The wine-growing region of Cafayete is south of Salta. More spectacular mountains on the way, including this natural formation, an amphitheater:
At the amphitheater, there were people selling handicrafts and making music.
Here’s a view of the mountains of Cachi from our hotel window.
On the way back to Salta we passed high mountains and desert terrain, sometimes with a view of an adobe house in the distance. We passed through without incident to arrive at Bishop’s Peak, the highest point, with clouds curling beneath us, and a little shrine for roadside prayers.
Mind you, this was deserted country! We were enjoying the spectacular views when all of a sudden, someone noticed… JJ’s car had a flat tire! When did it happen? We had not noticed anything particular during the trip over the desert, and now here we were stranded in the middle of high country nowhere. Well, JJ and Paul and Julian began to unpack the trunk to get the spare tire. JJ said that he had to find his anti-theft device. One of the lug-bolts of the tires could be looosened only with this particular anti-theft device, a precaution JJ had taken after many years’ residence in South America. (Once in a parked truck someone had stolen all four of his tires.)
Well, he looked here and he looked there and we looked everywhere. “It’s the darnedest thing, I KNOW I put it in the glove compartment!” But a thorough search of the glove compartment, trunk, floor of the car, and other areas failed to turn up this magic device. The wind was fierce. I had visions of being stranded for hours on this deserted windy mountain.
Some other people drove up, and some Good Samaritans stopped to help us. There were actually two different men. They had the idea of breaking the lug-bolt. Honestly, they worked for an hour: one of them brought a tool box out of his car, they took turns working. But nothing seemed to be working. I said a quick Hail Mary and within seconds the second gentleman exclaimed- “it’s done!” or “Hola!” Success!
As a tribute to spiritual power or to Argentinian persistence, I don’t know- but how grateful we were to resume the trip home!