QuickPeek: Flat. Gravel. Beach. High Tide. Headwinds. Gruelling.
Gosh, what a day!! Where do I start! Well at the beginning I suppose…
The campsite that I stayed at was really sweet and even sweeter was the fact that it was free with use of Bathrooms and kitchen! It rained a bit in the night, but later the rain stopped and the wind picked up. I got up a bit late than I wanted (around 6:30), and given I just had 80 km to go figured I might make a leisurely b’fast before heading out. It was nearly 8:30 when I got on the road and as I rode out of town, I saw a turnoff to a place called Sambaqui. It was essentially a hill made out of sea shells and supposedly sacred in indigenous traditions.
The forecast today was for headwinds and they weren’t kidding, I had a stiff 10-15 kmph winds coming from S-SW which was exactly the direction I was headed. I felt good in the morning and figured I might as well enjoy the slow ride. It was incredibly pretty day with blue skies. As I got out of Guaropaba Do Sul, I spotted an alternate route to the stupid 101. Given the headwind situation, I figured I might as well try a scenic route instead of fighting the trucks. The route turned out to be sand and gravel with ruts. It was slow going at 7-8 Kmph and it took me an hour to get thro the first section. It was lovely though. The region had turned into cow country and it was green pastures and bits of good forests in between.
I eventually got to the asphalt road and had to decide if I should head towards 101 or take another back road. On my maps, the backroad was marked as a state highway and I figured I might have good luck finding decent road and headed in that direction. As I got to the turnoff, it turned out to be another sand road and I thought, dang, that’s bad… I won’t be able to ride another 60 km’s of offroad today (or so I thought). I thought about options and decided to check out the beach and the roads near the beach. The maps suggested that there were a continuous stretch of communities by the beach and I might be able to ride thro them without much hassle.
I got to the small town of Arroio Corrente. It seemed like I might be in for a bit of a tough day’s ride. See the beach side has turned into sand dunes and access to the beach was thro some tough sand banks. I decided to stock up on some food and fruits at the supermarket and rode on cobble stone roads. With the bumpy roads and the ever present head winds, It was real slow going and I eventually hopped on to the beach when I found an opening. But after a bit of pushing and shoving in the soft sand. The beach was lovely and went on for many many k’s without a break. It was incredible. But at the same time, riding right next to the ocean was tough as the constant wind on my face was making it difficult to keep riding. Still making barely 8 Kmph. Dang.
The entire stretch was filled with unoccupied houses. I figured these were summer homes for people who lived inland and probably in the bigger cities. And though there were numerous stores, kiosks and general presence of activity, all of them were closed. Seemingly the place comes to life only in summer. I found a small restaurant and stopped for a bit of respite from the wind and also to grab a bit of coffee. I thought thro my options and having come this far, my best bet was to head further and probably exit this route at Balniario Rincao. Navigating around here was a bit of a workout in the head as all the streets looked the same, cobble stones with wind swept sand and it was not clear whch routes lead where, I had to back track a few times as many of the roads were unmapped and ended up in private farms or other development sites. Eventually, I caught on some very sandy roads that required lots of concentration to not lose traction and rode out to the next stretch of beach.
The way to Rincao had a river crossing and numerous sand dunes on the way. I was at one point waylaid by a big family and they were curious and took a bunch of videos and pictures and had tons of questions, I was extremely tired at this point, but was happy to chat with people. I can understand that they were curious and not really aware of my day. Anyway, it was fun and I continued to Rincao.
I had an opportunity to get out to 101 or another road by this time, but I was just 10-15 km away from a boat crossing and I was curious as to the route ahead. Big mistake. Ah well, we live and learn. I got to Rincao and asked around for the route to another town called Ilhas. People told me to go along the beach which was the best way to get to Ilhas. After the wind blast from the morning, I was shied away from getting back on the beach and rode thro the inland route. In the past few days the high tide had brought a lot of sand and deposited in town and there was a lot of repairs and cleaning up going on in this town. I eventually ran out of road and had to go on the beach. But there was a challenge as the I was covered by sand dunes all around. I scouted the area a bit and decided to push my bike out to the beach. It was a bit of a workout without lunch and after a long day’s ride.
Once on the beach, the wind was still an issue, but I put my dead down and rode up. There were a few fishermen and they told me I could get to Ilhas the way I was headed, sweet! They didn’t tel me about the tide though. Dang.
About 2 k’s away from Ilhas, The beach ran out. Shit. The tide had come up pretty high and I had no place to bike on. I had either to ride my bike in the water with teh waves splashing on everything, or get on ultra soft sand. I though had ridden hard once I saw the beach disappearing, but at some point, I could go no further. I tried to carry by bike up to the soft sand, but it was impossible to push the loaded bike. I had no strength to push and the bike wouldn’t respond either. After 45 mins of swearing and shoving, I decided to get the bike in the water. I was starting to run out of light and I had to get my ass off the beach soon.
I got in the water and got salt in pretty much every bit of the bike. After pushing for another 20 mins or so, I got to the other side and found a slightly hard packed trail. Sweet I rode up and ended in the village of Ilhas. The bike wasn’t happy and was making numerous groaning noises and my front gears wouldn’t switch. Shit. Ah well, I didn’t have any climbs ahead and rode on. I had a gravel road out to the ferry and as I rode up, I started to get wobbly rear end. Of course a day like this needed a cherry on top and I had a flat tire. Luckily I was pretty close to the Jetty and pushed my bike in. The traverse was quick and while on the other side, I fixed my flat and headed to the town of Ararangua.
It was a slow grind (literally, as my bike sounded like a blender in distress) and I made my way to my host, Sander and Tania’s place. They were absolutely sweet folks and invited me in and offered me a goos shower, coffee and an incredible spread of food!! There was a Polish cyclist here too and just that morning, an Austrian couple had left their place! They have been busy indeed!
They were incredibly kind to me and were worried I was super delayed and happy I made it to their place. After a long chit chat and a wonderful dinner, I hit the bed and knocked off like a rock.
Route: Garopaba Do Sul to Ararangua
Distance: 88 Km
Road: Combination of gravel, packed dirt, cobblestones and soft sand.
Services: Numerous in the summer. very little off season.
Expenses: SG$ 10.45
Comments: Sometimes going off road may not pay off. I'd have been exceptional day if I had split this route into 2 days and paid attention to the tide. Note to self.