Thursday, 13 September 2012

Jujuy to Corrientes - The Long and definitely not Windy Road.

While in Jujuy I had to make a few decisions that I'd been putting off.  The biggest being that I was supposed to be in Buenos Aires sitting on a plane ready to fly back to England.  But seeing as I was on the wrong side of the country with a motorbike, that was not going to happen.  So I rang up and added another 6 months to my flight date and now stand a chance of making that one...maybe?  Jujuy itself didn't strike me as the most exciting place to visit but I was only there a short time and most of that revolved around seeing if Fletchs bike can be repaired there.  The highlight of the stay being a leisurely 3km stroll through the city pushing Fletch’s bike through busy traffic to get it to a mechanics.  The positive thing being at least it was fixed.  Now with 6 more months I decided to head east towards Uruguay and Brazil and maybe check out some opportunities I've been reading about, and as Fletch is going to Iguazu we both set off east together on the 11th.

I didnt really plan the route, mainly because most of it is one long seriously straight line along Ruta 16, and the less I knew about how featureless it was the better.  Fletch had already studied the route and knew where to stay.  With a faster bike he was always going to be in front anyway, so the only thing I needed to look for was his bike parked up waiting for me every 50-100km.  All in, it was a good 1000km to Corrientes and I had to prepare mentally for the ruler straight road.

Fletch dodging potholes

As expected the first day was looonnng, we covered 420km, the most I'd ever done in a day on my slow bike and as light was fading away we realised camping out on the roadside was not an option.  There was nowhere suitable and farmers around here seem to be on some kind of roadside verge burning binge and we were not keen to be burnt alive.  So with the last rays of light we resorted to stay in a small town called Monte Quemado and asked to camp out the back of a hotel in their carpark.  The owner wanted a stupid amount to camp, which we were never going to pay so when she asked what we normally pay I gave her a low amount knowing she was going to charge double....which she did.
Lunch stop, Fletch's bike is starting to need a lot of TLC.

In Chaco there are a job lot of Falklands signs due to a large number of locals who were drafted into the army at the time.
Monte Quemado felt like a real frontier town and camping out the back of the hotel we saw a strange mix of people passing through to stay in the hotel.  The best of the bunch was a chilled out group of Brazilian bikers and an Argentine beef farming couple from Corrientes on their way to Salta for holiday.  We had a good chat with the Brazilians in Spang-ugese, and they took a few photos of the 2 idiot gringos, probably to laugh at later.  The farming couple were really kind and gave us some grapefruit from their farm for breakfast.  They were pretty traumatised, which is fair enough really as they had just hit a donkey on the outskirts of town and damaged their 4x4 in a pretty impressive way.

The beautiful campsite

I don't know what this drink was but Sunny D has nothing on it and no children should be given it.  It tasted like liquid bubblegum and I couldn't sleep for ages after.
The next day we set off early, there is nothing really to say on the route.  It was 430km to Parque Nacional Chaco, way off the map and GPS calculations of 300+km.  Thats 850km in 2 days, a record for me.  The only real change in the monotomy was passing the poor dead donkey the Corrientes farmer hit and Fletch decapitating a bird at 100km/h and not noticing its body stuck in his sun visor until he stopped later.  Tragic yet impressive at the same time.  Parque Nacional Chaco, is home to a number of endangered animals including the Jaguar, however you'd be fooled into think it is home to nothing other than every mosquito in the Southern Hemisphere.  Within seconds of arriving we were covered in Mosquitos.  They are the horribly impressive type that can bite through clothes so I ended up making up camp wearing my full bike gear including the helmet.  I'd have rather come across a Jaguar, then again they are probably all dead due to Malaria.

The gravity of the situation

The next morning Fletch was feeling sick and after a slow and lacklustre start we set off for Resistencia - my fault entirely it took me an age to pack.  Only 150km so we still arrived about lunchtime and stopped for a couple of hours to check the interent to see if our Couchsurf contact Andrea had written to us.  Fletch was feeling really sick and his bike was in a bad way too, burning a lot of oil which usually means something expensive.  We didn't know where we were staying but decided to ride over the bridge to Corrientes anyway and see if we could find Andrea.  A slight lowpoint but as soon as we rode over the skyline dominating bridge and saw the people enjoying the beaches below and a group of women in lycra practacing joga, our moods miraculously changed for the better. 

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