4 April Kms travelled – 741
After packing the night before and saying goodbye to the guys at DM, I was ready for the off at 8:00 – but it was around 10:00 before I finally cleared the main city traffic, despite some nifty filtering, and having to give one car a slight kick just to remind the driver that I was not some phantom figure, but real flesh and blood. It was also hot! It also tried to rain, but not so much that would have a cooling effect, but just enough to add to the sticky humidity that surrounded the city that morning. I was mindful of the thunder that accompanied my departure from Barcelona. Does this mean that it is going to be hot and wet every time I encounter an unwilling exit – because despite its faults and the fact that I am not a fan of big cities as a rule, BA gets under your skin. If you ever get the chance, try it out, you might like it too!
Javier at DM furnished me with probably the best route south, for the first part where there are some options at least. The word is that the Ruta 3 south is pretty much one of the more boring rides around. I can understand that this would be a particular anticlimax for anyone coming to BA at the end of a great adventure. But for me the adventure is just beginning, so I viewed a few easy days in the saddle as a welcomed boost, to give me time to get in the groove, and iron out any bike or packing issues. Hmmm, easy days?
Passed the airport and it was on to Cañuelos (205) then to Saladillo (51) and Azul. Remembering to fill up at Olavarra (76) as there was pretty much nothing beyond that point until reaching the evening destination at Sierra de la Ventana, a pretty collection of hills that reminded me of Mid Wales, with some excellent camping. The word was to avoid Bahia Blanca.
My camp site was on the southern side of the range, at Asuara Camping – though despite the clear signs from the road, I still had to ask the locals how to find the entrance (which was tucked away on the other side of a dry river bed). A dinner of milanesa and papas awaited, alongside good wifi, for A$35.
Thought for the day
These hills and the good camping appeared in some way as a reward for a long day in the saddle. The 50kms or so of strong winds (by European standards) after Olaverra were a sign of what was ahead. It appears that the wind is not reserved to Patagonia. My planning, even after the first day, was in error. Any map belittles the scale of this country and your ability to make rapid progress. Though the hilly reward did allow me at least an hour of riding where I really started to feel one with the bike. Idris and I are off!