Day 227 – Buenos Aires, Argentina

Day 227 – Buenos Aires, Argentina       04/05/11       Mileage: 0

Gus was heading  into town as well so we hopped on the train and headed downtown. He steered me in the right direction and then went off to do his errands.

I first had to get some documents printed and scanned for my Brazil visa application, then went to the Brazilian Consulate. I arrived 15 minutes after they stopped taking foreign visa applications for the day, so I’ll have to come back tomorrow.

Of well, at least now I can head out to see some of the sights around town.

The memorial commemorating the Falkland Islands War with Britain…

This guy was selling nuts and was a real character…and a little nuts himself!

The consulate was on the north end of Avenida 9 de Julio…which is like Buenos Aires’s answer to the Champs-Elysees in Paris, a broad boulevard with nice cafes and shops.

In fact they call Buenos Aires the Paris of South America, and I’d have to say that was true…fashionable people, good coffee and croissants, and dog shit all over the sidewalks.

At the Obelisco, I hung a left and walked to the Plaza de Mayo and the famous Casa Rosada(the residence of the president)…the balcony from which Juan and Eva Peron gave so many impassioned speeches.

The Casa Rosada….

I sat in the plaza for a while to take it all in, then walked down to the trendy bario(neighborhood) of San Telmo where I found a nice cafe and did some people watching. I continued walking around San Telmo a bit more and then began to make my way back towards the train station.

Along the way I walked down Calle Florida, a pedestrian only street filled with shops, cafe’s and street performers…including a dance company showing off their tango skills.

And no city in the Western World would be complete without a Starbucks of course…

After catching the train back to Florida and Dakar Moto’s, I worked on the bike for a bit as well as the blog which was still back in Chile! Gus and I also hung out for a bit and drank a few beers before I called it a night. Tomorrow it’s back to the Brazilian Consulate to turn in my visa application and see more of Buenos Aires…

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Day 226 – Buenos Aires, Argentina

Day 226 – Buenos Aires, Argentina      04/04/11      Mileage: 0

Today was a rest day of sorts spent working on the blog, returning emails, and just walking around the local neighborhood running some errands. Tomorrow I’m going to head downtown see the sights and to stop by the Brazilian consulate to start my visa application…

Token picture: The KLR in the Dakar Moto stable with the other adventure bikes…

Day 225 – Tornquist to Buenos Aires, Argentina

Day 225 – Tornquist to Buenos Aires, Argentina      04/03/11      Mileage: 386

It was a nice morning in camp and I took the time to make coffee and chill for a bit before the final push into Buenos Aires.

I only had around 380 miles to go, so instead of taking the most direct route I got off on some side roads to explore a little of the countryside.

I found a great dirt road that weaved its way between some farms and open country which was a nice change from the last 1500 miles of fast straight highway.

Back on the pavement I passed the Moretti guys that I had first met in an Irish pub in Ushuaia. I bumped into them again at the Argentina border….and now again 1500 miles north on some random road outside of Buenos Aires…what are the odds.

The picture is crooked because I took it with my regular camera as I was wizzing by!

Here they are parked at the Argentina border post in Tierra del Fuego…some 1500 miles south of here…with there 4×4 delivery truck!

They work for a beer distributer in Italy, which sent them on an expedition to deliver beer to Ushuaia…how cool is that!  The beer distribution business must be lucrative in Italy! LOL  Soon after I hit the outskirts off Buenos Aires and thank god I had a GPS guiding me or else I would have never found Dakar Moto’s…a home for wayward overland bikers and their motorcycles. Being a Sunday there was nobody there…and it was only sheer luck that another rider, Gus, who was staying there wandered up and saw me sitting there on my bike and let me in. In addition to being a repair shop, Dakar Moto’s is also a small “hostel” that amounts to 2 bunk beds, a bathroom and a small kitchen in the back of the repair shop. Nothing fancy for sure, but who cares. The owners, Javier and his wife Sandra, also help with local info, logistics and they’ll store your bike as well if needed.

That night Gus and I had a few beers and swapped stories and lies from the road…

Day 224 – Puerto Madryn to Tornquist, Argentina

Day 224 – Puerto Madryn to Tornquist, Argentina      04/02/11      Mileage: 442

The morning air was noticeable warmer than it has been which is certainly due to my progress north. I broke camp and got back on the road and was also delighted that the wind was calm. Now I was able to whip up the pace and really make time on the arrow straight roads across the bland scenery.

Sleepy cat…

Half way through the day I was able to switch back to my summer riding gloves…which I like riding with much better and haven’t used in weeks. It was all business though getting north…hopping from YPF station to YPF station. I was still on the road at sunset which compelled me to stop for the first time today to take a picture.

