IMG 0195The early start did not work out quite as intended. Ross's Ducati had picked up a splinter of steel and the rear tyre as flat as can be. More impressive was Rosco having the tools and knowhow to fix it. I need one of those plug kits, I imagine that will be another internet purchase back home.

The late start was exacerbated by three of the team now having the bot (an advance on two last night). The result being the first stop after 90km of flat straight road at Patquia had to be extended while good use was made of the very clean loos. the Plaza hotel we have just left could learn much from them for use in their facilities in the bar.

The scenery is pretty much what we would call scrub (small bushes and the odd tree with lots of sand) but the monster cacti here is starting to bloom. Quite gorgeous. Flocks of goats, donkeys along the roadside present an ever present hazard as do the pot holes in an otherwise quality surface. 

IMG 0194Several police stops (I haven't worked out what that's about) but no problem as apart from photos of the Spyder they don't seem that interested in us.Lunch (empanadas) is at the Talampaya National park, currently green but we understand heading into drought for the rest of the year.

After lunch there is a bus trip into the park which most of us take (the ones who can bear the thought) through a gorge along a mostly dry river bed. By dint of good planning on my part I was able to ditch my motorcycling trousers for the 2-3 hours of the bus trip and don shorts. Hot? No not really but our buses air conditioning made much noise but was otherwise completely ineffectual. The team were pretty unhappy about it.IMG 0201

We saw 500 year old(?) Indian petroglyphs (rock paintings) and many curious rock formations but the guided tour was in Spanish so we might well have misunderstood. Anyway it's all pretty stunning but it's the sheer scale of the place, endless plains, huge mountains, sheer cliffs that just makes it impossible to describe properly

The gas station next to the hotel in Villa Union has carelessly run out of gas but there is a second hidden in town. This makes our final arrival at the hotel at 7pm but at least this one has hot water unlike the tepid at the Plaza last night.

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I was delegated to acquire a hair dryer in the hotel, they hide them at the front desk mostly. Simple enough but you have to do it in spanish which rather adds to the challenge. Gerardo who was lurking nearby said I asked for a "chicken dryer". Pollo rather than pelo. Whatever.

Dinner in Villa Union is very nice but we have to taxi there and back as our hotel is quite some way out. No internet either as they have had to replace the router and clearly have no idea about how this might be achieved.