Villa Union to Camping at Cuesta de Miranda

April 13
We woke up a bit tired and exhausted from lack of sleep after the bug hunt,
The bike helmet really brings out the Firestarter video look for Ryan
but we had to get on the road early as we had a really big climb ahead of us and a big stretch of ripio over the Miranda pass.   This turned out to be one of those days that goes down as one of better riding experiences we've had in Argentina.
 
Route 40 led us East out of town straight and slightly inclined for the first part of the ride.  During this time, two hawks road with us for 5 km.  It was one of the most amazing biking experiences to look up and see two large birds soaring and playing around you in the air.  They would land on the road about 20 ft in front of us, and as we biked towards them, they would lift back up in flight and soar in front of us again for another long stint.
 
As we rode along, the landscape transitioned form flat, bumpy hills, to rocky hills with amazing red, rock formations, to beautiful mountains that led us up to the Miranda Pass.  The landscape was a brilliant red similar to Tampalaya and there was never a dull moment.  We were basically riding through the beautiful hills and rockscape that we could see up from the viewpoint in Villa Union yesterday.
 
We hit ripio have way up for a stretch of about 22 km.  At this time the day turned pretty hot, and the real climbing commenced right before reaching the highest point.  The last eight kilometers were pretty brutal in steepness, so we took a few breaks and drank a lot of water.  At least the ripio condition overall was nice so it could have been much worse.  Once we hit the highest point of the pass, the landscape got richer and richer with beauty.  All of a sudden we were riding high on a road up along the top edge a huge river canyon cliffs that wound us down, down, down, with one beautiful sight after the next.  It was difficult to capture this in pictures as it was so grandious to fit in one shot.
 
Finally made it to the top fo Cuesta Miranda
 
The view riding down from Miranda Pass
We found a side road that the previous tourism office informed us to ride on to find riverside camping.  We hit the end of the road where we came upon an excavation company with gates closed and nobody around.  Ryan hopped the fence and found one of the employees, a sweet older fellow from a nearby town who told us where to camp riverside along this beautiful canyon AND to top things off, fed us bread, tea, and this amazing cake!  What a great experience this was to be taken in by him.
 
After eating our cake, we gave him a hug goodbye, and found a great camping spot under a gigantic tree.  We swam for a good long while in the river and enjoyed a wonderful night.
Our camp under a gigantic tree with the river canyon in the background
Kiss the cook!

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