It’s official…

It’s official, I reached Ushuaia, Argentina earlier today….post for today coming soon….

-Lenny

Day 214 – Rio Gallegos to Rio Grande, Argentina

Day 214 – Rio Gallegos to Rio Grande, Argentina      03/23/11      Mileage: 248

I worked on the blog over breakfast and then went out to the auto parts store to be there when they opened at 9. They had the bulb in stock and I also got more electrical tape for the short in the tail light wiring. Back at the hotel I spent the next hour putting humpty dumpty back together…then packed the bike and split. With the late start, it was doubtful that I’d make it to Ushuaia given that there are two border crossings (out of Argentina into Chile and back to Argentina) and a ferry in between. The first police checkpoint I was stopped and asked to go in the building with my passport. I’ve been through dozens of checkpoints and have always been either waved through or asked 1 or 2 questions and sent on my way…so I’m not sure why this guy had a burr in his ass. Anyway, it didn’t take too long but it set the tone for the day. At the Argentina side of the border the immigration officer went to take a shit for 20 minutes as soon as I walked up with my passport. fortunately it took 30 seconds to cancel my bike import permit..usually it’s the other way around. Anyway, once done it was on to the Chile side were I arrived just after a bus. Super…more waiting. All that done I was off to the ferry across the Straits of Magellan.

I arrived and was told the next ferry would be here in 20 minutes, and sure enough you could see it making it’s way here. When the blue ferry arrived, some trucks got off…then some trucks got on…then the ramp went up and it buggered off leaving me and 5 other cars waiting there wondering what just happened?

Nobody seemed to know why as there was still plenty of room. WTF? So we sat there for another hour and eventually another red ferry showed up, but after they let everyone off, the didn’t start boarding for almost 40 minutes for what looked like some inspection or something.

Once loaded we set sail across the straits to the island of Tierra del Fuego, which took about 20 minutes.

Strapped in for the short but choppy ride across the Straits of Magellan…

Back on dry land I hit the gas still hoping to make it to Ushuaia, but that hope evaporated at the next border as soon as I saw the line waiting at the Chile immigration. It took 45 minutes to get my exit stamp…something that usually takes 30 seconds(unless the officer goes to take a dump of course). So after exiting Chile and reentering Argentina, I stopped in Rio Grande to look for a room and some dinner. Tomorrow, it’s on to Ushuaia for sure!

Day 213 – El Calafate to Rio Gallegos, Argentina

Day 213 – El Calafate to Rio Gallegos, Argentina      03/22/11      Mileage: 209

I spent the morning updating the blog and doing some maintenance on the bike. The headlights and tail light were out due to a short in the wiring that was blowing the fuse…seems all the washboard dirt roads the last few days took their toll on the bike wiring. I couldn’t be bothered with tracing it down at the moment though….that could take hours to find. So I packed the bike and split without the lights…which I really won’t need unless I get caught out in the dark. On the way out of town I bumped into Beto and Tracy who I met at Machu Picchu back in Peru! It was great to see them again and we chatted for a bit. They were just pulling into town…so hopefully we’ll catch up again…perhaps in Ushuaia! Back on the gas it was all business down the pavement to Rio Gallegos…battling the west winds the whole way.

I decided to stop in Rio Gallegos and find a room with a good spot to work on the bike as finding that short could require taking a lot of the bike apart. After finding a room with parking out back, I unpacked and started looking for the short. The factory wiring to the headlight is pretty bomber and well protected running inside the main wiring harness from the fuse and battery to the front of the bike, so I started with tail light as it is much more exposed running under the rear fender. After 30 minutes of looking I found a short in the tail light wiring where the power lead and ground wires had rubbed through..but when I put another fuse in it popped as soon as turned the ignition on…crap. Two shorts…what are the odds…so I started looking at the headlight wiring. It’s mostly buried in the main wiring harness and it’s doubtful it shorted inside the harness and if it did it would be damn near impossible to find and fix without destroying the harness.

The leads to the headlights looked good so I tried another fuse just for giggles and it was fine…but then I noticed the low beam connector was not fully seated, and when I seated it the fuse popped. Huh…so I took out the headlight bulb and sure enough one of the posts in the bulb had bent and was touching the other post causing the short-circuit. Damn…I never saw a bulb fail that way…but I’m glad I found the second short and it only took about an hour total. It’s too late to get a new bulb now, so I’ll have to do that first thing tomorrow morning at the auto parts store. That done I scared up some dinner, worked on the blog and then called it a night…