Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Road to Salta - Part 4

Monday 9th

Last night we saw the lights of Guandacol glowing maybe 6kms away in the valley. This morning we ride nearly 20kms before reaching it and we get our first taste of the lack of scale here. Distances telescope in clear air and we are forced to re-adjust our estimates.... This is a BIG place.

We ride in valleys maybe 50kms wide, mountain ranges to either side with even more distant snow capped peaks behind. Checking maps reveals them to be monstrous 6000m peaks, 80kms away!

Dani climbes past tortured twisted rock...

Climbing steeply over into another valley, we hit our next disaster. Michael´s rear rack, good since a repair on the Carretera Austral some 2500km ago, has sheared again. The bolts holding it to the frame have snapped and we are lucky it has not dropped into a moving wheel and eaten the delicate spokes. We stop to make temporary repairs and check maps for potential towns with welders.

Villa Union is the next candidate, but we hit the siesta problem again and have 4 hours to kill. Eating is the only option. But worse still - the towns is recovering from a weekend siesta and there is no meat. Anywhere!

It gets worse as the rack is aluminium and the welder can only fix steel. He makes more temporary repairs and we manage just 60kms for the day. Tomorrow there is a welder in Chilecito - 100kms away and over the "Cuesta de Miranda" a rough tough ripio pass with over 1000m of climbing. We redistribute weight to reduce the strain and hope for the best....

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