So far two cars have stopped for us. The first one stopping was a young couple and their two kids from Sweden, and the other one a man from England. Now, how random is that!? They both turned up at a rather discouraging part of the journey, you see, we’d miscalculated about everything there is to miscalculate; the terrain (gravel), the winds (apocalyptic), the time (too much), the food (too little), and the water sources (not to be found). So except the need for seeing someone outside of our marriage we needed encouragement, kindness and food.
For the past day and a half we’d kept an average speed of about 5km/h, focusing most of our strenght and burnt calories on staying upright an trying to move forward at the same time. I was hurting all over my body, and since the dried meat I bought not only costed a fortune but also tasted like a melted down barbie doll, it got thrown away and our four last meals had consisted of pasta with a creative combination of different “knorr” sause or soups. In other words, we where out of energy. Maybe the desperation shone through, because both cars stopping offered us food and water straight away. The Swedish family also gave us a plastic container with honey comb from their own bee hives to bite into when the road got to rough!
When we waved goodbye to the Suedes things felt sligtly brighter. At least we could stop obsessing about our survival and focus on pedaling for a while. The gravel road constructed out of fist sized stones and the apocalyptic headwind was still a problem though. There were litterally times when we had to use all our force on grannys cog, lowest gear, to get DOWNHILL!
But luckily we met Mike from Rochdale, driving all around north and south america in his home made camper van, just before we thought we’d have a mental breakdown (N was at this point repeatedly saying “we’re so irresponsible, we’re so irresponsible”). Mike gave us bread, tuna, pasta, tomato sauce and tinned peaches, some good stories and then a gentle push out of the camper whilst laughingly saying “go before you take all I own”. People are amazing.
(And even tough the restaurant we aimed for turned out to be a petrol station selling only candy bars, we managed, much thanks to the kindness of strangers, to last until a day later, when we got to the border crossing In to Chile and could by a ridiculously expensive portion of meat and chips.)
By day five we reached our destination, Puerto Natales. Almost 300 km and well happy.