Sunday, 27 January 2013

The question is.......


The question is:

will these gloves last the rest of the trip?

To vote YES - text the word 'Sucker' to 0884546

To vote NO - text the phrase 'there is one born every day' to 0884547.

(No winner will be announced for this competition, as there is no winner. Infact, it is not even a real contest at all. It Is merely a way of getting me some money as I receive a proportion of all the extortionate money taken from you for every text you send).


Friday, 25 January 2013

WarmShowers to the rescue! 07.01.13

I had overheated on the ride into Chilecito. We were sat in the square, Sarah checking her wifi for a campground or cheap hotel for the night. I just wanted her to sort it all out.

Then up wanders a man who introduces himself as Jorge, and volunteers that he is a member of WarmShowers (Editor; a voluntary group who offer free hospitality to passing cycle tourists).

He has just finished work, saw us sat in the park bench and wandered over. He finishes some chores then escorts us on his moped the very short distance to his home which he shares with his wife and children. (I am still not sure whether he drove slowly or the top speeed of his moped was slower than purs). He feeds us,gives us cold beer, a shower, our own bedroom and fan. What a result for us, and a perfect example of the sort of hospitality that still abounds out there - mankind has not lost himself completely. Not by a long way.

The best of it is Jorge doesn't even cycle tour, he doesn't even ride a bike. His sister did a bike tour and recieved hospitality from WarmShowers hosts, and he thought he would repay the kindness.


Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Evan's home. (Part four)

Stilts - remember them? What a fun way to break a limb!

And my favourite.... Love those ears.


Evan and Anna's home. 05.01.13 (part three)

The man himself, with sons Marcos and Mateo. And vicious guard dogs...


And vicious guard-chickens.


Evan and Anna's home. 05.01.13 (part two)

The 'mad max' chair, about 40' up the slope...

Continuing the mad max theme; Evan's work buggy. It is not a toy. All men should have one.





Evan and Anna's home. 05.01.13 (part one)

So at the end of a rather tiring ride we were looking for a wild-camping spot a little late in the day when we stumbled across Evan and Anna's home 'campground'. Evan has transformed their land with the use of water (Fed from an ancient spring), chickens, vines, guinea fowl, hill top observatories, handsome dogs, commando slides, a zillion frogs (Meaning almost no mosquitos), skulls and mad max creations, traditional games such as stilts, ducks, dune buggies, a 1/3rd size floodlit football pitch - and a few spots for camping. Most of all it is an oasis of ideas.

Wildlife. Some living, some not-so-living.

Thus I found myself at the end of this tiring day soaking in a 100 year old mineral water pool, wondering what all the fuss had been earlier in the day.

Me scream at the wind? No, never. Not me.




Monday, 7 January 2013

Have you ever screamed at the wind? 05.01.13

So - have you ever screamed at the wind? Really screamed, as though your very life depended on it?

So - have you? I mean, have you? Demented, whirling-dervish cursing, using words you had forgotten, then some that don't even exist, words that would make even Captain Ahab flinch?

What manner of weather gods could throw such a wind in your face, directly in your face, forcing you to fight for every horizontal gain, crawling your way forward? On a road that looked like this- for 80k...?

A god, perhaps yes, but only a demon would then decide to take that wind from a furnace, 36c in the shade and rising. Not that there is any shade mind you. Only a demon would do that.

Or if you have never screamed at the wind, have you always sat in a comfortable chair, cushion at your back, remote control beside you, cool drinks stocked in the fridge? But, above all else, comfortable? Well, I can tell you.....

(Editor; this post has been interrupted to allow Mr. Dalziel's medical team to administer his medication. Normal service will be resumed shortly....). hour later......

Now, where was I? Ah yes. Today we headed south into a bit of a headwind, and later on it became rather hot, forcing us to take a siesta in the shade of some trees beside the road. Looking for a wild-camping spot and feeling a little sweaty the end of the day came up trumps - we stumbled across a little piece of heaven in the form of Evan and Anna's home.

More of this on the next post.......

