So comfortable and restful was the hotel at Cataviña, we ended up staying three nights. It was good to spend time exploring this unique area, which has National Park status to protect the fauna and flora. The tall, spindly Cirios trees are found nowhere else in the world. Some of the Cardõne cacti are absolutely huge and are many hundreds of years old. Man has also been in this region for thousands of years, as evidenced by cave paintings we visited just a couple of miles out of the village.
The Wing Commander (Gavin) got us back on task with chocks away at 6.20 am this morning. Another long, 74 mile, day in the saddle loomed with very strong and gusting winds forecast. The first 20 miles took us to an elevation of over 900 metres (Cataviña was at circa 500 m). There was virtually no traffic and the wind was mostly side-on except for the sections where the road twisted to the east, then it was full in our faces and made the going very hard.
After this the ride has to rank as world class, mostly a gentle decline, stunning scenery through the desert strewn with cacti and boulders in the foreground and mountains in the distance. For the final 20 miles the gods were smiling, as were we. The road veered south leaving the wind at our backs, we hit a long stretch of oh so smooth, newly laid tarmac and the gentle decline continued allowing us to ride the final 20 miles in an hour; including stopping to chat to a lone German cycle tourist slogging it out in the opposite direction. All the information we were able to elicit suggested there to be no accommodation at our destination, Puente Prieta, stating that Restaurant Melany allows cyclists to camp around the back. All set to get the tent out, Gavin spotted a small building which turned out to be two very newly built en-suite rental rooms, and one was available. Icing on the cake with a cherry on top!!