March 28-Chill day in San Rafael
March 29 Ride on - San Rafael - CAmping Stealth Hwy 143
As we loaded up our bikes for this leg of the journey, Ryan hooked up his solar power, which we have found to be an excellent touring companion. It charges AA batteries, and if our stereo is out of juice, just plug it in, and it runs live off of solar power. Pretty awesome.
Also, we were given some crystals by a street vendor in San Rafael, so we put them in Ryan´s bar bag for good travels. Ryan has now entered into crystal sqeezer territory.
After biking West out of the city center on Av H Yrigoyen, we started to feel crowded out on the main drage with all the crazy traffic, so we stopped to assess what we should do. We happened to be right next to this city park with one of the strangest statues I have ever encountered. I´m not quite sure what to make of the symbology here.
We look to our left, and saw a nicely paved bike lane. Perfect! Wine country does tend to provide biker routes which are very helpful to us in these traffic heavy situations. So we rode this path for many km until we reached the North turn onto HWY 143. Although I would have liked to stop along the wineries along this bike path, we knew we would be indulging full-force in Mendoza, and we had a long day of riding ahead of us, so we moved on. After biking 7 km out of town we realized we forgot to get cash at the ATM, so we turned around knowing we would not see one anytime soon. This added 14 km to our ride and neither of us were too happy about it.
The ride on HWY 143 was pretty easy-going even though most of the day we were going uphill with a slight headwind. The uphill was just gradual enough where it didn't seem to wear us down too much. The scenery although desolate, was more interesting than the ride up 144 from Malargue so the day passed relatively quickly.
Again, time to stealth camp, and it seems that the spots just get more interesting. We have had good luck with finding stealth spots. This time we followed a dried up draw along the highway over a fence to an eroded 15-foot deep pit in the sand. Nobody was going to find us here from the road. We lowered our bags down, climbed down the pit walls, and set our tent up on beach sand.
I finally found taco shells at the grocery store so we happily gorged on tacos that evening. The one thing about this site that was truly interesting and a bit disturbing were all of the freaky and aggressive insects and spiders that would not leave us be. It was clear that we were encroaching on their turf. The turf battle ended with us playing cards and two enormous wingless grasshoppers crawling up on the sandy rock table we had created. Alright, we get it, we'll go into our tent and give you two some space.
This days scored some weird points.