Nov 19, 2021
Today’s post is from my approach to the pampas region of Argentina. I was out of sight of the Andes by this stage, but hadn’t quite gotten to the dead flat farming land that is the pampas. I was enjoying it nonetheless.
Nov 16, 2012
Distance today = 50.39 km; Total distance = 14,474.23 km; Location = La Paz (24 km west of) – 33 23.975′ S, 67 47.081′ W; Start time = 1023, Finish time = 1809
A bit of everything today as far as the weather was concerned. It was hot and sunny in the morning, but just after midday I was stung by a dust storm. At times I had to run with my eyes closed. Then, by mid-afternoon, it started to hail. The stones weren’t too big – about the size of a marble – but there were plenty of them. Luckily for me, Carmel was stopped just up the road, and I was able to wait out the storm in the car. A quarter hour later, the sun was back out, and it was a very pleasant late afternoon of running.
I had a very late start to the day, as the new hire car appeared to be overheating. We couldn’t afford for anything to go wrong in the more remote parts, so we took it back to Hertz. Gerardo checked it out, and everything was fine. Then we had to drive the 70 km back to my start point for the day.
Lunch was in a small café in a little town. We had the lomo y huevos en pan – basically a steak and egg sandwich. It was really quite nice.
There were, surprisingly, several sections of bike path along the way, which I appreciated. Later in the day I had to run on the road, but, by this stage, it was very quiet.
Towns are a long way apart out here, and we had to drive 24 km to the nearest option with accommodation. Luckily there was accommodation, and it even comes with wi-fi. Tomorrow I will run to the town and then a similar distance past it, so we will then drive back and spend a second night here in La Paz (no, that’s not the city in Bolivia).
Nov 17, 2012
Distance today = 50.07 km; Total distance = 14,524.30 km; Location = La Paz (26 km east of) – 33 24.305′ S, 67 17.009′ W; Start time = 0919, Finish time = 1714
This morning I passed the 9,000 mile mark. I’m now well and truly more than halfway around the world.
And, despite their height, I am now out of sight of the Andes. I’m in a very flat part of Argentina. There is not much changing on the horizon in these parts. This fact, coupled with the hot afternoon, were perhaps the reasons I struggled a bit after lunch. Or perhaps it was a little too much red wine last night?
Just a short comment on road kill – I have virtually seen none whatsoever in Argentina. The only wildlife appears to be jackrabbits and tiny guinea pig-like creatures. They all seem to avoid the cars, even though I regularly see them on the road.
Nov 18, 2012
Distance today = 50.85 km; Total distance = 14,575.15 km; Location = Balde (13 km west of) – 33 24.073′ S, 66 45.477′ W; Start time = 0917, Finish time = 1702
I am now running on the Ruta 7, the main highway between Mendoza and Buenos Aires. Despite very long straights through vegetation that resembles mulga scrub, I quite enjoyed the day, running strongly.
The weather was near to perfect – sunny, about 28C, and with a cooling breeze. After 11 km I reached the state border, crossing from the province of Mendoza to San Luis. The Argentineans love their check points, as the border involved three different gates to pass through. I had a nice conversation with one of the border guards, Daniel, who was quite interested in what I was doing.
Soon after, I entered a straight that was about 25 km long. I could see the end of it, as the elevation rose about 200 metres – only a very gradual incline, but it was still all up hill. From there I turned slightly into another straight. I have run about 15 km downhill on this one, but I have about another 40 km to go on it tomorrow, and much of that is back uphill. Amazingly, the topography is such that I could see the whole 55 km of the straight from the western end.
Tonight we’re staying at a very nice little hotel, in the town of Balde – a great little find, with a very helpful manager, Emmanuel.
One thing I’ve noticed about Argentina is that the restaurants usually don’t open till 9 pm. It’s a very different situation to that of rural USA where, for example, we arrived at a Pennsylvanian restaurant one evening at 7:10 pm, and were told the place closed at 7 pm. We asked why, receiving the reply that “What sort of person would want to eat after seven”, as we were surveyed with contempt for wanting to eat “so late”. While 9 pm is fairly late for a restaurant to open, I think I’d prefer that to one that closes at 7 pm.
Nov 19, 2012
Distance today = 46.01 km; Total distance = 14,621.16 km; Location = San Luis – 33 17.783′ S, 66 17.550′ W; Start time = 0928, Finish time = 1658
It was another tough day, mainly due to the heat. I was basically on one long straight road all day, with temperatures in the mid 30s. And most of the day was uphill, albeit a gentle slope.
There was little to look at, until I approached the city of San Luis. At least the scenery varied a bit in town. I was offered water by some picnickers on the straight road. They must have thought I was out there on that long 55 km stretch without any support.
When I reached San Luis, I turned and looked back. Honestly, you could see all the way back to the previous hill, now more than 60 km in the distance, with the road running like a ribbon all the way to the horizon.
Tomorrow I head toward Villa Mercedes, which will take me two days to reach.