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Old 02-27-2013, 04:31 AM   #107
porkandcorn OP
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Joined: Jan 2011
Location: Portland, Oregon
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mendoza, argentina to chilecito, argentina

wednesday, february 27, 2013

yesterday i traveled 10 hours through a variety of high mountain terrain. the valley that leads north out of mendoza, bordered on the right by the bulk of the andes, and on the left by the sierra de valle fértil.


route 40, north of jáchal, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr


route 40, also north of jáchal, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

i began moving northeast after san jóse de jáchal, argentina. this led my toward huaco, argentina, where the terrain turned to beautiful reds, yellows, and oranges in the sierra de mogna, near huaco, argentina. after a primative tunnel through a mountain, i came out on the other side to a massive expanse of color, rugged mountains, and pass to continue further north.


route 40, west of huaco, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr


route 40 tunnel, west of huaco, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr


inside route 40 tunnel, west of huaco, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr


east of huaco pass tunnel, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr


also east of huaco pass tunnel, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

continuing north, i rode along the east side of a high range, the sierra de la punila. the road was straight, but every 100-500 meters the road would dip down 5 or 10 feet for concrete drainage sections that allow the water to run off the mountain down into the valley below. there were hundreds of these in the 75 kilometer section between huaco and guandacol, argentina. it was a blast to ride, at time you can launch off the ground on the far side of the whoopties. good clean fun.


which way do i go george?, huaco, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr


mountain drainage reinforcement, south of guandacol, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

there were occassions where water ran across the run, muddy with reddish-brown silt and 1 or 2 feet deep.


drainage from mountain, south of guandacol, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

it was about 3:30 in the afternoon, and i decided to make a run south from villa unión, argentina to the famous parque provincial ischigualasto, also known as the valley de la luna (the valley of the moon.) we'll have to google what i missed, because after an hour ride off my path, the parque was closed for the day. i begged to be able to ride a portion, but to no avail. there was an interested section of the road on the way down that i had to find a way around...


maybe if i go fast enough?, route 76, north of talampaya, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr


route 40, east of villa union, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr


horses on the road, east of guandocal, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr


Untitled by porkandcorn, on Flickr

it was getting late, and i headed back north. between pagancillo puero alegre, argentina, i decided to take a shortcut toward chilecito. this turned out to be 50 kilometers of very difficult dirt/sand road. it was dusty, soft, and at times ellusively deep. i almost went down several time when the front wheel dove into the deep stuff. i was very relieved when that was over, and very tired from fighting the burms of sand and gravel that were piled up periodically.


challeging soft dirt road, between pagancillo and puerto alegre, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr


more soft dirt, between pagancillo and puerto alegre, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr


very releived, between pagancillo and puerto alegre, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr


finally it's over, between pagancillo and puerto alegre, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr


sierra de famatina range, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

the final section as the sun was setting in the west was to cross the sierra de sanogasto and arrive at my overnight spot, chilecito, argentina. this high mountain pass twisted through the mountains, and the road was really one lane with steep drop offs at the turns. it was beautiful, but i was loosing sunlight, and limited my photo stops. it runs by the cuesta de miranda, which is a UNESCO world heritage site. it was a beautiful path through the mountains.

by the time i got down off the path, it was twilight. i don't like riding in the dark, but i had no choice. for about 30 minutes, i carefully proceeded to chilecito, with my all my lights on high power. i made for the town square, asked some locals for the best hotel in town, and within 5 minutes was parking and pulling the gear off the bike.

today, it's off to the termas de fiambala, argentina, a natural hot springs area where i'll sleep tonight. tomorrow, i'll cross the andes. me and the bike will be at 15,557 feet before we drop down into chile.
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