NORTHERN ARGENTINA

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DAY 749 VILLAZON – LA QUIACA

START 11:00 FINISH 12:00 (22/03/17)

DISTANCE 2KM RIDE TIME 0H18

The border was only 150 meters from the hotel. We arrived mid morning to a shortest queue, which we joined. Leaving Bolivia was simple. The next queue was a mare 2 meters away at the Argentine immigration. Again very simple and smooth. Stamped in for 3 months.

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The final process to enter Argentina was to remove all the bags from the bike and put them through a x ray machine that was set up in a van parked on the side of the road.

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Despite having to do this. It was still one of the more easiest and smoothest border crossings of the trip. With crossing the border the clocks have gone forward 1 hour. We knew it was coming………..The prices in Argentina are expensive compared to Bolivia. The $3 lunches are now $5 lunches. Accommodation has jumped from $10 for a room to $20…………so we will certainly be cutting back on that one…………..more nights in the tent. La Quiaca turned out to be a bit of a disappointment………….It wasn’t the nice town we thought it was going to be.

DAY 750 LA QUIACA – ABRA PAMPA

START 10:00 FINISH 16:00 (23/03/17)

DISTANCE 75KM RIDE TIME 4H28

First day cycling in Argentina. There was a little climb out of La Quiaca and we had to contend with some road works and the dust and traffic that come with it. From the highway we could see another salt lake in the distance. By 1pm we reached pumahuasi.

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First town since leaving La Quiaca. We stopped at the old train station for lunch which was cheese and tomato crackers and a bit of fruit. After lunch I left eva to hitch a ride, while I cycled on another 50km in just over 2 hours. When I arrived at the train station in Abra Pampa…………Eva had only just arrived after hitching a ride with a truck. The plan was then to cycle a few km out of town and camp. Argentina is more developed. Both sides of the road were fenced making finding a camping spot more difficult more difficult. The land was pretty flat as well.

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About 3km from town we were able to get our bikes under a barbed wire fence and then go under a railway bridge. Camping beside the bridge we were some what hidden from the road. We had a nice sun set and in the morning a nice sun rise. That evening we had a huge thunder storm come through. There was continues lighting, some heavy rain and very loud thunder.

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DAY 751 ABRA PAMPA – HUMAHUACA

START 9:00 FINISH 16:00 (24/03/17)

DISTANCE 83KM RIDE TIME 5H30

Poor Eva We had a tough morning climbing. The first 11km was all on dirt road with the road works. It was a pretty slow day. We stopped for lunch on a bridge with nice views of the mountains. When we got to Treas Cruces I left Eva to catch the bus. There was a army check point and they asked for my passport. All the busses had to stop. The passenger get off and then go through a security cheek with there bags before getting back on the bus,

After tres Cruces the scenery dramatically changed. It was stunning. With lots of nice colours. Lots of cactus’s suddenly appeared. The road was awesome with long straight fast down hill. In fact 90 percent of the road to Humahuaca was down hill.in 60km we dropped a 1000 meters. When I arrived in Humahuaca there was so many tourists. I guess because it was a nice old colonial town. I tried to find the station. It looked like in had been turned into a market. I had told Eva 5pm it was only 4pm. By chance she turned up early. She had managed to get a free lift with a bus. We had a little look around the cobbled street and visited the Mercado for supply’s, but hurried because a storm looked immanent. We then started cycling out of town looking for a place to camp. Ended up finding a spot near the river and then got to listen to the drunks drinking close by. Not knowing we were camping among the bushes close by.

DAY752 HUMAHUACA – UQUIA

START 14:30 FINISH 15:30 (25/03/17)

DISTANCE 13KM RIDE TIME 1H06

We both thought we wouldn’t be doing Humahuaca justice if we were to just rush through with out having a proper look. So this morning after breakfast we went back into town to play tourist and to do a bit of sight seeing. We started by leaving our bikes at a hostel and then walking up the many steps to the grand Hero’s of independence monument that stands on the hill over looking the town.

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From here we got a great view over the town. When we reached the little plaza. There was a hype of activity. Locals were preforming what looked like a indiduious dance and then just before midday everything stopped in anticipation as a door on a tower on the town hall popped open and a robotic priest came out and in the next 5 mins he nodded his head and raised his hands while holding a cross.

