All Access: A day in the life of E2E
It’s close to 9am and your still sitting inside the covers of your sleeping arrangement inside the Olnie Hotel. It’s still quite some time before the sun will come up over the small mountain ridge outside and cast some light into the place. You haven’t even pondered the thought of escaping your cocoon because it’s cold, damn cold, and this hotel room has no heat. If we’re any judges of time it appears as if the last paying customer was many moons ago, but to two vagabonds on bicycle in the middle of nowhere it’s an oasis. The trusty craftsmanship of yesteryear has weathered the time well. Her roof is still watertight and her walls still a fortress against the ever blowing winds from Patagonia. This is life on the road, where one man’s trash is most definitely another man’s treasure.
As the sun finally comes up you venture from under the covers to light your trusty camping burner to boil yet another pot of water. Because a barrier from the wind in these parts is a resource to be cherished and dare I say, exploited. Yes, it’s lunch time early today at the Olnie, and in minutes it will be yet another hearty helping of pasta.
Cruising out the front door of the used to be saloon that doubles as the entrance to the joint your thoughts of hearing rain in the middle of the night are immediately confirmed to a degree by the layer of snow covering everything. It’s another sign that old man winter is fast approaching, and the equatorial line you that you once crossed is far, far away from here.
After climbing up over the ridge, the ever annoying feeling of a headwind becomes ever present. However, the road seems to be clear of snow but has an eery, wet sort of look to it as far as the eye can see. It’s seem as if mother nature hasn’t been impressed with our fortitude yet, and has thrown another gauntlet into our path. A few minutes later you finally realize what people mean when they say black ice as the bike slips out from underneath you at about 15 mph and you slide a good 15 meters or so onto the shoulder. You jump back up and realize that other than bruises you’re fine, your rain gear isn’t ripped and the bike is functional. Part of you wants to curse the world, but the rational side says best be happy with riding away from this one.
Mile after mile you continue, sometimes on the gravel shoulder so that you crush the ice as you cruise over it, other times you press your luck on the paved road because you were told that there is a road worker’s camp ahead but it is still a long ways from here and the pace has to pick up. Eventually the combination of the sun and wind melt the ice. Unfortunately, that damn headwind is not going anywhere. Your only saving grace is that the route almost does a complete 180 after passing a mountain ridge and in a few hours you will make it there, and hopefully, hopefully this wind will still be blowing from that direction.
Eventually, you make the turn and it’s full mast with a healthy tailwind. About 12 miles or so later a hostel appears out of nowhere.. Either way, quickly you’re asking the price and asking to see the room. When you hear the answer that it’s almost 50 bucks for 2 people to sleep on bunk beds in a shared room with a crappy heater, you both decide that your tent might not be so bad.
Scratching your head wondering how someone confused a hostel with a worker’s camp the outlook of sleeping in a sheltered setting appears dim. Also dimming is the sunlight and you start telling your brother lets just pull over and set up camp. You also begin to think that 50 bucks might seem like quite the bargain as you shiver inside your windy tent tonight. Thankfully your brother possess more optimism and optical power, as he says he thinks he sees a light off in the distance on the left. The road begins curve that way, and suddenly your knocking on the door of the transportation workers camp. Out comes a man by the nickname of Coco, and after a quick greeting you quickly get to the point of can we camp here. Instantly, he asks if you passed the hostel a few miles back. Immediately you think crap, where is this going, and the thought passes your mind to lie, but who would believe you didn’t see the only structure alongside the road since we left the hotel this morning. Instead, you decide to be honest and say that it’s quite a bit of money to stay there, and not in the budget.
Within minutes your sleeping bag is unrolled on top of a bed, your enjoying yet another heaping of pasta in the company of Coco and his wife to the warmth of a wood burning stove. It seems sometimes that if you push hard enough and run into wonderful people this world will give you all that you need.