Grateful!

A heart-felt shout out to Mr. Dana Hansen from Greenbay, Wisconsin!  Way back in March, Dana answered a post I put on a biker blog for someone to accompany me through Bolivia.  In May, after a brief visit to Seattle to verify that I’m not a complete nut case, Dana took a humongous leap of faith and said yes to the challenge.  In September we met up in La Paz and off we rode…

As it turns out, the Goddess of Bicycles had my back.  I couldn’t have found a better bike partner if I had a pool of a million!  Right off the bat, we had a similar pace, routine and philosophy of bike touring without any effort of communicating at all.  Dana ended up continuing with me to San Juan, Argentina… 1,350 miles of wind, altitude, sand, freezing cold, rocks, rain, heat and pure joy.  We both agreed that every morning, even though we were wiped out and sore, we were still excited for another day of adventure.  A true testament to a great trip!  Dana left to meet friends in Santiago to go hiking in the Torres del Paine in Patagonia for two weeks and from there back home mid-December.  Thanks for all your support and care for my bike Amigo!  You are already missed!!

Before I begin a new chapter, a brief recap of the days leading up to our arrival in San Juan…

First Rainy Day:  We managed about two months without rain, but finally the inevitable happened during our last week.  After a blazing hot Sunday in Chilecito, we woke up Monday morning to rain and wind.  No problem, we are both equipped with top notch rain gear and ready to take on one more challenge.  Besides, it was mostly drizzle and would probably stop soon.  Within 10 miles we passed our favorite gas station with great cappuccinos and clean toilets and decided to warm up inside.  With on and off rain, it was time to carry on.  On this particular day we had a 20 mile verticle climb.  I was sweating so much, I didn’t notice that I was wet down to my bra and underware.  And then came the decent…now the wind and cold was brutal and numbing.  I was completely frozen.  I had to stop and change my shirt and gloves but that wasn’t enough.  My hands didn’t function and I couldn’t break.  I was getting dizzy and incoherent.  Dana acted normal so I thought he was fine.  I finally found a little store with a roof for shelter and stopped.  I pulled my clothes pannier off my bike and immediately jumped inside the store and started ripping wet clothes off.  Dana was right there doing the same (with his own clothes 😄. That’s when I realized he was also suffering).  We were both on the verge of hypothermia. The meek owner of the store just stood there scratching his head.  I asked for coffee or tea and he went right into action.  When I asked if there was a place to stay nearby, he simply pointed upstairs.  Needless to say, we stayed there until the next day drying things out, taking hot showers, drinking hot drinks and recuperating.

Longest Day: Three days later we had our longest day.  We rode about 120k or 80 miles.  No huge feet in and of itself, but after 10 days of riding semi-long distances without a break, it starts to wear on body parts.  To add to the long ride, temps were in the high 80’s and low 90’s.  San Juan was still 30 miles out of reach when we stopped at a store/restaurant in the middle of nowhere and called it home for the night.  Our hosts were accommodating and gracious and why not? We bought most of the beverages and food in the store.  They had a captive clientele!

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6 thoughts on “Grateful!

  1. Fun to get your letters and see the photos. I look the towns up online so I can see more about the towns you are riding through and what they look like. Beautiful places with the mountains all around and blue skies. linda

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  2. Hola!!! Conquistando Los Andes!!! Sigo la trayectoria de tu viaje con Google satellite y Los paisajes son impresionantes e imponentes. Following your trip it brings me back pleasant memories as a child growing up in the Andes!! Aren’t they the Urqus and Apus majestic and imposing!! Love your postings and thank you Denise!

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  3. My amazing cousin, Denise! What a fantastic adventure you have undertaken. I’m super proud of how confident you are and how you bring joy to all those you meet. We look forward to your posts.
    Chris La Fountaine

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