December 8-9th Argentina

by - December 10, 2018

Our dog protected us and kept us awake all night by barking at anything and everything.  Yesterday we contacted a mechanic that was recommended to us by the previous mechanic.  We brought our truck there at 8 AM.  We were happy he would look at it since nobody works on weekends.  It took him 20 minutes to bleed the brakes and to fix the connection between the battery and alternator.  We were excited that we didn’t need to stay in town all weekend!  This might be the first time we have no  warning lights on the dash.  We headed to another Cafe Martinez to work on getting car insurance for Chile.  Also, I will not let us leave town until I can get a Big Mac!  We enjoyed our lunch at McDonalds, filled with gas and then headed out of town.  We drove for about 5 hours and then found a place to turn in for the night.  It was next to some railroad tracks.  We made dinner and then got into the hot box because the flies were so bad.  Our solar panel isn’t working again so it was a long hot night.  Every so often stray donkeys came running by making that funny noise they make.

We woke up around 7:30 and got on the road around 8.  We skipped breakfast because of the bugs, but stopped a couple hours later to cook.  We put in about 6 hours of driving.  We got stopped at a checkpoint and Bart got a breathalyzer.  That was a first.  The first 4 hours were boring landscape, but once we got to the state of Jujuy the landscape was awesome.  Green mountains turned into gray mountains which then turned into brown mountains.  We were suddenly in an entirely different atmosphere.  The huge river we drove along was completely dried up.  We saw a sign for artesanal beer and pulled into the sleepy town to check it out.  Jackpot!  It was merely a shop on the porch of a house.  The woman left and sent out her son, Nicholas.  He was 100% Incan and claimed he was of the last generation.  He spoke great English.  He said his grandfather taught him English every day when he was a child.  He let us sample all of the beers he made along with about 10 other items.  We tried local fruits, liqueurs, marmalades, hot sauce, and tequila.  It was so much fun.  We bought tons of items and it was so cheap.  Then we headed to Tilcara.  We went to a restaurant La Pena de Carlitos, which was recommended by Nicholas.  We both ordered llama.  I had a stew and Bart ordered pickled llama.  What an experience!  Then we found a place to park. We watched the sunset from a hill and then had a great nights sleep since it was much cooler now that we are in a higher elevation.  We have decided we want to spend a lot of time in this area.

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