Thursday, 12 January 2012

Heading up the east coast of Argentina.

I'm going to cheat and add exerts of my dairy rather than rewrite every thing. For the last week or so we have put in some big days to try and get north and into the mountains north of Mendoza.. R

Simon: We haven't heard from Simon since the 2nd December. Had said he was going to try and make it. Were still waiting...

Day 31. 3rd January 2012.

We had breakfast with the staff. Rodrigo our English speaking friend and the health and safety officer for Geopark, made another call to the office in Puerto Arenas to see if the tyre had turned up. Had a conversation with Alexandra and Olna via Google translate which was fun. Updated our blog which was good. Tyre turned up at 12 o'clock gave one of the staff $210 US for tyre. Joe's got the same tyre and is getting good mileage out of it so even though it sounds expensive it will probably last twice as long as a cheap tyre. Thanks Salvar.

 We had lunch at Geopark and then left. Had photos with all the domestic staff.

 We held everybody up at the Argentine boarder with our motorcycle entry. The computer had broken down and she couldn't access the information. I ran out of petrol 25 km south of Rio Gallegos. Had to syphon off a couple of litres from Joe's tank. Located a Yamaha dealer as we came into Rio Gallegos and after nearly one hour( Using google translate ) I purchased a oil filter and rear brake pads.. Took us a while to locate a grocery store. Talked to some Police to get the location. While I got grocery's Joe managed to find a local that spoke English get a local map and locate a hostel.

 Nothing much between towns Just dry and scrubby low bush.. A bit warmer up in this part of the world and was sweating with all my gear on. The hostel was very clean and tidy. Sharing a room with an older French couple.

Day 32. 4th January 2012

Woken by our French roommates. The lady was snoring loudly. Nice people though. Gave me there address in France. They live on the NW coast. Said we could stay with them if we come to France. Our hostel was quite close to the motorway so we didn't have any major issues getting out of town. had a head wind as travelled west intaily then north when we got back onto Ruta 3. We then had a side tail wind,sunny all day, which was nice, didn't stop tell we got to Piedra Buena where we had a ice cream and made our selves some lunch 240 km. The hottest temperatures we have had since back in the northern lake district. The old Scottish guy on the BMW1200GS turned up and stayed with us tell Puerto San Julian funny guy he mumbles a lot, his wife has died, but you have to give him some credit hes 71 and not in good health. Joe nearly hit an ostrich and so did I standing in the middle of the road. I was looking to my left where there were about 50 of them and chicks.

I had stopped 100 km earlier and had a coke and felt much better, took my gloves off which helped cool me down.Constantly being flashed by motorist which was kinda nice.The Dakar rally is big news in Argentina and our bikes look a bit like  Dakar bikes. I also think people get a kick out of seeing touring adventure riders.  Rode onto Caleta Olivia a reasonably big town, oil pumping machines operating just to the south as we came into town.The southern side of town looked  rough half Finished homes. and 4-5 story apartment buildings. Nice beach front area and lots of young people walking along sea front
Total distance 720 km. Our biggest day yet .Not difficult riding on tar seal with a moderate SW wind. Scenery didn't change much all day, So it was good to put in a long day.
I stopped by a women getting into her car. Her daughter thought she could speak a bit of English. They offered to take us to a camp ground we went all round town then to a hotel. We got the message across and she took us back too the south side of town to a motor camp which we had seen by the dumb which I intially  thought was closed.180 pesos for a cabana. About $30 NZ. It was $100 pesos to camp on sand. Cooked up some dodgy salami tomatoes plus three potatoes some pasta ravolli with a small salad it was nice. All the butter we had , melted in my pannier.

Day 33. 5th January 2012.
Stopped at a bank as we rode through Caleta Olivia took a photo of a sculpture a man opening a oil valve. Quite windy out by the sea and I got blown onto the gravel. Riding beside the sea for a short while.

Security guard money machine being restocked.

 Rode out of Riveria and kept going for about 160 km tell we came to a service station where we had a boil up and made some sandwiches . Very dry arid country traffic building up.  Bought a Argentina map as our Chilean map is now no good.34 degrees Celsius. Joe completely saturating his shirt in water to keep cool it works for a while.

. Went to a motorcycle shop I bought 3 litres of synthetic oil and Joe bought a rear tyre for his bike. Got the oil for $111US cash,expensive .But I only need an oil change every 10,000km.
 We rode onto the beach sea side town of Playa Union . We went to the first motor camp we could find. Lots a Argentine families on vacation. Sandy base to camp on. I changed my front tyre, ended up putting it on the wrong way, don't think it matters.  Party of some sort going on when we went to bed.  As soon as that stopped the wind picked up. Had to get up and put more pegs in. some packed up and left. Joe got up and shifted his tent also.Travelled about 470 km today.

