17/12/08 Rio Grande, TDF, Argentina.
It's 175 miles from the petrol station ("gas outlet" if you prefer) in Rio Gallegos to the next one, just over the Chile/Argentina border in San Sebastian, Tierra Del Fuego. My petrol tank goes to reserve at 165 miles - if I haven't been too silly and childish with my throttle fingers. All well and good if the station actually has fuel in it; reserve should give me about another 35 miles.
On this occasion, the attendant informs me, having stumbled back to the pump from the tin outhouse, pulling up his overalls and trailing lavatory tissue like a horrible bride all the while, it does not. And the next one's in Rio Grande, an impossible 65 miles away.
I decide to pull the old hollow-laugh routine, intended to convey a sort of darkly amused, "so near and yet so far" vibe. His face - such as it is - softens, and, looking furtively towards the border police hut, he unlocks the pump - and squirts me out a full tank! I can't quite make out the reason for his initial refusal to provide, but I think the place is simply low on juice (come on - it's TDF) and he's been instructed to save it for the police.
It is with a modicum of reluctance, therefore, that, 100 yards up the road, I take the following picture in the full and certain knowledge that, one day soon, I will be affixing a comedy subtitle to it and putting it on the internet.
In reality of course, like everyone else in Britain in 1982, I thought the Falklands were somewhere near the Shetlands, and I wasn't 100% sure where the Shetlands were either. I didn't give a bat's bum about them then and I don't give a frog's fraenum about them now. Thatcher was a witch and only escaped a war crimes trial on a technicality in 2000; Galtieri was a git and a failure. A lot of people died, the whole thing was shit, end of story. Shall we move on?
Last night I stayed at La Frontera in San Sebastian where I met Tim and Marco who are - if you'll allow me - clinically mad enough to be cycling through Patagonia. I passed them today, and I imagine we'd have met up as planned at The Galway bar in Rio Grande had it not been turned into a travel agency at some point between now and the publication of the current LP South America guide.
The pillows at the hotel in San Sebastian have provided me with a stepping stone to enlightenment. Let me finish. Last night I lay in bed and thought - My stars! These are the finest pillows I have ever used! And they were. And then I thought - Bollocks! I bet tomorrow night's pillows will be rubbish in comparison. A cloud descended. And then the truth dawned! The possibility of Wednesday night's pillows being inferior to these, the finest on Earth, was ruining my enjoyment of The Finest Pillows On Earth! So I threw aside the possible and began to embrace the actual - The Finest Pillows On Earth!
TDF Lager News: Prices have escalated since 1981. In a quite-nice cafe-bar, a litre of local draught lager works out at about 1.98 GBP a pint, 2p less than Margate's cheapest pub. Fags, however are untaxed in TDF - huzzah! - so that 20 Camels come in at 1 USD. I'd love to report on the local cigs, but the Argentinian ones are pretty bloody grim.
Brilliant motorcycle products:
1. Rukka "Silver" jacket. Light, warm, subtley groovy.
2. HG "Tuareg" boots. Feel like a train could hit them without rendering the shins unto meat paste. Amazingly comfortable if you buy 1 size too big.
3. Giali armoured trou's. Comfortable, just feasible as a street trouser.
4. As always, the Shoei Syncrotec II. The king of flip-up helmets. Get it in black - the fastest colour. Silver ones cost you 5 mph.
HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!
"The calendar is magnificent!"
"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"
We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!
Next HU Events
- Thailand Mini: Jan 9-11
- NEW! USA Virginia: Apr 9-12
- NEW! HUMM Morocco: May 13-16
- Germany: May 14-17
- Canada Ontario: Jun 18-21
- Ireland: June 26-28
- Colorado: July 17-19 TBC
- Canada West: Aug 20-23
- USA California: Sep 24-27
- Aus Queensland: Sep 24-27
- USA North Carolina: Oct 8-11
- Aus Perth: Oct 9-11
- Germany: Oct 22-25
What others say about HU...
"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA
"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada
"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia
"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders
10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!
NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!
Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!
What turns you on to motorcycle travel?
Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!
New to Horizons Unlimited?
New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!
Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.Read more about Grant & Susan's story
Membership - help keep us going!
Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.
You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.
Books & DVDs
All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.
MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!
Story and photos copyright © All Rights Reserved.
Contact the author:
Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.
Hosted by: Horizons
Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!