February 2010 Update Argentina
Preparation for our ride north to exit South America began, commencing with repairs to the bike after the last blow-out crash. Parts were ordered from the UK and Australia. We expected time issues but the customs delays were something else. It appeared the parts arrived in Buenos Aries from their separate International destinations in 3 – 6 days but customs took around three weeks to process the imports and the taxes…WOW… was all we could say.
Damaged jacket from our second blow out
Dakar Motos was busy… Travellers from all corners of the globe arrived, camping in the bunk house, tenting in the backyard, some waiting for repairs or parts and some about to ship out after travelling South America. Tobi and Christine from Germany arrived on their Africa Twin. Christine had visited us in Australia some years earlier without Tobi. Unfortunately Tobi was heading on alone as Christine had work commitments. She had crashed her Honda Transalp in Peru after an altercation with a stray pig resulting in a broken wrist. However it had not healed sufficiently to continue riding, so her bike was shipped back to Germany and they continued on the Africa Twin to Buenos Aries. Andy and Maya also arrived on their Triumph sidecar. Due to the number of people staying, Maya organized everyone to take turns with the cooking duties as the kitchen would have been a bit chaotic with everyone cooking dinner together. A plan that worked well with some interesting and varied meals served over the next days. Markus our companion in Bolivia, Chile and Argentina arrived preparing to ship for the next leg of his journey… Africa.
More repairs to do on the bike
Wishful thinking Karl!! Our BMW Dakar tank on his Honda XL650
Tobi and Christine, celebrating her birthday at Dakar Motos
One of our many group dinners
Andy, Javier, Ken and Richard wearing their HU shirts
Tobi heading off to Ushuaia
Some of the work done over the post Dakar period included replace handlebars, replace plastic tubes on crash bars, reface brake disc, replace brake pads, replace front/rear inner tubes, replace starter motor bendix, weld swing arm shock mount, replace swing arm bearings, replace swing arm boot, repaint fairing, replace mirror/clutch cast-alloy mount, plastic welding on cracked panniers plus more patchwork on our bike clothing again. We received plenty of help from fellow travelers as well as Javier. A big thankyou to everyone who contributed to our list of repairs.
Celebrating Fabrizio's 50th Birthday
The Birthday boy
Fellow Aussie Richard Winters alias Stromboy
Markus cooking us a treat
Andy catching up with his emails
On 17th February the bike did a few quick laps around the nearby streets and was deemed ready. There was a mass exodus the next day when Andy and Maya departed for their boat ride back to Europe, Jerome from Canada rode out on Ruta 9 eventually to head north and we rode out on Ruta 8 heading west.
Markus, Philippe, Andy, Maya, Sandra, Javier, Richard and Jerome
The backyard at Dakar Motos was full of tents
Essential supplies from Australia. Thanks Danielle
Our plan before leaving Argentina was to visit a few friends along the way with the first being Karl, Ilona and their children who were holidaying in San Javier, Cordoba. It was good to be back in the saddle and the bike felt good although a little different with slightly narrower handlebars. We were still very nervous and reacted quickly when we felt any odd movement with the loaded bike. We stopped and checked tyre pressures 3 or 4 times on the first day but on the second day it happened again. Another front flat tyre!!! A slow leak this time and we successfully brought the bike to a standstill on the edge of the road near Punillo. This was driving us crazy. A very small split on the inside of the tube seam, easily repairable but I opted to replace the tube and fix it at a later date. This was a new tube we had purchased from a traveller who had just arrived from the USA. I searched in vain for any obstruction or protrudence that could have caused the problem. A cloud moved over as we started pumping up the tyre and the rain started. Slowly moving along the highway our minds were full of doubts on the quality of our tubes. The day ended without any further misadventures other than dodging storms and mixing it with the heavy traffic in what was a very popular holiday destination.
Sven giving the horse his daily carrot in San Javier
Karl's holiday house at San Javier
Karl and family made us feel very welcome in their holiday retreat. The town of San Javier was almost over run with tourists although it seemed like a quiet backwater after we ventured to the nearby Mina Clavero. Here we met up with Gustavo and his family for a unique asado. A ‘lechon’ asado is a young piglet BBQ’d whole on an open asado grill. Let’s just say we have never tasted such delicious pork. Our leisure time was not wasted as we needed to do more repairs to Carol’s pannier which had received another knock re-opening an old crack which had been recently welded in Buenos Aries. Karl suggested ‘Poxilina’, two-pack putty which we packed around the damage. This combined with screwed aluminium strips appeared to do the job. The two-pack took a while to set but when done looked and felt as strong as an original unit. Time would tell!!!
Karl and Ken fixing the Givi pannier
The repairs held until we received new lids in Colombia
Karl's son Florian with baby Saskia
Our friends and hosts Karl and Ilona with baby Saskia
Our departure the following day was a disorganized affair and we did not leave until 2.00 pm. A sad farewell to everyone wondering if we will ever meet again… We have made a lot of friends in South America these past years. We rode towards Villa Delores then down Ruta 148 to La Toma catching a large storm on the way. It was 5.45pm when we reached San Luis and decided all was good to continue as the road was known to us even though it is against our self-imposed rules of no night riding. Being summer it was just getting past twilight (9.30pm) when we arrived at John and Annette’s farm just outside of San Rafael. We ventured into town the following day to get some centre stand spacers machined along with some replacement bolts. Annette took off on her KLR to collect some English travellers heading to the farm who we met at the Horizons Unlimited meeting in Viedma. Nick (DR350), Kev and Lorraine (R1200GSA) arrived and we enjoyed a long social evening. Nick was a builder and had offered to construct a doorway (replacing a window) opening out onto the new front verandah built by Andy and Maya. The little farm house was looking really good now complete with a little swimming pool beside the vegetable patch.
John and Annette's new verandah
The new pool
The grapes are ready for picking
One last look at the farm
We spent several days meeting with friends and bidding farewell to everyone including Arnie and Helena, Jack and Cindy, Vince and Betty-Ann. We took one more look at the farm; the amazing progress made over the past couple of years and wished John and Annette good luck as we planned our departure and ride north. On the 1st March we departed San Rafael but we had one more really important visit to make before we left Argentina…
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