Headed into the Argentinian Desert
Silver butterflies, cicadas and snakes

January 14-16, 2019

What happened…

It’s good we took a rest day because it turns out the next section was some of the worst gravel roads we’ve seen since … forever?

Amanda writes: On the 14th we left our hotel and headed out of town. On our way out we got some cash. We’re trying to not get cash while on the bikes as I figure they’re easy to tail, but we were careful and I hung out in a park with the bikes and Andrew walked around the corner to the bank.

Meat anyone?

As I write this I can say the method seems to have been effective. We knew we had a big climb to start the day and as promised we climbed for over 40 kilometres. It wasn’t too bad because it was paved. In the middle of it Andrew had a flat which we were able to quickly fix up.

We made quick work of the flat.

Then we had a nice 20k downhill before it all went to shit. At a roundabout the road was washed out and the detours began. Gravel road, packed gravel, loose gravel, washboard gravel, sandy gravel; you name it, we road on it. As we neared the end of the day the skies opened and it poured rain for about 20 minutes. We took shelter under a few trees with another couple of Europe who were on motorcycles. It was nice to just chat with them while we waited for the storm to pass. We had just passed a town with a hotel but had decided to push on and find a spot to camp near the river. I’m glad we did because it was a beautiful quiet night.

We woke up the next morning to Andrew’s birthday! We reflected that initially when we hatched this idea of cycling around the world that we had planned to leave when Andrew turned 40. I’m not sure we would have actually left had we waited another almost 5 years to leave. Sometimes I feel like you can over plan or over prepare for something and loose your enthusiasm. We agreed that neither of us harboured any regrets at leaving early. After a happy birthday song and an extra 30 minutes of sleep we headed back onto the shitty gravel roads and celebrated cycling 30,000 km since we began this journey. That is actually pretty cool to think we’ve traveled that much on bicycle. The landscape today was pretty unique in spite of the shitty roads. This is a volcanic area and there is so much shiny black lava rock it’s pretty cool. It makes for some challenges with finding flat areas to put your tent, but it’s cool to look at.

On our 3rd day we knew we had to tackle more gravel. We didn’t think it was possible but this day was even worse. The gravel turned to washboard and it was so hard to get any momentum. 25K later we finally found the pavement and made our way into town. It was funny at the end of the gravel section there was a sign for cars going in the other direction that said 40 km of construction. I just wanted to write on it, 40 x 2 + 20 km of construction, not 40K. Anyways we rolled into town exhausted and dirty from days on the gravel and stayed at a hotel and had an expensive dinner out. Initially we had just planned to stock up and move on, but we were a bit beat up from the road. I washed on the clothes and we went to bed pretty late but slept well.

Andrew writes:If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say it. I think that sums up my feelings on the ripio on my birthday. Oh hey, I cycled 30,000km today.

The aerial view of our ride:

Today’s Flickr Photographs

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Cycling Stats

January 14, 2019
Start Point: Malargue, Argentina
Destination: Wild camp 25K past Bardas Blancas, Argentina
95.63 km trip, 16.78 km/h average speed, 55 km/h maximum speed, 5:42 time on the bike

January 15, 2019
Start Point: Wild camp 25K past Bardas Blancas, Argentina
Destination: Wild camp by Rio Grande crossing, Argentina
60.02 km trip, 10.46 km/h average speed, 45.10 km/h maximum speed, 5:44 time on the bike

January 16, 2019
Start Point: Wild camp by Rio Grande crossing, Argentina
Destination: Barrancas, Argentina
63.06 km trip, 10.23 km/h average speed, 49.63 km/h maximum speed, 6:10 time on the bike

Route Description:

January 14, 2019 You start the day with a climb of 42 kilometres. Then 20 k downhill to a roundabout. At this point the road is washed out and there are sections of gravel. At 69 k you reach Bardas Blancas. After this town the road starts to consistently turn to shit.

January 15, 2019 Gravel road entire day with undulating hills. Courteous drivers. Very difficult day on gravel.

January 16, 2019 Another 20-30k of gravel on this day which turned out to be worse than the day before which is incredible. It was wash board and virtually impossible to find any smooth parts. 25k later we finally found pavement and made our way into town. There was a head wind for the last part and it was pretty hard.


January 14, 2019 After 35k there is a sign for camping and a restaurant. At 40k another camping place and cabanas. At 69 k you reach Bardas Blancas that has a hostel and hospedeje. We continued another 25K and wild camped.

January 15, 2019 There are no towns and no place to sleep in a hotel. We got water from the river.

January 16, 2019 We stayed at a hotel in town. We read there is also a campground available.

Headed into the Argentinian Desert
Silver butterflies, cicadas and snakes