Saturday, April 6th: Annets 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
employers 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 collectors 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
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 its 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 didnt 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 Annets bike. It was a
fantastic day, stopping every 200 meters to take photos and inspect the strange rock
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.