Cycling days 223 to 225 - R de Lerma to Cafayate
Trip Start Apr 07, 2010
120Trip End Jan 19, 2012
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After a restful night's sleep, we are ready for more downhill. As we descend through the canyon, we are stunned by the awesome scenery of auburn and amber fields, then by familiar looking rock formations from Joshua Tree, Death Valley, and Zion National Parks. There is so much potential for canyoneering and rock climbing in this area with its monolithic sandstone pinnacles and walls that would make any climber drool.
Over 80km of descent on pavement followed by 20km on dirt allow us to rack up the mileage today. We stop in the first city we pass though for some sweets then continue a quick 10km down the road to Roasario de Lerma for a meal. We are served a deliciously succulent slice of beef and are very pleased that Argentina lives up to its reputation. We do a little grocery shopping and find a bakery that is actually open! We gorge on a few pastries each, then go back to buy more for tonight’s dessert. We ask a woman in the street about what time businesses are normally open and she says people open in the morning until about 1:30pm and re-open for the evening around 5:30pm. We buy some veggies and roll out of the city just after 5:30pm and people don’t look like they are at all in a hurry to open up shop.
We hustle down the paved, flat road at an average of 29kph and keep the brisk pace going as we pass nonstop suburb after farm after suburb. Where are we going to camp? Another city, more fenced farms and ranches, then another town. It is now 6:45pm and the sun is about to dip behind the mountains as we come to the beginnings of yet another city when suddenly, Yannick stops and says he saw a gravel sifter. We u-turn, pull into a driveway, and sure enough, it is a rock quarry. We ask a woman if we can camp in the quarry and she says it’s no problem except that it gets really cold at night. We thank her and find a nice, flat spot to camp in the endless field of rocks and gravel. As we pitch the tent without the fly, we prepare ourselves for what will be the hottest night we’ve had in several months.
Day 224 (10/28/11): 98km
We are really enjoying Argentina with its friendly people, relaxed atmosphere, respectful drivers who always wait to pass us when the opposite lane is clear of oncoming traffic…without honking! Who needs a shoulder to ride in when drivers are this civil? (Ha, yeah…Shirley would still like to ride in a shoulder! :) Today, we ride at a casually brisk pace and admire farms and ranch houses with beautifully manicured lawns, green gardens, and pruned rose bushes. As we pass by olive and mimosa trees, Yannick says the countryside reminds him of France.
Last night, we realized Shirley broke the hook on one of her rear panniers, so we replace it this morning – good thing Yannick packed a spare of just about everything. Unfortunately, what we don’t have an extra of is a pump. As we try to add more pressure to Yannick’s tire, the pump dies…no more pressure.