Saturday, November 27, 2010

Balneário Arroio do Silva , SC, Mile 496, NOvember 27, 2010

Greetings from about 100 yards west of the Atlantic Ocean. Today, I am in a little resort town called Balneário Arroio do Silva, which is about six miles to the east of Aranguá. SC, a town on the BR 101 highway about 40 miles north of the border with Rio Grande do Sul.

Yesterday evening, in Orleans, I asked at the hotel for a restuarant reccomendation, and they suggested an Italian place because ¨They make their own pasta¨. I went and got a lasagna, which was, supposedly, for two people. It was so good (homemade pasta and all...) that I ordered a second one, which put the waitress in awe. I asked her if the third one could be free if I ate it all (I cannot eat as much as I could 25 years ago, but I can still consume genuinely monstrous quantities when it suits me.), but she said no, so I contented myself with the two. They were truly excellent. I then waddled back to my hotel, freezing due to my sweatshirt still being wet, in the light rain that was falling down. It was Friday night. Why didn´t I go out drinking and raising cain? Simply because then I would not be able to get in today´s ride. All the wild partying etc is on hold until I get home.

This morning dawned cloudy, and I never did get a view (or a picture) of the mountains that I descended yesterday. The sun slowly poked its way through, however, and by the end of the ride, it was sunny and hot.

I headed south out of Orleans on SC 446, towards the town of Criciuma. I immediately climbed a monstrous hill (sigh), and then rode for about ten miles through ¨rolling hills¨, which means I climbed up for half a mile in low gear, coasted down the other side, and then repeated the process. After ten miles, I passed through the small town of Cocal do Sul, got a Grape Fanta, and continued on. In Cocal do Sul, I found Osama bin Laden! Or, anyway, I found ¨Bin Laden Towing, open 24 hours¨. Another 11 miles of hills brought me to Criciuma, a largish (bigger than Orleans) town. I had to ask directions three times to get through town. I eventually found SC 445, which brought me to an unnamed road which led me five miles to BR-101.

36 miles into the ride, I got onto BR 101. This is one of the main north-south highways in Brazil, and was, where I got onto it, a freeway with two lanes in each direction. Think I-5 or I-95. I rode past the ¨no bicycles¨ sign, and headed south at about 15 MPH, courtesy of a tailwind. After five miles or so, a frontage road appeared, so I rode along it for another five miles, stopping for Coke and Gatorade midway. Then, the frontage road disappeared, and I got back on the main highway which ran for a mile or so as a viaduct over what appeared to be rice patties. All was well, I was moving along happily, when the dual carriageway disappeared, and the highway became two sets of lanes in each direction, sharing one roadbed, with no shoulder. This was not fun at all, there being entirely too many trucks on the road. After a couple of miles of this, I got into Arangua. South of Arangua, I have no idea what I will find. Hopefully, a shoulder, at the least, will make an appearance.

In Arangua, I turned east through town, and got the road for Balneário Arroio do Silva. Getting into town, I found a lot of businesses (and hotels) closed. This last weekend in November corresponds to Memorial Day (last weekend in May) in the US, so one would expect to see more beach resorts open, but, both here and in Uruguay, things really do not get jumping until after Christmas. I found a very nice hotel, with AC, for a not too outrageous price, and I get to use the computer for free, too. They are also washing my clothes, and will probably stick it to me on that.

Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny, followed by two days of rain. I am hoping to make it into Torres, Rio Grande do Sul, tomorrow, and then go from there. I have a very interesting route through RS planned out, but I need to talk to someone in that State about road conditions, and whether or not there is a ferry boat at one point. If all works out, I will be loving life. If not, I will be heading through Porto Alegre, a city of three million or so that I have zero desire to ride my bicycle through. We shall see...

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