DAY 720 - ROAD TO MENDOZA

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Day 722- Villa Union, Argentina - 16090 km

The last days were somewhat uneventful. Rute 40 turned into a paved highway through green monotonous desert. I barely take any photos and there’s and I’m through the audio books on my phone. I do more than a 100km each day. There’s a lot of thinking and I have to fight against the boredom. As I feel I have seen the best part of this journey, there’s not much to look ahead to. I notice that the landscape is a reflection from above the equator. Slowly vegetation returns as I head south. The extraordinary sceneries, the purple coloured mountains, the salt lakes and the geysers of the altiplano, are behind me. More and more the landscape becomes recognisable and similar to Europe and North America.

It’s getting colder too, and the days shorter. At noon my shadow is sizeable, the sun low in the sky in the north. I don’t have to put sunscreen on my face anymore, because the sun hardly reaches it. With the greenery comes wood. For the first time since Colombia, I make a fire again at camp, which makes the nights much more enjoyably. Staring at a smouldering fire, roast potatoes and chorizos on it and scavenge some wood outside. It’s a lot better than being curled up in the sleeping bag for over 12 hours.

Mendoza reminds me of France, perhaps of the wide sidewalks lined with large plane trees. The leaves are yellow and half of them are on the ground. I’m taking a 3 day break in the city. I have lunch with Sophie and Jeremy, French cyclists who are — same as I — 2 years on the road now. We’ve met before in Ecuador and Peru. We decide to cycle to Santiago together after our break in Mendoza. The restaurants are nice, the Airbnb is comfortable, a welcome break after many days camping and cheap guesthouses with beds that are too small for me. But I can’t seem to settle and really enjoy the city. A part of me wants to keep moving, push on and finish the journey. I’m starting to see the end.

 
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The rear tyre that keeps tearing apart. I’ve stitched it three times now and need to ride on low pressure to not tear it further.

The rear tyre that keeps tearing apart. I’ve stitched it three times now and need to ride on low pressure to not tear it further.

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