Chris' 1994  R100GS/PDChris' new bike, a 1996 F650ULTIMATE JOURNEY Erin's 1997  F650
Living a Dream . . . 2 Live-N-Ride


Dec 25th, 2001 -- Merry Christmas y Feliz Navidad!

Credit to www.theodora.com/mapsThe first leg of the journey to Ushuaia

-- Story by Erin --

Yes, here I am writing this story on Christmas day.    "Why?" you may ask, as I could be sitting on the beach right now enjoying the fact that I have nothing to do.  Well, its been a long 2 weeks since we first arrived back in Buenos Aires.  We discovered more things wrong with the bikes (i.e. Chris' bike needed a new piston, cylinder, rings and seals, and my bike had an oil leak and fuel line problem).

Saturday, Dec 22nd: We finished packing the bikes, getting packages ready to send home and spare parts/tires from NZ to go to Mendoza. At around 10am we finally got our gear on and were ready to leave. Gyozo was there to see us off, and invited us back to use his apartment anytime we wanted. Also, Gabriel came by to bid us farewell. He had hoped to ride down to Azul with us (300km south), but when backing his bike out of the garage early in the morning, it decided it needed a few more minutes sleep. The result was a broken clutch lever and gear shifter -- making it impossible for him to ride that day.

And so we joined the racing circuit of the highway southeast out of Buenos Aires -- they really are all frustrated Formula 1 drivers here! We rode slowly for 650km to Bahia Blanca. Chris’ new piston and cylinder needed to be broken-in gently. At mid-day, we stopped for fuel, and after the normal barrage of questions from on-lookers, a man asked us to wait one moment -- he walked to the trunk of his car, pulled out a bottle of red wine, and presented us with his gift -- we had talked to him for all of one minute before this, what generosity!!!

After several hours driving in the lonely countryside which is typical of the Pampa area we finally reached Sierra de la Ventana (mountain of the window.) This small but distinguished mountain range rises up out of nowhere and then disappears just as quickly. The mountains get their name from a hole in the rock at the top of one of the peaks. Luckily for us the road goes right up over it. This provided us with a much-needed distraction and something to enjoy about the riding that day.

Shortly thereafter we finally arrived in Bahia Blanca - it was under a dark cloud. We were immediately hit with a mean cold wind filled with choking dirt and smoke from some nearby fire. We quickly decided not to stay there for the night and to push further another 120km south to Pedro Luna where we discovered a beautiful campground/vacation spot called La Salada (the salad??). It was a man-made lake protected from the heavy winds by trees and the surrounding small hills. We arrived just in time to see the beautiful sunset and pitch our tent before it got dark, about 9pm. The days were getting noticeably longer.

Sunday, Dec 23rd: So in the first day, we rode over 500km between 4,000-4,500rpms to break in the new engine. Sunday we added another 550km (and 500rpms) to arrive in Puerto Madryn. The ride was reminiscent of travelling in Western Australia -- a whole lot of nothing! Chris thinks the bike has more power, and rides much smoother than before. The new windshield Mariano (Motocare) installed was a Godsend -- the wind-gusts of Patagonia are continuous, and our necks and shoulders are a bit sore from all the turbulence, not to mention the enormous amount of bug-splats on our windscreens! We haven't been blown completely off the road yet (a very real threat) , but heard it was pretty bad only a few days ago.

After checking into the campground in Puerto Madryn, 3 bikers showed up: Alberto from Mexico, Karl (Carlos) from Germany, and Miguel, a local rider who enjoys meeting foreign motorbike travellers. Miguel loves riding off-road and meeting people, and decided to convert a spare space he had into a room for travellers. He and his friends created a riding club: "Huellas del Sur" ~ which converts roughly to treads/trails of the south.  He also plays rugby (big #5), so he and Chris had much to talk about!   We went by his place in the evening and met Alex (Alejandro) and Annette (Anita), 2 more German bikers.

Miguel asked us to post his information, and for those of you interested to please contact him:

Miguel Angel Dominguez
Juan B Justo 889
(9120) Puerto Madryn-Chubut
Patagonia - Argentina
Telefono:+54 (0) 2965 451327 /1555 8654
GPS: S 42 4634,1" W 650219,2"

huellasdelsur@hotmail.com

 

Monday, Dec 24th: Chris and I spent the day doing what visitors do here: drive around the Peninsula Valdez. It is a big national park chock full with wildlife. The big attraction are the whales (which we didn’t see), the penguinos (penguins which we didn’t see either), the seals (los lobos which we saw) and sea lions (los elefantes which we also saw). The road is mostly gravel and we were covered in white powdery dirt at the end of the day. The national park did not disappoint us. We saw heaps of seals and sea lions as well as other very interesting animals: guanacos (like llamas with less fur), a small gray fox, a small armadillo, nandu’s (which are like small ostriches), lizards and an bichu (a strange looking animal that looks like a cross between a rabbit and a dog).

After several hours out on the peninsula it was time to get back and cleaned up for a Christmas party. On the way, we met Miguel's close friend Martin with his girlfriend Maria.  They invited us to the same party -- small world!!  Before we left for the party, Chris presented me with his Christmas present, a lovely ceramic and stone necklace he found in Termas de Guaviyu in Uruguay. It is just lovely. I felt like a heel of course because I didn’t get him anything!

Jaime, a friend of Miguel’s and a member of their local m/c club invited all of us travellers over for a Christmas BBQ and some entertainment. We each contributed a whole chicken and some drinks. They provided the side dishes and the fireworks. The food was fantastic as we ate in their backyard under the stars. After dinner (actually during dinner!), Alberto (representing Mexico) brought out the Tequila and started making strong drinks for everyone. At midnight we all went down to the beach in the center of town and set off fireworks. Everyone else in town seemed to be doing the same thing. By about 12:30am the streets were packed with cars and people ready to party. One after another bottles of champagne was opened and before we knew it, it was 2:30am! As some of the others were going to party longer, we decided to call it a night and wished everyone a very merry Christmas.

Tuesday, Dec 25th: Christmas day. We slept until 11am. One of the most gorgeous Christmas day’s I’ve ever seen. Weather is just perfect, warm, sunny, on the beach. Miguel, Jamie, his wife and boys, Martin and Maria, Alberto and us just hanging out watching the action on the beach for awhile.

 

280kms out of Buenos Aires....

Entering Patagonia...

Miguel (pilot)and Martin on the Honda with Alberto from Mexico on the KTM

Christmas at the beach


Clockwise:  Martin, Miguel, Chris, Erin, Karl, Alberto, Maria, and Jaime

Typical road in Patagonia (east)

Visting the seal colony

Rough life, eh?

Actually, in February, the Orcas (killer whales) attack the sleeping seals on the beach -- this is a photo of a foto...

 

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