Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Piriapolis, Uruguay, Mile 1,146, December 14, 2010

Greetings from the small beach town of Pirapolis, 45 miles or so east of Montevideo.  Once again today, the wind was not my friend.  As soon as I got out of Punta del Este this morning, and got on the main road east out of town, I ran into the same headwind that has been bedeviling me.  When one is on flat ground, doing 7MPH in 2nd gear on an 18 speed bike, (not counting the hill climbing gear set) something is very wrong.  I crawled along, and about eight miles out of town, climbed a rather large hill, and, coming down the other side, found myself on Route 10 again, only now it is a freeway.  A few miles further along, I passed the Punta del Este international airport, and slowly continued into the wind.  About 20 miles into the ride, I came to a paved shortcut into Piriapolis, and took it.

This brought me back to the beach, from where I could see the towers of PDE, 20 miles to the east of me.  I had left my hotel at 9:30 this morning; at 12:30, three hours later, I had ridden less than 24 miles.  At this point, I figured that I would not get into Montevideo until after dark, so I decided to stop in Piriapolis.  I rode the few more miles into town, slowly, and found myself a decent hotel at about 1:30 this afternoon.  Since the sun was shining and it was warm, I got my bathing suit out of the pack, took a book and some money, and went to the beach, which is now on the River Plate, not the ocean, and rented a chair and an umbrella, where I stayed, alternately reading and going in the water, until 6:30 or so.

The bike ride itself was uneventful, if slow.  One happy discovery was I found a place selling Gatorade.

Piriapolis is a town with an interesting history.  It did not exist until 1930, when an Argentine named Piria arrived, constructed a huge hotel, and set up a ferry service to bring tourists in directly from Buenos Aires.  Piria is long dead, but his hotel, called the Argentino Hotel, still exists, and now houses expensive rooms and a large casino.  The rest of the town has built up around the hotel, and the place still attracts lots of Argentine tourists, although there is no more ferry service.  Supposedly, Piria also wanted to set up a Dirgible service from BA, which would sure have been a fun ride.

I am now 50 miles or so out of Montevideo, so, one way or another, tomorrow I will ride on in.  I am hoping to take my bike to the Trek Store there for an overhaul, which, it occurs to me, would probably be a LOT cheaper than getting it done in San Diego in January.  

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