I am a comfort junkie. I don’t mind, and still be happy, without a shower preceding the number of 14 days. I am comfortable rubbing my heels and fingers in dirt. I don’t mind having a waft of odd smell in the depths of my arms. When my hair cling to my scalp like butter to a warm knife, I cover it with a cloth. As long as I don’t mix with neat, synthetic smelling and clean people, I am fine.
Where earlier on in my cycling days I needed a 50/50 balance of cycling against rest, now I can cover large distances, for long periods of time, without having days of rest. Would I be an animal, I was a leopard, or a Border Collie. They like lazing, now and then, in the sun, too.
I have come to see that I am a comfort junkie in the sense that ongoing discomfort aka hardship is not my cup of tea.
I wanted snow and I wanted to camp in the snow. I got my share, and I don’t want any more of it.
Cycling down South, I said, over and over: ‘Just a little distance more’, because I wanted to be on the Carretera Austral, where everyone drools about. I can tell you, there is nothing more than trees, trees, rain, water and wetness. In winter time, it simply sucks, big time!
I had the wish to see the glacier Perito Moreno. Why? I don’t know, maybe because a friend told me: ‘Respect if you cycle to Perito Moreno in winter.’ That there were three Perito Moreno’s, I did find out rather late, already well on my way to the first Perito on the map. One has to set a goal somehow, isn’t it? Well, hell with goals, I have been on one of the biggest glaciers on Earth, and I cursed all other Perito Moreno’s. I turned around.
Comfort for a comfort junkie in wintry Patagonia, trying to avoid paid accommodation, needing solitude and not trying to depend on locals behind closed doors, who seemed kind of depressed by the gloomy gray pack of clouds hovering not too far above them, I can only come to one conclusion: happiness is in warmth, in the sun, in people satisfied by where they live, easiness, and nót by trying to reach an ice-cold goal. Even if this goal is one of the so-called most beautiful spots on Earth.
I really rather sit at a nondescript riverside, diary at hand to fan the first warmth from the spring, than at a cold, windy, icy place anywhere in Patagonia.
A few notifications, done by a Comfort Junkie with Orderliness Disorder.
Distance from the far end of Atacama desert well into Patagonia and back to the warmth: 3759 kilometers
Days cycled: 97
Days continuous cycling without days off: 21
Days slept in the tent: 93
Days of full rest: 30
Days of couch, foam mattress, bunk: 36
Nights in the tent versus nights paid for: 93/13
Two new mattresses
Manners of alteration and escaping Patagonia:
A short distance by police-van to haul me over a slippery, closed down road and snowed-in pass.
Followed next morning by a pick-up truck ride out of the snowed-in pass.
A pick-up truck ride around a national park, closed by snow.
A long mini-truck ride out of the continuing rain at Carretera Austral.
And at last, a 2.5-day truck ride out of Patagonia!
Problems and Maintenance:
Magura rear brake cable snapped, and repaired at the best bicycle repair shop in town, which last only for 2 weeks. Weeks later I take off the Magura brake system and have it replaced with a Shimano. The brake pads for Shimano need to be replaced very quick.
Therm-A-Rest mattress blows up. Bought a new air mattress (55 euro), lasted only 3 weeks, then blew up too. Therm-A-Rest send me a new air mattress to the Netherlands, dad send it to Argentina, post office keeps it for months in immigration.
Hilleberg tent pole bend by wind. Hilleberg outer door zipper derailed.
Rohloff oil changed (after another 5672 kilometer).
New chain (after 13.090 kilometer).
By the way, I did reach the first Perito Moreno, save for a 100 kilometer.
Patagonia post 1: The Sweet Solitude of a Parisian Gaucho