Its 0430, not a time we normally rise but this morning we have an appointment with the doctor in Montevideo to get some xrays on my leg, and that involves a 4 hour journey beginning now. We prise ourselves from our cosy bed, row our numb bodies to the shore, tether the dinghy and somehow slump onto the boney, cold structure of the bikes. We have only 8 miles to ride and somehow the cool, humid air, and dark, silent night conspire to make it an eirily calm episode, only our legs spinning, our minds detached.
We don’t have lights, we don’t need them. Enough difused moonlight prepares the route ahead, and anyway the road is a straight dust track the whole way. In farmland Uruguay there is hardly any traffic even at rush hour, so we don’t expect to see anything at this time.
4 miles in and our eyes are grabbed by a dark shape on the ground ahead, momentum, slow reflexes and poor brakes (must sort them out) take me past but Kath manages to stop….. our crusty minds scrutinise the dark shape, and although we’ve never seen one before, and even in our sleepy stupor its unmistakable – A skunk! We think we rely so much on sight, and its form is recognisable even in the black of night, but so too its smell!!
We are late so have to leave our friend who seems not overly threatentened, perhaps even interested in us! We would have liked to stay for longer but he probably wouldn’t tolerate the unpleasant smell of us sweaty cyclists…..