(August 9 – written by Dave)
Rumours of my demise are greatly exaggerated – after yesterday’s overly fuzzy day, I’m happy to report that today was much better. I didn’t eat much yesterday and got a little hungry today but overall I felt 100% better and am nearly fully recovered. And before I go too far with today’s post I have to say a big thank you to Philipp, Tine and of course Nancy. I mean, who grabs a bucket and starts cleaning up someone else’s vomit even before they properly finished throwing up. As they say “Teamwork makes the Dreamwork” – yesterday was a bad dream but memories were certainly made by all the help I got. THANKS CHICOS!
Our hospedaje was a curious place last night. They have a sign but no real front door or reception area. This meant that at various points in the night a car would pull up, start honking, people would get out and start pounding on what looked like a front door and eventually someone would open the side gate and let them in. I crashed pretty early and may have been a little fuzzy but this seemed to go on all hours of the night. And the hospedaje appeared to have rented all the rooms out this morning so I can’t be far off in my recollection. It also seemed as though many of the guests were quite loud, either getting settled or simply having random late night conversations. It was not our best night (or our best day, for that matter).
By the time we got up this morning, we still didn’t have power in town so I fired up the stove in the upstairs sitting room, if you could call it that. Many of the guests had left but there were still some sleeping. Our stove is a bit loud and I felt bad for about 2 microseconds – I mean really, who pulls up at a hotel and honks their horn to check if there is a room? At least the rain had stopped and we weren’t stuck spending another night there. And best of all, I was hungry and craving coffee – all good signs for getting through the day ahead.
We were only going to ride 45k, to the intended destination of the day before, so we didn’t have to rush in the morning. Plus we had the rest of the 15k downhill to finish off right out of the gate so everyone was relaxed. We rolled out of hospedaje at about 8:30. Curious enough, there was no need to turn in the TV remotes or room keys – the hospedaje didn’t have either. We locked our room when we went to dinner last night and had to get the night man to let us in on return. As noted, it was not our nicest hotel on the trip.
The ride was smooth and fast. Highway 3S has a nice shoulder and good, new pavement. I only rode it for a little while yesterday so I was happy with what we found this morning. There was also very little traffic so riding was quite pleasant. Alee, the Melbourne cyclist we met yesterday had warned us that the sandflies were bad in the canyon and boy he wasn’t kidding. We stopped once to shred layers before we started the climb out of the canyon and the blighters came out in force. We rode about 15k of mostly flat through the canyon and then had another 15k uphill to reach our planned destination.
At least that was the plan. Tine got us all thinking when she found an iOverlander hotel in the next town, 8k further up the hill. The reviews sounded almost too good to be true so we all kind of hoped that we (mostly me) had the energy to make the extra climbing.
The climb to the planned town of Chincheros wasn’t too bad really. I just took it super slow and watched the scenery. Nancy was flagging a little so we just cruised and the others politely waited for us. We made it to Chincheros just before noon and had a nice late morning tea in the town square. There was a municipal building nearby where a wedding was taking place so we had fun talking about the bride in her short, tight, white dress – and the groom who gave a funny thumbs up in every photo. It looked like a nice small town but by now we were all getting excited about Tine’s iOverlander hotel and thought for sure we could make it 8k more.
So off we went. The climb wasn’t overly taxing but I was feeling the lack of food at this point and bringing up the rear. Still, we made it to Uripa by 2PM and started the hotel search. Well, guess what, there is a teacher’s convention in town and Tine’s hotel was fully booked. As were the next two hotels that we looked at. The forth hotel had rooms but only Tine went in and she came out with a big “no way, too dirty”. Finally on the fifth and final hotel, we found one with rooms that was “ok”. It has semi-hot water and it’s cleaner than last night (no toilet seat however). Part of the problem of course is that we all were looking forward to Tine’s hotel and in particular the one reviewer’s comment about the water being “too” hot. After a day of bush camping and a day of hospedaje camping that was more or less bush camping, we all longed for a hot shower – oh well, maybe tomorrow!
I’m not sure where we are going tomorrow but know that we have a pass to go over that Alee told us he had snow on. After the top, some 23k from here, it’s mostly downhill to a larger town with many hotel options. We can only hope that the teachers, miners, lawyers, whatevers are not having a convention and tomorrow, we all get hot showers – boy that sounds good. Off to dinner – yeah, I’m hungry.