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

April 14, 2002...

Credit to up Mendoza and back to San Rafael

-- Story by Erin --

Saturday, April 6th: Annet’s boyfriend, Carsten, arrives from Germany. He plays Santa Clause and gives us all the goodies (motorcycle parts) we requested he bring from Germany.

That afternoon, we met our family/friends Andres and Marcela who were visiting from Buenos Aires. Andres, who works in the wine industry, was in town to check out his new employer’s facilities (a vineyard in the area). He introduced us to his friend Roberto who lives in Mendoza. Roberto took us all on a little tour of the city and up to the Cerro Gloria, which is a small mountain with a monument to General San Martin, the Liberator of Argentina. The views of the Cordillera range and Mendoza city from there were great and Roberto made a wonderful guide as he described all of the scenes on the huge bronze monument. Later that evening he brought us all back to his house for an asado dinner. His house is a collector’s paradise, hats, keys, paintings, etc., especially anything Peruvian. He has a special collection just for Peru including artifacts from ancient tombs. While we were having dinner we were treated to a lesson in wine tasting, serving us an $85 bottle of locally produced Malbec wine. We learned about what kind of glass is best for tasting, about the color of the wine and what to look for in a cork to ensure the wine is not spoiled.

Monday, April 8th: Our last day in Mendoza. Had our last Spanish class in the morning and packed up our things during the day.  That night Annet, Carsten, Chris and I hosted a potluck meal for the friends we had made in Mendoza. Duilio, Claudia and the boys came with 2 different kinds of Argentine salads. Our Spanish teacher Adrianna came with her husband Daniel, and brought homemade empaņadas and an apple dessert. Carlos, the BMW mechanic paid a visit too. Annet and Carsten made a German potato and chicken casserole, while we made a light pasta dish with mozzarella, tomatoes and fresh basil.

Tuesday, April 9th: After making the rounds of saying goodbye to everyone, we finally rode out of town to San Rafael, 3 bikes and Carsten in a rental car. Chris and I decided to come back to SR to get the work done on the bikes at the Honda shop there.   Chris' bike is still consuming oil, and my bike is peeing oil out of the airbox.   The only solution is to open up both engines and take a look at what's happening.   While we had complete faith in the work of Carlos in Mendoza, Carlos was very busy and we thought it would take quite a long time to do the work. In San Rafael, the guys at the Honda shop also have been working on single cylinder bikes forever, have a large staff, and the time to help us. Annet and Carsten decided to join us for a few more days because Annet wanted to show Carsten the canyon nearby.

Wednesday, April 10th: Chris went in to the shop to begin the work. Annet, Carsten and I enjoyed a long breakfast and decided to jump in the car (instead of the bikes because the weather was still rainy) and go sightseeing in the afternoon. We drove to a popular ski resort called Las Leņas and enjoyed the interesting colors of the mountains. Luckily the rain had stopped in this area and we caught glimpses of the sun, between the heavy gray clouds racing across the sky. On the way back in the early evening we stopped to take a break and stretch our legs. While chatting with Carsten I looked down and noticed what looked like the outline of a fish shell in a rock. After bending down to look at it, I discovered that there were similar forms in many rocks around our feet. Annet and I immediately commenced a more thorough search of the area and found that this whole area must have been a silty mud bottom of an ancient sea or lake. These fossils were literally everywhere. We picked up many to take back with us and photographed those that were too big to take. I wondered if anyone else knew about this place because the location was unmarked by signs indicating it’s significance.

Later on the way back to San Rafael we encountered an agricultural checkpoint. The officer asked to see in the back of the car, which we opened for him. There they were, about 50 fossilized rocks out in plain sight! He didn’t even mention them, just asked us if we had any plants or dirt with us. Amazing. Later, we sorted through them and took our favorites. The rest we gave to the children of the owner of the motorbike shop in town.  Chris and Miguel (the mechanic) opened his motor and found the rings that were installed back in December were incorrect, and there is a huge gap where they should close.  Chris is confused as the parts came direct from BMW North America as a kit:   piston; rings; and cylinder.

Thursday, April 11th: The skies were clear this day so we decided to go into the Valle Grande and Canyon Atuel, a series of 4 dams in a spectacular polychrome canyon. Annet and I took the car while Carsten played around on Annet’s bike. It was a fantastic day, stopping every 200 meters to take photos and inspect the strange rock formations.

We arrived back in the afternoon and met Chris for lunch. Afterwards, we bid goodbye to Annet and Carsten as they were now going north for the next 2 weeks. We will hopefully see Annet somewhere in Bolivia or Peru.


Family-Friends Andres and Marcela come to visit

At the Honda shop in San Rafael, inspecting Chris' engine

Working with Miguel, one of the best mechanics we've encountered.


Reflection off the lake at Valle Grande

Annet & Carsten with a backdrop of the painted mountains

Erin at the Canyon Atuel

AR.SanRafael.ErinCanyonAtuel.JPG (47109 bytes)

Finding fossils near Las Leņas

2mm gap in the piston rings on Chris' bike


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