27
DAYS

Rally of the Incas 2016

November 13 - December 9, 2016

DAY
14

NOVEMBER 26, 2016

La Rioja to Tucumán

A Ford and some Sierras

Today was to prove another hot day in the saddle for the Rally as it struck ever northward towards the more arid parts of Argentina.

As for La Rioja, this sleepy little town which we’d pulled into last night proved that it was also capable of an early start as the traffic built outside of the hotel from 5.00 am sharp. Our departure though was a pretty orderly one thanks to the grid system of one way roads and traffic lights, which also made our American crews feel right at home.

The big news over breakfast however was that of the death of Fidel Castro. Throughout the day, every gas station and cafe with a TV, and that’s most of them, beamed live comment, speculation and punditry about the future of Cuba and the legacy of ‘Comandante en Jefe’. At least we think that that's what they were talking about.

Unfortunately, the first regularity at La Lancha couldn’t be run, the 24 hour car, comprising Dick Appleton and Stuart Wood sent message back that the track wasn’t in a suitable condition any more so it was onwards to the first Time Control. Along the long straight road with the mountains of the Sierra de Manchao on the left and those of the Sierra de Alcastio del Alto on the right past fruit sellers and between miles of olive groves.

Lunch was taken at the Hosteria el Rodeo. A large cool building with thick stone walls and a tiled floor and, at 1304 m, a reasonable breeze which also helped to keep us a little less warm.

Further down the road and across an entertaining water crossing; or a ford if you prefer, we arrived at the Sierra de Manchao which played host to the afternoon’s regularity - El Serpiente where the tarmac road, twisted and climbed like a snake, for 16 lovely kilometres.

The thermometer hit 39°c on the way to the passage control in Villa Alberdi sat beneath the  Sierra Aconouija and over a choc’ ice or two some of the sharper crews commented that there are more Sierras here than in Dagenham.

The last leg into the night halt in Tucuman was a swift one on a superb newly built highway and soon the crews arrived hot and sticky in the Sheraton carpark they were greeted with the welcome news that it is forecast to be a lot cooler over the next few days.

Finally, we must say a big hello and welcome to Mario and Catherine Illien who have joined us at last having been delayed at home by a family bereavement. We hope that they enjoy the rest of the rally in their well travelled Citroen.

Syd Stelvio

 

 

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