I was a bit worried when I heard from Jeremiah on Sunday:
I crossed the Straights of Magellan on a 3-hour ferry ride yesterday: I am now officially on the island of Tierra del Fuego. But though I am only 284 miles short of my southernmost goal on the island’s opposite tip–I simply cannot go on.
I survived all sorts of challenges on this trip, from harsh weather, brutal riding conditions and mechanical failures, to thieves and crooked cops, but here–near the end–I am brought to my knees by the smallest of adversaries: a virus. For two days now I’ve been holed up in a small fishing village’s flea-bag hotel, venturing out of my room only to go to the scarey bathroom down the hall. I’m coughing blood, I have a splitting headache, and it feels like someone stuck an ice pick in my right ear drum. My sinuses are running, my throat is inflamed, and I’ve lost all sense of equilibrium.
Outside, the winter I have long dredded encountering is here: it is cold, wet and incredibly windy. The old tin roof atop the hotel rattles and clangs with each gust. The floorboards, wood that appears scavenged from a 16th century Portuguese sailing ship, creaks and groans as though it’s still at sea.
If my condition fails to improve soon, I may be forced to abandon ship.
I jammed out a quick shake it off and inspirational e-mail. I wondered even if this was a dramatic trick he was playing on me. It wasn’t. He was hurting.
But checking the voice mail of my cell phone today I heard from Miah:
“Allan I made it. I’m in Ushuaia and this place is hopping wish you were here!”
Jeremiah says he feels like “shit”. It was great to hear his voice. I just wish I was near my cell phone when he called!
He is there. The bottom of the world. I stare at my computer screen. Remnants of my journey are lying around the room: my muddy top box, Jesse bags, my riding jacket, tent and bundles of Eagle Creek bags with my supplies. I should be in Ushuaia and celebrating. But I’m here healing. No worries. The bottom of the world waits for me. I’m improving and will return.
Anne sent me an email a few days prior. She’s in Ushuaia, too. Sounds like a good reunion. I’ll try to catch up with them and file a dispatch later this week.