Route 40’s Scenic North

 Among earlier posts, you may recall one titled “Famous Route 40,”
another “Infamous Route 40.”  Ruta 40 is the longest road in Argentina
at 5K kilometers (3K miles).  Down south, in the area where I crashed,
the beauty of the road is found in its remoteness and wide open spaces
with the Andes providing a distant backdrop.  Miles and miles of marginal grazing land are divided into huge ranches called Estancias.

Here in northern Argentina, Ruta 40 provides other reasons to visit. Today we enjoyed the Cuesta de Miranda section, a spectacular dirt road through red rock valleys.  Chuck and I took our time and many
photos.

The 2011 Dakar Rally, of which we had seen the start in Buenos Aires, had traveled on and off road through this part of Argentina.  I thinkthat we are having a lot more opportunity to appreciate the scenery than those riders did.

Fresh off the grill lunch was a highlight today.  A proud local showedus his collection of ribs, steaks, blood sausages, and innards.
Fortunately, I was able to point to exactly what piece of STEAK I wanted him to cut from and to show how much I wanted.  Our meals were
weighed and priced in Pesos per Kilogram.

For the first time in my 55 years, I saw a blooming Saguaro Cactus. Actually, I saw hundreds of them with blooms ranging from white to yellow to pink.  What a treat from Mother Nature.

Catamarca seems to be a business town. No tourist places were walking distance from our hotel.  Fortunately, we stayed at a hotel that actually carried FOX Sports so we were able to watch the Packers beat the Steelers in the Super Bowl.  Being broadcast in Spanish left a lot
to my imagination.

6-Feb Villa Union to Catamarca, Argentina  275 miles

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