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

April 3, 2002...

Credit to del Inca

-- Story by Erin --

Thursday, March 28th: Had to vacate our apartment because our landlady had previously rented it to a Chilean family for the Easter weekend. New friends, Duilio and Claudia let us stay with them and their sons. They just happen to live directly across the street! We had met Duilio at Carlos’ shop, where he keeps his old R69S. The weather was rainy so we all went to the big shopping center and watched movies (2 in a row- 4 hours!)

Friday, March 29th: Got Chris’ shock welded (again) and worked on Alex’s carbs. We all went out for a fantastic dinner at a Parillada (BBQ) restaurant and received a free bottle of champagne with the wine we ordered.

Saturday, March 30th: Since the weather was clearing, we and the three Germans took off to the mountains. We wanted to get out of the big city for a few days. Mendoza was getting very crowded with local and Chilean tourists for the long Easter weekend. We stopped at a place called Uspallata, a lovely valley in between the Cordillera range and the Andes. We camp there for the night.

Sunday, March 31st: The next morning we relaxed, had a long breakfast and then decided to drive further into the mountains to a place called Puente del Inca. This is a magical place, a colorful, natural stone bridge created from years of mineral deposits left by the thermal waters that are secreted here. It is at fairly high altitude (about 3,000 meters, or 9,000 feet) and there was a chilly wind. We had come prepared with our bathing suits and towels since we had heard there was a place to bathe. Over the bridge, which crosses a fast moving river, there was indeed a small (very small) thermal pool. The water temperature, while warm, was definitely not hot. However, we were there and prepared so everyone jumped in to enjoy the experience and the views. The local tourists stood around watching us and thought we must have been completely mad.   After a long soak, we enjoyed burgers and beers at an outdoor table of a snack shop nearby.

Monday, April 1st: My birthday! Woke up to a wonderful surprise…Annet and Steffi had prepared a special birthday breakfast for me, complete with birthday cake (with my name on it) and presents. It was a very special moment, which I will never forget. We took our time packing everything up and headed back to Mendoza with the rest of the Easter weekend traffic.

Later that afternoon we moved back into our original apartment. Alex and Steffi stayed with us while Annet stayed across the street with Duilio and Claudia. At about 4pm, while we were relaxing in the apartment I felt the building move. At first I thought it was just a passing feeling of dizziness, but then I saw that the overhead lamp was swinging slightly. I asked Chris if he felt it and he said yes. We yelled for Steffi and Alex, who were in the back of the apartment, to come with us downstairs. Because we were staying on the 13th floor (unlucky number?) we felt the tremor more acutely. We ran down the 13 flights of steps and passed the security guard that was looking at us like we were crazy. Out in front of the building we sat on a bench shaking with adrenaline. Turns out, no one on the street had felt it. The locals told us later that tremors are a normal occurrence there (like one or two a week) and they are quite used to it!

Tuesday, April 2nd: Alex and Steffi bid us goodbye and headed further north. Annet decided to take off for a few days to be by herself. She went south in the direction of San Rafael and would return on Friday. Chris and I had an appointment to appear at a local primary school to talk to a class of 9-11 year olds who were studying English.   Turned out to be a good opportunity for us to practice our Spanish as the kids only knew how to say "Hello" and "What's your name?"  I talked about our trip in English and Chris translated it into Spanish.  Although I'm sure they were enthralled by our tales of adventure, I think the kids enjoyed sitting on the bikes the best.  After that, Chris and I were alone for the first time in over a week, which we spent mostly studying Spanish and watching videos.


Puente del Inca

Natural stone bridge


Chris, Annet, Steffi & Alex squeeze into a thermal puddle

Enjoying the views!

90F/30C in the water, 60F/15C when you stand up.


My birthday breakfast on April Fool's Day!

Erin, Alex, and Steffi


The canyon road near Puente del Inca

Post-tramatic stress syndrome after the earthquake

Erin with a class of future bikers of Argentina


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