After the Atacama desert I had no idea what to expect when entering Argentina. I guess I lazily thought the landscape would continue to be barren for awhile. I set my sights on a long ride to the town of Purmamarca after a suggestion at a gas station. The landscape started changing the way it does when you leave Nevada and enter Utah ie it went from absolutely nothing to beautiful rock formations. (I don't know if the rocks are really that beautiful or if they just look that way after days in the desert.) The town of Purmamarca was quaint with a distinct European tourist vibe. I was a little tired, so I found some public wifi to book a hotel and got a beer to drink at a table in a public square. I was really feeling Argentina at this point! As I had the beer, I realized I was definitely priced out of the last-minute hotel options in the area. The next stop was an hour down the road, so I saddled back up and rode toward San Salvador de Jujuy. About 20km outside of SS Jujuy, I left the Utah landscape and entered extreme greenery. It had recently rained just a little bit, so the smell hit me hard and I realized how much I hate deserts. That's one of the things I (usually) love about riding when I try to explain it to a non-motorcyclist. You get to smell so much that you never would in a car! That can obviously be good and bad. I used to live in West Seattle, there was a large commercial bakery I would drive by getting home that baked sourdough at night, SO GOOD. I'm getting way off topic. The owner of the hostel I stayed at was a 60yr old rider who showed my his bike and leather panniers with pride. In the morning we talked for about 2 hours and really hit it off even through the language barrier. There were two roads to Salta, my next destination, and one looked a little twistier and he said it was a must-ride. I found myself on what was basically a one lane road divided into two and more bends than a large intestine. I was still in awe of the greenery of the landscape and thinking "Argentina is the perfect country!". I stopped at a fruit stand (common theme for me) and chatted with the owner and her son who for some reason was really into tennis and kept asking me about Wimbeldon. I think there was a little confusion over where Washington was. Usually people think DC, and I correct them about 50% of the time but London questions were a first. Narrow couple hours with a lot of cows (and bulls): Walking around the main plaza of Salta was surreal, the best way I could describe it was like a budget Spain. I mentioned that to a local young lady I met and she was pretty insulted. More because of the colonialism than the "budget" part. Truth hurts girl! No, I'll be more culturally sensitive in the future. For reference on the "budget" part, the Argentine economy is in shambles. In 2015, it was 9 Argentinian pesos to a dollar, last year that became about 35/1. In July 2019, it dropped to 45/1 and as I write this in November it's about 60/1 and expected to slide further. If I stay here long enough I might just be able to afford to stay longer! In 2008, I had the opportunity to study in South Africa for 6 months on an exchange program I was fascinated by the hyperinflation in neighboring Zimbabwe. I don't know why, it's incredibly tragic, but it's so interesting to me. I've been telling people here to buy gold and silver, but they just tell me "Hey dumbass, I don't have any money to do that with." and I have to say "well yea, good point." But still I persist! (Not the worst idea in other countries either, wherever you are.. OK I'll stop) I almost just kicked this paragraph off with "Despues Salta.." ('After Salta' in Espanol). Without Rachel around to speak English with, my brain has converted to thinking in Spanish first. That's a pretty cool sensation, I just wish I had a bigger vocabulary once my mind goes there. Despues Salta, I rode to a tiny town called Cachi. Beautiful ride, with the last hour or so unpaved. The insulted young lady in the previous paragraph told me I had to go and she was quite persuasive. The next day I had my first ride on the famous Ruta 40 which basically streched the length of Argentina. I will spend a lot more time on this road, but from Cachi to Cafayate was only 3.5 hrs, I prepared for a leisure ride and was greeted with other-worldly views and 3.5 hours of washboard. Actually I think they somehow packed 8 hours of washboard into that 3.5 hour stretch. Washboard roads on a motorcycle have a way of bending time. Hadn't done the "ADV Salute" this entire report, so here we go: I motored on the highway toward Catamarca for my third ride day in a row. It was a straight and very hot long ride and even though I wasn't interested in Catamarca I had to take a forced rest day. I sitting in the lobby debating whether to stay or go and asked when I needed to check out, about 30 minutes ago was the answer, so the decision was made easy. Roadside stop in the heat to eat an entire watermellon. These folks were great and we chatted for an hour or so. I think I just wanted a rest.