Santiago – Airport car park.
Just when you think it is all over you discover there is more to come. Despite attempting to enjoy a slightly more casual approach to the morning, our internal alarm clocks were so finely tuned that by 0630 we were both awake and with nothing better to do, roused ourselves for the last packing session and the final short ride to collect the car. What could be simpler! Quite a lot it would seem. We were pretty certain of our route out of the city even though we knew we would be competing with the rush hour traffic which, I have to say, was very patient, stuck, as it was, behind two slow moving bikes and trailers and with few opportunities to overtake without serious risk of collision with oncoming vehicles. It was, therefore, with some relief that we stopped at a set of traffic lights in the hope of regaining some lost oxygen. Relief which was swiftly erased as Al found his right foot firmly attached to his pedal! Normally this would be a good thing, but not when one is trying to dismount! Hopping on his free foot, and after much ankle twisting and pulling, he finally gave up the struggle and relinquished the shoe to the pedal. Now in one very fetching stockinged foot, but thankfully clear of the road, he resorted to various small tool devices to gently release the cleat but, as is often the case, brute force was the only answer and with a final hefty yank, the pedal finally gave up its hold on the shoe. Now that it was visible, the problem was obvious; a screw was missing and thus the cleat was in permanent swivel mode. With only ten kilometres to go it was well within the ability of Mr. Improvisation, to carry on using the flat side of the pedal. Thus, we continued our exit of Santiago and faced our final hill challenge, which we completed without resorting to pushing!
Sweating and smelly, we found the car waiting for us. The very last chore now was to load equipment and finally hoist the bikes onto the bike rack. With the loading complete, Al commented, “I’ll plug in the electrics before fixing the rack ‘cos it’s easier,” “Can you fetch me the adapter, please.” “Right ho.”
A rapid, but thorough search of the glove box produced many gadgets………but not the adapter! And no amount of hunting in less obvious places revealed this vital implement.
“Oh, bother.” Now I have to say this was not the actual phrase voiced but it was delivered without rancour (very scary).
“It must have got left on the tractor!” (Only 1500kilometres away). With a calm that some might find surprising and quite alarming, we re-organised the packing to include the two bikes inside the car! A quick change and a wipe down with baby wipes on the forecourt, and a final check to see nothing was left behind and off we set on the long journey home..