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Published: February 4th 2006
Suddenly, around the next corner, the clouds just rolled into the side of the mountain and engulfed me. Visibility was down to about 15 inches and the condensation on the visor halved that. Fortunately I couldn’t see the precipitous fall to the valley below, the gaps in the safety barriers, the rows of little crosses dedicated to the ones they found, the oil/rubber slicks glistening on the wet asphalt, the loose gravel on the corners, the cops, the trip wires, the hit men, the imagination going wild…
The road up had been sweet, cool curves and mega views back down to the flat lands, classic badlands, a boringly straight 520 odd kms from Mendoza to Mina Clavel yesterday.
The days ride only excited by a session with the local cops at some forgettable pueblo on the way. I was pretty certain I had been several degrees over the limit for the previous 250 kms. I think 100 was the order of the day and 140 the reality. And coming down the hill into this nameless town I was sort of obliged to cross the double lines to get past a series of trucks and cars when I noticed, parked
a half a km away, a patrol car with 4 cops.
Trying a novel approach we headed straight for them and pulled up next to their car before they could flag us down, the extremely attractive chica cop gets out, stubbing out under foot what looked suspiciously like a joint, and the following dialogue reinforced that idea.
While Raf asked the extremely complicated question “where’s the road to Cordoba?”..like there’s a choice of 2!..she embarks on describing a plan, complete with diagrams in his notebook, that would have gotten Chris Colombus to the promised land and back. The driver cop joined the discussion, thankfully he left behind, in the cab, the armament he had been fondling, looking, for the balistically challenged, like yours truly, a sawn off shotgun!
Eventually we got away altho’ the directions still didn’t get us out of town without several detours and wrong turns!
So, back to the present….the road up and over the mountains to Cordoba, by the side of the road a couple of kids with a donkey for rent, we stopped and exchanged modes of transport as a photo op! The boy, about 8 or 9 is the serious businessman, his
sister just along for the ride, they have a little lean-to which looks suspiciously like their home! But they both crack up when we lift them up onto our bikes, grinning from ear to ear, little knowing their images will be flashed world-wide across the internet this evening!
So after a fabulous ride up and across the tablelands, beautiful country, no mountain cattlemen to “care” for this high country so the ecology is pristine.
Then as I start the descent, the bloody fog moves in, I was more concerned with running up the arse of a slow truck or car as headlights are more optional than obligatory and tail lights often non-existent. Anyway, it thinned out, like I should, and I was able to fang thru’ the last 50 kms altho’ the large number of little crosses was a bit disconcerto..
Into Cordoba and found the BMW dealer on the road in, friendly guys but they can’t promise more than the Monday arvo’ booking we made from Mendoza.
We find a hotel to our cheap standard and have a walk uptown, but where is everyone? All strangely deserted for a Saturday afternoon, lots of old buildings,
lots of old churches, but mostly it’s all shutdown.
From the hotel window I can see a woman, a few roofs away hanging out the washing...... opposite, on a little wrought iron balcony on the 3rd floor, a sorry looking dog is locked out of the apartment and barks fruitlessly at the randon few passersby.......sit boy!
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