Loved Bolivia and Peru, but this is Argentina. As we left Villazon and headed into the desert at 11000 feet plus, we were struck by the prosperity of Argentina. As Jim said, we saw our first wire fence for controlling animals.
We turned off the main north-south highway and rode 60 miles of gravel laced with water crossings. Nothing but llamas, dogs and their masters (indigenous women). After we tired of dirt travel we turned onto pavement and went back over a range of the Andes topping out at 13000 feet plus before dropping to Paramarca at around 8000 feet.
I met two bikers from Peru nearing the summit. I flagged them down so I could praise them. They are 21 and 24 years old. I met them at 12000 feet, and I asked them how many times they had rested coming up the hill. The response, "one other time." Skibbs, these guys are tougher than we ever dreamed of becoming.
Staying in a first class hotel tonight. Very nice for a change. Next door is an Aussie that we went to dinner with. What strikes me about her is that she is extremely well travelled and she seems to understand the role of the US in the world far better than most Americans that sit inside our vast borders and think up ways to run the world. Enough.