We have finally started touring. Properly. Three days ago we cycled out of Buenos Aires (Ok - we took a bus for the first 100km, partly due to numerous warnings of almost-certain-death from cycling through the 'burbs, mainly due to a shared hatred of cycling through the endless edgelands of big cities.) After drifting about Lake Chacomus in a kayak, watching cormorants and jet-skis skimming the surface, we hit the road to the coast.
The tarmac stopped with the town, and we were racing through the dust. The occasional vehicle would pass and drown us a mini sand storm.
Around us hearty cows and horses shimmered in the afternoon sun, patrolling their expansive pastures, as capybaras streaked across the road ahead. Kansas style turbines spun in the wind, drawing water through the fields. Clumps of trees broke up the landscape, which stretched out flat in all directions, leaving you forever at the centre of a circular view. 10m wide verges on both sides housed reeds or pampas. Eagles swooped, parakeets chattered, while a multitude of multicoloured birds flitted to and fro.
After 30km we set up camp. Big Aggy (our tent) caught the setting sun amid the whispering grasses. We made our first spag nap on our petrol stove, then watched the fireflies and stars competing for the best night display.
The next day led us down the main auto route to the coast, long straight roads leading into the blazing sun. The north bound carriageway was a solid mass of trippers returning to BA after a weekend on the beach. Stalls selling Regional Produce littered the hard shoulder - but cheese, chorizo and honey is a poor substitute for ice cold bebidas.
We dozed under a tree in the midday sun, then hit the broiling tarmac once more. A few k from our chosen campspot, we were flagged down by a police patrol. With the power of Google translate, they told us to follow them, and they took us to the station where we could stay. Between the broken swings, the tree that looked like Sideshow Bob and the collection of burnt out cars, we made camp. They cleaned out the shower for us, and gave us home made tortilla (pronounced 'tortisha' here) as we waited for the stove to light. They seemed to enjoy having something to do!
The third day of roasting on the road, with a four hour siesta in an ice cream parlour and a service station (it had air con. Don't judge.) brought us to Mar Azul, a town whose entire existence depended on its beautiful beach. To ensure you never forgot this, they covered the roads with beach as well. As we stopped for supplies a man jumped out of his car and pulled something out of his boot - a cycling shirt from his very own brand - Lima. He wished us good luck and drove of in flash of dust.
The camping was at the far end of town; dragging bikes through sand is tough, but the pine forest dunes we pitched up in were worth it!
We joined the band Forever Foal on the beach round a crackling pine cone fire, for some impromptu gaucho music, the guitar and drum melding with the crashing waves. Dreamy.