Argentina, we are here. crossed a busy border two days ago, since I am now traveling on the lead truck with our driver Robert from barcelona, his friend Maria who is here visiting him until we reach Salta, and our cook Ellen, I got to experience the process of getting one of our Bike Dream trucks across the border. a large tourist bus had arrived just before us – they were making all of the passengers bring their personal luggage with them through both the exit process from Bolivia and also the entry process into Argentina. It was a very slow line we found ourselves in and a hot sun to add to our impatience. We finally all walked away with exit and entry stamped passports then waited while Robert presented the large packet of paperwork covering both the vehicle and bike dreams work permits in Argentina. It really didn’t take too long – the authorities opened a couple of the sliding doors on the truck but we didn’t have to pull out any of the contents. while we waited we found we could walk freely between the two countries without question. I think you could actually just walk across without anyone questioning anything. as an American citizen it was required that I have a $160 reciprocity receipt with me – it’s good for 10 years. Canadians and Australians also have to have them. I had previously had one in 2004 but was expired now.
Now we are in the land of Malbec wines, toronado steaks and gauchos. Looking at my route map, this moment had seemed such a distant goal at the end of July. Bolivia has been a pleasant surprise. very friendly people, quiet roads to cycle, beautiful countryside, and good but simple food. the salar de uyuni was definitely a highlight and the ride in and out of La Paz the low point for me. That trip into the valley was just too crazy busy with competing traffic for any cyclist to have to contend with. then came my biking accident with the dislocated shoulder. The silver lining there was the full realization of what a team we have become. The care and concern of all my new friends here was so rewarding. I can’t say enough. Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and now the largest of them all, Argentina. we will be here for some time. I look forward also to our two detours into Chile to ride among glaciers and mountains and seacoast. Right now I look forward to just getting back on the bike.
I have had a good prognosis from my good friend Dr. John Wood with which our team doctor Annelot readily concurs with. In consultation with orthopedist Dr.Joel Zamzow, John has indicated that I have about two weeks with exercises that he has sent me, care to avoid re-injury and continued use of a sling before I get on the bike but I should be just fine for the rest of the trip. I plan on getting back after our rest stop in Salta. We will lose eight of our cyclists there as they head for their respective homes. A sad day for us but we plan on a big barbecue to celebrate our time with them. Dave, a record mixer and producer from England; Theo, a staff member at a psychological hospital and his wife Toos, a university research scientist from Holland; Patrick, our youngest member who is re-inventing his career when he gets back to Holland; Mario, who joined us in Cusco and is returning to Holland; Elizabeth, who is heading back to her career in the health industry in Australia; and Hardy II who joined us in Cusco and is continuing his solo trip he started in Brazil by biking to Buenos Aires and then on home to Germany.
i have become such good with these people.
A little erosion in the landscape can be unsightly but a lot of erosion can be spectacular. That’s what we’ve had the last few days. I described some of it in my last post as resembling canyon lands in utah but without the people a popular park brings. Today we drove the first 100 some k’s in land that more resembled eastern colorado but then were rewarded the last 15k’s with rugged canyons, multi—colored eroded buttes and soft mountain tops, volcano remnants and remarkable layered slopes. The cyclists had 120k’s of paved road but very little climbing and beautiful blue skies. Despite a limited campsite, there were smiles all around as they pedaled in off the pavement. I miss the biking and the closeness it brings you to the people and the landscape. I feel the same about getting into my sea kayak. you feel almost a part of the liquid you’re paddling through – no longer looking down at it but truly immersed. yet I will make the most of my time on the truck. I also really enjoy Rob, Maria and Ellen’s company. When we leave Salta in a few days we will be almost entirely in bush camps and campgrounds for the remainder of this trip. Internet service for me to continue this blog will be even more sporadic but i will post as often as possible. Thank you all for continuing to follow along – it’s inspirational for me.
Tomorrow we leave the altiplano. It’s held us between 3200 and 4300 meters in elevation for more than 6 weeks. I look forward to sleeping better, digesting easier, and staying warmer. It’s been a beautiful landscape, though, that i’ll not forget.
saturday – october 11