After 2 weeks in the campground in Belgrano I am really ready to do a short test trip. A bit apprehensive driving the beast but excited as well.
I decide to take a short 2 day loop trip around the area. Viviana finds that there is a community of kite boarders close by so I send emails and make an appointment for a lesson. She also suggests that I go see Cumbracita in the mountains.
The first time filling the tank ! Note the addition of the 110 kilometers / per hour sicker and the red strip... requirements of Argentina. Don't want to give the police an excuse to stop me.
So I quickly find that my GPS does not work so I am driving around completely blind with no idea of where I am or where I am or should be going. But all is well. I decide to follow someone who looks like they do. I drive around a bit and all is going great until my guide pulls into their driveway, and just leaves me there in the middle of the dirt road in some obscure neighborhood. Surprisingly I am instantaneously lost. Undeterred my new goal is to find a paved road. I succeed only to discover what I read, and was warned about on the internet... these enormous speed bumps in the road, located precisely in places where you least expect them. (like when Dale and Nanny where in Lancaster and hit the storm drain at 60 mph). I now am really happy when I discover the wheels are still turning and I, miraculously, have no flat tires.
I finally find the small mountain town of Cumbracita. No cars allowed. I enjoy a nice dinner outside. Lovely.
How I long for that one week when Benjie was 4 yrs old and I could beat him at fools-ball.
My fist experience at "bandit" camping in Argentina is just above the Cumbracita town. A local told me about this place.
But that night it storms... and I mean really storms.. not like northwest storm but hail, lighting, winds, crazy. I sleep nicely. Then I try to drive up over the small hill... o crap I think I might be going sideways. this can't be good.. I am completely alone....I stop... I am thinking it would be a good idea to back up. I am kind of in control but only after I decided that I want to back down into a large puddle (see tracks to the right). I try again going very slowly just 20 feet up from my first attempt and barely make it.
I get to the top of hill. There is wind !!! I get a message from the kiteboarder instructor, Emiliano to meet up at the lake.
I have a great session / lesson until the wind, of course, goes to where I am not. Here is the best instructor (on my right) in all of Argentina and the best, and original, Argentine kiteboarder (Fernando ??) on my left. All great people. Emiliano gave me the name of another kiteboarder who lives south about 2 hours. I will end up visiting and having a great time. This reminds me of the early days of windsurfing when Bill Bushnell and I drove around the country. Windsurfing was so new we were welcome by the local guy everywhere we went.
I find out that the Beast is so unusual that it's like continually driving in a parade. I feel rude not to wave at all the people along side the road who are waving to me. Here are the kiteboarding guys who want to get a picture with the beast (and not the lake and kites).
Next post I finally leave the Belgrano camp ground and the real trip begins.