Arno and Sian are on the road again, this time together and this time both on motorbikes. Heading south from Los Angeles, with 12 months to fill, should give us plenty to write about - Planning, preparation and paperwork included!!
Why Big Trip 2? Well riding around Central and South America is a pretty big trip, there are 2 of us, this is our second trip, and we couldn't think of anything more original!!
This trip was originally planned for 'Sometime in the Future' something to do when our new start in Australia was no longer so new. However, as it took the powers that be such a long time to sort out our migration application, we decided to get on with things and in October 2001 made the decision to leave Europe before winter 2002.
We took our time leaving Cajón Grande, but we were still quickly back onto the Ruta 40, which according to our information, was paved but with lots of potholes. There were more potholes than tarmac in fact and riding in the gravel that lay at the sides of the road was preferable to the rim-wrecking road surface.
Volcanic landscape south of San Rafael
In contrast, the scenery was again spectacular, rocky desert suddenly gave way to a valley filled with lava, at one point the river, which had previously meandered, shallow and wide through the valley, was forced through a narrow gap in the lava which had all but blocked its path. In the distance, the source of the lava flows, we counted 6 or 7 volcanic cones, all now dormant, having spent their energy a long time ago.
Riding dirt roads is all about confidence, it took me 15 hard months and numerous crashes to work that one out!! The last dirt road of the trip was probably the easiest for me, although I probably would have not have thought so a year ago.
Ruta 23 is the most direct road from Bariloche to Viedma its gravel, but like most Argentine gravel roads, in pretty good condition. Lucky for us really, our knobbly tyres had knobbles no more and we were praying that we wouldn’t get a puncture.
After 50kms or so of curves, the road straightened out and we were able to blast along at 80kph. Occasionally there would be a patch of deep gravel and my front wheel would weave violently from side to side nearly throwing me off. The first time it happened I was terrified, but just kept going. Each time after was a little less frightening and with the help of a tail wind we rode the 600 km’s easily in 2 days and no punctures!
It was great to be back in Viedma again and meet all the friends we had made there 9 months ago. We arrived at Oscar Knechts place, in the early afternoon and in no time we were drinking maté and catching up with all the news.
At Oscars, chatting over a maté
Sandra and Javier are the HU community in Buenos Aires and go out of their way to make sure any travellers that arrive there are well taken care of.
The first thing we had to do was change the worn out tyres on our bikes for the shiny new ones we had picked up on the way into town. Javier knew a place nearby where we could get them changed quite cheaply, so we loaded up the BMW and he took us over there.
Transporting the tyres to the Gomeria
Everyone once in a while along the roads in Argentina, markers appear telling anyone who is interested how many kilometres away the Capital, Buenos Aires happens to be, almost a year ago it was quite interesting to find ourselves more than 5000kms away, down in Patagonia. Now however, riding back to Buenos Aires from Azul, one last time, I wasn’t too pleased to see the marker for 100kms, not far to go before our journey ends.
We had spent yet another week in Azul, filling up on asados with a variety of travellers that regularly turned up at La Posta. While we were there, we started the long job of getting the bikes clean enough to get past the pickiest AQIS man in Australia.
Here it is, the book to accompany the trip!
Written by Arno, with contributions from Sian and others, this book is in German, and follows our 18 month trip of 55,000kms, from the beaches of California to the most southerly city in the world. As we ride down Central America, past Mayan ruins and steaming volcanoes, read how we then cross into South America, battle through the endless Pampa in Patagonia, along the Altiplano to the heart of the Inca kingdom, ending after 18 months in the city of tango.
At almost 340 pages and with over 150 photos, both colour and black and white, the book really gives you a feeling of participating with this journey, even if you cant read German!
Some photos have been used previously in Sians blogs, but most are brand new.
The cover of our new book, yours for just 14.95 euros.
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