WE ARRIVE IN SALTA
After twenty four hours of bus we arrive in Salta. It’s really a pretty city, as we imagine in South America with baroque churches and colorful facades. It is almost expected that Sergeant Garcia will sue Zorro on the rooftops.
THE ROAD TRIP BEGINS
The day after our arrival, we rent a car with two other French, Mathieu and Xavier. Just out of Salta we are in an arid desert, only covered with huge cactus more than ten meters high. We cross the dusty and calm village of Catchi to supply us. A none plays with the children of the school on the main square.
Wild camping under the stars
A few tens of kilometers of dirt tracks further, we arrive at the edge of a lake in the middle of nature. The place would be perfect if only it was not so lined with crusts of biquettes. We are preparing a huge campfire. With whole tree trunks the fire burns all night under the stars. Warm in our down, we sleep like babies until the rain forces us to move into the car.
Mission sleeping in a cave
Second day in our Volkswagen Gol, the landscape becomes more mountainous and rocky like forms of gigantic strata of tapered stones. In the evening, the landscape becomes redder. At Cafayate we repair our tire crosse and leave in search of a cave that we have spoken. We hope to sleep in the dry, and make a fire in a prehistoric spirit that I like. We do not find the cave but an open chapel at the top of a hill.
A blasphemous Picnic
We decide to picnic in the chapel. The place is perfect for the apero, and in this sacred environment we take the opportunity even to make some blasphemous photos that do not please the boss who is watching us from the top. Divine Consequence: in the middle of the night, Sylvain plants the car in the middle of a river. We are stuck in the mud and the gearbox is blocked first. Yet we did cross dozens of small watercourse like that in the day, but in the middle of the night, it’s hard to realize that it’s much bigger than the others.
STUCK IN A WATERCOURSE IN FLOOD. RESCUE MISSION
Separation in groups assignment of missions
It is only about twenty o’clock, yet no cat goes by this way. Water begins to rise inside the car. We must act quickly. Sylvain and Xavier go to Cafayate for help. The city is precisely twenty-two kilometers away.
Mission 1 to save the car from the water
Meanwhile, Mathieu and I take things in hand to save the car from drowning. In calecon, feet in forty centinetres of water, we build a dam with stones and mud to divert the stream. Around two o’clock in the morning, the impressive work ends and the water inside the car is down. Mathieu insists that we sleep, but I have a plan that will make us heroes.
Mission 2 find help
At the same time, after ten kilometers of walking, Xavier and Sylvain reach a house and ask for help. Bizare, the inhabitants speak a strange language, incomprehensible. It’s Quechua! No need to insist. They leave, this time on a paved road and after an hour of walking, end up being hitched by a good guy. Their driver calls a depaneuse, but our rental car is not insured. The depaneuse therefore does not agree to come. The driver calls some friends …
Advance Mission 1: Francis is mistaken for Mac Gyver
There is a pile of stones a hundred meters from the car. I start to go back and forth to bring back the maximum. I hold the jack under the water with stones and activate it. Bammmhhhhh !!! The jack slips and the car falls violently. Second try, everything works. The car stands up. I put stones under the wheels. I make a stone road ahead so that the car does not get bogged down again. Finally, I get the most out of the mud on the road after the stream that becomes flat and passable. After five hours of play in the mud, this is the moment of truth. I sit at the wheel. I turn the key … Nothing! Putaiiiinnnnnn! The gearbox has completely loose. If ready for the goal. Noooonnnnnnn! This time, it only remains to wait.
Calvarerie is coming!
In the distance, small lights approaching at a brisk pace. They are Xavier and Sylvain who arrive with the cavalry, a car and a big pick-up. In all three people are there to help us. In a few minutes, the car is towed out of the watercourse. The pickup pulls our car to a garage in Cafayate. It is four-thirty in the morning. We are finally out of business after an adventure of nearly eight hours. We warmly thank our saviors and leave in search of a hotel likely to accept people covered with mud. On the way, a kind of crazy and alcoholic fool follows us, pushing incomprehensible cries, “yeugeuhhh ahhhhha bah biiii”. Surealist!