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Feliz Ano Nuevo!!!! Tuesday 1st January 2013

Feliz Ano Nuevo for 2013

from Dave & Sarah in Argentina....


Where there was no hope, he brought hope. 29.12.12.

Where there was no hope, he brought hope.

Firstly, let me set the scene. I came to South America knowing it was a 'beer desert'. And as I write that what strikes me is just how utterly daft I was. What on earth was I thinking? Perhaps Sarah doped me like BA in the A Team.

Anyway, I knew this fact; there is no decent beer in South America.

But...... Today we came to the end of the dirt section of routa 40, tarmac taking us smoothly into the village of San Carlos. It is the sort of place every traveller wants to find; the tourists do not stop as they head straight to the wine town of Cafayata only 20k down the road, so the plaza and cafes are populated by the locals. Working gauchos arrive in the plaza on horseback, even parents carry their children around on the saddle infront of them.

We immediately liked San Carlos.

We sat at a small cafe and I spied a different beer bottle in the glass-fronted fridge....Moving closer I realised I was looking at a range of 'artisanal' beers from that very town.

I tried one, then another. And I rejoiced! A Belgium gent (and he was a real gent) Alain - was brewing Belgium style beers at his hacienda, La Vaca Tranquila (the sleepy cow), on the edge of town. Only 1.5kilometers away. 9 beers in total from a refreshing 6% to the Rochefort-esque Lunes at 11%.


The beer was good, very good, and I gave thanks. Alain had given me hope. For where there is one who brews, there may be a second, or a third.....


And so it came to pass that we stayed at his wonderful hacienda for two wonderful nights. And my cup runneth over....and my head was soreth.



(Me echo la Burro means 'my falling down donkey').


And sand becomes tarmac! 1439hrs 29.12.12

Although we do like riding on dirt roads, we always enjoy that very special moment when we regain tarmac once more. Sometimes I actually do kiss the ground.

At 1439hrs 29.12.12 we found ourselves on smooth, smooth tarmac once again.

It may not appear dramatic in the photo, but this was an emotional moment. Truly.



The rough road. 29.12.12

We were on Routa 40, and this section was all dirt, it was all rough and very sandy. Hard to bike along.

But stunning as well.




Still people lived and worked along the fertile corridor down the valley.


...... and we knew there was tarmac somewhere ahead....


Awaken by gauchos. 28.12.12

Picture us if you will; wild camping on rough land beside a section of the very rough dirt road that is Routa 40, near to where this photo was taken.

A tranquil wildcamp spot. Until midnight, when I was awoken by the sound of multiple gaucho (Editor; Jacky, gaucho is a spanish cowboy) horses - the horses move with a very distinctive 'high step' motion; the sound is unmistakable. And on the gaucho horses there were gauchos, who gabbled away in rapid Spanish about 'us'.

Shortly afterwards I stood under the brilliant full moon in my shorts talking to a 'real-time gaucho' sat astride his handsome work horse, trying to explain why we were camped on that particular bit of land - which may have been his?

Unfortuanately my 'command' of Spanish did not yield any explanation as to what he and his mates were doing horsing around the desert at midnight. I wondered if the full moon had something to do with it. We parted company friends, but with that question unanswered.

Perhaps the only bit that mattered was the 'todo bien' that came from his very friendly face. His horse and Sarah remained impassive throughout, the latter pretending to be asleep.



South from Salta 27. 12.12

After a relaxing 4 day layover in Salta we head south towards the town of Cachi. It is always nice after an indulgent layover to take things easy the first day. Nt this time, though. There was only one hill to speak of, the Cuesta La Obispo. However, it did have an impressive set of numbers with a continuous height gain of over 2,400mts - 7,874 feet.

The northern approach to Salta and its surroundings had been a surprise to me; lush and verdant. With the steep sided valley it created a landscape what I imagine Hawaii to be like (Another country ticked off).

The climb itself did go on and on, but the grades were not steep and lent themselves to enjoying to view.

The views from the top were spectacular, but as we climbed into the cloud base at 2000mts we could see nothing, until we dropped below it on the other side. And the other side was like another planet.

This was the arid northwest Agentina I had been expecting......