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The tourists were captivated. Before leaving town we got stung by a $2 cup of tea in a restaurant. The short ride south to Uquia was all down hill and only took a hour. Set up in the plaza of Uquia was a craft market to catch the tourists on there was to visit the towns draw card, a 17th century church that was small in size. Grand in spender with its gold plated altar.

Once the tourists left the town was very quite. We found a very nice camping spot under some trees on the opposite side of the highway. We were able to cook up some really nice steaks we had got from the butcher earlier in the day. The locals kindly opened our $3 bottle of wine we had brought from Bolivia. Which we drank while we sat around the camp fire.

DAY 753 UQUIA – VOLCAN

START 8:00 FINISH 11:30 (26/03/17)

DISTANCE 72KM RIDE TIME 2H57

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This morning I cycled on alone with the plan to meet Eva 72km away in Volcan. Eva was missing out again big time. The first 60km was all down hill. The land scape was mixed. Some parts were barron and dry and then other parts were fertile and full of crops. There were many nice small towns along the way. After 60km I stopped for lunch at a wetlands beside the road. It’s great the way the wetlands attrack so many nice birds. Having smashed out 60km in just over a hour.

The last 12km was tough……….up hill and into the wind. When I reach Volcan. I found a dirty, dusty dry town. I didn’t find Eva waitting for me at the rondavue point which was the train station. Which made me a bit worried as I fully expected Eva to have beaten me. It’s a worry if Eva is unable to get a lift. To my relief Eva arrived 30mins later.

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The first thing we did was go and have some lunch at the towns only resturant. Which was in one of the old railway building. After lunch we left the bike at the resturant and went for a walk around the town, while hoping to find a place to camp. Close to the river. Was all built up with houses. The sports centre looked like a posibilty. Then when we went into the north part of town, we started to notice a lot of ruined houses A barbed wire fence that was only a foot high, door ways that were only 2 feet high.

Then it dawned on me the town had been hit by a mudslide. After asking a local shop keeper. We soon discovered that only 2 months ago at 10:30 am on the 12th January a huge mudslide had come throught the town killing 3 locals and two tourists. As this part of town was now sparsly inhabited we found a empty section and was able to put up our tent amoung the ruins and on top of the now dried mudslide.

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DAY 754 VOLCAN – YALA

START 9:30 FINISH 11:30 (27/03/17)

DISTANCE 28KM RIDE TIME 1H37

What a terrible night. Around 3am some dogs found us and once they started barking, they didn’t stop for hours. It left us a little tired when we got up at 6:30am. The bloody dogs started barking again. So we just packed up and went to the train station to have our breakfast in quiet.

After a small climb, we had another great decent. My progress was slowed with a double puncher. Having thought I had fixed my punchers. One of the patches failed delaying me even further. When we got to Yala it seamed like a really nice sleepy holiday town. We both decided it would be nice to stay. We left our bikes at the tourist office and then went to find a nice place to have a picnic lunch.

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We ended up climbing over the old railway bridge to have lunch on the shaded side of the river.

We asked around town about a place to camp and the covered sports centre was recommended to us. It was great and we set up camp around 3pm. It was close to the river, so we went down for a mini swim. Came back and cooked some dinner. Had a resinbile early night.

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It was all going well till at a 11pm we were woken upn by the police and told we couldn’t stay here the night. What a joke. They made us pack up amd leave. They wanted us to go to the local camp ground. In the end they allowed us to relocate to some grass across the road from the police station. Been close to the main road it was noisy and we had more barking dogs.

DAY 755 YALA – JUJUY

START 8 FINISH (28/03/17)

DISTANCE RIDE TIME

We have had such a good run. Having dropped down from 4000 meters to under 2000 meters we now in a new climate zone. Within 15 mins from the time we started to cycle. The rain came and it soon became very heavy. So heavy that we pulled into a bus stop and made a cup of tea while we waited for the rain to ease and it did ease. We started the day on the auto pista soon found a better quiter road which took us all the way into Jujuy. Had never heard of it till just the other day. It’s a provincial capital. With over 340 000 people. We got a very basic room in a hostel for $30. Will have two days here to do washing, bike maintance and a bit of sight seeing.

DAY 756 &757 JUJUY REST DAY

 

DAY 759 JUJUY – LA CIENAGA

START 10:15 FINISH 16:00 (01/04/17)

DISTANCE 33KM RIDE TIME 3H16

After two fulse starts, we finnaly got out of jujuy. With our pratice run yesterday we were able to go through the city and past the busy Auto Pista rather quickly. We was great to be out in the country. We are taking the R 9 to Salta. It is a very skinny road that passes through the beautiful country side. Traffic was light, there were lots of Saturday cyclists out for a ride.

