Busted Brake (San Jose de Jachal, Argentina)

 John was stopped on the side of the road, leaning down over his handlebars in a gesture of utter despair when I pedaled up.

“I no longer have a brake,” he said.

“What?!” I cried.  “What happened?”

“The cable snapped.  I don’t have a brake.”


The good news is that it was the cable for his drum brake – a third brake he had added to the bike in Albuquerque.  He still has his regular two brakes.

The bad news is that the tandem requires extra long cables to reach to the rear of the bike – and extra long cables are not available here in Argentina.

There is a slight possibility that John has a spare cable stashed away in his trailer – we won’t know until he digs down to the bottom of it in a couple days when we take a rest day.  I fear he doesn’t have it – if my memory serves me right, he changed it in Peru just before I went back to the USA.  “The old cable has lasted the whole trip so far – I don’t see why this one would break.  Don’t bother getting another.”  I hope my memory is wrong.

Added later:  He doesn’t have the cable.  We’re not sure if he will do the rest of the journey without that brake – we won’t have any more massive descents – or if he’ll try to send a replacement down or if he’ll jerryrig something.  Fortunately, that brake isn’t absolutely essential.

Kilometers today: 40

Kilometers to date:  23767

Waking up in tent

We started climbing shortly after leaving our campsite this morning and headed up.  And I do mean UP!  I didn’t think grades like this existed in Argentina!  It was crazy up.  Davy and I walked our bikes as usual, but this time John very nearly had to walk – Daryl actually walked behind him and pushed the bike.  Fortunately, the climbs weren’t long.

It may have been crazy steep, but it was gorgeous!  The sheer ruggedness of these mountains is breathtaking.

Climbing in Argentina

It happened to be a very small range, so we were through in a mere 20 kilometers.  All of a sudden, we came around a corner and the whole Jachal valley lay spread out before us like a gigantic picnic blanket.

jachal valley

We camped in the municipal campground in Jachal – with electricity.  The boys decided to take advantage of the power to watch a movie on the computer in their tent.

watching a movie in the tent

books by Nancy Sathre-Vogel

About Nancy Sathre-Vogel

After 21 years as a classroom teacher, Nancy Sathre-Vogel finally woke up and realized that life was too short to spend it all with other people's kids. She and her husband quit their jobs and, together with their twin sons, climbed aboard bicycles to see the world. They enjoyed four years cycling as a family - three of them riding from Alaska to Argentina and one exploring the USA and Mexico. Now they are back in Idaho, putting down roots, enjoying life at home, and living a different type of adventure. It's a fairly sure bet that you'll find her either writing on her computer or creating fantastical pieces with the beads she's collected all over the world.

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