March 2009 Update
Our family of campers at La Posta was down to five with the departure of Andy (USA) and the mood was dampened a little when it rained over the next couple of days. No leaks with the tent though and we hoped that the rain would disappear for Jorge’s Birthday asado. Fabrice (France) a free lance motorcyclist journalist arrived with his girlfriend from Venezuela in their small motor home and proceeded to photograph and interview everyone for a special article on La Posta.
Leo leaving his mark on the wall.
The lamb was sooooo good.
It’s my birthday!!!!
It was great to finally be at La Posta.
The lamb (cordero) asado went off like clockwork with Leo cooking under the guidance of Jorge and producing a great feast. Carol and I organized the salads and gave Monica a rest for the evening. Around 18 guests sang happy birthday in about four different languages. Plenty of laughs and a night to remember.
I have cordero! You want more cordero? Of course we do!!
Jorge painting the “Abbey Road” album cover on the wall next to his John Lennon.
Andi and Sigrid from Austria with one of their KLR’s.
We left our mark at La Posta.
La Posta has many little things that make it special and one that stands out is the large pictures Jorge is painting on the buildings. A keen Beatle fan, his completed John Lennon head now flows into the famous ‘Abbey Road’ (album cover) zebra crossing scene. This was a work in progress and just around the corner on another wall he has a vision to do a Yellow Submarine.
Aussies Martin and Jo (2 x Honda CT200’s) painted “Luna Park’s” entrance on the front of La Posta.
Outside La Posta.
Jorge on his Translap.
Once again Jorge talked us into staying a little longer as the following Saturday there was to be a memorial ride in Tapalque a small town about 50 kms away. The ride was much larger than we expected with riders coming from as far away as Buenos Aires. As it was Saturday again, with Sebastian and Marisol making the journey up from Viedma and Karl riding down from Buenos Aires there were no excuses. Another asado!!!!
Some of the bikes in Tapalque on the memorial ride.
Leo doing a great job.
Sebastian and Fabrice comparing cameras.
After two weeks and three asados in Azul we returned to Buenos Aires a little heavier. Karl and Leo left around 11.30 and we left around 2.00pm. The 350 kms north was an easy ride although the traffic was a little chaotic coming through B A with all the football enthusiasts and weekend family picnics. Back at Dakar Motos we set about getting organized for the ride into Uruguay and Brazil. Yellow Fever shots, more bike maintenance including clutch, pressure plate replacement, replace brake pads and replace my broken watch lens for the second time.
Leo packed and ready to go.
Karl came from Buenos Aires for the week end.
One last look at the progress of the “Abbey Road” painting.
Clutch and pressure plate replacement.
Guests arriving at Dakar Motos include Chris and Harry (2 x R1200GSA’s) from the USA. Their ride from Michigan to Ushuaia had ended and now it was time to arrange shipping and return to North America. We shared stories over dinner on a couple of nights plus a slow walk through San Telmo markets on the Sunday enjoying the tango shows and antique fair. The day culminated in cake and coffee at Café Tortoni on Ave 25 de Mayo. A very grand old establishment (over 100 years) and we had to queue for the pleasure of enjoying a fine coffee.
Another asado, this time at Dakar Motos with Javier, Leo, Chris, Julian and Harry.
The crowd at San Telmo for the Sunday markets.
Inside Café Tortoni.
Departure day revealed another barrel stud had failed. A day and a half to repair and it was all systems go. On our last night we enjoyed an asado with Chris, Harry, Leo, Javier, Sandra, Julian and a new guest. Heinz who arrived with sad news of a bike crash in Northern Chile almost destroying his bike and ending his vacation two months early.
Dog social day in Buenos Aires.
Finally we are on the road again heading north along Ruta 14 to the border at Colon/Paysandu. Another police check on our documents 186 kms from B A. In the 10 to 15 minutes detained here, numerous vehicles passed by but we were the only ones singled out for the check. It was all very pleasant and we were bid ‘bien viaje’ (bon voyage) when we departed. I sometimes think it would be great if the same vigilance was applied for thieves at Iguazu where our helmets were stolen.
Departure day at Dakar Motos. Javier, Heinz and Karl were there to make sure we left.
The combined Argentinean/Uruguayan border crossing took 15 minutes. Carol spent more time at the Tourist Information returning with a bundle of brochures and maps. So quick in fact we decided to ride on to Fray Bentos. We arrived just on dark and booked into the Colonia Hotel. Our host provided a small wooden ramp to negotiate the two steps into the courtyard which was ‘safe parking’ for the bike.
“Be sure to send OXO” was the logo in by gone days.
Corned Beef was another product manufactured at the Fray Bentos factory.
Steps are no problem.
Fray Bentos is famous for a factory commenced in the mid 1800’s by the Liebig Company and eventually expanded by El Anglo which provided meat extract products around the world. Now it is a museum (Museo de La Revolucion Industrial) and houses machinery from the era and labels that many people from around the world can recognize. Oxo beef cubes triggered a few memories.