Playa Union beach front.

Day 34 . 6th January.
I must have left my tent slightly open because I had grit and dust inside tent. Toilets blocked .Rode out to the beach front. Nice beach but windy and cool. Took a couple of photos. Rode 60km up Ruta 3 to Puerto Madryn terrain the same again, baron arid and dry. Dropped down to the city. Cruise ship in the port. Nice city. Reminds me of the seaside places in Queensland . Warm and people on bathing on the beach. Found a hostel quite quickly which was really nice $70 pesos .Booked in here for two days Parked our motos right by front door. Washed our riding gear .My trousers were nearly standing up by themselves. 

Joe and Gaston before the tide came in and the massive crowd arrived.

Day 35. 7th January 2012.
Went out to the Valdez Peninsular today as we left town I was nearly hit by another motorcyclist on a Honda 250cc chopper type bike. Claimed his leather tassel's had caught the wing mirror of a car that he was trying to squeeze through way too fast. . His helmet wasn't done up. Wearing sandals. Very lucky I wasn't taken out  according to Joe.

Went into the NP park and had to pay. Valdez Peninsular is famous for the Orca whales that beach themselves on full tide in February/March and crab baby seals.  Joe and I had lunch outside a cafe. Lots of tourists. Dusty from sand being blown around. Town was Puerto Priamides. Decided to go just to the place where you could see penguins.a distance one way of 170km. The start of the gravel road was dodgy. Loose and difficult to see the contrast and texture of sand/gravel.

Penguins Valdez Peninsular

Memorial to the soldier killed on Malvinas Islands. (Falklands)

. Stopped and spoke to two Argentine young men on Zepella road bikes an Argentine make. Not sure how they are going to get in with overloaded under powered bikes.

 Laden down. Heat wave as we came back into Puerto Madryn I estimate it was 38-40 degrees Celsius.
Day 36. 8th January 2012
Planning day. Dusty. 38-40 degrees Celsius ?. Planned out the next month. Which was good. Sleeping bag dried pretty quickly apart from one bit. But was covered in dust from the sand storm/heat wave.

Day 38. 9th January.

We got going by about 9:50 We were the first ones down for breakfast. Corn flakes coffee and toasted mini mini bread rolls. Hot like a blast furnace as we came into Las Grutas. We stopped by an ice cream shop and used there outside seating to make our sandwiches. Popular holiday spot. people on the beach. I bought some sunglasses for $35 pesos hopefully I won't lose these ones. Hard to pull ourselves away from all the people enjoying themselves at the beach.

 We stopped in San Antonio Oeste for fuel. Had to cue for 35 minutes in the heat maybe more. Then found other service stations just up the road on Ruta 3. Left Ruta 3 here and started heading directly north. We both saturated our shirts with water b4 we started off again. Stopped by the river again at Gral Conesa and wet our shirts. About 30 minutes later it became quite dark and and then lighting started going off toward the north east which was quite neat. Both of us a little worried we might be struck by lighting. Only rained on us for 5-10 minutes.

 Fuelled up again when we arrived in Rio Colardo. Then found a camp site by the Rio Salada o Curaco. 530km today. Some thunder going off as we went to bed. The thunder and lighting was pretty cool. Didn't get much rain out of it though.

Day 39. 10th January 2012.

Not a great sleep. insects bit me. Hot and a group of young people not far away playing music. We were stopped at a Police check point and asked for our documents. Handed over our international d/l. I'm not sure if he knew what it was. Also temporary vehicle import permit. Didn't  stop tell we got to Santa Rosa. The pamper had started. More grass than scrub. We stopped outside a supermarket. Lots of people on scooters getting about with out helmets on. Amused Joe and I. Not sure what the Police do here.  We went onto and eventually decided to stay in a Hospedaje in Huinca Renanco for $210 pesos for both of us. Lots of cropping and beef operations. Couldn't find a camping ground with showers and toilet.Not a tourist location. A rural farming community. Cooked our tea outside opposite the Plaza and across from the hostel not allowed to cook in Hospedaje. Had lots of people steering at us as they walked around the plaza .480km today.

11th January 2012.

We are now in San Luis, 250 km east of Mendoza, Argentina. My bike is due for a 10,000 km oil change. Planning our route further north. Maybe out of computer contact now for quite a few days. Robert.

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