An overlander's account of South and Central America by motorbike - the trusty Suzuki DR650. Within are great travel tips and hints (2011).
Monday, April 11, 2011
Ushuaia to Buenos Aires - 5-18 March 2011
I think its time to reevaluate how I update the blog. Im very behind and have just lost a nearly completed draft! So back to square one! Here is the tale from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires
5th March 2011 (455 km) - Ushuaia (Cruz del Sur Hostel)
Today I left Los Flores ranch and headed south to Tierra del Fuego via a free barge at the north tip (Biker´s note). I headed south to check out some beaver dams (they were introduced to TdF yonks ago as a food supplement I believe and now run a muck). The southern border crossing on TdF took about 20 mins total...the longest part was finding the Aduana (Customs) guy who I think was out fishing in the creek. I rode on through some amazing roads after this and caught up with Frankie who I met in Santiago.
6th March 2011 (175 km) - Ushuaia (CDS)
Ushuaia is a nice little city nestled in the hills deep in TdF. Years ago there used to be natives here who lived off mussels, llama and other things. One of these groups was called the Yamana...and there was a great museum in Ushuaia for it, so I had a peep. Today I was headed for the last 25 km of road to the end of the world sign and then to go salmon fishing. I strapped my rod on the bike and it was sticking out a bit (usually protected by the panniers). I saw this and thought if i drop the bike Ill snap the rod (really good 3 pc, xmas present from brother). NO WORRIES MATE, I´ve just done 5000 km, im not gonna drop the bike in the next 25 km. Well 4 km before the end I dropped the bike on a deep gravelly corner...and broke the mirror and turned the beautiful 3 pc rod into a 6 pc shishkebab. Oh well, no injuries. I made it to the end and sat by a waterfall for a cuppa and a celebratory cigar (have one at all my major goals). A camp spaghetti was had under the sunset in a mountainous valley 15 km north of Ushuaia. Tranquilo!
7th March 2011 (0) - Ushuaia (CDS)
Today I had to fix the mistakes I made yesterday. After much asking, I eventually got a guy to put a piece of mirror glass in to the mirror brack with some glue and tape for $2.50 AUD. No worries! I was advised to have dinner at Tia Elvira here and had some amazing crab...a must in Ushuaia, but a small splurge! about 2am today I was awoken by some water sounds from nearby...turns out a backpacker girl in my room that had a litttle too much to drink during the night and had a little waterfall chuck in her bed! Crikey mick!
8th March 2011 (158 km) - Near Estancia Harberton (Camp)
After checking off a few more things I headed off after lunch to a dog sledging place in hope of hopping in a cart for a run with some huskies and other sledging breeds. Apparently there were personal reasons but it was closed this day, but the bloke let me in to check out everything and play with the dogs! Him and his son are world champs in sledging and other similar sports (dog aided running and bicycling also). The guys couldnt get sponsorship because the team was only 1 or 2 people, so the country wouldnt sponsor them...ridiculous! Some beautiful animals here...a pic of one of the ladies below. Eventually i headed to Estancia Harberton, East of Ushuaia and made camp under the bright pink sunset on a creek...and saw a beaver at last!
9th March 2011 (316 km) - Las Flores Ranch (Local ranch)
After an arts and crafts session in the morning (pannier cover ripped as well as clothes and other little things for repair) I headed north, only to get caught in a storm. I pulled over in a shed beside a roadside crash memorial to don the raincoats, and stuck out the brunt of the storm. I often wonder what happens to a biker riding in lightning in a flat as a tac environment... The border crossing at San Sebastian was easy and as it was late and windy, I popped in to see my ol amigo at Los Flores Ranch who welcomed me in again with a warm heart.
10th March 2011 (? km) - Pescazaike, Guer Aike (Camp)
Well there is certainly nothing like riding in 120 km/h wind. I guessed this as I turned a corner and rode with the wind...stick out your hand at 120km/h and you dont feel any wind at all. But this was only for a few moments as it was mostly a cross breeze...and later on a headwind, which means you can only go about 70km/h. Unreal!!!!! You cant imagine it until you experience it! The power of wind is amazing. I think its my least favourite out of wind rain cold and hot. There is nothing you can do to escape it. Its relentless and makes cooking, setting up a tent (may as well be a paraglider) and sleeping impossible. An easy border was had at Monte Aymond and eventually I pulled into sanctuary in (Biker´s note) Pescazaike, a local fishing campground on the River on the right as you cross the bridge in Guer Aike. Costs about 10 pesos a night for you and the bike I think. The highlight of the day was a roadside peestop...I´d started peeing with the wind when all of a sudden the wind circulation from my body started whipping my own finest into my face (lucky I was wearing my helmet)...nothing beats a good windy day on the road!
