13 April 2011


I slept without the rain fly and it was a cool night and my gear was wet when I awoke. I packed up my panniers and waited until the sun had come up over the mountains so that the tent could dry. It had been my final night of camping in Argentina and today would be my final ride. I packed the tent, loaded the bike, and pushed it through the brush and onto the road.

I stopped at a service station outside La Vina for water and to eat a couple of sandwiches. It was only 80 kilometers to Salta, and I could make it by lunchtime if I wanted. Ruta 68 rose and fell through the Valle de Lerma, through corn fields and farmland between the ranges of mountains. It was clear and warm by late morning and I rode thinking about my last day on the bike here in Argentina and regretting it was over. But there would be other places and I could ride in Colombia if I wanted. Still, Argentina had been a fine country to tour in and I was going to miss it.

The farmland ended 30 kilometers from Salta and there were series of small towns. I stopped in El Carill for lunch and for 30 pesos had a milanesa napolitana with a salad and a 2.5 liter bottle of sparkling water. It was as cheap and delicious a milanesa as I had had in Argentina and when I asked the man who ran the restaurant about another of the meats on the menu he brought out a plate of what was veal for me to try. It was a large piece of veal and very good and I thanked him.

From El Carill the road began to fall and then closer to Salta it descended sharply and there was a long run-out into the city. Then I rode through narrow, heavily trafficked streets with buses and cars and scooters towards the centro. Salta, like other Argentine cities, is made up of one-way streets with few traffic lights or yield signs making it both dangerous and confusing at every intersection and I rode towards the center of town carefully.

At the Oficina de Tourismo I was given directions to a number of cheap hostels and I stopped at a couple before deciding on one further out from the center of town. At this hostel I would have a room to myself on the rooftop and more importantly there was a downstairs storage area to put my bike and where I could work to take it apart, clean and box it for the trip to Buenos Aires and my May flight to Colombia.


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