Nov 10, 2012
Distance today = 50.46 km; Total distance = 14,301.88 km; Location = Potrerillos (8 km south of) – 33 01.835′ S, 69 10.851′ W; Start time = 0901, Finish time = 1630
We left Uspallata this morning to head to the starting point. I really enjoyed Uspallata, which is an oasis of green in the middle of an otherwise arid landscape.
The morning run was less windy than yesterday, but there was still quite a headwind up the valley. It definitely wears you out, when having to run into a strong wind for such long periods, and I’m sick of my cap being blown off.
I wound my way down the Mendoza River valley, which is a massive, steep gorge. There were plenty of tunnels to get through, and plenty of traffic to avoid at the same time. Amazingly, these gorges are so high, that I sometimes lose the Garmin satellites – thankfully, not for too long.
There was little else to see during the day, other than this majestic Andes gorge. There were no shops, so lunch was sourced from what we had in the car – mainly sweet slices from the hotel breakfast table.
During the afternoon the wind died down and a light drizzle started. It also got colder, and I donned both my Libby jacket (Christmas present) and my Libby gloves (birthday present). Thanks Lib.
The most imposing smell through the Andes has been that of truck brakes. Trucks must go through brake pads regularly if they travel this route very often. I also imagine that many of the trucks lose their brakes from time to time. The downhills seem to go on forever.
Although it was a predominantly downhill day, I did finish the day with a big hill, nearly 1,000 feet high. We’re staying tonight in a cabin in the very small town of Potrerillos. As I write, I have realised you will not be able to read this until tomorrow, as there is no internet coverage here. And there has just been a big dump of snow on the mountains above us. It’s going to be a cold old night.
Tomorrow I expect to reach Mendoza, and be out of the Andes. It will have taken me just five days to cross the range.