Dec 3, 2021
By this date in 2012, I was nearing the end of my first two continents of the world run, being only 100 km or so from Buenos Aires. I had covered more than 15,000 km for the year to that point and was feeling stronger all the time. Catch the posts from those days below.
Nov 30, 2012
Distance today = 50.82 km; Total distance = 15,169.88 km; Location = Junin (17 km east of) – 34 39.124′ S, 60 48.177′ W; Start time = 0905, Finish time = 1656
I was a bit sore today after yesterday’s slog into the wind and through the long grass. My knees were tender, but not from pounding. Just as cycling can give you sore knees when your muscles and tendons are unprepared, all the high knee-lifting to get through the long grass yesterday has left me with some sore muscles and tendons.
There was still quite a bit of long grass running today, but at least I had a tailwind. Once again, it was a day of flat and straight roads, with a lot of traffic, particularly this afternoon. I think it was the weekend traffic out of Buenos Aires. It’s toughening me up mentally for the Nullarbor, which, while just as flat and straight, should be a bit lighter on the traffic. In the interim, however, I’m really looking forward to the quiet back roads in Europe.
Carmel decided there was nothing new to photograph today, so she didn’t take any. She’s hanging out for some different scenery. I’m sure it will come.
Dec 1, 2012
Distance today = 50.12 km; Total distance = 15,220.00 km; Location = Chacabuco (13 km east of) – 34 34.493′ S, 60 21.031′ W; Start time = 0845, Finish time = 1657
Well, that was quite an eventful day!!!
It started with more running in the long grass of the shoulder, but after a short while I decided to simply stop and step into the grass when traffic came along. It was slow going, but my legs appreciated it.
After only 3 km, I noticed a disused road, which the Google Earth satellite image showed as meeting up again with the main road later. I took this option, mainly to get in some running without traffic. It was always going to be a risk. I reached a point where a former bridge had been removed in favour of a rushing river. I thought about trying to cross it, but the torrent of water (which I estimate was moving at about 5 metres/sec), coupled with the fact there was a barbed wire fence right in the middle of the stream, made my mind up for me. So I had to go back. It was, to be precise, 970 metres back, and I have subtracted the 1.94 km in total from the Garmin data for the day.
About an hour down the road, I got a call from Carmel, who had driven in front. She had locked the keys in the car!!!!! By the time I ran up to where she was, a truckie had come to the rescue. With some wire, pliers, and a screwdriver, he made short work of the problem, and the car was soon open. It could have been so much worse! He was a great guy, and hugs were exchanged all round, as well as email details. He actually looked a lot like Will Ferrell.
A little later I saw an enormous black pig that was dead on the side of the road. It had been hit by a car or truck – not a pretty sight.
I ran on through the heat of a quite warm day, although I wasn’t particularly bothered by it. It was a dry heat.
In the town of Chacabuco, I saw a memorial to many people who had died in the 1970s at the hands of the military dictatorship in Argentina. Thankfully, it’s nothing like that now.
To finish, I’d like to mention where we stayed last night in Junin – the Piedramora Hotel. It was top-notch, and the food in their restaurant was superb and amazingly good value. For the equivalent of AUD$12, one could have a truly delicious and huge eye fillet steak, of the best Argentinean quality.
On top of this, there was also “entertainment”. When I ran past the hotel earlier in the day, I noticed lots of young girls out the front. When we returned after I finished running, they were still there. Later, when we went down to dinner, they were STILL there. Then, around 9:30 pm, we found out why. One of Argentina’s most famous young pop stars was staying at the hotel, and left the establishment through the throng of girls to get into a white limo. He signed autographs and was off – to perform in town that evening. Later that night – I’m guessing about 2 am – we were awoken by more screaming and shouting when he returned. By the way, his name was Axel. Something a little different for a Friday night.
Dec 2, 2012
Distance today = 54.54 km; Total distance = 15,274.54 km; Location = Carmen de Areco – 34 24.177′ S, 59 49.709′ W; Start time = 0850, Finish time = 1728
Many parts of the road today were lined with eucalyptus trees. I assume they have been introduced from Australia. The smell of the gum leaves in early summer, coupled with the landscape of wheat fields, had me thinking I was in central NSW, on my way to the Gooloogong Hotel.
The road itself started out as most have in recent times – two lanes, with shoulders of long grass. I had come to expect it would be like this all the way to Buenos Aires. However, to my great surprise, after about 20 km, I struck a paved shoulder. And not just any shoulder. In fact, a man could not hope to see a finer shoulder. After 500 km of torture, I was now enjoying running bliss. No more lifting my knees high to get through the long grass. No more turning around incessantly to check on overtaking cars that might hit me from behind. No more jumping off into the grass when a car approached from in front. The rest of the day was so much easier because of it, and I’m already feeling the difference.
And I also saw today the Argentinean version of a goanna. It had been hit by a car and was dead. It was about one metre long, and looked like a cross between a goanna and a blue tongue lizard. In fact, it was probably more like a Komodo Dragon in appearance. I’m glad I didn’t encounter a live one in the long grass.
Carmel had another traumatic experience with the car today. She went to do a U-turn on the highway, and the car stalled and wouldn’t start – while she was partially across both lanes!!! For about ten seconds she tried restarting it, with other cars gradually bearing down on her at high speed. It could have been a tragedy but, luckily, the car did start, and she was able to quickly get it out of the way. She was pretty shaken up.
Today was my longest day since I reached New York City, back in mid-October. The paved shoulder certainly helped. Not too far to Buenos Aires now.
Dec 3, 2012
Distance today = 49.74 km; Total distance = 15,324.28 km; Location = San Andres de Giles (13 km east of) – 34 30.379′ S, 59 20.108′ W; Start time = 0818, Finish time = 1623
Well, I spoke too soon! As I left town this morning, the paved shoulder immediately disappeared. It was back to grass and dirt. However, heavy overnight rain had turned the dirt into a sticky surface of mud.
If I wasn’t lifting my knees high to run through the long grass, I was slipping and sliding in the mud, ending up with it caked on my shoes. The shoes were often three or four times their normal weight, until I scraped the mud off.
And then I had a fall. I was enjoying a brief moment on the road, and was twisting to the right to look over my shoulder, when I tripped on something. This meant I came down with all my weight on my out-stretched left hand. I felt two things – the skin being scraped off my hand, and the force of the fall being transferred up to my shoulder and collarbone. I quickly rolled off the road to avoid on-coming cars.
I thought I had broken the collarbone, but it turned out to be OK. I did lose a bit of bark from my hand, though. My shoulder is sore, but I’ll survive.
Although it didn’t return to being paved, the road shoulder (there are a lot of shoulders in this story) did improve to fine gravel. This helped, but the day got progressively more humid. I even had to take my shirt off – the first time since the heat of the US summer. By the end of the day, I was very hot and sweaty. But I’m now less than 100 km from Buenos Aires.
Carmel is compensating for the lack of photo opportunities by doing a lot of walking during the day. I reckon she is averaging nearly 10 km per day lately. Pretty impressive!