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

October 22, 2022 to October 23, 2022

Victorica

Saturday 22nd October  2022

We had hoped for a tailwind today but instead had a light headwind for most of the ride with the wind shifting to the north east for the last hour or so.  Nonetheless it was good  to be back on the bikes.  The traffic  was light and the route pretty  flat.  There was also more tree cover and less open farmland than further north with a few good  options in which to wild camp if that were necessary. It seems that  very few cycle tourists choose the route through the middle of Argentina but if anyone were to do so the RN148 would not be the worst road to take.

Much of the route today was through this huge estancia.
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Two nice wildlife moments on today's ride.  First another live Large Hairy Armadillo as well as a dead one and then a lovely Tarantula. 

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Bill ShaneyfeltNice tarantula!
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1 month ago
Jean-Marc StrydomI won't even try to identify it. There are apparently more than a thousand Tarantula species.
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1 month ago
Bill ShaneyfeltAmazing the diversity... so intricate even "experts" disagree! :-)
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1 month ago

We crossed into La Pampa province about twenty five kilometers north of Victorica.  Againt my expectations the vegetation changed from grasslands to woodlands although I suspect it is mostly the lack of man's hand than nature being the cause thereof. 

I took the picture of the sign below so that I could read up about it afterwards not realising that  the important element was actually the tree in the background.  Prosopis caldenia , the Caldén is a species of  tree native to Argentina that forms woodlands and forests called caldenales that extend  through the southeast of the province of San Luis and southwest of the province of Córdoba  and then across the middle of the province of La Pampa up to the southwest end of the interior of the Province of Buenos Aires.

In the background a Prosopis caldenia.
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As usual, we rolled into town just as folks were settling down for siesta.  Victorica has no shortage of accommodation options but we stopped at the first set of rooms we came across (having done a bit of research beforehand) which was a motel like establishment on the eastern edge of town.  I called the number and the owner told me to help myself from a selection of rooms, saying that they were all open and the keys were in the doors.  Theft is clearly not an issue in these parts.

About four hours later a young man opened up the small mercado attached to the establishment and I went across to pay for our room and buy a few things.  He was intrigued by my French name but I found his even more intriguing.  His father loved Formula One racing and named him "Williams" but he said he would have preferred to be called "Ayrton".

In South Africa we would call this contraption a braai but here in South America it is a parrilla (pronounced pahr-ree-yah) but much of the world knows it as a BBQ. It was the best place on which to cook supper.
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Sunday 23rd October 2022

We changed plans again this morning, deciding to break the long ride to Santa Isabel in two, but only leaving tomorrow because to the wind today was rather wicked and it would make wild camping on a bleak featureless road even less appealing. 

So we paid for an extra night and set our hearts on enjoying a parilla lunch at the local  parilla restaurant.   The owner of our digs said it should  open around midday.  We cycled to it soon after twelve but it was closed.  An old fellow stuck his head out and told us they weren't going to open today.  So we headed back to our digs feeling a bit grumpy and quite disappointed.  I cooked up a  curry for lunch instead but we are starting to think we won't enjoy a parilla until we get to a more touristy or populated town.  Maybe Baricloche will deliver but we will only get there in about a month's time.

A bonus for staying an extra night was this slightly out of range Purple Martin (Progne subis). The males are almost identical to the more common Southern Martins (Progne elegans) but the females are quite different. Thank goodness this guy's missus was keeping him company so we could make an informed ID.
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Female Purple Martin
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This being Argentina it was inevitable that a dog attached itself to us.
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Today's ride: 83 km (52 miles)
Total: 2,540 km (1,577 miles)

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