The country side was full of wondering cows. We had a little bit of climbing. It gave us a really nice view of the surrounding lakes. We meet some French cyclists heading north……..first lot in a long time. We stopped and had lunch with them and shared lots of valuable information. There was a small town near the lake. We decided to camp away from it. We couldn’t see the lake from the road. We found a trail that took us through some bush and we then found a clearing to camp in for the night.

DAY760 LA CIENAGA – LA CALDERA

START 9:30 FINISH 15:45 (02/04/17)

DISTANCE 31KM RIDE TIME 3H21

Today we went from lake to lake. But first we had a few hours of climbing to get over the Cornista. It was a beautiful winding road. It was like cycling through the jungle again. We had a bit of humidity to go with it. Near the top we stopped for lunch at the provincial border between jujuy and Salta.

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Once we got through the pass. The days work was done. We had a good fast decent down to Lake Caldera. There were dozens of yarts on the water. At first it looked like we couldn’t get access to the lake. We managed to find a road into a park. That was full of locals picnicking. All you could smell was bbqs. Lots of people were down by the water fishing.

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We went some distance along the front of the lake to get away from the crowards before finding a nice spot to camp back from the lake among some trees. Early evening the crowards disappeared. It was just us and the roaming horses and the many birds attracted to the lake. After dinner we made another small camp fire while partaking in the consumption of another bottle of the local wine.

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DAY 761 LA CALDERA – SALTA

START 9:00 FNISH 16:00 (03/04/17)

DISTANCE 40KM RIDE TIME 4HO6

After a little climb away from the lake. It was then a nice down hill run to Salta following the river. The road was still narrow…………..traffic was light. Lots of nice holiday homes lined the way. We stopped in Caldera for a secound breakfest. Caldera was another real holiday town. From about 12km from the centre of Salta, we found ourselves in surbuburia………..It could have been anywhere like a outer suburb in Australia, New Zealand or Canada.

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When our small tranquil road came to a end. We had to spend a short time on the auto pista before we found a nice cycleway to take us the rest of the way into Salta. Salta is a very touristy city……………unfortunately means expensive. This country is bleeding me dry. After searching for over a hour for a hostel we got a room for 500 sols. Will have to look for a cheaper place tomorrow.

DAY 762 SALTA REST DAY

Rest days are a mixed of sorting stuff out. Having some rest and little bit of sight seeing. Between 2 and 5pm the Argentina’s are on siester and the streets are quite and nice to walk around. Salta has lots of nice grand colenial buildings. The San Francisco church looked fantastic. The contempery art museum was free and that got a visit. Hour well spent.

DAY 763 SALTA – LA MERCED

START 13:45 FINISH 17:00 (05/04/17)

DISTANCE 22KM RIDE TIME 2H35

The day was disappearing quickly. And our enthusiasm to cycle was waning. Close to 2pm we finnly got cycling. The first hour was spent passing the busy streets. Soon we were in the country. We are now taking route 68 to Cafayate.

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On the outskirts of La Merced we found a nice park with tables and Bbqs. Surrounded by corn fields. We decided to camp out the way in one of the corners. We then took advantage of the picnic tables and cooked some dinner. We soon had the company of a local dog. While we cooked dinner we were wondering if camping in such a public place would attract the attention of the police and we would get moved on. While eating our dinner two police on bikes turned up. They didn’t even bother us and after 30 mins left.

DAY 764 LA MERCED – AMPASCACHE

START 10:30 FINISH 17:00 (06/04/17)

DISTANCE 50KM RIDE TIME 2H51

This morning eva set off at 9:30am on her own and I went and sat in the libary for a hour to write my blog. I gave her a hours head start before getting back on the 68. It was a nice flat cycling day. It only took me 36 mins to get the 14km to El Crilion. I stopped here again for another hour……….this time to make use of the free wifi at the tourist office.

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I then motored on and I finnaly caught up with Eva in Coronel Moldes and we stopped here and had some lunch in the plaza. After lunch we cycled on together for another 10km. We had to stop when we had 200 cows running down the road towards us.

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Shortly after we found a good camping spot under some trees next to the river and best of all hidden from the road. We were able to have a nice camp fire.

