed the border, but they will permit crossing for essential reasons. So, if you get to Canada you should be able to get back into the US. It is likely that Canada and/or the US will quarantine you also. I wish you the best of luck getting back home, and even more to avoid catching the virus. We are totally isolated at home in Hovland and go around with a 90% alcohol/soap spray. There are no known cases of the virus in Grand Marais, but I don’t think any tests have been done either (lack of test kits), so we assume there must be some cases here with people traveling from the cities all the time. Thinking about all of you. Lou

      3. Thanks Lou! Right now we are soon to board a flight to Buenos Aires. Nothing beyond that is assured. I changed my flight from landing in Toronto and then to Thunder Bay. Now I’m flying with Delta and landing in Minneapolis.. I still have the Canadien tickets as well. We’ll see what happens. Enjoy your simple life in Hovland!

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