Trip Start Oct 16, 2012
136Trip End Apr 20, 2013
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The morning passed quickly with us slowly making our way up the sides of the valley, only for the road to descend again to join the river once more. It was like the river and the road were fighting and would then kiss and make up, sending us up and down all morning. Thankfully the sun was shining, the traffic was minimal and we were more than happy to follow the road on its curious path up and back down again
We whizzed on passed road-workers who would stop what they were doing and smile and wave at us. We would approach them with apprehension, wondering if they signalled the end of the paved road and once we cycled passed them we would be thrust back into the gravel. I breathed a sigh of relief each time to see that the tarmac continued and we were able to glide along for longer.
We stopped at the only town along the way, and enjoyed the usual soup, with chicken and rice. The owner chatted to us about our adventure and asked all the usual questions about what we were up to. Although the conversation was in Spanish and I didn't understand everything he said he made a comment that was definitely something along the lines of "How the hell have you cycled almost 5000km with scrawny little chicken legs like those?" and then laughed heartily. He said that he had seen cyclists along this route before but not for ages. We noticed that although we saw about a dozen motorcyclists a day along the Panamerican, we haven't seen any since diverting to the mountain route. Which seems completely backwards, the “off the beaten path” is even more accessible to them and they should have less concerns than we do about getting stuck in the middle of nowhere with no food or water or whatever
We continued on with much the same vistas, a red rock valley, with varying amounts of green areas, with cactus and palm trees growing in the warm climate. Every couple of kilometres the road would encounter a stream that was making its way down to the river below, and we would happily cycle through it to continue on our way. A couple of times it proved to be too deep and we would get off and push our bikes through the water.
As the weather was so warm the river crossing was refreshing and our sandals quickly dried in the sun. Then we reached the mother of all river crossings. To start with Kory began to push his bike through but soon realised that the current was too strong and the water was too deep. We took all the bags off and Kory carried the bikes over the crossing, whilst I took the bags across slowly. The water was up to my mid thigh and the current was strong, we had to go carefully or else we would lose something down the stream into the river below. If it had been much stronger we would have to have waited for a truck and hailed it down to get us across safely
As we approached another small village I realised that I had a problem with my pedal, which we haven't had the opportunity to fix yet. It was falling off and although Kory tried numerous times it wouldn't thread back in properly. The village was only a kilometre away so I managed to make it that far, for us to spend some time in the evening to think of a way to get us to the next bigger city. The main problem is that they only have rubbish plastic pedals here, which really won't last the distance of the trip, so we have been reluctant to swap them so far. The village was a small, dozen house affair, but they had a couple of rooms above the shop which they let us stay in for the night.