"A MAN TRAVELS THE WORLD OVER IN SEARCH OF WHAT HE NEEDS, AND RETURNS HOME TO FIND IT". George Moore
After resting in Salto a few days and receiving a lot of attention from friends and acquaintances who congratulated me in finishing the trip, my brother's (Juan) neighbour said I was an inspiration to anyone who would want to do such a trip, all music to my ears, I went out to travel around Uruguay and did 2000 kms in 4 days.
I was impressed with the beauty of the farmlands between 33 and Melo. Tacuarembó and Rivera's beautiful hills and mountains and of course the friendliness from the habitants of Rivera and Artigas.
I really liked Mercedes and I passed by the Bosnia factory in Fray Bentos, which is constantly mentioned on the news.
Dolores, Nueva Palmira, Carmelo (a beautiful town), Colonia (part of the road was a disaster with very thin sand, every truck that went passed showered me in dust). Colonia is very beautiful, there was no vacant hotels all of it taken by Argentinean tourists. I had to head north up the coast and found a beauty for $US49, Posada del Bosque with breakfast, internet, cable and air con. I washed the bike and the next morning after a home made breakfast of buns and dulce de leche (a local and traditional caramel spread) I headed out to Montevideo.
In Montevideo I went to Aerolineas Argentinas to change airfare ticket, then I went to the United States Embassy to inform them I was still in their system as being in the USA as I didn't see immigration upon leaving Laredo. They gave me a form to complete and send off, which I did. Took the coastal road and arrived at Chicha Ambrossoni's place then to Pan de Azucar to see the Rodriguez family, I found Ademar, Reina and el loco had a chat and off to Maldonado to see the cousins Alo and family as well as Horacio and family. Passed by the peninsula and visitied the Brava and Gorlero beaches and at 7 p.m I followed Alo to his farm where we had a lovely supper. The next day I headed to la Paloma, then El Chuy (an eastern border with Brasil) where I was approached by a man and a woman who were journalists and wanted to interview me, thinking it was for a newspaper i said yes, but then they pulled out a film camera and a microphone so i refused, annoyed they packed up and left. I left for San Luis, I arrived at Lascano, bothered by a horrible dirt road I passed through 33, an unpleasant little town then Melo. Nearly the whole time it was raining so despite the marvelous scenery i couldn't get any photos. I stayed the night in Melo a lovers joint for 390 pesos. The next day I went to Tacuarembó, took some photos and then left for Rivera (a northern border with Brasil) In this town I was on the main road and was detoured due to road closures, they had killed a taxi driver. I got to the border and headed straight to Artigas, it is closer to go through Brasil but i went through Uruguay. At the entrance to the city I asked an old man there for directions to Chopo Roman a chicken place there used to be years ago he sent me to Rio Gas, four blocks straight and two left, (i love these towns where everyone knows everyplace and everybody). I found it although now its called Pollo Roman, he was very happy to see me, he remembered the last time we saw each other it was in the early 70's, a good mate of my youth. Then I went to a place where they work and sell stones in search of 70 Cadenas - Jose Belem. They gave me his number and i called him, he is in his 70 years now, a year ago they had kidnapped his daughter and murdered her in Montevideo. He gave me his email to give to Pito Piccion, I think he wasn't sure who I was he might have confused me with Lito Albini. He had helped us heaps when we were in New Jersey late 1960's. From there it was straight back to Salto where I arrived exhausted late afternoon.
Thursday 3rd of April I departed to Florida in bus where I met up with Ramon Iriñiz, met his wife and we had lunch together, a very dear cousin from my youth which we spent most our lives without seeing each other.
Then I went to Montevideo and had dinner with Marcela Barboza, Florencia Cordoba and my cousin Maria Albini who loves the wine as much as I do. When we finished Marcela took us to my cousin's house which is a couple of blocks from Tres Cruces, I chatted with my cousin until 5 am and then went to catch the bus back to Salto. In Salto I spend my days enjoying rides on Angelina by the river side.
This last journal/blog entry was written in a rush, since i need time to plan my next trip. Stay tuned.....
