IMG 0180We were pleased to leave San Miguel as it is a very functional city with few obvious redeeming features except the people.

There were some very pleasing encounters: the girl at breakfast who made me real coffee, the receptionist that pointed me at the laundry over the road (it's much cheaper), the laundry lady who could not have been more helpful, the waiter who brought us a fresh bottle of wine unasked as the first was corked, etc.

The Spyder continues to attract attention, one pair of chaps even jumped out of their car at trafic light and one took a picture of the other embracing Mary on the trike!

IMG 0179The contrasts as we moved out of town were stark some with large agricultural operations, small holdings using horse and cart or donkey carts, rusting american trucks, new Japanese cars, and on and on.

The vistas were mainly what we took to be sugar cane on the plain with huge mountains in the background. Once away from the plain the rain seems to have brought out myriads of butterflies, many of which kamikaze into the bikes.

As official photographer it's my job to stop and take photos and this time I managed to misjudge the gravel on the side of the road and get a butterfly in the face at the same time. A graceful zero speed drop of the bike followed. No damage except to my pride! Some kindly locals stopped and helped me right the steed.

IMG 0181Lunch once again consisted of more ham and cheese toasted sandwiches. Basically it's seems it's that or a full meal.

Our detour for the day was a magic 2000m (vertical distance) hairpin single track hill to Cuesta del Portezuelo. There's a hotel at the top with a deck made of timber seemingly from rotting pallet timber but commanding the most incredible view of the area.

Other highlights(?) included a police stop with some discussion of whether the Spyder is a moto or a car for insurance purposes. Much smiling and chat by Mary and they let us go, I don't think they knew what to do with us and Gerardo thought there were too many of them for a discussion of money, he may be a bit cynical about the police here.

IMG 0183We also encountered demonstrations (x2) blocking the road but they let us go as theye seem very agreeable to letting the local scooters pass. One demonstration was about control of uranium mining control (we approved) and the other about something else.A late arrival at La Rioja, shower and dinner.

La Vieja Casona is recommended no 2 in Tripadvisor and we went for the traditional parrillada (a type of bbq) but the meat was of poor quality (fatty) which rather let it down. The sausages and black pudding were ok though.