11th March 2011 (? km) - Estancia Las Tres Hermanas (The Three Sisters) (Local Ranch)
Today was one of those cold, wet days!!! The coldest yet actually. I donned plastic bags on my hands and feet and a garbage bag under my jacket...its amazing how your "waterproof" boots, jacket, gaiters, pants and gloves aren´t waterproof on a bike!!! I met Marcyek (a HUBBer and moto rider) heading south. After riding into dusk in the rain still I didnt make my waypoint and had to pull over and found a ranch where another lovely bloke let me have a bed in some empty shearing quarters! Amazing...He was there alone so probably enjoyed a bad chat in Spanglish!
12th March 2011 (665 km) - Punta Ninfas (Camp)
I was riding along this morning at about 8am and saw a dead rabbit on the road...and as i passed i thought...DAMN, i should´ve grab that for tucker tonight! I found another 5km down the road and skinned and gutted it in 15mins and was off again! I grabbed some vegies in a town (and a bloke in a shop sharpened me knife for me!) which was nice on the inside but the surrounds were a waste land. An absolute shame really. Camp was setup near the windy cliffs of Punta Ninfas and a delicious rabbit stew was had!!! amazing!
13th March 2011 (332) - Puerto Piramides, Valdes Peninsula (Municipal Campsite)
The next 3 days I spent in Puerto Piramides and the Valdes Peninsula spotting sea lions, penguins, elephants seals and....ORCAS!!! We managed to spot some far off the coast and the day after I left apparently they came in closer....but unfortunately no seal eating, regardless of how many jokes we made about chumming the water and slingshotting seal pups into the water! It was still amazing to be there though! The best time to catch the orcas is at high tide when they come in near the beach to eat seal pups!! The armadillos here are amazing also! Everywhere and mega cocky! No wonder why they say you cant eat food at the lookouts...the carpark is riddled with these fellas sniffin out food!
Have been having some fuel feed problems with my inline fuel filter and T-tap for filling the gas stove. Tried to clean the line and petcock, seems to be better! Cutting the sieves off the petcock seems to work.
14th March 2011 (246 km) - Puerto Piramides, Valdes Peninsula (Municipal Campsite)
Happy Birthday Mum!!!!!!! Love ya a million. You´re the best mother a son could ever ask for and I´d have my raising done no other way. Big respect and miss you like bad archer.
15th March 2011 (158 km) - Puerto Piramides, Valdes Peninsula (Municipal Campsite)
16th March 2011 (513 km) - Viedma (Oscar´s place)
After a nice chillout from riding at Valdes Peninsula, I head north to Viedma to meet a HUBB community member (www.horizonsunlimited.com - the best resource for moto travellers). Managed to catch a tarantula and a rat snake eating a snake near the road!!! THe stay with Oscar was great, he let me camp in his garage and had an amazing meal and shared some stories in ordinary Spanglish! Muchas muchas gracias Oscar!
17th March 2011 (724 km) - Cachari (Camp @ Campgrounds on highway)
Today I was heading to Azul to catch another moto hangout, but the guy was out so I pushed on to Cachari and camped up! Managed to whip up my own version of locro...not too bad although when I asked for a few bucks of bacon, all I got was pure fat!!! hehehe. On the way to Cachari I passed through Villa Ventana and the hills around there. A beautiful ride! A nice break from the boring flatness...
18th March 2011 (? km) - Buenos Aires (Dakar Motos)
Today was a nightmare. traffic is crazy 30km out of BA and trucks pack the highways! I´d tried booking a hostel in hope of it having carparking in BA, and when I turned up it was only a tiny door. After jumping on the web I found some hostels with parking, but when I turned up it was only paid parking across the road for the same amount as the bed!! I ended up finding out I could stay at Dakar Motos and after 6hrs of a nightmare in traffic I rocked up and DM and was welcomed warmly! There were a couple of yanks, Fins and an Israeli rider there at the time...all doing well. Turns out when I´d last adjusted the chain one of the sides had dropped off and I was riding with the rear wheel crooked...IDIOT!
More soon, big love and buenos suerte to you all!
The last picture here shows that with some bridges...you REALLY gotta make sure you pick the right part of the bridge to cross! A front wheel in the middle here would be a disaster!!!