It rained a little overnight, but I was in a good position, and the tent was virtually dry when I came to pack it away in the morning. I asked for directions out of town, and just as well that I did, as the route I took out was nothing like the one I had in mind! If I had gone back out to where I turned off for the town, I really don’t know where I would have ended up! My maps for this little section were not up to much, but this appeared to be a two day section with virtually no towns in between. It didn’t turn out quite that way though! After leaving Santa Maria, I cycled for 20 kms and reached the town of San Jose. Its population seemed to consist of very drunken old men with no teeth and incredibly pretty girls. Reconciling the two was difficult, although it did give me great hopes for the future! Some uphill cycling today, but also some lovely sections angled slightly downhill or a little flat. Of the one or two other cyclists blogs I read about this section, they mentioned that the wind hampered them a lot. Fortunately for me, it was a still day and I racked up the miles. The was one section where I cycled along a flat desert landscape for 30 or so kms. It reminded me a lot of the altiplano in Bolivia. Most of the road was sealed, although one 40 km section of poor quality unsealed road did crop up. Thankfully, this was with a downhill section, so was easier than it otherwise might have been. I called it a day at Hualifin (actually, I have no idea if that’s the name or not). No campground, but just out of town there was a natural spring and thermal pool area, with plenty of space for me to set up a tent.. The spring water tasted like it was already carbonated, but it didn’t have any bubbles. Very odd. At night, several storms passed overhead, with lots of lightening and huge, rolling crashes of thunder. Fairly strong winds but minimal rain.