|2013-10-27click date for more|
The road headed South along the Rio Grande which at this stage consisted of a broad valley with lots of pampas grasses with the narrow river threading its way in between. The road surface was initially broken tarmac and with a strengthening tailwind the kms covered quickly clocked up. Other road users were a rarity and once again the scenery was fantastic. We had thought we would have to wild camp somewhere but with such rapid progress the thought of reaching a small village instead became more of a reality. It never pays to get to optimistic however as at the 40kms stage we crossed the river and the surface changed to thick gravelly ripio in which we began the usual slip sliding slow progress and the thought of reaching Ranquil Norte started to recede. We knew that there was a 600m climb to finish and it was going to be ripio and the type of ripio would determine our success or failure. Crossing the Rio Grande once again we started the climb on ripio again but this time it was manageable. We were in with a chance. Nearing the top of the climb Marjets' choice of descriptive words took on a predominantly expletive form as we kept thinking we'd finished the climb only to descend another 50 m before climbing again. We were both pretty dry at this stage and it was mainly the thought of a cold beer that kept us going. “ I'll cry if there's no beer” said Mrs P and guess what, it was election day during which it was illegal to sell alcohol! No tears but we looked so distraught that the lady ,whose front room was the shop, took pity on us and sold us the beer anyway. Too small a place for a hostel but the man across the road had a room he would let out, no sheets or pillows and one matress on the floor but it would do . Probably a day to not have pushed on but as there were few rewards but once again beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.