Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Some Days are Diamonds, Some Days are Stone.

PanAmerican Highway between San Jose and Camana, 21 January 15. An interjection from The Navigator.

Today, the bike computer tells me that I have pedalled 112 km and climbed 1100m. However, I would contend that it does not account for the 500 vertical metres of downhill riding that I had to pedal hard against the headwind, so much so that I was somewhat shocked to see that we had descended from 1400m to 900m.


Today was a ride in the sort of traffic that we are very unaccustomed to, but there is only one road in these parts.


Today, I have been blown off the road by the wind, blasted off the road by 100db truck horns, shoved off the road by slipstream and run off the road by vehicles overtaking three abreast while coming towards me. I have been coated with sand and diesel smoke. The shoulder at best was laid on a windy day and at worst had a surface worse than some ripio. The Chronicler threatened a serious sense of humour failure when the first two roadside eateries could produce nothing to eat, despite the promising boards outside. The tunnel had no lights and a shoulder thick with sand. We didn't make it to Camana because we ran out of daylight and had to camp in the desert. There wasn't enough water even for a shared half-litre sponge bath.


Today the truck drivers (and everyone else) were generally tooting with great enthusiasm and encouragement; the shoulder was generally 2m wide and did have an asphalt surface; at the third time of asking, we did score a most excellent lunch, complete with real chicha (maize 'beer'); we were accompanied through the tunnel by a Prosegur driver who crawled along behind us in his armoured truck, protecting us from traffic from behind until we got through; we found an excellent spot for a camp between two dunes, leaving us a 22km downhill to start the next day; we had a goodly supply of prettily scented Huggies baby wipes, and enough water for coffee.


As John Denver asked, was today A Diamond or A Stone?