DAY 765 AMPASCACHE – ALEMANIA

START 9:00 FINISH 13:00 (07/04/17)

DISTANCE 36KM RIDE TIME 2H04

This morning we cycled 36 km to Alemania. It use to be a old rail way town at the end of the line. Its now a bit of a ghost town. It proved a loverly place to stop. We cycled down and over the old iron bridge into the old rail yards. We went and sat out the front of the old station and ate our lunch. Shade was good becouse it was a hot sunny day.

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The few locals that were about directed us down to the river where we found a good camping spot beside the long railway bridge.

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After putting up the tent we went down to the river for a nice swim. In the evening we had some wine and some local goats chese and a good camp fire as well. A group of french backpackers camped close by and we invited them over to join us at the camp fire.

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DAY 766 ALEMANIA – SANTA BARBARA

START 9:00 FINISH 17:45 (08/04/17)

DISTANCE 45KM RIDE TIME 3H30

Before leaving town I first climbed over the old railway bridge. The light was fantastic

We had a perfect day to cycle one of the most buetiful parts of Northern Argentina. The bright sun and blue sky brought out the best of some increadible stunning senery as we cycled into the desert the landscape dramaticly changed. There were many points of intrest along the way. We stopped off and visited two side cannons one was the devils throat and the other was a amphitheater. A busker was playing and it sounded great. In the afternoon the wind really got up. Lucky for us it was in our favour. When it came to camping we found a shelted spot down by the river for the night.

 

 

DAY 767 SANTA BARBARA – CAFAYATE

START 8:10 FINISH 14:00 (09/04/17)

DISTANCE 40KM RIDE TIME 2H51

Cycling the last 40km to Cafayate was just a continuation of the most stunning senery. Cafayate is the wine capital of the north and as we neared the vinyards started to apear. It;s a bit of a tourist hub………Not so bad as it is curently the off season.

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We are keeping costs down by camping in a hostel. Spending the savings on the local wine.

DAY 768 CAFAYATE REST DAY

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We were going to cycle 6km out of town to visit some waterfalls. When we went to pick up Eva’s bike. The bike shop had closed for lunch. So plan b was to start walking and hitch a ride. Our first ride was on the back of a pick up truck. We then both jumped on the back of a motor bike. Our last ride was with a old bus.

Discovering it was going to be another hours walk to the waterfall. We just walked a short way through the cannon which was nice and green and just buetuiful. The water was frezing. We had a short dip. We were luckey walking back we got a ride with a family from Buenious aries nearly straight away and all the way back to town. Once back in town we headed for some wine tasting. For less then $2 you get 3 samples and a small tour. Unfortunately we left our run late and most of the bodagas were closed. We found one to try.

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DAY 769 CAFAYATE – QUILMES

START 9:45 FINISH 19:00 (11/04/17)

DISTANCE 55KM RIDE TIME 4H24

We are really in the wine country now. This morning as we cycled along we passed many vineyards. Then we would move back into the desert for a while until the vineyards would return again.

At lunch time we stopped at a Bodaga, had some lunch before going in for a tasting. The great thing about been out in the country is that they are free. The serving are penurious so you have to be careful. It turned out to be a long lunch stop………..not just because of the tasting.

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Out here in the desert there are thorns everywhere…………any time you leave the road you are in danger of getting a puncher. I had two punchers to fix…………that was one reason for stopping at the bodaga. Before we had finished lunch. Eva’s back tyre had gone down as well.

We visited one more Bodaga in the late afternoon………..here they also gave us a tour around and we sampled the wine straight from the vat. 5Km from the last Bodaga we left the main road, taking a dirt/sandy road a further 4km up to the archoliogical ruins at Quilme. The ruins are a forttress ciny from pre Columbian times. Saw another dead snake on the road. It was pretty late in the day when we reached the ruins. There were two overland trucks camping in the car park. They were from Austria and Belgium. We camped next to the donkeys water troth. Many donkeys roaming around. The austrians kindly brought us over a beer to share. It was such a clear evening. Great for viewing stars. We watched the moon come up as well. It wasn’t far off been full.

DAY 770 QUILMES – SANTA MARIA

START 11:30 FINISH 14:30 (12/04/17)

DISTANCE 34KM RIDE TIME 2H10

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In the morning we paid our 50 pasos and went in and visited the ruins. We wounded around for 90 mins as it was quite a big sight. The city had been built into the hill side and from here we were able to climb high up for a great view of the ruins and the surrounding country side.

