The Mountains of Northern Argentina

The differences between Argentina and previous countries are like day and night, and I’m surrounded by them at all times. The streets are clean, people are smiling and friendly and there is a lot more infrastructure. Fashion, with jeans/shorts and a T-shirt reining supreme, looks to be coming straight from North America or Europe, and cars must be sourced from the entire world; Europe, Japan, North America, etc.
Attitudes and ideas are equally global.

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Typical North-East Argentina...

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Cool rock formations

In Bolivia, Peru, and the mountains of Ecuador it was obvious a huge percentage of the population are trying hard to retain the cultural ideas of their ancestors; clothes, language, crafts and a simple means of living. Not so in Argentina. My immediate impression is the Argentines take immense pride in their Spanish heritage, and live that life to the full.
Every village, town and city in Latin America, big or small, boasts a central plaza, a kind of hub for the town. More often than not I’ve seen desolate concrete dust bowls, scaring away even the street dogs. Here in Argentina I’ve seen the exact opposite, beautiful plazas bursting with shady trees, green grass and plenty of tables and chairs – extremely inviting places to be, and not surprisingly packed with friendly people.

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I've wanted to camp in one of these "rock forts" for a long time

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This pool is 106m x 56m - good for 1000 people!

After a couple of days of adjustment and a huge re-resupply (at Wal-Mart…) I head back into the mountains and quickly find Route 40, the epic route from North to South I’ve heard so much about. This highway runs along The Andes all the way to Ushuaia, my long dreamed-of destination and seeing the kilometer marker of 4700km is an extremely bizarre feeling – not only am I close and in the right country, I could theoretically stay on this highway to the end.

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The Jeep high on route 40

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Red rocks everywhere

Over a week or so I meander my way South watching the kilometer markers constantly decrease and spend more than a few days in the beautiful little town of Cafayate.


10 Responses

  1. Jim K in PA says:

    You’re not dragging your feet now, are you Dan? LOL – the destination lies in the journey. Ushuaia will be behind you eventually. Where will your journey go from there? I, and probably everyone else following you, eagerly (but patiently) await to hear of your plans. I also hope you do not abandon your chariot in Argentina. Perhaps a container heading toward Johannesburg has your name on it?

    Love the “ruined” camping shot. What was the purpose of those buildings? They look like old barracks.

    • Dan says:

      Hey Jim,
      Yep, the future is something I’m thinking about more and more. I have some plans, though nothing concrete yet.
      I’m pretty sure the mighty chariot is getting abandoned :( It was always the rough plan, and as planned I’m running low on money and the desire to keep going. I need to do something else for a while. A container to Johannesburg is a another dream/wish/adventure entirely – for another time.

      The old rock buildings like that have been scattered around all over the place, I assume they were once houses for farmers or something similar, long ago abandoned.

      As usual Jim, thanks so much for the continued support, I love hearing from you.

      • Jim K in PA says:

        You are welcome! I feel priveledged to be able to correspond! And don’t share your plans until you are ready to do so. We are just vicarious hitchikers here on the computer, and enjoy whatever you choose to share with us during this special time in your life.

        Don’t feel too bad about the TJ. It is/was a tool to accomplish a goal. It is nothing unusual or rare. It can be replaced. But, I am one of those fools that will occasionally anthropomorphize a vehicle. Some do have souls! Honest! My Jeep and I are in a long term relationship . I have directed some of my Jeep friends to your blog to show them that their “go big or go home” approach to Jeep adventure preparation & modification is not necessary.

        I hope our paths cross some day. My mom lives about 15 minutes east of NYC, so if you find yourself up that way visiting your parents, give a shout. Or, if you are heading west from NYC, stop in eastern PA at our farm and rest a spell.

        • Dan says:

          Hey Jim,
          Thanks again for the kind words, and the offer of a place to crash. A farm in eastern PA sounds pretty sweet!
          You are right about the Jeep – the day I set off on this adventure I knew we would part ways at the end. It will be a sad day, but hopefully I can sell her to someone else that will have more huge adventures. She really does enjoy it as much as I do 😉

          Take care,

  2. Scott says:

    Makes me want to visit Argentina.

  3. Liz says:

    The red must remind you of home, execpt it’s not quite flat enough :-)

  4. Hi, I recently came across a reference to OLD MAN ON A BIKE on your site – Leon, Nicaragua – and left a comment before realising the date of your entry (such are the handicaps of great age!).
    Will you pass through Rio Grande in Tierra del Fuego?
    Keep well and have a Happy Christmas and a great New Year…

    • Dan says:

      Hey Simon, I have no concrete plans for Tierra Del Fuego, though if you recommend Rio Grande, I’ll go there!
      Merry Christmas and all the best to you as well.

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