|2013-10-24 alotof nothingness|
24/10/2013 Stage 47 San Carlos – Bush camp Routa 40
Our panniers were bursting with provisions when we left this morning and to be on the safe side we stopped for breakfast in Paraditas the last little town before we hit the dirt road. We agonised for ages last night and spoke to lots of people regarding the route to take. As it happened fate decided for us because we missed all signs and ended up on the Neuva Ruta 40. Route 40 is the famous long distance route( over 3200 km) through Argentina as famously ridden by motorbike by Che Quevera in his youth and we will be travelling on it a fair bit.
There were lots of road works going on in the beginning all though very little sign of actual work in progress and the surface wasn't too bad. A bit of ripio (gravel with varying size stones) washboard and sand. Cycling ripio is harder by a long way but it is more rewarding just as cycling the bridleways in England is harder but more rewarding. It's a bit like riding a horse on Dartmoor in foul weather. It's how it should be. However! When the road changed to deep sand after about 60 km it didn't feel so good any more. We were beyond the point of no return despite there being another 90 km of desolation ahead of us I had to get of my bike so many times because the sand was too deep I got fed up getting on again with great effort only to come to a grinding halt 3 meters on. So I ended up pushing the bike with great difficulty at times. I didn't mind but there was this fear as to how long it would remain like that. There was another 90 km of off road to come and I couldn't walk it all! Luckily it only lasted 3 or 4 km before there was a mix of surface again that could mostly be cycled. We were very grateful for the tail wind. Not just because it made the cycling easier but also because we didn't have sand blown in our faces which was a definite bonus. There was a long down hill section and once again we were very glad to have such strong bikes. They took such a beating going fully laden down some very rough and bumpy stuff mixed in with unexpected sand patches. Numerous times I expected to fall of as the bike span under me at speed but it all went well. I still can't get my head around these vast landscapes where nothing changes for hours and hours on end. The same blue sky, the snow capped mountains and the same bushes where ever you look. It's a bit different in Holland. We found a lovely secluded spot to camp just after we crossed the dam and settled for the night. Actually at this point we switched the GPS on and realised weren't on the road we had expected to be on and would end up travelling further tomorrow but probably reach tarmac road slightly earlier.