It’s not all downhill…

I think I got a little carried away with my “it’s all downhill to Buenos Aires”. The first day after Jujuy was indeed flat. I managed to get a good rhythm up and smashed out 65km or so. Full of enthusiasm I started thinking I could do this everyday. Unfortunately that was not to be the case. Day to got a lot harder. The long straight, flat roads disappeard and I entered rolling hills. Up and down, up and down all day. To add to the difficulty the road has also lost it’s hard shoulder so I spend most of the day looking over my shoulder or diving to the verge to avoid the traffic. After 53km I came to a river and thought this would be a picturesque place to camp. While it was pretty it was anything but tranquil. As soon as I stopped I was swarmed by thousands of tiny little mosquitos that cover every available bit of skin on show. Within minutes I was dressed like the man from Milk Tray with my long Karrimor trousers, Merino wool top, gloves and cap. I started to set up camp on the river bank hen a couple of men fishing came and warned me about the rain. They advised I move from this soft turf spot and pitch my tent on a sandy/rocky area under an old bridge. Once my Force Ten tent was up, I set about cooking. To achieve this in any civilised manner I had to set up a kitchen in my tent where there were less mosquitos.

When I woke this morning I hoped that things would have calmed down but the unzipping of my tent must had woke the hordes and within seconds I was dancing around swiping mosquitos away. I made a quick decision to abandon breakfast and get away from this spot as quickly as possible. It was at this point I noticed my front tyre was flat. I changed the inner tube as quickly as possible while being eaten alive.

When I finally got on the road I was in a rather frustrated state. This was only to get worse. The hill kept rolling, the hard shoulder non existent and then the heavens opened. In 15 months it has only rained on 11 occasions while running and in most of those only a little splatter. Today the rain poured and everything was drenched though luckily protected in my Overboard bags. I pressed on. As the rain subsided the wind picked up and was blowing in my face. Could today get any more infuriating?

I had decided to stop at a town called Metan as it sort of fitted into my “get to BA of NYE” strategy. I thought I could find a hotel, bank and restaurant easily and settle in for a “half day”. Oh how that was not to be the case. I started scouting the city for hotels and banks using my Lumia 950XL but everywhere I went was fully booked or could not accommodate my stroller. Due to the current economic position in Argentina getting money is also a nightmare. The banks have either run out of money, don’t accept foreign cards or have long lines outside. Finding food is also a struggle. Unlike other South American countries, Argentina has less of a eat out culture and many more people must cook at home. After hours of plodding around I finally found a hotel with a proactive staff and a restaurant with steak sandwich.

Now I am preparing to set off again tomorrow. The original plan was to make Rosario de la Frontera in 4 days but hopefully I will be there by lunch, allowing me to progress a little further.

My prayers tonight will be for no rain, less hills and some slightly more inspiring scenery!

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

One comment

  1. Wild Bill Wiederhold · · Reply

    Hi Jamie,
    Glad to hear that you’re nearing the end, but I’d guess it still seems a million miles away.

    I hope the days ahead prove to be easier on you.

    Cheers!

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