DAY 51 - Salto, Republica Oriental del Uruguay - The End of the Road (for now)
"THE ROAD TO A FRIEND'S HOUSE IS NEVER LONG". Danish Proverb
WEDNESDAY 19th of March:
I left the motel in the dark, at the first petrol station I loaded gasoline. I the arrived at Corrientes passing the Parana River, beautiful but I could not take any photos as there wan not yet sufficient light. The highway began perfect but by Mercedes highway number 14 is being repaired until Concordia. I would have liked to arrive before noon but with the change of hour in Uruguay, I finished immigration and customs at 1:15p.m. Without any difficulty, Uruguay customs granted a years permission for the motorbike, however I am not allowed to leave the country in that time so I am not sure how I will fix this problem. (For those readers who do not know me, I have a place in Uruguay where I want to store the bike while i return to my country of residence and then come back to Uruguay and continue a journey south of Argentina.)
As I was getting nearer to my destiny and the end of this journey I had to keep reminding myself to take it easy, to slow down, to be calm, serenity now. I didn't want anything to go wrong. Miles when entering Salto: 9.977.
Passed by my brother's Juan, was not there so I went to the Uruguay club where he eats and he had just left. I went to my sister's Coco. Finally home and what joy that I not once had problems, I never punctured and Angie behaved like a Lady.
I went to see Pico and Juancito and then to Juan's workplace. All good, everyone totally in love with Angelina. In three days I will start my journey around Uruguay.
In town the bike is getting a lot of attention from everyone, children get photos of themselves next to Angie, people ask me all sorts of questions. Several times articles about my journey and/or pictures of me and the bike have been published in the local newspaper. THE END
A long day:
I left at dawn and arrived at Resistencia at dusk, more than 850 kms later. From Salta I had to return to General Quemes, i missed the roundabout which I was meant to turn right at and thereofre lost time on useless kms. I, finally took the correct road, the police stopped me yesterday and today twice, I showed them my license and they let me go on. The farmers have closed the highways, picketing about problems with taxes, the first time i was refused passage and had to wait one hour the other times i went through them, they shouted at me but i ignored them, didn't even look at them, went through the tyres they were burning and followed on with my trip. Today I encountered it all dogs, goats, horses, thousands of grasshoppers, detours onto dirt and stone tracks, llamas and flocks of birds which on several occasions made me duck as I thought they were heading straight onto the windshield. Entering Resistance I saw a hotel with the entrance surrounded by trees, followed into the centre of town, but I didn't find anything and returned thinking that the hotel at the entrance was a good one but it was a lover's joint. Nevertheless I stayed it had air con and the bike is right next to the room. I closed the curtains, brought all my bags in, I hope this night will be the last of the journey, nothing special on today's route.
DAY 49 - Au revoir Mon Amié - Farewell Shorty - Chau Compañero
"AND THAT'S THE WONDERFUL THING ABOUT FAMILY TRAVEL: IT PROVIDES YOU WITH EXPERIENCES THAT WILL REMAIN LOCKED FOREVER IN THE SCAR TISSUE OF YOUR MIND". Dave Barry
We had breakfast and exchanged pleasantries, went to put petrol together and to purchase a a container to load 10 lts more of petrol, shook hands and then Shorty gave me a hug, i got a bit emotional...if i had chosen i would not have had such luck in obtaining such great companion. Shorty is a gentleman, we helped each other out through 6 countries and i hope to see him again in the future.
I arrived at San Pedro de Atacama, the last town towards the Chilean border, outside of the town were immigration and customs. They stamped my passport and at customs they kept the transitory permission for the bike, I kept going another about 155 kms and arrived in Argentina through the Passage of Jama, a direct road with few mountains. I got immigration and customs out of the way in minutes, everything free. Bikes do not pay toll in Argentina, Chile nor Peru.
Hilltops, elevations, I left for Susgues where the mountains are very pretty, barren mountains but of different colors, passed through parts that were all white, salt mines, the way for San Salvador de Jujuy has pretty mountains with vegetation, valleys and many beautiful places. The day began beautifully but just before Jujuy it began to rain with strong winds. From Jujuy to Salta its a freeway. Litre of petrol, the 95, is 2.30 pesos. Arrived in Salta after 5p.m. and I stayed at a joint for 70 pesos ($US22), it has cable, private bath, breakfast, so another night where I slept fully dressed. Bike is in a closed garage. I am desperate for my sanctuary at Sauce 1837.
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