Dec 2, 2012
Distance today = 54.54 km; Total distance = 15,274.54 km; Location = Carmen de Areco – 34 24.177′ S, 59 49.709′ W; Start time = 0850, Finish time = 1728
Many parts of the road today were lined with eucalyptus trees. I assume they have been introduced from Australia. The smell of the gum leaves in early summer, coupled with the landscape of wheat fields, had me thinking I was in central NSW, on my way to the Gooloogong Hotel.
The road itself started out as most have in recent times – two lanes, with shoulders of long grass. I had come to expect it would be like this all the way to Buenos Aires. However, to my great surprise, after about 20 km, I struck a paved shoulder. And not just any shoulder. In fact, a man could not hope to see a finer shoulder. After 500 km of torture, I was now enjoying running bliss. No more lifting my knees high to get through the long grass. No more turning around incessantly to check on overtaking cars that might hit me from behind. No more jumping off into the grass when a car approached from in front. The rest of the day was so much easier because of it, and I’m already feeling the difference.
And I also saw today the Argentinean version of a goanna. It had been hit by a car and was dead. It was about one metre long, and looked like a cross between a goanna and a blue tongue lizard. In fact, it was probably more like a Komodo Dragon in appearance. I’m glad I didn’t encounter a live one in the long grass.
Carmel had another traumatic experience with the car today. She went to do a U-turn on the highway, and the car stalled and wouldn’t start – while she was partially across both lanes!!! For about ten seconds she tried restarting it, with other cars gradually bearing down on her at high speed. It could have been a tragedy but, luckily, the car did start, and she was able to quickly get it out of the way. She was pretty shaken up.
Today was my longest day since I reached New York City, back in mid-October. The paved shoulder certainly helped. Not too far to Buenos Aires now.