These look like fun.
The old part of Colonia del Sacramento.
Restored city gate and drawbridge.
A short ride to Colonia del Sacramento we meet up with Arnaldo a HU Community supporter. A little effort is required to find budget accommodation here as Colonia is very touristy. The bike is parked on the footpath, chained and covered outside our bedroom window with assurances from our landlord that all is safe. Colonia is also the ferry port for Buenos Aires to Uruguay and has a fantastic vibrant atmosphere. A night tour with Arnaldo gives us plenty of things to site see the following day. Walking the cobble stone streets of Colonia’s old town, pacing the museums, and photographing the colonial buildings absorbed the day and we found ourselves returning to our room just as the sun disappeared over the Rio de la Plata. Our invitation to Arnaldo’s 30th birthday party on Saturday certainly kept our night life moving. Lucky we had a little siesta before it started as we did not get home till 3.30 am.
Barrio Historico Colonia.
Old bull fighting ring at Real de San Carlos near Colonia.
Arriving at Montevideo we contacted another HU Community member who Carol had previously been emailing. Carlos is a very enthusiastic motorcyclist and is President of the Charruas Motorcycle Club. “My house is your house” he proclaimed as we were welcomed. Our base here was at Los Toscas, a very quiet beach village about 50 kms north east proved to be the best place to do our touristy sight seeing trips into Montevideo. Leo our German friend from Azul and Buenos Aires was also in Montevideo…somewhere!!! How amazing that we venture into a shop where he was also visiting.
Arnaldo from Colonia.
Carlos, President of the Charruas Motociclistas Club Uruguay.
After a couple of days sight seeing we indicated to Carlos that our plan was to do a loop up to Tacuarembo across to Melo over to Punta Del Diablo and back down the coast to Montevideo. The enthusiastic Carlos contacted his friend and club member in Tacuarembo. Contacting “Jopo” (pronounced “Hoppo”) was easy. He was the communications man for the Police so drop into any Police Station and he would be found. The ride north was very relaxed as the rural roads in Uruguay have little traffic and the countryside has lush green pastures with numerous clumps of eucalyptus trees. Uruguay has an expanding paper industry from plantations of this native Australian tree.
‘Jopo’ and Graciela at Balneario Ipora near Tacuarembo.
‘Jopo’ and Graciela on his shiny Shineray motorcycle.
‘Jopo’ with his son Emilio greeted us with “My house is your house”. The ever smiling Graciela (Jopo’s wife) returned home from work later. The language barrier stopped little as we exchanged stories till very late and we apologized to Graciela who had to start work at 4.00 am. The 10,000km service was due on the BMW, so with Jopo’s assistance we completed the work then did a ride around town sight seeing in the afternoon.
Riding out to Valle Eden.
Inside the Carlos Gardel museum.
Before leaving for Treinta y Tres we had time to enjoy more of the highlights in the area. With ‘Jopo’ and Graciela we rode out to Valle Eden. This small village contains the museum for Carlos Gardel (1890 to 1935) who was the great Tango singer of the era killed in a Colombian plane crash. Our hosts escorted us to the edge of town and bid us farewell. “Muchas gracias amigos, for your warm hospitality.”
Eucalyptus trees were numerous in Uruguay and it smelt like home.
The day was quite warm and we stopped for a drink, with the road (Ruta 26) being straight and a bit rough in places before Melo. Here we headed south on Ruta 8, a far better surface with plenty of bends and hills to entertain. The streets of Treinta y Tres were packed with some type of festivity dominating the town square. Our host at Tacuarembo had earlier phoned ahead to Jorge, another keen motorcyclist who was prepared to help us in any way. We booked into a hotel with secure parking and headed back to the very vibrant town square on foot where we met our friends who were intrigued by our journey and fired many questions at us while we enjoyed a metre long pizza for dinner. Walter and Andrea shared our passion for the Dakar and were also in Buenos Aires for the early part of this years rally. We vowed to meet again at next years!!
Metre long pizza with the members of Sin Fronteras Motor Club.
We had a great time with these guys in Treinta y Tres.
Just an overnight stay here but our new friends from Sin Fronteras Moto Club insisted on us enjoying an asado with them on the river bank before we left. Plenty of photos and food were the order of the day and when all was done we were escorted south on Ruta 8 to Jose Pedro Varela. A really happy goodbye to all and a very ‘grande muchas gracias’.
Our escort out of town.
Our ride today to Punta del Diablo was little more than two hundred kms but on the way the wind had taken some lessons from its Patagonia cousins in the south (very windy) and the distant sky appeared extremely dark in our intended direction. Plan ‘B’ was employed and we detoured towards Rocha. Here we got a little messed up in the one way street system when one of the main access routes was closed for road works. Persistence ….and we eventually found a suitable hotel (Hotel Arrarte). Our plan to detour was justified as a huge storm enveloped the town that night and rain continued for most of the next day. This weather dictated another rest day in Rocha.
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