Routes 26, 39 and14: San Jose, at last nice itinerary and weather - Northbound from Argentina through Brazil - CycleBlaze

September 6, 2010

Routes 26, 39 and14: San Jose, at last nice itinerary and weather

Sat 4th Sept. Victoria to camping under bridge. 93kms. Map 5.

Those that have followed this journal will know that I had had a plan of continuing South to Rosario and on to Buenos Aires but plans can always change which is the beauty of cycle touring is its flexibility. Here in Victoria if you look west the veiw is low wetlands towards the Parana river. My new itinerary is east across the province of Entre Rios (the province's name literally means between the rivers) to the Uruguay river.

This morning I's up and had breakfast by eight but when I've paid the price of an hotel in a town I like to get alot of other things done too, things like internet, food shopping and maybe a few photos so as a result it was quite late when I left, the cold grey morning doing nothing to aid motivation.

Yet again, though not as bad as leaving Parana, here there were nice roads with many roundabouts on the way out of the city but precious few signs indicating the directions for someone like me who's a straighter in this neck of the woods. I first cycled along the most obvious looking road which I thought would take me to where I wanted to go. According to a sign this road would take me to a place beginning with G but I thought after I'd cycled a kilometre that I should consult my map to make sure. My map which was the one I photoed on the way out of Parana because the paper one I've got is close to hopeless showed G to be on route 11, I wanted route 26 to a place called Nogoya, so I doubled back.

Back at the same roundabout where I'd seen the sign for G I took the alternative road which didn't have a sign saying it went anywhere but over the brow of a hill there was another roundabout. This one had a sign ok, Rosario in one direction, Parana and Nogoya the other. So I's on the right track but round the bend there was yet another roundabout with three exits none of which indicated the way to Nogoya. I's left to my initiative once again. The road I took gave me a view back towards Victoria as well as having a cold cross wind. Soon a late model Land Rover slowed and it's irate driver asked me, yes me directions and when I said I didn't know quickly drove off. He was just as pissed off as me. The road was a long straight inclined which hide yet another roundabout ahead which was lucky as there was a sign for Nogoya and from here on I'd a tailwind.

Derailleur gears are fine in dry condition, in dirty wet condition like I've had this last week they pick up allot of black gauche and the front changer usually malfunctions. Mine this morning won't lift the chain onto the big ring which is annoying because having the wind blow me along I want to be on the big ring most of the time but however there were a few rises where it would've been best to be in the middle where I just powered up on the big as the alternative was to get off at the top and lift the oily chain with my fingers from the middle to the big ring to continue on in a suitable gear.

It goes without saying that I covered the 43kms to Nogoya quite quickly, getting there in under two hours. There I stopped at a roadside cafe for lunch and again being on a bike with panniers plus trailer aroused interest. Sometimes however certain people can be a little much. A large family group arrived shortly after me. A man from this group approached my table. I's writing something in my diary at the time and without even an excuse me spoke to me in broken English. Presently the woman of the establishment brought me my food and asked me where I's from. He took it on himself to translate 'which country you from' as if I'd been in the country so long and had not the gumption to know the most rudimentary of phrases.

I continued on through Nogoya but before I'd emerged the other side a young man in a car stopped me. He said he was a cyclist too. He was the sort of person I liked. He said he thought my cycle tour was hermoso beautiful and he'd do the same if he had the time. He asked me to join him to a cold drink at his house which was only a short distance away but I declined as I saw an YPF station up ahead and said I'd rather go there and have a good coffee. He saw my point smiled and wished me good luck.

Onwards from Nogoya the wind still on my back the countryside although not breathtaking was extremely pleasant with rolling farmland with groves of trees, reed margened ponds and meandering streams.

Tonight I'm camped beneath a bridge the road is overhead. It's quite a solid bridge as when a truck passes overhead it passes smoothly there being none of the earth quake vibration. In fact there isn't much traffic anyway. It's quite tranquil with the noise of the stream and some animal with a bell on it's neck a little distance off.

Sometime later, I most have been asleep when I's awaken by something and when I jumped up looking out saw men with torches but they were on the other side of the stream climbing across a fence into the scrub land. I don't think they saw me or if they did weren't interest as they're perhaps after the animal with the bell.

Sun 5th Sept. Camping beneath bridge to camping by old railway. 114kms

As I cycle more and more east the mornings are lighter with the sun rising now just after seven. The down side though is it's dark earlier with sunset at seven. I reached the town of Rosario de Tala at nine thirty to a nice sunny Spring morning. There were only a few people about mainly elderly. The old man sweeping the pavement outside his house stopped in astonishment when I passed. I reached the plaza which had flowers beds of yellow and purple blooms. I just wanted a photo of my bike in the plaza and was looking around for a suitable composition but no I'd people come along and ask me where I's cycling to and where I'd cycled from to the usual looks of incredibility. I'd only taken the time to cycle the long way from the main road to buy bread but didn't find a bakery.

