Alajandra - The thirteenth step ... Six months in South America - CycleBlaze

September 24, 2022


In so many ways today's ride was the most enjoyable that we have had so far since arriving back in South America.  We had the benefit of the wind blowing over our left shoulders at about fifteen kilometers per hour for most of the ride, with the exception of about seven kilometers (details of which are below).  The end result was our first triple digit day, although it should have been at least fifteen kilometers less.

Leaving Reconquista we diverted off the terrible RN11 onto a provincial road.  The lack of traffic relative to the RN11 was immediately obvious.  We noticed a paved pathway being constructed alongside the road and streetlights above the pathway.  We wondered what its prpose was and could only think that it might be to provide a safe route for the pilgrimage from Santa Fe to Itabi.  This carried on for for about fourteen kilometers most of which passed through a lovely wetland reserve full of birds.  We knew we had a long day ahead of us so we resisted the temptation to stop and do a bit of birding because with the wind assisting us for once we wanted to make hay while the wind blew.

This marshy plain was full of birds.
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The path that had us wondering.
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What we hadn't noticed, until we reached the little village of Puerto Reconqusta, was that we had missed an intersection seven kilometers back.  The number of times this has happened to us when we are lost in the enjoyment of pleasant cycling conditions is too many to remember.  So after taking advice from a local we slogged back into the wind to the unmarked intersection and continued southwards, an hour or so and fifteen kilometers wasted.

Once back on the correct route it was great cycling with very little traffic and a slightly more attractive, if no less uninteresting, scenery than through which we have passed for much of the ride through Argentina so far.

Great to ride on empty roads.
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We reached the town of Alejandra soon after four in the afternoon and managed to clock up another six or seven kilometers riding up and down trying to find a place to sleep for the night.  The first hospedaje we looked at was filthy beyond description and was asking a rediculous fee of four thousand pesos for the night.  This seemed to skew our perceptions somewhat and we skipped a few that we thought would too expensive for what they may deliver.  The local municipal campsite was free but was filthy and was sure to turn into a Saturday night party venue for the locals.  All we wanted was a reasonably clean shower and a place to pitch the tent.  The local Bomberos, the volunteer firemen, couldn't help because their shower was out of action and, in any case, there was nowhere else to camp apart from at the municipal campsite.  Wildcamping might be found further down the road but how much further?  

We had one last throw of the dice and called at Hospedaje Piedra Blanca which had poor reviews on Google.  It looked OK and would only be three thousand six hundred pesos.  But guests had just checked out and it needed cleaning, which the duena was happy to do if we were prepared to wait.  While she was busy we told her that we would be happy just to use the shower and loo and pitch our tent in the garden if that was OK for her, and if so, would she drop her price ?  We agreed on two thousand pesos and Leigh and I sat and drank a beer while we waited for her to finish cleaning.  When she was done she said, quite firmly, that we couldn't camp in the garden but had to sleep in the cabana but the price would remain two thousand pesos.  What followed was a long friendly conversation, photos taken and far too many personal details shared.  Alajandra (her name matches that of the town in which she lives) who first seemed rather stern and formal, turned out to be an absolute honey.

We're a bit tired and tomorrow is going to be another long day.  We are just so grateful to be on quiet roads again so the long tiring rides are worth it.

Today's ride: 111 km (69 miles)
Total: 1,094 km (679 miles)

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