1,100 meters up – 1,100 meters down
The roadworks went on for most of the night. The next day the stretch of road outside was three-quarters finished. Even though this is only the third day of riding I am really pleased that we have a rest day tomorrow.
The scenery is pretty much identical from yesterday: desert, hills, sand, wind, and once the cloud cover goes at 11:30am it is hot. Stark, but in a way it is strangely beautiful first thing in the morning, with fresh legs, and before the wind picks up and sun hits.
Once again there is a separate highway for much of the morning that we can ride on, which keeps us away from the traffic. We were told at the rider’s meeting last night that the place we are staying at is very quiet.
The ride after lunch was hard, uphill through endless desert with a head wind. My two year old inner voice was running a negative commentary about this being the back side of nowhere, whilst my adult voice was trying to be positive about the scenery. The two year got the upper hand when I saw from a distance where we were staying: 3 kilometres in the distance down a dirt track to a small town that did not look appealing on initial viewing.
I stopped at the restaurant on the main road, and had a cold beer to deal with the dust in my throat, and tried the ceviche (raw fish) which is a speciality here. Both were delicious. Then I set off to find the hotel.
We are staying at the Las Aldas Hotel, which was actually ok, small cabins but no power switches or wifi. Plus no cash machines which was not expected, and they don’t take credit cards. To add to my joy everything here is really expensive! Captive market. We had to order dinner on arrival which was “Do you want the meal of the day or not”.
I am not sharing with Sue as she has really bad gastro and, unlike me normally, I have said I am not prepared to catch it again so I am rooming with Emma, a 22 year old nursing student on her summer break from England. Emma joined us in Loja.
After sitting sulking on the deck of the cabin, in a hammock looking at the beautiful view, I got over myself and appreciated the stunning scenery.
As I had very little cash thankfully one of the other riders paid for my meal. Hopefully there will be a cash machine in the town although this looks extremely doubtful! Will worry about this tomorrow.
The meal was meant to be at 7pm and finally arrived at about 8:15pm. I thought I was having chicken but for some reason some of the riders had been allocated fish. I was happy, as fish was the better choice.
So after a long day in the sun and wind, plus red wine, I went off to bed for an early night, and happily no 5am start tomorrow.