Last time I was here, this day was really hard, but I thought it was because I was sick. I’m glad to return and find out that, no, it actually is really hard. On paper, it shouldn’t be that hard, finishing yesterday afternoon’s descent and then 90K up a river valley; but the sun was hot, the road unshaded, and I was fried from yesterday’s climb. So my body, in its wisdom, set the governor low. Still I was in some kind of an altered state the last 20K or so; somehow pedaling, good posture lost, the kilometers ticking by so slowly.—I was surprised when I got to town. Lon was waiting with directions to the new, very nice hotel. Another thing that happened today is I left my phone in a roadside shop, and was about 20K
up the road when I figured it out. I turned around and hammered my way down the hill until I saw the van; they drove me back, the senora had my phone! I kissed her hand and then we drove back upriver, where the group was waiting at the next rest stop. At least I was back in the saddle. Besides I paid a penalty for my mistake. I had to ride in the van. That’s how kooky we can get about these things.
Other flashes of the day
- When the van stopped to pick me up, a little girl was by the side of the road with a black plastic bag: we gave her our empty plastic containers. She had been collecting garbage for the deposits.
- a lot of cactus in this valley, and it generally is much drier than the places we’ve been. Chalhuanaca is at 9300 ft, and is a bit of an oasis amidst the dryness of the rest of the surroundings.
- Today’s lunch stop was a trout farm, a shady oasis in the middle of all this dryness. You can read about it in my 2012 post.
- The river is low at this time of year, but there are massive piles of stone in the riverbed that attest to its power. Must be amazing when full.
- We see people waiting for busses, minivans and taxis all the time, seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Along this road the turnoffs to the villages are all named; gives a good sense of how populated the region is.
- I’ve had three Forgetful Jones incidents; the phone, thinking I lost my prescription glasses (and finding them in a pocket of my jersey), and losing my sunglasses, I’m now the proud owner of a 12 soles sunglasses with a thick blue rim. Classy. All related to seeing clearly—hmmm. Armchair psychologists, comment away!