Buena Esperanza - The thirteenth step ... Six months in South America - CycleBlaze

October 17, 2022

Buena Esperanza

We were a bit apprehensive about today's ride because the wind forecast was for forty kilometer per hour winds, mostly from just north of east.  While the RN148 to Buena Esperanza headed mostly southwards, it was a double lane highway and we has only Pablo's friend's word that it would be the quietest of the roads from which we could choose.  A hundred and thirty plus kilometers seemed a bit far given the situation so the plan was to wild camp along the way.  

As we left Villa Mercedes a guy on a motorcycle rode next to and started chatting.  We pulled over to the side to let the traffic jam that had built up behind us get passed.  Walter, for that was his name, drew maps of the route we should take in the sand and repeated the mantra of "nada, nada, nada".  Unfortunately we don't have many options so the RN148 is the road we must take.

Walter showing his cartography skills.
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We were soon on a long section heading south eastwards and the wind was horrendous.  After twenty six kilometers the road turned southerly and we had a bit of assistance from the wind but this was negated by the gusts which seemed to come from the side.  All in all, about two thirds of the way headed due south, turning eastwards into the wind for the bits in between, so we made good time given the hindrance of the side gusts and the headwind sections.  Thankfully, Pablo's friend's was right and traffic was much lighter than what we have had for the past two weeks and trucks were few and far between. 

What became clear as the ride went on was that there was no place to wild camp.  This is cattle, maize and soya country and all the land is fenced off.  Besides,  the howling wind would have made for a dreadful night in the tent.  So we just pedaled on.

We did stop to bird once when we saw a mixed flock of Monk Parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus) and Blue-crowned Parakeets (Psittacara acuticaudatus).
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A highlight was spotting our first live armadillo,  a Large Hairy Armadillo (Chaetophractus villosus) that ran into the road just ahead of us, lay down and pretended to be a rock and then scuttled back into the grass.  It's amazing to have taken this long because the many we have seen have all been road kill.  In fact, we had a seen a recently killed one just a few hundred meters before we saw the live one.

We arrived in Buena Esperanza just before seven in the evening, booked into a crappy but cheap hotel and crashed.  

Today's ride: 135 km (84 miles)
Total: 2,339 km (1,453 miles)

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