Somehow the force that directs the wind into my kite, let me
find the site of BATOCO.
I was pleased to find a site made from kiteflyiers in Argentina,
the home country of my wife and a regular place we spend our holidays.
Digging a little bit deeper, I found information about a buggy meeting called '1st Buggy Extreme Caramba!!' in San Juan, Argentina, which would take place exactly during my holidays in Argentina: at the end of the year 1998.
Allthough I was never riding a buggy in my life my heart was beating like hell when I thought of the possibility in beeing a part of this Buggy Meeting.
This was in October 1998, long before our holidays in December.
But I couldn't get rid of this crazy thought.
A big battle between my soul, which said yes, go for it, and my brain, which said, you're crazy, started.
I contacted Andrea Della Bianca per email to get more information about the meeting, still totally unsure what to do. But the closer the holidays came, the stronger my soul of a kiter was to strengthen my decision to go to San Juan and try to ride a buggy.
A second contact to Andrea by phone followed about two weeks
before the starting point of the hollidays. After that I really
decided to go for this adventure, allthough I was never riding
a buggy before, allthough I didn't know anything about the people
I would meet there...... but the kiting soul was stronger.
Some phone calls with Andrea, organizational problems regarding
the flight tickets to the destination airport and a big delay
later (the first flight was about two hours late: thunderstorms)
I was sitting on the 28th of december in the flight from Misiones,
where I stayed for two weeks allready with the family of my wife,
heading towards Buenos Aires. There I had to wait again about
one and a half hour for the next plane taking me from Buenos Aires
to the Airport of Mendoza, the province of wine at the feet of
As agreed with Andrea, he and his girlfriend Agustina were picking me up at the airport of Mendoza. From there we were heading northbound on the main connection road to Santiago de Chile up to Uspallata, the last green village in the valley. From there the road to Chile is going eastbound steep up into the mountains. We were following the road inside the valley northbound. This way we would pass the flying area called La pampa del Leoncito and arrive in Barreal, a small city about 17 Km in the north of the flying area, where we would meet some more 'fanatics'.
This trip through the fantastic landscape was a delightful experience. Allthough I allready knew this part of Argentina, it's each time again something fascinating. And beside that it was a big pleasure to make this trip with such great persons like Agusta and Andrea. I was welcome from the first moment on and really felt comfortable together with them, from the first up to the last moment.
After Uspallata the road was worse than before, but we couldn't complain. We were all expecting worse conditions. This way we were all pleased to see our flying area still with light. We all couldn't wait anymore to see it: La Pampa Del Leoncito.
The first signal that we couldn't be too far
anymore was the signal telling us that we are entering the National
Park "El Leoncito". We all got even more nervious and
couldn't stand any longer.....
Then suddenly something white and big appeared at the horizon:
La Pampa Del Leoncito.
We couldn't believe it, there it was, in it's immense size:
about 1.5-2km wide and about 7 km long, a dry lake on the highth
of about 2000 meters above Sea level.
On the west side the Andes going up to nearly 7000 meters (Aconcagua) and on the east side the Pre-Andes also going up to about 5000 m above Sea level.
The surface of the dry lake is hard like concrete, the optimal ground for a buggy.
The first checks of the wind made me feeling a little bit strange: between 40 and 45 km per hour of wind, definitely too much for someone who never was sitting in a buggy before, someone like me .......
But the whole athmosphere and the landscape were just great, unbelievable.
After a while we left the flying area behind us, heading again towards Barreal, the place were I should get known to three French, Antoine and Henry, both working in the Gastronomy sector in Buenos Aires, and the brother of Henry, Pierre, living near Paris, at the moment on holiday in Argentina.
We first enjoyed some cool liquids after the hot trip of about
5 hours through a great landscape and heard allready the first
hot stories about kiting on the Pampa with high winds......
There we also could confirm the information about the land-yacht sailor races taking place on 'La Pampa Del Leoncito' in earlier years. On this Pampa the official World Speed Record with land-yacht sailors was made: over 130 km per hour.
Other interesting informations where that the good wind blows in the afternoon coming from the South and is a themical wind, often seen in the mountains, not only in the Andes, we know that also from Switzerland. We've also seen some pictures from the land-yacht sailor races on the Pampa.
After that we went for shopping. We still had to buy our dinner. In Argentina this normaly means meat to make a good 'Azado'.
We went to the river passing in the north of Barreal to spend
there our first Night of the 1st Buggy Carramba. After putting
up our tents we enjoyed the great azado, the good wine and a lot
of other interesting stories about kiting, about the members of
this Adventure and a lot of other things until late, really late
in the night.