December 28, 2005 GMT
16th Dec 2005 - Train arrives in Viedma...

Mileage - 0 kms

Covered on end of train message, but basically bike damaged, Nik and Javier on station, then met Oscar the Horizons Unlimited organiser in Viedma for the meet, met his two daughters and wife and many other bikers traveling and local(ish) arriving for meet.

Campsite a small one at Los Comodores, some tree shade, very sandy, 5 mins from beach, for meet a room hired too for cooking and a huge asada space. Good showers and toilet facilities so our home for the weekend.
From memory - poor - and apologies to those missed, we had:-
one Aussie (but first welsh) Mark, KLR
Brits, us R100GS, Nik, R1200GS Andy & Maya from Dumfries with their R100GS outfit, Cynthia with her R80G/S, Martin & Alan, round the world on R1150GS's and John and Annette who arrived by bus - they traveled her on two GSs and loved the place so much they're presently buying Nr Mendoza.
Mexico, Balam, Honda XR (?)
Argentina, Sandra Yam SR250 & Javier Honda Africa Twin, Sergio Honda XR (?), Carl Honda XR
USA Bob and Joan, and others I've forgotten.
Spent most of night talking and swapping tales into the wee hours post a great Asada.


Saturday 17th December

Viedma

Mileage - 0 kms

Fixing bits and bobs and trying to fix intercom unsuccessfully. Sadly the leads we'd had sent UPS for $45 to BA were the wrong ones, error from States dealer and not Autocom. The lead we got was the accessory one and not the one Doug in UK had specified. Very frustrating. My only option was to take a spare lead I had and butcher it to try and fix. The lead from my headset was the fault - traced it by trying Martins headset on our set-up. If the parts Doug from Autocom had asked the US dealer to send d arrived it would have been all the leads and headsets for both and we've have been very happily sorted, but sadly the lead sent from US was no use what so ever.

Anyway butchered my only spare and was impossible to fix due to having to connect 5 (I think) very fine wires without proper tools. 4 hour intense concentration that was in end fruitless.

So we're buggered again for a while as replacement parts are going to be tricky to get to us due to our no fixed abode. Perhaps one we have a route planned we can get them sent ahead to a post office and pick up, Xmas getting in way too. Really, really miss the intercom now.

At least we fixed heated grip. Javier to rescue again as he explained I had to connect the electrical wire to the grip wire by folded connection rather than solder - the grip wires are different material. The man is a hero ! Moved on to injector probs and bad running on the 1150 GSs next, and sorted.

Some folk went for a ride out with Oscar to Viedma but many stayed on site and talked more. We had a group dinner of Spag Bol and another night of beer and wine and talk.

Another benefit was picking up a new rear tyre and tube that Sandra & Javier had brought for us.


Sunday 18th December

Viedma - ride out

Mileage - say 100 kms

Oscar and friends had a full day planned for us so we were up and off for around 10 I think. First down the coast to visit one of the many Sea lion colonies around here. It was VERY windy when we go to the cliff top viewing area with turbo charged sand being blown up too. There were hundreds of sea lions a hundred or so feet below us but viewing was a bit difficult with the wind. Big dominant bulls running the show and we were treated to a few minor scuffles and amorous moves. You can't go onto beaches here so you only get so close, occasional wafts of noises and smell though !


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Sealion Colony


From there we took quite a few repio roads out into the back of beyond to a friend of Oscars who had a farm for an excellent Asada of two lambs. We all congregated in the barn to escape the wind and tried the 'drinking the wine from a goatskin' trick. Several spills on we got the hang of pouring a thread a few inches into your mouth without spilling.


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Asado on farm



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The company was great and the food excellent, great people and fantastic hospitality. We spent a few relaxing hours there and as a bonus those that weren't already equipped with sheepskins (we are) were offered to choose their own for free !

