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

September 5, 2022 to September 6, 2022

Naranjito

Journals we had read about cycle touring through Paraguay had warned us that the route we were taking is hilly and the traffic unrelenting and they have been proved correct.  The PY06, the road between Cuidad del Este and Encarnacion, is an endless roller coaster of moderately steep and moderately long hills with very few flattish sections.  Trucks and pickups race constantly by.  Thankfully, there is a good shouder and we haven't felt unsafe at all but our unfit legs need a rest after two hundred  kilometers of hard work.

We passed through two natural tunnels. This one just south of Santa Rita even had a roadside sign trumpeting its existence.
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The Paraguayan roads are littered with service stations. Many are excellent with clean toilets and a simple shop cum diner. Many have water dispensers and some even have hot showers. They are aimed at the truckers of which there are countless, this being a landlocked country. The water dispensers mean I don't have to haul out the Sawyer filter to secure our drinking water. This one where I am filling up our water bottles had some zany sculpters made from vehicle parts.
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When we had left our digs in Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, the host had suggested we ride southwards through Argentina because "there is nothing to see" in Paraguay.  Well, he was right.  It is mostly hill after hill covered with intensive crop production interspersed with little run down settlements of impoverished locals.  Every now and then a larger town devoted to servicing Big Agriculture appears.  Santa Rita was one of those and so is Naranjito where we are spending two nights to give our legs a breather.  

The two reasons we decided on the Paraguay route was, firstly, that we wanted to see it for ourselves and, secondly, because we only have ninety days to make it through Argentina to get to the border at Futaleufu in Chile before our visa-free allocated time in the country is up.  Even though it is hard and rather boring cycling it was, I think, still the right choice.

The ride from Santa Rita started out in cool overcast weather but, for the first time on this trip, no wind to speak of.  After forty kilometers of struggling up the hills we pulled into a diner at a service station for lunch.  That revived us but soon after we were back on the road the rain started falling and it kept it up until we reached Narajito.  About eight kilometers from Naranjito the rain started falling more heavily and we took shelter in a broken down bus shelter but we eventually gave up waiting for the rain to ease up and pushed on.

Waiting in vain for the rain to stop.
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I had mentioned earlier that we planned to wild camp at the service station at Narajito but before we left Santa Rita I was suprised to find on Google that there was now a new budget hotel at the service station.  Our hope was that they would have a room available for us because camping in the rain next a busy road is doable but certainly not enjoyable.  Fortunately they had and we booked in for two nights so we could have a good rest.  A budget hotel next to a busy road might not be everyone's cup of tea but for tired and wet cycle tourists it seemed like heaven.

The excellent ECOP service station on the outskirts of Narajito.
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P$220,000 (about US$25) buys an excellent room including breakfast in the diner for two people per night.
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Steve Miller/GrampiesYour room still looks very tidy. You must not have "exploded" your packs yet.
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3 weeks ago
Jean-Marc StrydomThe missus wouldn't let me photograph our room because she was lying in bed at the time! So I took a quick pic of a vacant room. Not quite honest but it was to give an impression and not provide a forensic examination.
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3 weeks ago

What our host in Puerto Iguazu did conceded was that the Jesuit mission ruins at Trinidad are worth visiting.  We hope to be there in two days time.

Today's ride: 67 km (42 miles)
Total: 207 km (129 miles)

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