About : RASAM

That's this Ride Across South AMerica from Sao Paulo, Brazil to Lima, Peru. It is 5,410 kilometers or 3,360 miles, which I will ride in two segments. Part I goes from September 26 to October 17, 2004 and is from Sao Paulo, Brazil to Salta, Argentina: 2,595 kilometers / 1,612 miles. Part II dates are November 7 to December 5 and is from Salta to Lima: 2,816 kilometers or 1,749 miles. Many people ride the coast of South America, especially along the Pan American highway. Few, if any, ride across the continent. There is a dearth of support--hundreds of miles without accommodations or good supplies. The only reason I can do it is that I will go 'safari-style'. A support and gear (SAG) wagon will carry my supplies.

Jujuy, AR 117k, 73m**

(Riders Note: It’s only 58m, 93k from Salta to Jujuy. Because of the short distance, we rode past Jujuy and drove back to our hotel.)

Dalton, Steve and I flew from Charlotte to Miami to LaPaz (Bolivia) to Santa Cruz to Cordoba (Argentina) to Salta in a mere 28 hours. One plane was 2 hours late. Another had a flat tire that needed fixing (they had the spare in the luggage area of the 737!), but we made it. Late. The bike shop was closed. We had a primo dinner at 10pm (which isn’t a late dinner in Argentina), after which Dalton and Steve put together their bikes.

After a short night’s sleep, we had the traditional included (we like to think of it as free) breakfast and left the Hotel Solar de la Plaza in Salta at 8AM. The first riding team photo, in the park across the street.

We love Salta. It’s one of our favorite cities on this trip. There are pictures and info on Salta in the last update of part I (10/12 Salta), so if you want more info go to that update.

Dalton Cox, Steve DelVechicco and I (Bob Perkowitz) rode out of Salta, north on Ruta 9. In less than a mile, the very first mile, I had two flats. You guessed it, rear then front. We’re not blaming anyone here, but they were brand new tires and tubes.

Ruta 9 looks like an interstate highway on the maps (big red line), but for most of the way it’s a rural, barely two-lane rode. You can’t really tell from this photo, except for the layers of clothes, but it was cold, (55f) damp and drizzly all day. The first riding shot:

It is a short riding day. Ruta 9 climbs up a glacial valley then crosses a ridge of heavily forested foothills with beautiful vistas on both sides. There’s a 1,000 foot climb involved, but the fun of riding this scenic, curvy road more than makes up for it.

Dalton insists that because of the funness of the ride, this should be a *** day. After the downhill, there is about 15 miles of flat as you head toward Jujuy. We rode into the center of the city – officially San Salvador de Jujuy, commonly referred to as Jujuy, pronounced “hooy-hooy”. It is the capital of this northernmost province of Argentina, We set up or picnic table and had lunch at the park across from the capital building.

It was still early, so we decided to ride another 15 miles north toward Purmamarca. It was a steady climb along the Quebrada de Humahuaca (wide, rocky, glacial valley) which I photographed at an overlook along the way.

Humahuaca is a town further north which we won’t get to, but it is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and every one of them I’ve been to (at least 3 on these rides) leave permanent impressions. Unfortunately, there’s no good way across the Andes from there. At the end of the ride, 15 miles north of Jujuy, we loaded up the bikes and headed back to our hotel, Termas de Reyes.

The hotel is in a valley just northwest of Jujuy, and it is listed as a tourist site in the province’s literature. It impressed us.

Termas de Reyes was built in 1939 to take commercial advantage of the hot thermal springs located there. They flow the hot water into the pool at this spa/hotel. Here’s us in the pool, and the sign I can’t read that says the water cures everything from gout to sexual disfunction.

If someone wants to translate the sign and email it, I’ll post it in a future update. Judging by the other hotel guests, out of shape people who want to get healthy without much strenuous exercise go to spas. This place was wonder though. It had flowers for Steve to admire and dentify for us, and tanks of trout above the swimming pool (who knows why?).

We close with the views from my hotel window. Bob is content with day 1. Gracias y Saludos all.

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