The dirt roads in Bolivia daunted us a little. We changed our schedule in two ways. First, we kept to asphalt roads in northern Argentina and second we set out to arrive in Santiago a couple of days earlier than schedule. A lot of folks take five or six months to do the kind of trip we're doing in two. Consequently, we don't have a lot of spare time for repairs or delays. Since we'd left La Paz the days had just felt full, long and as though one thing after another was going wrong. We needed to get back some flex time in case anything else went wrong. Something is bound to happen.
The solution was two long days through Argentina's north towards Mendoza. On the first day, Nathan had tourista. He didn't eat much at all, took a break at mid-day, but managed to stay on the bike all day long. Impressive.
On the first night we stayed in the town of Rio Hondo, and Andrew and I checked out one of the many hotsprings in the evening. The town feels a little like an Argentine Myrtle Beach. Our accommodation was an entirely forgettable hotel, except for the extent to which the breakfast was terrible. Crackers and jam, with weak coffee. It has become a joke to see if any subsequent breakfast could match the level of bleakness.