230 Miles Of Smiles

The weather has been very kind to us since the days of the local rare
sunshine we enjoyed while in Ushuaia.  Today was no exception. Expecting major heat from near desert conditions, I was delighted bycomfortable riding temps.  Our route took us through a major agricultural area:  tobacco, sugar cane, and grapes were all plentiful.

Ascending from the valley over a high pass brought lush greenery.
Today I was a tourist attraction for  a group from Buenos Aires.  They seemed more interested in me and my trip than the stunning scenery we were enjoying on the drive up to Tafi del Valle.  By mid-day, I had reached the 1K ft-high backpacker, resort, and vacation home haven of Tafi del Valle.   A perfect place to enjoy one of the few remaining fantastic Argentinian steaks that I will have the opportunity to consume.

We had the option to divert off the main road to visit the ancient ruins of Quillmes.  They were an indigenous people that held out valiantly for many years against the European Conquistidors.   Now late afternoon in a hot desert area, I chose a wrong part of the“road” and got stuck in the talcum powder like dusty dirt ditch only 1 block into the optional ride.  As I sat stuck in the dirt, I waved down a pick up truck load of hippie type artisans returning from a day of selling their goods at the ruins.  Thinking that I wanted to buy their handiwork, 2 of them eagerly opened their pack and started showing me jewelery while I straddled my inopportunely parked bike. Needless to say, I bought one of their pieces after they pushed me to firm ground.  I decided that I had had too good a day to mess it up by pushing my luck all the way to Quillmes so I headed directly to our night’s destination.

Villa Vicuna is a fabulous Bed & Breakfast only one block from the
square in Cafayate.  My room featured a Vicuna (small relative of the llama) skin on the floor and windows overlooking the grape laden
courtyard.  Most of us enjoyed the fruit of the local vines at the hotel and at several of the town square’s sidewalk restaurants. 

David, Tadeusz, and I demonstrated that we have skills on two wheels beyondthose powered by gas engines.

7-Feb Catamarca – Tafi del Valle –  Cafayate  230 miles

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