After the ruins we cycled 10km before having lunch. It was also the turn off for tuckman. Here Eva and I are goining to part company for a few days while she goes and visits a friend she use to live with in Napel and I continue south. I had 25km to get to santa Maria. Turned out to be 25km of dirt. It was a very nice ride as we passed through some nice old villages. Santa Maria will be the last big town for a while…………..The tourist office were very helpful and directed me to the Municipal camp ground. Hot showers and only 50 Paso a night.

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Visited ruins 50 pesos climbed the side of the mountain more ruins great view. Cycled back to road………..Eva going to Tukaman to visit friend catch up later. Cycled on to Santa Maria. Dirt road all the way. Very nice passing some small villages. Camping in Municipal camp ground for 50.

DAY 771 SANTA MARIA – AIRPORT

START 11:00 FINISH 16:00 (13/04/17)

DISTANCE 85KM RIDE TIME 5H14

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This morning I continued south on the Ruta 40 passing km 4328. So its a pretty long road. The further I got away from Santa Marie. The more I was falling back into the desert and at the same time was climbing in altatude.

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In the late afternoon the wind got up and progress slowed to a crawl. Nearing the sumit. I came across a airport in the middle of no where. Would have been a great place camp shelted from the wind. The the security gards wouldn’t have it. Looks like the airport is solely to serve the local mine. Just as I was cycling on. Another cyclist was coming the other way. Delfe was from australia and we ended up camping across the road together.

There was a old shack. I cleaned in up a bit and put up my tent inside as a perfect place to sheltee from the wind. In the night we herd a plane land and the foxes howeling. So they were close by too. Up at 2300 meters it was a pretty cold night in the desert.

DAY 772 AIRPORT – LONDRES

START 8:30 FINISH 16:00 (14/04/17)

DISTANCE 109KM RIDE TIME 4H54

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It was a pretty cold start to the day. The sun was hiding in the cloud . One good thing was I spent the whole day decending. The landscape changed and became more intresting. Eventurely we left the desert and I stopped for lunch in Belen.

At one end of town was a moument to the Falkland islands. There is still strong feeling here in Argentina about the Meldives. Slightly funny that the next town is called london (londres)

Here I am camping for free in the municpal camping. It is a very nice camp ground with a lake and lots of covered picnic tables and bbqs.

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Local art in Londres

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DAY 773 LONDRES – ALPASINCHE

START 10:00 FINISH 15:00 (15/04/17)

DISTANCE 84KM RIDE TIME 4H34

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In the morning I cycled a further 3km up the valley to the site of the Archeologically ruins at Shincal. 8:30am was too early and I had to wait till 9am before I could have a wonder round.

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It was a lot more structed then the last ruins I visited. With a flash new museum and then a set path to follow.

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After Londres there was pretty much nothing for 70km. Lots of desert. After a day of cycling long straight roads with gradual up and downs. The land scape still kept switching. On one decent I came down into a nice oasis. I also got a surprise when I saw a dead cow strung up on a fence. No idea how it got there.

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when I reached the junction of the 60 and 40 I stopped at the first town I came to. I asked at a fruit inspection check point on the road for a place to came. The guy said there were no camp grounds………but the plaza behind his office would be fine, To just come back over if I needed water. I set up camp in the plaza and then went over to use the water tap at the check point to have a wash. The guy came out and said there was a shower inside I could use. Hot water………perfect.

It had been a tough old day with the sun and the battling wind. I was pretty exhausted. After dinner. I fell asleep with ease. It was only 7pm.

It was a busy Saturday night in the Plaza. Drunks were coming and going all night. Apart from missing out on some sleep. Bo one bothered me. In fact I don’t even know if any of them knew I was there.

DAY 774 ALPASINCHE – PILTOL +24KM

START 7:50 FINISH 15:30 (16/04/17)

DISTANCE 80KM RIDE TIME 4H44

The drunks were back in the plaza at 6:30am with there car steros blarring. It was still dark. I got up anyway. Had some breakfest and got on my way. I soon discovered I had lucked out, passing 7-8 small quite villages in a row and many nice camping spots along the way. Progress was slowed by another bloudy puncher. It was Easter Sunday. I was pleased many shops were still open and I was able to get Bread, salami and chease for a tastey lunch. After passing through Pitial there was nothing for 70km, After 24km the weather was looking rough and the surounding were flat exposed and bleak looking. The wind was howeling and rain didn’t look far away. I spotted a shelter for travelers. Usuelly a reliougs shrine. I was relived to be able to camp in here for the night.

