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Monday, July 7, 2014

Cafayate > Catamarca > Cordoba - Land of da Purple Drank...

Monday, June 7th, 2014

I left Salta in the morning, and after another spectacular ride on smooth Argentinian pavement, found myself rolling into the sleepy little wine village of Cafayate in early afternoon.  I was feeling a bit under the weather (prob from partying like a rock star at Loki Salta for three nights), so ended up doing absolutely F-all in Cafayate for three days.  Turned out to be just what the doctor ordered.  I felt relaxed, at peace, and much better physically.  Cafayate is a great little town centered around the region's wine production.  There's even a nice informative wine and vine museum in town.  I enjoyed Cafayate and could even consider living there.  Busy enough, yet slow, tranquil, and relaxed at the same time.  Definitely a stop on the list for those in the area.  Take caution however, if you dig the O.G. purple drank you may never leave!  

From Cafayate I followed a mostly dirt route provided by my new friend John (Thanks Andy for linking us up) over to Catamarca for a night.  I thought the rough stuff was over, but ended up hooking a bend and was immediately straddling the bike staring at the longest water crossing I've had to deal with on the entire trip.  After a quick photo and an "F you John" murmured in my helmet (he failed to mention the water), I did what I always do.  Pin it, legs out for stability, and hope for the best!  The water was deep, and shortly into the crossing i realized that there used to be a bridge, which meant not only was I trying to keep the bike up and over the river rocks while halfway submerged, I was now dodging concrete bases that held support beams for the now nonexistent bridge.  Then as I'm thinking that's enough, I see rebar as well.  Rebar!  Anyway, I made it to the other side and let out a huge sigh of relief.  I could have easily pinged a spoke on rebar, cut myself, gotten a flat, dropped the bike, or some wicked combination of all that.  But, nothing of the sort.  I made it across unscathed.

From Catamarca I took the highway down to Cordoba.  Yeah yeah, I know, there are better routes than the highway.  But, unfortunately I'm tired at this point.  Ready to park the bike for a bit.  However, God had one more trick up his sleeve for me.  A HUGE rainstorm that appeared out of nowhere.  As I approached the massive black cloud I reminded myself, "this too shall pass", I pressed on and it eventually did.  It always does.  Not before giving me and my riding gear one last 'to-the-core' soaking on this journey.  The remainder of the ride was uneventful and I rolled into Turning Point Hostel just before half in the Argentina Cup match, which was great timing.  Not only did I get to watch the match and celebrate with locals, but there was absolutely no traffic coming into the city.  The roads were silent.  I should plan all my rides through big cities during national football matches!  

Tomorrow I'll head out of here and make my way to Rosario for a couple of nights.  I've been asking if there is anything else to see between here and BA, and nobody seems to have recommendations.  If you read this and do, please send over.  After Rosario, I'll point the front wheel for Buenos Aires for the final stop in South America.  I've been asked to help at Rock Hostel in the city with some administrative and bizdev stuff.  In return, I'll be able to live there for free.  Not a bad trade.  They even have a rehearsal space w/ instruments, so I'm guessing I'll be dusting off the ole drum skills one or two nights.  Looking forward to it.  

I honestly can't believe I'm nearing the end of this journey.  Seems like yesterday I was kicking my leg through to mount the bike leaving Denver.  A cliché and overused statement, but I honestly feel like I left a boy, and am coming home a man.  I've learned so much and am proud of myself for achieving this goal.  Something I've wanted to do since I was a young boy.  Ride a motorcycle down to/through South America.  As that storm came to an end the other day, and the sun started shining, I thought to myself...  the reward for the effort required to reach the ends of the earth is often the simple satisfaction of being there by yourself.  It's been lonely at times, amazing in others, but I wouldn't trade this solo adventure for anything.  Someone asked me the other day, "what have you learned along the way?"  To which I quickly replied, "you know, I learned to live and I learned to love again...  and I learned to love to live again!"  I feel satisfied with my answer.  

Some say travel has momentum and wants to stay in motion.  If that's the case then adventure travel has the gravitational pull of a black hole.  The more you do it, it becomes vital to the system.  Adventure rewrites the outline of life and wakes us sharply from comfort.  It allows us to see how vast the expanse of our experiences can be.  Our ability to grow is no longer linear, but becomes unrestricted to any direction we wish to run (or ride in our case).  I'm not sure if I'll ever do a trip like this again, but sure hope so!  

Cheers,  ~ D





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