January 04, 2007 GMT
Careening in a General Southerly Direction

Javier & Grant working on Piggy - Buenas Aires

With the heady socialising of the HU meeting over with we needed to make a mad northerly dash to Buenas Aires and Dakar Motos for inspection and any needed work on the engine management software and tuning system before heading south to Tierra del Fuego for Christmas.

Buenas Aires road system is like a giant plate of spaghetti though not as enjoyable. After several hours of getting lost, believing we knew where we were and then getting lost again we found Dakar Motos (www.dakarmotos.com) the buisiness premises and second home of Javier and Sandra.

Buenas Aires

Along the way many travellers had asked us if we had been to Javier and Sandras. When we replied no, the standard answer was "Every one ends up at Dakar Motos".... guess we too are a statistic now. We happily set up tent in the garden for two nights enjoying the company of Ronnie, Greg & Alexis who we had spent time with at the HU meeting.

As for Miss Piggy the fuel filters were cleaned and Javier & Grant with the help of the trusty workshop manual adjusted the throttle valves which were found to be completely out of sync.

Throttle valve adjustment

Eureka!! After many months of poor low speed running and cursing the wrongfully accused K'n'N washable air filter, Piggy now ran as smooth as new..... not bad for 95,000kms on the clock.

Harvest Time - Machinery rules the road

The clouds sat heavy in the sky, dark, moisture laden with the promise of an imminent storm. As we ride, watching the very core of the storm race across the horizon in front of us, it is as if a door had been suddenly opened. Within 100 meters the temperature dropped at least 20 degrees. A radical sensation at highway speed.

Storm Front

The beat of our large V-twin throbbed assuringly as we headed south on Ruta 3, 100kms per hour at 3,250 rpm, we are relaxed. The side winds usually constant through out this area had abated considerably.

Grant is singing Pink Floyd's 'Wish you were here' in his helmet and it feels great to be moving.

A Long Days Journey into Night

Suddenly with no warning a loud 'clunk' eminates ominously from the transmission of Miss Piggy and instantly the engine cuts out. The dash lights up, rather ironically like a christmas tree, with warning flashes Fuel Injection System Failure, Oil Pressure System Failure, and then all goes blank as we roll silently off the desolate pampas road and to a resolute stop.

"What was that?" Jules enquires nervously as she dismounts
"Don't know," says Grant "Is the chain still there?"
"Oh Bugger!"

Ok, find a more convenient place to park Piggy and start working. After further investigation the chain is found to be still on, but just happens to be oh so tightly wrapped around the front sprocket, appearing impossible to disentangle from the transmission case and chain guides.

"That can't be good!"

Attempting to remove the sprocket, the nut is loosened with no problems, however, we are unable to remove it from the spline due to the entangled chain.

One hour ensues and Dave from California pulls up on a 2002 V-Strom 1000. We scratch our heads and dirty our hands for a further half an hour, finally Grant gets brutal, as Grant sometimes does in strained situations.

Twin V Twins

Nut re-tightened on the sprocket and Grant physically turns the sprocket grinding the jammed chain against the aluminium casings while Dave guides the loosened chain. Jules cringes at the eminating sounds.

Two Heads are better than One - Dave and Grant at work

Finally the chain becomes slack and drops pathetically onto the ground. Inspection reveals the clip type joiner link (non-standard link system) had snapped, fortunately the chain appeared ok more or less. A new joiner links is secured, the front sprocket replaced we adjust every thing accordingly and after three hours we can continue on our journey.

Packing in the wind

The long journey down Ruta 3 was punctuated by days of strong side winds, peaceful roadside stops in sheltered valleys where pink flamingos would feed in the shallow lagoons by the side of the road.

Pretty Flamingos

Quaint fishing towns including San Julian with its replica Spanish Galleon from Magellan's fleet. San Julian was the site of the first Catholic mass in Argentina, it was presided over by Magellen himself after he executed one of his crew for mutiny.

Victoria - Magellan's Ship - San Julian

Nearing the end of our southerly ride to Tierra del Fuego and Ushaia we meet fellow motorcyclist Brian at the ferry crossing of the Straights of Magellen. Brian a lovable 6 foot Pom from the Isle of Man was riding a Yamaha 600 Fazer, pure street bike, no pretences otherwise.

Piedra Buena

He rode rapidly on the pavement, more so than us, but not so fast on the ripio, and it was a continual leap frog as we travelled together to Ushaia.

Ferry Crossing - Straights of Magellan

The ferry crossing turned out to be quite rough, all of a sudden Jules skin colour turned a shade of Kermit. Piggy lurched and rocked as we steadily held the front brake fast. The semi-trailer parked close by occasionaly jumped with a resounding thud as the ferry pounded through the heavy sea crossing. After 20 minutes we were glad to disembark at Bahia Azul on Ilsa Grande Tierra del Fuego.

Posted by Julie Rose at January 04, 2007 02:59 PM GMT

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