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D AT 775 PILTOL +24KM – CHILECITO

START 8:30 FINISH 12:30 (17/04/17)

DISTANCE 50KM RIDE TIME 3H27

When I got up this morning the weather hadn’t changed much. It was still as cloudy, damp and cold as the evening before. I cycled on to Chilecito and as I got closer it was in the rain. I passed a memorial to a cyclist. Which is always sad to see.

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In Chilecito I found a Hostel for 200 pesos a night. Hopefully I will catch up with Eva tomorrow.

DAY 776 CHILECITO REST DAY

It was a good day to do very little. It rained most of the day and it was cold.

DAY 777 CHILECITO – NONOGASTA

START 12:30 FINISH 17:45 (19/04/17)

DISTANCE 27KM RIDE TIME 2H30

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As we started to cycle out of town we got such a surprise. The mountians behind Chilecito were no longer covered by cloud and they were now covered in snow. With the hot sun and clear blue sky. They looked awesome.

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We stopped and took photos, before continuing. Then we got another surprise as we cycled under what looked like a 100 year old chair lift. Turned out to be left over from aturn of the centry mine and used to carry the ore from the mountians to the rail yards for transportation. Lots of other intresting stuff was around as well.

After finaly leaving town. No pedaling was required as we coasted down to nonagusta. Spoke to some other cyclists who warned Nonagusta was a bad town fill of drugs and crime………….and not to stop. Just 2km after cycling out of town. The gears on evas bike packed up. The only option was to return to town and wait for two hours outside the bike shop, waitting for them to open at 5pm. It was worth the wait. They sauced a part of a old bike they had and kindly fixed eva’s bike for free. By this time it was too late to leave town. The bike shop recommended staying with te Bomberos. Worked out perfect. We camped on there football field which use to be part of the old rail yards.

 

DAY 778 NONOGASTA –RUTA 40

START 10:10 FINISH 16:50 (20/04/17)

DISTANCE 30KM RIDE TIME 2H55

We got another nice hot and sunny day, for a slow days climbing up a buetiful valley on the ruta 40. Lots of nice reds in the landscape.

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Lots of cactuas started apearing. They looked really nice with the snowie mountians in the back. At lunch we pulled into a hostel that was all shut up. Had a nice table and chairs out the front and in the shade. Not long after the owner returned. She was more then alright with us staying to finish our lunch.

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The valley is sparsly populated. We found a nice camping spot at the end of the day down below the new road, next to the old road under some trees. We were able to put the tent up on some soft soil. Allways helps for a good nights sleep. Had a bit of trouble getting a camp fire going. It was nice once it was away becouse the evening was cold. It was a perfect evening for star gazing with not a cloud in the sky.

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DAY 779 – VILLA UNION

START 8:50 FINISH 17:25 (21/04/17)

DISTANCE 70KM RIDE TIME 4H3

Last night we only slept 6km from the top. It still took us a few hours to do the last bit of climbing. We were stopping to take lots of photos. Unfortunately today was a bit cloudy and damp. A lot of work had gone into the road. A few km of massive concrete walls were holding up the road.

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Near the top we came across the old road. We went for a little walk on it as it ran through a narrow gorge………..that was really buetifuly.

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Taking the new road had us climbing a few extra houndred meters. It was great to reach the top. We didn’t hang around long as it was cold. We dropped down a few houndred meters on a really nice curving road,……….which was good fun. Before stopping next to a small stream for lunch. Had more good decent after lunch before ending up in the wide open desert.

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Late afternoon we arrived in Villa Union. On the over lander app. They recommended free camping under the trees next to the Ypf gas station. When we arrived there were already some other campers. Both with motor bikes………..there was still room for us. We cooked in the bbq area and washed in the gas station and was able to sit inside and use the free wifi all night.

 

DAY 780 VILLA UNION REST DAY

 

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Little strange all these little towns have big casinos.

DAY 781 VILLA UNION – GUANDCOL

START 9:30 FINISH 15:30 (23/04/17)

DISTANCE 42KM RIDE TIME 2H26

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Sunday Morning unfortunately everything was shut and we were unable to stock up on fresh bread, yummy cakes or after second thoughts get some more dried fruit and nuts before heading south. The morning started cool…………once the sun came up it was a beautiful warm sunny day. After leaving Villa Union, there was nothing but long straight roads and desert.

