We had taken two full days off in Salta and felt rested and clean. The next days were easy, riding through a vast valley with vineyards and fancy farm houses until we hit another colorful mountain range: the "Quebrada de las Conchas" which left us astonished and speechless.... at times on the side of the road, forgetting the time passing ....bathing in the surrounding beauty and unusualness.
We camped near the river and I am starting to feel nostalgic already...feeling this adventure - the whole trip slipping into the past. The days are counted now.
After the color mountains we rode to the pleasant little town of Cafayate were we joint up with Highway 40 - heading due south to the most southern town of this continent. ( except we will probably take the Carratera Astral through Chile - just because ......)
There is a km sign on route 40......
Here in Argentina, they are talking about Ushuaia! When being ask where we are going, we can say: "Ushuaia" and we are understood.....no strange looks...they know what we are talking about....good! I like it!
The road is flat now, long...boring at times. The mountains and the thin air are forgotten, breathing is labored because of heat and wind...it's always something, isn't it?
The wind got so strong one late afternoon that we called it quits when we saw an abandoned house on the side of the desert road.
James checked it out and deemed it suitable for our needs. We set up the tent in a corner, found some "furniture" to sit down, cook and have a civilized dinner - plenty too. We are smarter now, not heading out without enough food and water. The place was almost a museum. It was obvious that somebody - or maybe a few people called this structure their home. Some parts were already taken back by the desert....I wish the sand could talk and tell me the story. This house seemed like it was left in a hurry- or maybe, if we would dig deeper, we would find leftover human remains......eerie! The main part of the house - where we set up camp- was used to kill and skin sheep.
Some sheep fur still hung over some wire in the corner, some tools rusting, some blood stains, sculls, horns. In another corner a metal frame from a bed still sticking out of the sand...clothes -women clothes- hanging over the rusted metal. An old - antique - saddle on top of an old leather suite case. One could make up stories here..
We slept good - very good and were a little late heading out, because the mornings are quite chilly. I like to wait until the sun warms things around me up and then it gets real toasty -fast - yeah!
There seems to be a pattern: a row of little pueblos, like four or five in a row and then nothing....desert for 80- 100km...
After one of those "desert attacks" we had to turn the corner right into the afternoon headwinds, but we knew it was only a couple - maybe five km until we got to turn the corner again with the wind pushing us from the side through a pleasant little town to a known (by cyclists) private campsite....
ready for a rest, but not after our crazy host Eber -who moved here with his family from some bigger city after inheriting some money - walked us around the grounds, tempting us to dip into an - ever so cold - irrigation canal, explaining that these were special waters from the mystic mountains.....James and I couldn't do more than wet our big toes. We were dying from thirst and that wet toe got us even thirstier and made us wanting to go pee....
We excused ourselves, went to the bathrooms, filled up with water from a nearby pump and hit the ground sleeping.