The next town had lots of old railway carriages and an old steam locomotive. I didn't find a bakery but I found a shop that sold bread where I bought ham and cheese for the evenings supper but couldn't find either facturas (sweet filled pastries) or alfarjores (biscuit toffee sandwich) which would've been great for breakfast. On the way out off town however I did after all see a bakery with a delicious selection of facturas and alfarjores visable through the window which was as close as I would get to them as the bakery was shut.

The farms here seem to be quite small as every few hundred metres there's a farmyard which means almost continual barking dogs that seem to have nothing better to do but run after me. It's not been bitten that worries me as they rarely get that close. It's the distraction they cause on a busy road which is stressful enough without mad barking dogs.

Here too there's allot of battery hen farms. The stench of the mature hangs in the air. The housing is often a shelter without walls so the hideous cruelty of row upon row of birds in cages are on show as well as the stench.

By four I'd reached the drive into Palacio San Jose residence to Justo Jose Irquiza, president when Parana was the capital after the country broke away from Buenos Aires for a period. It being a Sunday afternoon the car park was full. There were families sat on the grass enjoying the sunshine drinking mate. As I walked through the main gate house a little boy uttered something unintelligible the mother with great reverence answers 'es la casa de Irquiza' it's Irquiza house as if a three year old cared. There followed a long series of rooms around a courtyard where the Irquizas lived many of which had an old musty smell. There was the bedroom where President D F Sarimiento slept when he visited in January 1870. There weren't on-suit bathrooms then instead the president made do with a marble topped dressing table with mirror bowl and jug for washing, below there was a drawer which slid out containing a bedpan for essential bodily functions.

Irquiza didn't live long after that. On the evening of April 11th the same year a group of armed men broke into the palace by the rear gates shooting him fatally. He put his arm out to support his failing body and the pam of his hand left a bloody hand print on the wall which has been preserved and is one of the exhibits which attracts most interest.

On both sides of the gravel drive on the way back to the road the grass was nicely cropped down by cattle and there were lots of tall trees. I's thinking what a great place to camp if I waited till it got dark perhaps nobody would see but I knew there'd always be a man on horseback or a policeman which would most likely wake me up in the night. Instead I returned to the main road where the prospects weren't looking so good seeing that there were farmyards every few hundred metres. I passed a village with a service station and thought perhaps I could camp at the back but as it was a scruffy looking place there's probably a heap of rubbish at the back. I's right it was a right dump. I cycled up a lane hoping it didn't lead to a farm. It did. A long way before though there was a grove of trees which would've done but when I got that far I's disappointed to find it shielded a house so I returned to the road. An old disused railway ran parallel to the road for the most part overgrown with scrub but further on the scrub had been burned and behind the builded up embankment for the track I found a place sufficiently hidden form the road just as the sun was getting so low it was dangerous to remain on the road. I quickly got the tent up, climbed into the sleeping bag and never stared till morning.

Mon 6th Sept. Camping by old railway to Colon del Uruguay. 55kms.

It being brighter in the mornings now I's awake at six thirty and had a bigger breakfast than normal as I didn't eat last night plus I'd to write my diary so it was almost nine when I got on the road.

I'm now sat in the cafeteria of a PetroBras service station where I came expecting wifi but there isn't, but they do nevertheless have great coffee and I've bough a map of Uruguay where I'm off to next. I'm dissapointed looking at the map to find I've got to cycle 30kms on route 14 called by some La ruta de muerta, road of death as it's so dangerous.

It turned out the road had a paved shoulder and they're building a new carriage way to turn it into autopista so I could cycled on the new road well away from the traffic.

The plan for today was to stop early in Colon del Uruguay to up date the journal. On first impressions Colon is a tourist resort with a water front on the Urugray river. There's a long walled promenade along the water front and lots of expensive hotel, spas and casinos opposite but there is a camping site and that's were I'm staying. So it's now time to get the tent and sleeping bag crispy dry in the afternoon sunshine as well as doing some washing.

Cold grey morning in Victoria.
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Badly rutted ash felt.
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Old fashion milk cans.
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The old road onwards from Nogoya.
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Camping beneath bridge.
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Plaza in Rosario de Tala.
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Surely white wasn't the original colour at the front.
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Dome ceiling, Palacio de San Jose.
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Before the gramophone someone had to play piano.
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And there was always time for Pool and Backgammon.
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Courtyard, Palacio de San Jose.
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A graveyard.
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Prospective campsite to the right.
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Rusty hulk on Rio Uruguay.
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That bike rocks!
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Today's ride: 264 km (164 miles)
Total: 1,667 km (1,035 miles)

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