Journey America Part 2

Home of Mancha and Gato

From Tres Valles I cut across the mountains towards the town of Rio Pico. It was a 17 km ride that took me through a rugged mountain pass and offered a stunning view of the valley beneath. We rested the horses at the local rodeo grounds and went to look for internet. I needed to send photos to the Toronto Star for the monthly series I write for them.
What we thought would be a simple few minutes turned into an all out struggle. What we found out is that from here south, internet would be hard to find and when we found it, it was like dial up internet circa 1999.
After several hours searching we ended up not finding internet in the small town and were forced to drive an hour east to a larger town to send the photos. When we arrived we realized the internet was extremely slow and and it took me hours to send 3 photos.
The next morning, we began our ride south to Rio Senguer through a small dirt road. Just like the road to Rio Pico, it was a desolate and complicated ride that at one point took us into Chile for a few Kilometres and then back to Argentina.
We camped almost every night in the middle of nowhere, except for two nights where we arrived at a police station. The cops offered us mate, food and a corral for our ponies. On our third day out, we came to a fork in the road and had no idea which way to go. We ended up picking the wrong way and I road 4 kilometres down the wrong road. Having to ride the 4 kilometres back towards the fork. It was terrible but at least we discovered the mistake before I had ridden any further.
In Rio Seguer, I arrived to a wonderful surprise! It was in this small town where Mancha and Gato were born. That’s right, the horses I grew up reading about, the Criollos that travelled from Argentina to New York in 1925, were foaled in a ranch near the town.
The Mayor of the small town took us to see the statue that was built to honour the two horses a few years back and told us about the Chief that owned them. He explained how every year the town hosted the “Mancha and Gato,” festival and that the people here were extremely proud of these animals.
After all of the surprises this journey has offered me, I couldn’t believe I was in the home of Mancha and Gato. Another gift from the UNIVERSE.

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