February 10, 2009 GMT
Urugruy

February 7
Left Melo and headed south to not sure where. The effects of the drought are becoming more evident the farther I go to the south, cattle are very thin. Many farmers are pasturing the road right-of-way, which are about 100 meters across. This requires that someone, often more than one, continually watch the cattle so they do not get hit by traffic, (this is a back road so traffic is light). I do not think that this is a normal activity but desperate attempt to keep cattle fed. One m/l 20 mile stretch was quite depressing as I saw at least two dozen dead cattle.
As I got closer to Montevideo things started to improve with fields showing some green. Montevideo is the capital city and quite large. Somewhere in traveling in to the city I got off the main track and wandered around the city for awhile till I found my way out and headed west. Checked three small towns looking for a hotel but found nothing I liked. So on I went till I say a sign for hotel, turned out to be a resort but I was tired and took the room. Was good to be pampered a bit. Had a steak for dinner ($15) and they put out a good breakfast, (still could use a couple of fried eggs, links and hash browns).


February 8
Slept in at the resort, eat breakfast and got on the road at about 10. Only going 100k today to Colonia where I will get a ferry across to Buenos Aires on Wednesday. Colonia is a neat little town, (20,000 population) that was founded by Portuguese from Brazil as a smuggling port to get British goods into Spanish territory. Still parts of the old wall and some parts of buildings from that era.
Part of what intrigues me about other countries is that they expect people to take care of them selves. In the US we try to protect the stupid. In the US if someone trips on the sidewalk they want to sue the homeowner. What this means is that here you can go see some really neat things that they would never let you get close to in the US. Here in Colonia I was able to go up to the top of a light house on winding, narrow stares. At the top I got to walk around out side with a clear view of the town. Lighthouse also looked down on the cities wastewater treatment plant, can I now deduct the trip expense and say I was studying WWTPs.

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Old Lighthose

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View from the top of the lighthouse

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WWTP for town, I saw several of this type of plant. The units are pre-fab and then hauled to site.

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part of the old city wall

February 9
Will stay in Colonia for three nights and it is really good not to have to pack up everything. Did go exploring to the west. Rode out to Conchillas which is a former British mining town. Several of the buildings were of British design. Being a company town the houses were all the same, but unusual in that there were long rows of connected houses. By the way I forgot my camera today so no pictures, just need to come back someday.
From Conchillas I rode out to Carmelo. It was a nice town but when I found the Museum it was not open.
On the way back I must have gone off track in one of the roundabouts as I ended up on Ruta 22 instead of 21. This led me to a town were I found a place to eat lunch, had grilled chicken and french fries. The owner of the was quite interested in the moto and where I had been. Also pointed me in the right direction to get back to Colonia.
When I got back to Colonia I went to buy my ticket on for the ferry ride over to BA on the 11th. Only available spot on the 11 or 12th was at 4:30 in the morning, and I would need to be there one hour earlier for customs stuff. This was on the slow (AKA cheap) ferry. Had her check the fast ferry and they could get me on the 5:30 (pm) run, so paid an extra $26 and will take fast ferry. The slow ferry takes 2.5 hours and fast ferry takes 30 minutes.

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Being shown how he could cast a sproket

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This is a moisture meter for grain, I thought this was a modern invention

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Coke furnace for producing iron for castings

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This was the neatest thing I have seen in a long time. One of the ways to produce electricity is by heat, the only application I had ever seen for this was temperature measurement. With only a gas lamp he could produce enough current to run the radio. Had been used in the country before power was available.

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Model T Ford

February 10
Well the plan was to ride to Montevideo Harley dealership and get a "T" shirt today, but it was too hot and muggy for a two hour ride there then two hours back. So I picked up a flyer at Tourist Info that had a listing for a Museum out in the country of mechanical things. So more or less 20 k down the road, then down a gravel/dirt road for 4k to this old workshop. The owner had collected many things over the years and may not have been of interest to non mechanical types but I thought it was just great. He had everything there to make what ever he needed, could pour babit bearings and machine them. He had a cutting tool to turn down crankshafts and a thermal generator set up to run a radio (see picture). He showed me around and was I think surprised that I knew what much of it was for. The foundry had a coke furnace where he could take iron ore and produce iron for castings. I was the only one there so for at least an hour he showed me how everything worked.
Not riding into Montevideo may have been a good idea as we just had a thunder shower that dumped buckets and even though it has slowed down it is sill raining quit hard. I hope some of this rain is going inland to where they need it.

Posted by Robert Thode at February 10, 2009 06:36 PM GMT
 


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