After starting at sunrise, we´d made good progress, had 2 nice reststops in the shade, and were on track for doing 80km before lunchtime. I was ahead of Fearghal and Marina, rolling along nicely with my tunes going, passing sunflower fields and singing away to myself. Everything was good.
As I came to where we were to stop for lunch, I was surprised to find that the large entrance arch welcomed me to some other, unexpected town. Now there´s very few towns around here, and had been going along the same, cue straight road (see map & photo above) for the previous two days so I was pretty confused as to how I managed to find myself here. I looked on my map which showed me some 40km down a road perpendicular to the road we were on. How did I get to be so far off the main road? Had I somehow been in a daydream and swerved onto this road? Was this still a dream? Did someone switch the names as a prank on the silly foreigners?
After sitting by the side of the road, confused, perplexed and bewildered, I eventually came to terms that somehow, I was indeed miles away from where we were meant to be. I met Fearghal and Marina and, as always, we thought the best way to deal with this situation was to get some food. This came in the form of a great parilla (BBQ), where the chatty owner told us that many people had done what we had, people with GPS, in cars, on motorbikes. It made me wonder whether he had taken away the sign as a way of increasing his number of diners.
We reluctantly got back on the bikes and headed back where we came from. We afternoon heat making the same journey much more difficult. We finally got back to the place where we had gone wrong. Through some strange road design, in order to continue on the dead straight road, we should have turned sharply right onto what looked like a minor road. Out of 110km of cycling, we only managed to take out 30km of the distance to Salta, our next main town. We cut our losses and pitched our tents behind a petrol station. A very frustrating day.