After Christmas we decide to try and cover some miles and ride south through Argentina, which is less expensive than Chile. We ride south on Ruta 40 through San Rafael and on to Malargue the first night.
The road leads us east, and away from the mountains, for an hour and then turns back west. As the sun warms the flat plains the wind kicks up. It’s a hot day.
It’s a long and simple day, really just filled with me watching the subtle changes in the landscape and the back of Brian and his bike. I watch clouds and animals, the affects of wind as it slowly turns an old windmill or blows a tumbleweed across the two-lane highway in front of me. The land here reminds me of home, maybe Wyoming…
I watch a gathering storm way off in the distance and then trace the road ahead to see if we will be riding into it or steer just slightly out of its path, hoping for the latter…and it turns out we do.
When I ride on a more challenging road (dirt, sand, gravel, etc.) I’m completely engrossed in paying attention to the road and the bike. But most of my days on highways are spent this way, daydreaming and observing. There’s a lot of alone time a rider spends in his/her helmet on long-distance trips.
I joke about “helmet time” and the crazy things you can come up with when you have too much time inside your own head. Sometimes I think it’s good, like when I seem to find solutions to the worlds problems (only to forget them again before I can get to a pen and paper) or make up silly songs or poems….and other times it can be counter-productive. But it is what it is….
The closer we get to Mallargue, the more we see small pockets of trees along the road…tall, poplar-like trees that provide a short break from the wind.
But mostly the next three days, when we cover roughly 750-800 miles, are filled with sights of open plains, rolling hills, rivers, mountains and volcanoes, and great big blue skies.