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

May 09, 2002...

Credit to Landscapes

-- Story by Erin --

Tuesday, May 7th: After five days in Cordoba, repairing the last of the problems on the bikes (yeah!) we finally started back on road, really traveling and seeing some interesting things.  Our plan was to get to a place called Valle de la Luna this day.  The ride was not long (only about 400 kilometers) but it was very boring.  Most of the way the scenery was flat, dry, straight, with desert vistas and not a cloud in the sky.

At the first gas-stop we noticed my bike was still leaking oil, and losing it pretty quickly.  We added a liter of oil and were on our way.  By the time we got close to Valle del la Luna, we noticed that my oil level was non-existent on my dip stick.  We added another liter of oil and contemplated going on to the next large town (rather than the Valle which is in the middle of nowhere) to get it checked out.  The decision was made to stay on the safe side and drive on to La Rioja, the capital city of the province.  Luckily for us we made the right decision as only 30 kilometers down the road my oil light flashed on my cockpit display, indicating NO oil and a critical time to shut down the engine, which I did immediately.  Taking the dip stick out we noticed the engine actually smoking, not a good sign!  We emptied the last of the oil into the bike and rode very slowly into town, some 30 more kilometers away.

The guys at the service station outside of town were able to recommend some really good mechanics, Juan and Javier.  They took one look at the bike first thing in the morning and were able to diagnose the problem, 2 cracks in the engine cover where the bolts are.  The bolts must have been over-tightened when the engine was put back together and when the engine got hot the cracks widened and allowed all the oil to drain out.  In less than 4 hours they were able to get it welded, painted and put back together.  That afternoon we took it for a test ride and it was great, not one drip.  The rest of the day we spent walking around this lovely city at the base of the cordillera mountain range.  The town is known for its orange trees, borracho trees ("drunken trees" with twisted shapes), and its olives.

Thursday morning we made it easily to Valle de la Luna with no oil leak problems.  The park is famous for it's changing desert scenery, the different colors of the earth and it's strange rock formations.  Also, some of oldest fossils every found were discovered here. We arrived around 2pm and were immediately greeted by the local guides.  (It's obligatory to go through the park with a guide but he goes in his own car.)  After having a quick lunch under some trees, we were on our way through the park.  We were supposed to meet our guide at the 6 kilometer mark inside the park, as he was already out with another group.  When we got there he was nowhere in sight.  We waited about 15 minutes then decided to drive further on slowly and see if he catches us with us.  Well, he never did catch up with us because he was ahead of us!  He didn't wait long for us and just took off.  We enjoyed tour nonetheless, as we were able to do it at our own pace and stop wherever we wanted to to take photos.  The landscape was truly incredible with white, salt-covered river bed valley floors to bright red mountain cliffs surrounding the valley.  The local animals, fox and Guanaco, even made a special appearance for us.  When we finally exited the park Chris paid a visit to the office of the guides and gave them a piece of his mind.  Our next stop that evening was the national park of Talampaya, some 60 kilometers away. 


The two posers in Valle de la Luna

I think this is what they mean by lunar-landscape

These two formations are called "Hongo"

A close encounter with a fox


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