Another long day of kilometres today, mostly due to the lack of facilities in the area - the only decent place to stay close (60km or 120km) to Valle de la Luna is in Villa Union.
So from Villa Union in the morning it's 60km (40 Miles) back south to Talampaya National Park - Home of the Dinosaurs (guanaco and suri). It's currently 40 pesos park fee (for foreigners) plus 135 for the bus trip in the overland truck. The truck is almost 4 hours drive into the canyon. It's a beautiful visit with wildlife and petroglifos (stone carvings) but I wish they would do a convoy as in Ischigualasto as it is a little dull looking at 150 metres of stacked up mud for four hours - but perhaps I'm just worrying about lunch!
I'm worrying because through this central part of Argentina in particular, the food is appalling. It may be merely a cultural issue - the nursery rhyme about Jack Sprat was surely invented here about a cross-cultural couple. While I prefer a lomo (filet steak) any day, my partner prefers a cut like vacio, tough and gristly.
There is a cafe in Talampaya which will be filled with tour groups and places in the pueblo will take an hour to fire up some fried empanadas.(The truck ride incorporates a vino and olive stop).
There's the 60km back to Villa Union and then two hours to Chilecito through the Cuesta de Miranda (ripio). Hopefully the timing allows a snack at the cafe on the plaza and a visit to the Bodega, La Riojana. By now you'll notice all the Difunta Correa shrines along the way.
Another two hour drive to Tinogasta for the overnight stop - There is only one decent hotel with nice rooms although the public areas are like a hostel - Best to dine here also, the woks are good and actually contain vegetables. The restaurants are all milanesas and plastic garden chairs.
Check the tiny people in the canyon.