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

October 29, 2022 to October 30, 2022


Saturday 29th October

We are back in Patagonia! 

Of course, the wind is howling.  It is currently blowing at about fifty kilometers an hour but apparently it touched ninety kilometers an hour last night.  We have another four months of this so we had better suck it up.

The day started with my alarm going off at six o'clock and Leigh, who had been awake for about half an hour already, telling me that the weather was going to turn bad earlier than we had thought and we that we needed to start riding as soon as possible.

Despite the urgency I still made sure I had a couple of cups of coffee while Leigh sipped a similar amount of yerba from her mate and we had some crackers and Marie biscuits as a poor substitute for breakfast.

At a quarter to seven we were on the road heading into a light headwind.  Within the hour the wind had changed to blowing from the north and we started to make good time.  We knew that soon after midday it would be blowing strongly from the south so we motivated to cover the sixty five kilometers to Catriel as soon as possible.

The road surface was attrocious for most of the way to the intersection of the RN151 and RP20, the main road from Bahia Blanca on the Atlantic coast.  Here we stopped for some empenades as second brekkies and were joined on the road by what seemed like a gazillion other vehicles.  We have become so used to very little traffic that it was a shock to our systems.

Just south of the intersection where the road turned off to Vienticinco del Mayo at the the Rio Colorado  we crossed into Patagonia.

Note the trees in the background. Even though they are alien invaders it was a sight for sore eyes after the scrubby treeless vegetation through which we have been passing.
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So what and where is Patagonia according to Wikipedia ?

Patagonia (Spanish pronunciation: [pataˈɣonja]) refers to a geographical region that encompasses the southern end of South America, governed by Argentina and Chile. The region comprises the southern section of the Andes Mountains with lakes, fjords, temperate rainforests, and glaciers in the west and deserts, tablelands and steppes to the east. Patagonia is bounded by the Pacific Ocean on the west, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and many bodies of water that connect them, such as the Strait of Magellan, the Beagle Channel, and the Drake Passage to the South.

The Colorado and Barrancas rivers, which run from the Andes to the Atlantic, are commonly considered the northern limit of Argentine Patagonia.  Most geographers and historians locate the northern limit of Chilean Patagonia at Huincul Fault, in Araucanía Region.

On the Rio Negro Province side of the Rio Colorado with La Pampa Province on the northern side of the river. Four provinces connect with each other just a few kilometerss west of here, namely La Pampa, Rio Negro, Mendoza and Nequen.
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The ride from El Cruce, the name given to the intersection that introduced all the traffic,  to Catriel was pretty unpleasant but we got to Catriel by eleven twenty.  Our target to miss the wind had been twelve noon. 

Francisco, the really great host of our AirBnB for the next two nights, checked us in to our apartment and promptly invited us to join him for a few beers at the local craft brewery later tonight (we accepted at first but then later declined because we knew wwe would end up falling asleep just as the evening got going).  He speaks pretty good English and is also a regular road and MTB cyclist.  

Within an hour of us checking in the wind changed to blow from the south and was very quickly at its predicted forty to fifty kilometers an hour.  Thank goodness we made it here in time.

Sunday 30th October

Normal rest day stuff plus a binge watch of Netflix crime series.  We're due for a longer rest at some point but the ninety day limit in Argentina keeps driving us on so we will carrying southwards tomorrow.

A thought provoking mural directly outside our digs. We never quite worked out what it's message was.
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Today's ride: 66 km (41 miles)
Total: 2,908 km (1,806 miles)

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