Picun Leafu - The thirteenth step ... Six months in South America - CycleBlaze

November 4, 2022 to November 5, 2022

Picun Leafu

Friday 4th November 2022

We had hoped for a tailwind and a quieter road once we had turned off the RN22 and onto the RN237 because the good hard shoulder that we have enjoyed since Neuquén would disappear.   Unfortunately it didn't turn out like that and we had to brave some heavy traffic for most of the ride and a headwind for the last twenty kilometers. 

The countryside has become a bit more attractive.  The areas near the rivers are well treed and there are more hills about.  The climb of the day turned out to be long and gentle.  We descended into the town of El Chocon, the center of an area rich in dinosaur finds.  We should have taken the time to stop and have a look but the busy road had us intent on getting to our destination. 

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The Rio Limay has been turned into a man made lake to provide water and hydroelectric power.
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We stopped for lunch at a bus stop at the entrance to a private town on the banks of the lake but the flies soon drive us out and we ate our bread and salami next to the road instead.
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We had made good time so as we approached Picun Leafu we stopped to do some birdwatching a couple  of times.  We didn't see anything special  but we had a group of Burrowing Parrots that for once were easy to photograph. 

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Despite the birding and stopping in the town to do some shopping, we still arrived at our digs about an hour before we said we would and woke the friendly and helpful Jorge from his afternoon siesta.

Saturday 5th November 2022

Jorge and Maria have been lovely hosts.  We had lunch with them today.  Ham and cheese empanadas made by Maria and cooked in beef fat on an open fire by Jorge.

Trying my best to "help" Jorge with the cooking.
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After his siesta Jorge took us out for a drive through the countryside surrounding Picun Leafu.  He was a mine of information with respect to natural history,  showing us various plants with different uses and behaviors,  including something  daisy-like that was actually carnivorous, a quick stop at a farm where a neighbor was butchering sheep carcasses in preparation for an Amado and lots of time on the rocks around the Embalse Exequiel Ramos looking at the dinosaur footprints preserved in the solidified mud.

Looking at the print of a juvenile Giganotosaurus carolinii, the largest known carnivorous dinosaur.
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Prints from the Gigantosaurus' presumed prey - a much larger vegetarian dinosaur, prints of which were all over the place.
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Carnivorous plant, the name of which escapes me.
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It was past seven o'clock in the evening by the time we got back from our excursion so we had a hurried supper because we need an early night.  We have a long day to Piedra del Aguila tomorrow and the heat and the wind are not likely to be on our side.  Jorge kindly offered us an extra night here for free but we need to keep moving.

Today's ride: 88 km (55 miles)
Total: 3,202 km (1,988 miles)

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