They were a little 'fresh' but some washing, salting to cure, and a little attention and several folk got a treasured memory. Great scenes of folk choosing and having the skins cut to shape with some classic English shears still doing the business even today (though electric for the flocks of course)


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Choosing free DIY sheepskin kit



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Leaving the farm we took some more tricky rough repio to a hill above Viema for a view of the town, thence ice-creams in town and a return for team tea on site.

Oscar took up the guitar and proved very accomplished as he gave some fine renditions followed by his daughter Camellia who taught herself to play via the internet and had the voice of an angel.

In comparison the British contingent could only muster some rumbusious rugby songs that were plainly not odes of love lost and the beauty of the landscape, but somewhat more coarse and embarrassing in comparison. at least Cynthia got us a little more on track with a full rendition of 'on Ilkley Moor B'tat'.


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Group shot, Viedma



Monday 19th December

Viedma

Mileage - 0 kms

Well we were planned to leave today, but the weather changed our minds for us. Chucking down from just after sunrise. Each morning at around sunrise, just before 5am we are treated to what I have termed 'Parakeet O'Clock'. Here is the largest Parakeet colony in the world apparently, and each dawn they fly past screeching as they go. Luckily I can nod back off after, but as I have marveled at the numbers and types of the parakeets we see here they have come now to haunt me !

After all, barring Mark who needed to move, decided to stay put due to weather it was a very steady day spent under tarps. Nik and I went into the village to get food supplies for tea, and then Bev joined us for a spot of beach combing, and remarkably it stayed dry for a couple of hours. Some interesting finds, egg cases (we guess) big enough to be turtles of some such, plasticy rather than shell like, lots of nice stones, and a dead Armadillo that must have drowned in the river and washed up here. Few surfers out and the water was warmer than you's expect. we made a few sculptures and a message for Christmas before returning.

Earlier Cynthia and Bev repaid Sandra and Javier by dressing Sandra's very nasty burn on leg before they and another contingent left for Oscars place for a night before onwards journey.

So Ourselves, Nik, Cynthia, Andy and Maya stayed on along with John and Anette 'til their bus. We had a group cook up and retired in hope of dryer weather in morning,


Tuesday 20th December

Viedma -Trelew

Mileage - 540 kms

The relentless march towards Christmas is mainly passing us by, a look at the dates is scary, were will we be, and doing what ?


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Bike loaded


It was dry, so we all packed and left, Andy and Maya at own speed on outfit and our party of 3 now a four with Cynthia. She is a bit of a celebrity on the traveling scene being more mature shall we say than most, and a lady on here own. She has been to most far off and obscure locations and is presently 'round the worlding'. In April she had a bad prang on repio down here and wrecked her bike and broke her collar-bone (and others). She's a marvel to us all, an inspiration. Hallowed company eh ! With the time of year we've all teamed up to make Christmas a bit more special


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Cynthia and bike



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Nik and bike


The days ride was fairly long, fairly boring, but pretty easy. We decided to stay in Trelew in hotel for two days to get over the w/e and get things dry. Found the Galicia and booked in two nights. Not as cheap as we'd like but useful. Went to the 'Touring Club' for tea and enjoyed its faded charms over some great wholesome sandwiches and far too much drink. My final a mix up when I got a double Drambui with a whisky, in same glass....nothing for it....


Wednesday 21st December

Today was a rest day, and a chance to catch up on mail. Unfortunately all computers win 98 so can't accept USB connections so all the words and pics not able to transfer, frustrating. Still never mind, that's why these mails are so large then.

Visited the local museum which was a bit lack luster, place settled by Welsh and some names still here and some folk speak the lingo, but frankly theyre trading on something that has now passed in reality. Very warm though and able to dry tents and stuff in car park and I checked my valves and the like. No problems fortunately so fine.

After the first museum we tried the dinosaur museum but that wasn't too much to my taste. Excellent explanation of 'big bang theory' mind. Went into the auditorium and of all things saw a 'Horizon' prog from UK, included a bit on North Yorkshire coast - spooky ! I'm afraid the excitment was too much for me and I nodded off and got some disapproving looks when I started snoring !


