Daily Archives: November 7, 2015

Day 99/164: Yala to Salta – 115km

Climbing 1315; down 1590.

The first 15 kilometres today we were on a really busy highway with the morning traffic and roadworks. Thankfully we the then turned off the main road and went on a really nice scenic route to 101 kilometres.

Delightful narrow roads over the hills (Photo credit: Sue's blog)

Delightful narrow roads over the hills (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

We went through some nice bush and mostly the climbing was gradual. Day 3 of not having to use any reliever medication, I still have the cough but thankfully not coughing at night anymore. It is nice to be able to ride and push myself without having to worry about asthma.

Amazing flowers (Photo credit: Sue's blog)

Amazing flowers (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

The houses are much nicer here than we have seen so far in South America. A number of them are quite palatial.

At 101 kilometres we turned back to the highway. Then we were on a motorway which was crazy. There was a sign that said no cyclists! But we had not been given an alternative route to go, so we stayed on it and hoped for the best. There were four of us riding together and we figured it was safer to stay in a group.

Once we got into the city the intersections without lights were chaos. Thankfully we got to the hotel intact.

We are staying at Hotel Ghala. The hotel is nice with great big rooms. In my room there is a huge king bed and single, a bath in the bathroom, and a separate basin and mirror outside the bathroom.

The population of Salta is 450 thousand, not counting tourists. There are lots of  tourists. A lot come here as part of visiting the wine region in Cafayate which is a 200 kilometres away.

We had dinner at a Cafe round the corner. The menu gave the red wine option as “Vino tinto” with no choice of type or name, but the one the waiter bought was nice. It was a Malbec. I had that with steak stuffed with spinach and cheese.

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Day 98/164: Humahuca to Yala – 115km

Climbing 500 meters, down 1,960

More bad news! When we woke up this morning the first thing we saw when we got up was a bike boxed up. Sadly one of the riders Mark is leaving as his mother had a bad fall and is not expected to live. Mark got the phone call last night and is heading home as quickly as he can. Unfortunately we heard later that she had died but Mark got there before they turned the life support off. Everyone is subdued, those who have elderly parents thinking about their parents, and those of us who have lost their parents thinking about that.

We are relieved to hear that April and Jodi will not have any serious long term effect from their injuries. The TDA staff have had such a bad week they must be exhausted! This is the same week that the yellow truck got stuck by the river and had to be pulled out, all the gear had to be transferred to the borrowed bus and back to the yellow truck when it was fixed. Plus the delay at the border with the insurance and now most of them have been up most the night!

There is lots of traffic and not a lot of shoulder to ride on.  A number of the towns have a traffic road separator system going into and coming out of the town, with raised traffic barrier arms on each side of the lane. This means the cars have to stay in the lane and can’t pass, but also they can’t pass cyclists so a few of them of course get annoyed and try to intimidate you from behind.

On the road today (Photo credit: Sue's blog)

On the road today (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

As always it is really windy from 10am, and we are riding into a headwind. After lunch we have 19 kilometres of climbing and wind. Thankfully with the drop in altitude my asthma has improved heaps.

On the road today - into a headwind (Photo credit: Sue's blog)

On the road today – into a headwind (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

The last 5 kilometres of the 19 climbing was pretty tough, and I was looking forward to the downhill at 91 kilometres. The hill had about 3 false summits, each time you thought “Yay”, no there was yet more. It was also quite cold.

Once we started the downhill about a third of the way down the scenery changed. Instead of dry rocky farmland and mountains, there were trees – lots of them and birds. It also got a lot warmer.

Beautiful trees (Photo credit: Sue's blog)

Beautiful trees (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

We rode past some enormous river flats. In the rainy season the rivers must be impressive.

We are staying at El Refugio campsite. This camp also has trees and grass, toilets and showers. Got to camp about 3pm, shared some nice red wine and peanuts with Shirley and Dan.

Dinner was chicken, salad, and corn on the cob with real butter.

We crossed the Tropic of Capricorn early on this morning (Photo credit: Sue's blog)

We crossed the Tropic of Capricorn early on this morning (Photo credit: Sue’s blog)

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