January 18, 2007 GMT
Northward to Buenos Aires, Then Home

I last left off New Yearís day a hostel in El Bolson. I discovered that I missed a presentation by a German couple who traveled around the world for 16 years, mostly on motorcycles. This was on December 30th, one day before I got to El Bolson. Oh well, maybe next time. So, after a low key New Years day, I headed out for Bariloche on the 2nd. In Bariloche, I met up with Fausto, my Ecuadoran friend, again. Fausto was riding an Aprilia Caponord, which is a pretty rare bike in South America, and his front chain sprocket was almost worn out. He was planning on taking a train from Bariloche to Viedma, on the east coast, to save 500 miles on his bike, making it more likely that he would get to Buenos Aires, where there was an Aprilia dealer, before his sprocket gave out. It sounded like a interesting break from riding, so I decided to go along too. We tied the bikes down in a boxcar, and set out. It ended up being about a 16 hour ride, overnight. I didnít know there was such a thing as washboard train tracks, but now I know. We were a little worried about the bikes, but they ended up being fine. On the train, I was seated next to a young Argentine couple who had lived in Madison Wisconsin, where I grew up, for 5 years. They were moving back to Argentina, and opening a guest house with a fishing theme on the east coast. Just another unlikely coincidence. Anyway, we got off at Viedma, and I headed north to Azul, where I wanted to check out La Posta del Viajero en Moto. There is a guy named Jorge in Azul, who has a motorcycle parts store, but more importantly invites motorcycle travelers to stay at his place and camp out in his back yard. He is pretty well known , in moto traveler circles, at least I have heard of him. I stayed there for three days, there were maybe six other people there at the time. One of those days was spent going to Balcarce, to the Juan Manuel Fangio museum there. Fangio was an Argentinean race car driver who won 5 formula one world championships in the fifties, and the museum was a lot better than what I expected. There had to be a couple hundred cars on display, including one of Ayrton Sennaís formula one cars from the nineties, an Indy 500 winning Penske, along with a bunch of Fangioís early cars. Some of the old American coupes from the 30ís were right hand drive, and I think I was told that they used to drive on the left in Argentina. My spanish is still lousy, so I wonít swear that is what they said, but I didnít know the English had that much influence down here.

So, after Azul, I rode the couple hundred miles to Buenos Aires, on Dakar Motos. Javier and Sandra, who own Dakar Motos, main business is motorcycle repair and have a kind of moto hostel thing going there too. Which basically means there are some bunk beds in a room off the shop, but it is a very cool place to meet other travelers. There were six or seven other paople there while I was there, and I had a really good time, considering I was preparing to go home. The first couple days were spent arranging to ship the bike and myself home, and then I had a few days to do the tourist thing and see the sights. Buenos Aires is a huge city, and I only saw a fraction of what there is to see. I am still not on the Argentine time schedule, and the bars donít start hopping till 1 am in some places, so I didnít do the club thing at all. Not to mention that all I had to wear was beat up clothes that had been on the road six months.

The flight back. Oh boy. The first flight out of BsAS was cancelled, so I had to spend another night in the city. It wasnít so bad, since the airline bought me a hotel room and dinner. After getting to Miami, I couldnít get to San Antonio since all the connections were through Dallas, and that was shut down due to ice. They were able to get me to Houston, and from there I rented a car and drove home. After about 40 hours of airplanes, airports, and driving, I finally got home at 5 am on Sunday. Iím trying to get my life started again here, getting my vehicles licensed and taking care of all the million details I need to. Of course I have to start planning my next motorcycle trip too. Europe and Australia interest me, as does the eastern route through South America. Maybe in 2009 or 2010, stay tuned.

When you see these clouds, that look like they are painted on with a dry brush rather than all puffy like cumulus clouds usually are, you can bet it is windy as hell. This is a totally anecdotal observation and not scientifically verifed, but was 100% accurate on this trip.

Just another beautiful landscape, near Bariloche.

Loading the bikes into a boxcar in Bariloche.

A couple of pictures from La Posta del Viajero en Moto.

Lew and Anita, from England, are going around the world on identically prepared Yamaha Seca's. I think it is actually a covert SAS operation, using the top of their luggage for Harrier landings in remote locations. Anyway, they are 2-1/2 years into a planned 2 year trip around the world. And they are only half done.

Me and Jorge, owner of La Posta.

Eva Peron's tomb, in Buenos Aires. She is still a very popular figure here, people still leave flowers on her grave.

Memorial to the soldiers lost in the Malvinas, or Falkland depending on your sympathies, Islands war in 1984 with the UK.

Park grounds behind the memorial. Reminded me of Bascom Hill, on the Universtity of Wisconsin campus, for you Madison readers.

Lunch time at Dakar Motos. I made a really feeble effort at taking pictures here, this is the best I have. Clockwise from left: Sandra and Javier, the owners of Dakar Motos; Alexis and Greg, from England, who are going around the world in a tricked out military Land Rover; Dave from California in the lower right; and the back of Jacques from Belgium's head

And last but not least, a friend of mine's daughter, Emily, had this ready for me when I got back home. Thanks Em!

Posted by Andy Tiegs at January 18, 2007 03:58 AM GMT

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