There were also some small mountains off to the east which not only made for a good sunset picture…but also might offer a good stealth campsite. So I hung a right off the main road and headed up into the mountains.

 Sure enough I found a wooded picnic area that fit the bill and I even had a picnic table…luxury! Tomorrow, it’s on to Buenos Aires…and another one off the life-list…

Day 223 – Caleta Olivia to Puerto Madryn, Argentina

Day 223 – Caleta Olivia to Puerto Madryn, Argentina      04/01/11      Mileage: 352

The hotel let me put my bike in the lobby last night and while I had a good place out of the weather, I figured it’s also a good time to change my oil. So I went to work on the bike and the owner didn’t seem to mind and was asking me questions about the trip while I worked. That done I packed the bike and headed out of town. My rear tire was almost gone and I had to put the other that I’ve been carrying on. The owner of the hotel had told me about a good Honda dealer in the next town…so that’s where I was heading next. I found it easily but they literally closed the door in my face….? Damn siestas! They didn’t reopen until 3:30pm…3 hours from now…and I didn’t feel like waiting around that long. I went a few blocks back to tire repair shop and asked if they could swap the tire for me, which they could….sweet.

So I pulled the rear wheel off, and using the tire changing machine the mechanic had the tire swapped in 10 minutes. I’m embarrassed to say that it took me (even with Marshall’s help) over 90 minutes to swap the rear tire by hand back in Uyuni. So to me that is $7 well spent! Back on the gas the wind was not quite as strong as yesterday, but still gusting heavily in spots. Late in the afternoon the road turned more northeast which put the wind primarily at my back…making it much easier to ride. At sundown I started to look for a stealth campsite which I found 100 yards off the road by riding into the open range through a gap in the fence.

My stealth campsite near Puerto Madryn

Tomorrow it’s more of the same…and I hope the wind continues to get more manageable as I make my way north…

Day 222 – Rio Gallegos to Caleta Olivia, Argentina

Day 222 – Rio Gallegos to Caleta Olivia, Argentina      03/31/11      Mileage: 442

The wind…it blows…and by that I mean it sucks…big time. The famous westerly winds howl with a furry at the tip of South America…unimpeded on the east coast by nary a hill nor tree. The road of course runs north/south…making it the most unrelenting cross wind I have ever encountered and it’s hell to ride in. I spent the entire day wrestling the bike to keep it upright for hundreds of tiring miles. I didn’t even stop to take a picture…as the scenery was uninspiring and it would also just prolong the misery. YPF is the largest gas station chain in Argentina, and for me they have become a little oasis and refuge…someplace to fill my tank, my stomach and rest before venturing back into the gail force winds that have become my nemesis. In Caleta Olivia I called it quits and got a room for the night. Tomorrow I hope the winds are more favorable…

Token picture for today: Sunset over Caleta Olivia, Argentina

Day 221 – Torres del Paine, Chile to Rio Gallegos, Argentina

Day 221 – Torres del Paine, Chile to Rio Gallegos, Argentina     03/30/11      Mileage: 223

It rained hard all night and into the morning, but around 9am it let up to a light drizzle so I quickly broke camp and packed up the bike.

Even in the light drizzle I was cold and wet by the time I finished packing so I rolled over to the Hotel las Torres to warm up and dry off a bit before hitting the road. Again it started pouring though…and even the roof in the lounge where I was sitting sprung a leak.

Finally around 11:30 the rain stopped and I made a run for the Argentina border. The road was loose gravel and again the wind was hounding me…pushing my bike around at will.

I stopped at a little cafe in Cerro Castillo for a quick bite and to soak up some heat from the wood stove before crossing back into Argentina. The border crossing was fast and straightforward…which seems to be the case for all of the small border posts I’ve crossed….the bigger ones are almost always more trouble and slower.

This German Shepard was the Argentina border post’s mascot…he was adorable…

Back on the road I rolled into Esparanza for gas and to ask the locals about which route to take to the Argentina coast and Ruta 3…the shorter but all dirt road or the longer but paved road. They unanimously said the paved road back towards Rio Gallegos…which I had passed through on the way to Ushuaia. So that settled I rolled down the road and pulled into Rio Gallegos early enough to run some errands to the market and to the bank. I also had to get 3 quarts of oil so I can do an oil change first chance I get.

Do you think you could find anything in this auto parts store? Yeah, I couldn’t either!  LOL

Tomorrow it’s back on the throttle north up the notoriously windy Ruta 3…