Stayed with Dan and two Kiwi cyclist who also hitched on that bus to El Calafate at ´Los dos Piños´ hostel. Got good maps and good advice. I left El Calafate alone as I was tired of waiting for Dan´s grandma-like pace. Rode 30km to famous Ruta 40 again. I had an apparently miracle day of no wind, and made 110 kilometres. On the way I met two English, Ben and Laura (Belarus) riding Thorns ("Hey I built those!") and camped together at some expensive estancia where legend has it, Butch Cassidy and Sundance hung out. Didn´t see them. The pasta dinner was good though.
The next day was different. Wind back with a vengeance. The three of us made it to the turnoff to the road to El Chalten sans difficulty. El Chalten was to the west of us, 95km. The wind was roaring east. Laura lasted 1km before having a breakdown. They hitched because they were clever. At first it was spring chicken, in gears 3-5 but not so bad. Music. After four hard hours of cycling through boring scenery against the wind, I lost hold of my grip on reality when I saw a sign "EL CHALTEN 60KM".
Can´t decide whether to end it all or not? Forget visiting Palmerston North, just grab a
bike and cycle to El Chalten. Answer will be clearer than a nearby glacial river.
The world spun. I lost the ability to see in any colour bar red. After perhaps another 30km, my thumb was also out. No-one had pity, no-one pulled over. I ran out of food, pulled my bike over somewhere in the middle of some desert, laid down by my bike and awaited death. I awoke to a man saying "¿Señor?" "¿Señor?" Someone obviously had thought me dead, and had pulled over to loot my corpse. When I awoke I asked for a lift, he accepted. Lucky. Two other cyclists and their bikes were already in the back of the gaucho´s pickup. No-one was riding to El Chalten today. To my suprise and light fury, we were only about 10-15km away from El Chalten when I got the ride. Damn innacurate road signs! How hard is it, really? Wished I´d cycled the whole lot, then realised nobody actually cared either way, not even me. Two english cyclists on Thorns were basking in the sun at the town campsite, there all day. They were the smart ones.
Myself and some antipodean cyclists banded together the next day for a walk in the Fitz-Roy national park. As usual I had luck with the weather when walking, and snapped some great pics of Cerro Torre and the rest of the park. Beat Torres Del Paine hands down. Two nights of Pizza libre, and Belarus and I hit the Ripio towards Laguna Del Desierto and the infamous border crossing to Chile.