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The reddish mountains In the distance were pretty to look at. We climbed a bit in the morning. So it was nice to have lunch at the top. While waiting for Eva………I was able to get a very good reception of the BBC World Service on the short wave. Usually durion the day you can pick up nothing. Best time is normally 2am in the morning.

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As we decended after lunch, it got really hot and dry. There are a few mines in the area. A huge bull dozer probly from a mine had been parked up on display. I had a little climb over it like a big kid. Towns are allways Oasis. Reaching Guandcol, vinyards and fruit trees apeared. Lines of trees shaded the main road into town. We camped in the small park about 2km from town, next to the main road. It was well shaded. Which was nice.

DAY 782 GUANDCOL – KM 3686 RUTA 40

START 10:15 FINISH 15:40 (24/04/17)

DISTANCE 46KM RIDE TIME 2H59

When we had gone into the town the previous evening, most things had been shut. So this morning I cycled the 2 ½ km into town. It was 8:30am and I expected everything to be open. I was wrong. None of the mini supper markets were opening till 10am. I couldn’t wait for that. I did find the bread shop, so it wasn’t all bad. I will have to have another day with out treats. Because I couldn’t find any cakes for my sweat tooth. I nearly brought a big bag of little square bread rolls because I mistook them for little cakes. Eva had about a 1 hour head start on me and I caught up with her after 20km. The next town is 80km away, so we are carrying lots of water. Just before lunch the wind came up, slowing progress some what. After lunch we pushed on. Finding soft ground to camp was like looking for a needle in a hay stack. Among the thorn trees were just stones & rocks. So when we found a nice patch of ground, right next to the road, under some trees. Previously used by sleeping cows. It was like gold and worth stopping for.

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The wind drop making for a very pleasant evening. The light from the setting sun looked great on the mountains. It wasn’t too cold a evening. The camp fire was great to sit next to. There was a little cloud………..the stars looked great. I slept with the fly half off, so I could enjoy the stars even more as I slept.

DAY 783 KM 3686 RUTA 40 – HUACO

START 9:15 FINISH 13:00 (25/04/17)

DISTANCE 37KM RIDE TIME 1H57

The desert mornings are cold. We started by relighting the camp fire from the night before. We then enjoyed its warmth while we drank our coffee and ate our breakfast. Before leaving we climbed the small hill overlooking our camp site for a 360 degree panoramic view. The light was great and the desert looked special. The road was again long and straight. There were lots of ups and down as well. Every few hundred meters we would cross a dry river bed. On the outskirts of Huaco we saw a historical site. Wasn’t sure what it was at first. After going in discovered it was a very old flour mill.

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It was in very good condition and still working. Out the back was a sclupture of a guy sitting on a bench playing a guatar. Aparantly he is very famous in Argentina and other parts of the world. When we arrived in Huaco it was a mad rush to find food before the shops shut at 1pm. Our intention was to have lunch and then cycle out of town and camp. We found wifi near the school. We asked if we could sit in the grounds of the pre school which was closed for the day. Just as we were leaving the depty prinicipal of the high school next door came past and offered for us to camp in the high school grounds.

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It was a bit strange putting our tents up with the kids still running around. We were also invited to the depty prinicipals office for tea and biscuits. Well actually bread and dulice, which is a very sweat sugar spread.

DAY 784 HUACO – JACHAL

START 9:30 FINISH 17:30 (26/04/17)

DISTANCE 54KM RIDE TIME 4H01

In the morning we were invited to have some breakfast in school before leaving. It seams like the kids all get a hot chocolate and a biscuit for morning tea.

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municipal camp ground. Towns and oasis are always at the bottom of a valley. The only way out is to climb. That’s what we did for the first part of the day.as we crossed over some small mountains to another valley. Again we came out of the desert and found another oasis and a old railway line.

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At the junction we turned right instead of left and took the ruta 150 for about 10km up the valley to Jachal. It was a hot afternoon when we arrived. We tried camping in town next to the gas station in the auto park. Because we were not members we were not allowed. Instead we cycled 3km out of town to the free municipal camping…….which turned out to be very nice and was just perfect for our 3 nights.

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DAY 785 & 786 JACHAL REST DAY

 

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Eva and I did a small radio interview with the local station and afterwards Roberto took us for a hamburger and a drink.

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