Wildcamp west of Maria Luis - The thirteenth step ... Six months in South America - CycleBlaze

September 28, 2022

Wildcamp west of Maria Luis

I wasn't sure if the selection of the hotel over camping outside the YPF was the best choice.  It was expensive for what we got but we did have a very good night's sleep.  Breakfast was below par, even when judged against the low bar set in Argentina. I am not sure that the first meal of the day is that important here.  In the previous hotel a guest at down at the breakfast table, drank a cup of hot milk and left.  Perhaps it is the strong Italian influence where, if a travel book I read is to be believed, a good breakfast consists of a cup of coffee and a cigarette.

Typical Argentinian breakfast.
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Once on the road, the provincial route 62 heading westwards, we had a light wind coming over our left shoulders and very little traffic making for some very easy riding.  It was still pretty flat with an occasional step taking us up a few meters.

This picture could be mistaken for being somewhere in the Kalahari or Northern Cape of South Africa and the big nest in the windmill being that of Sociable Weavers (Philetairus socius) but it is the nest of Monk Parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus) which, similarly to Sociable Weavers, breed in colonial nests.
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Monk Parakeets in their windmill based nest. Each pair has theown entrance.
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This sign illustrates how flat the countryside has been. The warning is for a dip of about three meters over two hundred meters.
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Just outside Emilia we found an open grocery store where we picked up some extra food but couldn't find any fresh fruit or vegetables. We detoured into the little town but everything was shut for siesta even though it was only half past twelve.  So we took our lunch of bread and boiled eggs in the little park at the center of the town, being entertained by the Monk Parakeets nesting there and the Spot-winged Pigeons (Patagioenas maculosa) strutting around.

Spot-winged Pigeon (Patagioenas maculosa)
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From there it was another twenty kilometers to Maria Luis, even smaller than Emilia but with an open shop where we were gifted with some tomatoes and red peppers by a farmer delivering vegetables.

Route 62 is a popular tourist road through the Little Karoo in South Africa and it has a similar logo as this one, just outside Maria Luis, but spelt in English.
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About five kilometers out of town we arrived at a bridge across a river that we had seen on Google Maps that looked like a good wild camping spot.  A couple of hundred meters off the road to the north of the bridge was a lovely site, clearly often  used by locals, that we have claimed for the night.  Perfectly private, it gave us an opportunity to have a good wash, something  not always possible when wild camping. 

Later two locals arrived to fish but they moved about a hundred meters up river so we have our quiet spot to ourselves for the night.

Our digs for the night.
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Pre-prandial drinks by the riverside.
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Today's ride: 90 km (56 miles)
Total: 1,350 km (838 miles)

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