to La Rioja

At last, onto Ruta 40, at least mostly.

The day’s track
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It’s raining heavily for a few hours daily, mostly late afternoon. We set off and sections of the road have been flooded out

This is wine country, about which I know nothing. Riders often go on wine tours here but I’m not hugely interested, unfortunately. The vineyards fill the valley for miles

Further on the road turns to dirt and we head through small villages

We try to avoid riding through San Jose and get stopped at a mud channel. I walk it to see if it’s rideable but the mud nearly takes my boots off. About 15 feet of mud on each side and a channel. The way to take this would at speed but it would remain a % shot, hence backing off. One downside of being solo is having to scrape together some wisdom at times like this

So we have to reverse course, loosing 40 minutes. A nice ride though

For riders who want to avoid this
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An extremely strange building in San Jose

With interesting nouveau or deco doors

The next section of road, maybe 50 miles, was frequently washed out. We maybe had 10 or more of these nice small stream crossings

One or two deeper than others. Always good juvenile fun

For one section there were snowy peaks maybe 25 miles away

Across plains

And onto fast easy ripio

Into some hills again. Great riding

To a small village and a fantastic lunch spot in the shade. Heaven really

Followed by more pretty escarpments

I don’t post pictures of roadsides shrines (by families to people who’ve died on the road here) but in Argentina they’re very different. Bottles of wine and red flags are the tradition

Through another river canyon

And then problems. To the west rain clouds are building fast

At this point I have a choice. My original route goes to Chilecito. But there’s a big town, La Rioja to the east about 75 miles, which is about the same distance so I head for it.

Outside of town it greens up.

Through small hills

Another very different landscape

To a lake outside of town before the sun dropped behind the mountains

I rode around town for a long time looking for a place for Lucinda and eventually found an evil hole. Not again, no toilet seat, no hot water, a bed that you kept clothed to sleep in.

It had been a very long day. 100 miles of washout, some ripio, another 200 miles of over 100 degree heat and I was wasted. But the streets were full of people and I wanted to see what was going on. Wandering around, the Plaza de Armas was filling up with people


By 10 it was packed

Then a procession of thousands walked through the town and around the Plaza to the cathedral carrying an icon

Then it was in front of me

This was the holy night of St. Nicholas, the protector and patron saint of travellers.

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