I've been staying with my friend, Matias Hodara, and his family in Buenos Aires for the past few days. Yesterday, we conceived a plan to take the boat from Buenos Aires across the Rio de la Plata to Uruguay, ride 80km from Colonia to Carmelo, and then return by boat to Tigre (near Matias' house). We were three: Matias, his friend, Gonzalo Chernitsky, and myself, plus mountain bikes. It would be a good test - the three of us (and a fourth) will be riding together for 5 days in northwest Argentina next weekend.
We woke at the shockingly early time of 6am ("shocking" by Argentine standards but normal for the rest of the world) to catch the boat. After a 2 hour boat ride and a change of time zones, we berthed in Colonia. Colonia is an old Spanish town designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The population today is only around 20,000 but it draws many tourists. It sits opposite Buenos Aires on the Rio de la Plata, the River of Silver. (The Spaniards shipped silver from Peru down the Rio de la Plata to the ports on the Atlantic coast).
Although in South America, we each ordered Desayuno Americano (American breakfast) at a local cafe before hitting the road. We rode a quick tiki tour of Colonia and then found the main road to Carmelo.
The ride was very nice. Uruguay is mostly an agricultural economy. We were surrounded by cows and sheep for most of the day, so I felt quite at home. The terrain is fairly flat with some rolling hills.
We were all looking forward to lunch near the half-way point. Apparently, there was a bodega near a gas station at kilometer 40. We found the gas station, but not the bodega. So, instead of a hearty Argentine lunch, we had no option but to eat at the gas station (there was nothing else until Carmelo). I downed three ice-creams, two alfajors (Argentine cookies), a bag of Dorito chips, and a bottle of Pepsi. Matias and Gonzalo ate variations of the same.