WEIGHT: 64 kg
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The morning after the first proper snows of the year we headed up the road to Blair Atholl and set off on a four day hike in the hills to the north. It proved to be quite good fun and we managed to snap a couple of cool photos with a borrowed little point and click camera:. And while we thought the answer was rather obvious, she did have a point. Stats: Time getting from Moreton to Tulliemet — 15 days Distance — km.
Rainy cycle days — 4 Maximum speeds — After so long in the mountains the final month of our South America cycle was a relaxing warm-down from the challenges and strains of the Andes. For a few days we raced across La Rioja, covering large distances on flat, tarmac roads. But the initial excitement at going over 20kph wore off and boredom set in. Having been tormented by the winds so often in the Andes we toyed with the idea of simply going with the wind at every junction we encountered, but with only southerly winds this year we were more likely to end up in Peru than Buenos Aires, so quickly abandoned the plan.
Instead we took out our maps, traced a rough route southeast on small roads, and after a night camping in the centre of Chepes, a small town which hosted a surprisingly loud rock concert until dawn, we returned to bumping along on dirt tracks in search of something more interesting. We were soon coming across small, poor villages which have been left behind by the modern world.
Settlements with no electricity or running water, basic houses with earth floors, and reduced populations due to migration following more than a decade of droughts in the region. On these farm roads wildlife abounded. Iguanas, snakes, hawks, gulls, armadillos, cuy, even the odd flamingo and swan. In some areas we were constantly pelted by grasshoppers, panicking at our approach. Interrupting our flat riding was the hilly province of Cordoba, and cycling in its Sierras proved a real treat.
After Cordoba the monotonous scenery of the pampa began. Endless fields of soya and maize, thousands upon thousands of Argentine cattle gorging themselves on succulent pampa grass, a grid of overcrowded and dangerous to cycle paved roads with a maze of dirt farm tracks in between. Filling up our bottles with a big toothy grin on her face she proudly told us how lucky we were as her village was blessed with delicious agua dulce, much tastier than any of the water found in neighbouring villages.