Thursday 22nd December

Trelew - Caleta Olivia

Mileage - 440 kms

Well Xmas really is coming fast. You guys and girls will be on Christmas do's, we're wondering what to do. I didn't want to miss out, or be caught out, so we agreed to book a hotel further done in advance to be sure there's room at the inn. Cynthia rang and booked us in. We will be in Ushuaia for New Year, but it's just too far for Xmas without going mad.

We met two Brazilian bikers, on the long long boring roads and ended up passing while video'g -and discovered them doing same to our fly past. We met in next petrol station and had a good chat and got given stickers and email adds. Wish we'd brought some with us for handing out, never thought.

Near the end of the day I felt a very unpleasant squirm at the back...just after a road on hasty descending bends. Rear puncture. Managed to stop without too much crisis, but a very unpleasant event.

The rear TCK is just past legal for UK, but would do another 1000 or two miles here. We tried plugging the leak but after 8 it was clearly time to change to new rear and inner tube. Guess the tyre got damaged after went flat and ran on rim briefly. Lucky we had the spare on the back, and really it was good to get the load off and both have more room available.


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Tireplugging


Got it up enough to manage the couple of miles to a garage that had a Gomeria behind it. (tyre repairs)

The team got together to get wheel out and the guys in the place changed the tyre over in no time and did a great good for 10 peso's (2) wanted to give them 15 but didn't have a 5 so paid 20. They were very chuffed and gave us a stone that is a particular fossil from round here I think.


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Tyre changing


We still had time to get an extra 50 miles in and get a hotel for the night without problem. Again not so cheap, but excellent restaurant and a great meal. Some office parties in too. Very odd, doesn't seem like Christmas to us. The evening ride was great with lovely light and a coast like Saltburn.

I realised I'd left a set of my Tilley travel pants behind in last place which was a blow, they're costly but good. One pair on, wash pair and they dry overnight. Very recommended.

Anyway, down to one so our relationship group just got more weird. Nik had rediscovered one of the three pairs of travel pants he had so gave me a pair. So that's how far we go now - swapping pants. Had to share that with you! in exchange we paid the 6 for his room


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Giant oil worker statue, Caleta Olivia



Friday 23rd December

Caleta Olivia -

Mileage - 660 kms

A final day of our Christmas migration south.

Long, and generally very boring boring roads.

Tedium only lifted by company and the occasional wildlife sightings, today pink flamingos ! really fluorescent.


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Flamingoes


By afternoon the wind had started to build, later to a side-wind, the worst. The headwind was bad enough. Bikes doing well though, 100 kph average for 2 hours at a time which is good. But hammers the rider (and pillion of course). we were laid as far as possible for sections to try and slip stream as much as possible. In the side wind I could sit off side of bike and keep a straight line, until cramp set in.

Amazingly we enjoyed the ride in the main, and miraculously avoided the bad rain (mainly) that was forecast for all day.

Everyone on the road knows were we are going they know the bikers are going to the 'end of the world' and you are constantly being flashed, toted and waved at. all very touching, but after two days worth, and with the wind, it's down to flashing the headlight in recognition.

Finally, finally, into town, in good time, as rain started, and into our Christmas base. Here three nights so will arrange an office do for tomorrow aftie and something for the festivities to follow.

Went to a buffet place last night where it was 3 to eat as much as you wanted of really top quality food. Its open Christmas day evening so think that'll be were we are.

Not sure how Christmas will pan out, but looking forward to an interesting time.

To add extra value Andy and Maya turned up and booked in too ! Excellent, we really will have a 'proper' do with the 6 of us together - I predict a substantial hangover once we've been through a few bars, ending round the corner at 'The Belfast'

Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to you one and all from all of us here, sharing the cold and wet you probably are too, time to warm the insides I think XXXXXXXX


Posted by Simon McCarthy at December 28, 2005 05:01 PM GMT
 


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