12 April 2011

La Vina

I was happy to leave the hostel at Cafayate. The town was pleasant and charming but overrun by European backpackers. The townspeople tolerated these outsiders and the town had changed to accommodate them and their money. I wanted to get back on the road, back into Argentina and away from the tourists.

I picked up Ruta 68 outside the town and started north through fields of grapes. Ahead were the mountains and the road climbed up into them and then down to follow a river through the valley. This area along the river is known as the Quebrada de las Conchas and is dry and desert-like, with smooth, mud-like rock formations formed by the river and rain and wind. Ruta 68 would climb up out of the riverbed and then drop back into it through deep red and yellow layers of rock and earth. It was beautiful to ride the winding road through the river valley, and a headwind blew down to cool me.

 El Obelisco

After 70 kilometers the road left the river valley and rose to follow the mountains through the dense forest of the Valle de Lerma. It was cool and humid now and very buggy and I had to ride with my mouth closed and eyes squinted to keep the small bugs out. I passed through small villages and through an area of farmland and just before the pueblo of La Vina I pulled off the road and pushed the bike into the brush and pitched the tent.

I cooked up a plate of pasta with a sauce of fresh tomatoes and onion and drank a cup of coffee. It was a calm, clear night under the stars and I didn’t put on the rain fly. I wanted to look up at the moon and the constellations. I was running out of days on the road and nights camping. This would be one of the last. My journey by bicycle was coming to an end.


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