December 20, 2006 GMT
Mate, Vino, Cigarillos & Old Cars!

Mount Aconcagua 6,959m - Highest Peak in South America

It was easy entering into el Centro, Ciudad Mendoza and despite the frequent warnings, about personal safety from fellow travellers and locals alike, along the way the city appeared to be somewhat calm and relaxed.

Top Motor(Avenida San Jan 570) has a good selection of tyres for large dual purpose machines. Miss Piggy had been wearing a Brazillian manufactured Pirelli MT60 on the front since Arequipa, Peru, which had proved very competent in the dirt and on the pavement.

Red River meets Blue Lake - Ruta 7

We decided to buy a front and rear and carry them for a short distance until the rear tyre finally terminated its usefulness.

So with Mendoza in our mirrors we headed south with the newly aquired tyres strapped neatly, though somewhat obviously, to the front crash bars.

A loaded Piggy at Cabañas Calderon - San Rafael

"She'll be right!" we thought it's only for a short distance!

San Rafael was the perfect stay of several days - excellent weather, very accommodating accommodation and a tranquil air. Sol, of Cabañas Calderon (, a friendly lady always keen to practice her English was very hospitable and generous giving us a bottle of Malbec from her families boutique winery.

Nan and Pop in thier (circa 1960) Falcon - San Rafael

In Argentina 1960's Falcons are like HR Holdens in Australia. At first we excitedly thought 'Oh look... an old Falcon' but after a while it became a common sight. They are the quintessential tough car (many in varying degrees of decay) for the Argentine and seem almost as numerous as modern cars.

The south beckoned, though we wished to return to San Rafael for a longer stay in the near future.

Our paths crossed with Lew and Anita (from the UK) on thier Yam's travelling around the world with thier trick ally pizza boxes. Accompanying them to Viedma with many enjoyable days and evenings of company.

Gas Stop. Piggy, Antia & Lews Yam's

We were discovering rapidly that Argentina is a bloody big country and the journey to the Atlantic Coast proved long and un-inspirings, a little like riding across the Hay Plains of Rural New South Wales, Australia, except where a journey through the Hay Plains lasts only one day, the barren pampas of Argentina continues for at least four days to the east coast.

Darwin? Are we still in Argentina?

Drinking the herbal tea Mate, Argentinas national past time. At every service stop children, mothers, Grand mothers, truck drivers, young career women and men hang over every available rubbish bin digging attentatively at the contents of thier mate cups emptying the used mash of yerba ready for yet another refill.

Cleaning the Bash Plate - Viedma

Tobacco consumption comes in a close second as Argentines favorite addiction. School boys and school girls mingle in small hidey holes eagerly puffing and socialising away, literally everyone appears to smoke!

Bike Maintenance - Viedma

Eating and sleeping times are so different, something Grant has found almost impossible to adjust to.

Breakfast.... what's that?? Argentines almost have none and if so it is toast, jam and coffee - with a mandatory cigarillo.

Lunch.... around 2pm if you are lucky and don't forget a bottle of wine!

Dinner.... never before 10pm - and that is way past our bed time!!!

Concentration - Lew

Finally we arrived, tyres and all, at Viedmar and the Annual Horizons Unlimited Meeting for International Motorcycle Travellers.

Posted by Julie Rose at December 20, 2006 03:25 PM GMT

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