February 2009 Update
A quiet time these past few weeks with most hours devoted to sorting out bike problems (some ours, some others) and doing four months of updates. After the Dakar Rally we moved into the hostel at Dakar Motos joining Mathias (Honda Transalp) from Switzerland. He also followed the Dakar but clung much closer to the route and competitors than we did. He covered 10,000 kms in the two weeks of racing with his journey being almost as long as the racers. Mathias mentioned that on returning it took him some time to ‘come down’ after all the pressure and hype of this huge event. Now he was preparing for his next jump….. across the Pacific to New Zealand then onto Australia.
Mathias (with Javier) cleaning his bike at Dakar Motos before departing to New Zealand.
Also at the hostel was Ludovit (BMW 650GS) from Slovakia, a relative novice at motorcycle traveling who was busy gathering information from Javier, Mathias and us for his new adventure. It was probably an ‘information overload’ time for him so departing on his maiden ride with all the gear was ‘a taste and see and find out what works best’ type of journey. Activity in the workshop was quite full on with bikes getting work done and a lot of travelers fixing their own niggling problems before heading on or perhaps shipping back to their home countries. It really is a fun place but we often feel sorry for Javier as the pace can be very busy with many demands being placed on him. Sandra appeared frequently attending to the shipping of bikes at the end of many travelers adventure.
Martin and Don leave for Uruguay and Brazil. Outside Dakar Motos with Mathias, Javier and us.
Chuck (BMW R100GSPD) USA was waiting patiently to get his bike sorted. It looked a mess with oil covering most of the rear end. Javier accepted my offer to assist in the repair work as he had plenty of other work to keep him busy. Chuck ordered new seals from the USA and on their arrival we had the bike ready to go in a couple of days. He was riding back through Brazil, Venezuela, and Colombia returning eventually to Texas after riding to Ushuaia.
Todd and Ollie from Canada leave for Ushuaia.
Todd and Ollie (Triumph Tiger) Canada returned from North America to resume their journey south to Ushuaia. Their bike bore the scars of a direct hit with a bear before they left home but was still running well. Martin and Don from the USA, both on KLR 650’s departed for Uruguay and Brazil. Javier and Martin did a complete engine rebuild on one KLR after the dipstick went missing and all the oil escaped. Some major work gets done in this workshop. Simone (Moto Guzzi Californian) Italy arrived with canvass showing through his rear tyre. He was with us a few days servicing the bike and fitting a new tyre. The best though was his fresh pasta meals. Ludovit also returned after his maiden voyage with a list of changes he needed to do.
We enjoy a few laughs with Simone, Mathias and Ludovit at Dakar Motos hostel.
Bob (Buell Ulysses) USA arrived. This was his second visit as he had passed through Buenos Aires on his way south a few weeks earlier. There were some repairs to sort with his bike after a crash. Bob planned to park it at Dakar Motos, return to the USA, and resume riding later in the year with his wife. Jeff (Suzuki DR650) USA rolled in with a big smile on his face. A solo ride from Connecticut to Ushuaia he tackled some very tough roads through the northern part of South America. His journey had also come to an end and the process of shipping the bike back and organizing a flight began. These are just a few of the travelers we met while staying at Dakar Motors.
Another fine dinner. Ludovit, Simone, Moran, Javier, Fabrizio, Mathias, Bob and Ken.
During our long stay at Dakar Motos we made numerous friends, Fabrizio who was of great assistance to us in organizing replacement helmets. Karl who drops in frequently for a chat and kindly invited Mathias, Ludevit, Carol and me to his house to share an asado with his family. Muchas gracias. We also take this opportunity to thank the owners of Dakar Motors, Javier, Sandra and their son Julian for providing a place to stay and all the fun we have enjoyed during our numerous times there. It’s not over yet. We shall return!!
Simone on his Moto Guzzi.
It was during this time we received information that the Dakar Rally would return to South America for a second time in 2010 although nothing had been confirmed on the official website. On this premise we decided to change our plans for the “umpteenth” time and return to Argentina/Chile to experience the event again. I think we are up to plan ‘Q’ now!!!
Dakar Motos backyard, tents and bikes.
The new plan runs like this (for now). Head north through Uruguay, Brazil, French Guyane, Suriname, British Guyana, return to Brazil and catch the ferry from Manaus up the Amazon to Peru then Ecuador return to Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. The whole journey should be completed by early December 2009. Juggling the weather is the biggest issue and there will be times we will be riding in rain but if it’s warm it should not be too much of a problem. With the route now planned it was off to the Brazilian Embassy to organize our visas. Now the Brazilian web site says that Aussies can get a 180 day visa in a 12 month period but this can only be issued in 90 day segments. While in the country you can apply for an extension. Not so according to the powers that be at the Embassy …30 days and apply for extensions as you travel up to the 180 days in the 12 months. We will be very busy looking for Federal Police Offices to get extensions.
Our tent in the backyard at La Posta, Azul.
With most chores now completed we decided to head south from Buenos Aires and travel some roads we had planned to do before the helmet problem occurred. Before we left however Karl invited us out to his country house about 40 kms away for an asado so it was just a short ride and a big meal before we rode to Azul the first town on our itinerary and a visit to the ‘famous’ La Posta.
Some of Jorge’s artwork.
Our good friends Haydn and Dianne left their mark at La Posta.
More Aussie friends Peter and Kay.
Now La Posta is a place which some significance to motorcycle travelers being the home of Jorge (Pollo) Monica and Penny. A quiet refuge with a community room, grassy camping in the backyard and an atmosphere second to none. The welcome given by our hosts was like a long lost family member returning home. The community room has ‘scribblings’ from possibly hundreds of international travelers who have painted there names plus some their history from ceiling to floor, bathroom to kitchen and left numerous items of memorabilia. It was great to walk the walls reading the names of many friends who had passed this way.
The whole place is a work of art.
Even the toilet seat was not spared.
You can spend a whole day reading the walls and ceilings.
Here we met Leo (Honda Africa Twin) Germany who has been traveling both North and South America for a couple of years. He had also spent time working on John and Annette’s finca in San Rafael. His bike and cases looked a little ragged after a crash on Ruta 40 but his enthusiasm and passion for his adventure had not waned. Our plan was to spend a few days here then head onto Viedma and meet up with Sebastian, another Africa Twin rider from Germany we had met in Ushuaia (Christmas 2007). However the invitation by Jorge to an asado on the Friday plus another the following Wednesday to celebrate his birthday was difficult to refuse. Three more riders arrived in time for the Friday asado. An Austrian couple Andi and Sigrid riding KLR 650’s and Andy (Suzuki VStrom 1000) from USA. One of the KLR’s had a blown shock and we advised that Javier at Dakar Motors could help with the repair. Andy’s journey was almost over as he was heading to Buenos Aires to ship the bike back to New York although his parents were joining him in B A for a short visit to enjoy some sight seeing before he returned.
Andy from the USA, Andi from Austria, our hosts Jorge and Monica, Leo from Germany, Ken, Sigrid from Austria outside La Posta.
Leo with the ladies.
Friday night asado, smiles all round.
Andy from the USA with his Suzuki VStrom.
Numerous motorcycling friends of Jorge and Monica joined the party on Friday evening and Leo the apprentice asado chef did a great job. A fine meal was enjoyed by all with conversations of many world travels taking us into the early hours of the morning.
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