Tag Archives: Wind

Gobernator Costa to Pico Truncado, Sunday, 27 January 2013, Day 208

Dammed wind on Ruta 40!

Today both Alex and me are feeling very brave and we have decided rather then head over to Route 3, which is a Tarmac to the bottom of Argentina we are going off road on the infamous Route 40. I am not sure why we are feeling so brave and as you know my off road abilities are crap and Alex has Andrea on the back of his bike making off roading a tad more difficult but yet we had persuaded each other that we should not be wuzzes and had to the hit the dirt. We packed up breakfast at the petrol station and then to Rio Mayo where Route 40 turns from tarmac to dirt and is dirt for 30km and then new tarmac till Perito Moreno then loads more dirt to Tres Lagos but we still had an opt out clause at Perito Moreno to still head across to Route 3 if we did not like our little off road dirt experience.

  

      

We filled up both the bikes and ourselves in Rio Mayo huge piece’s of breaded meat with cheese ham and eggs on it for a late lunch as again we are planning on doing some wild camping tonight.

 

So we are stuffed to the gills as we gingerly make our way onto the dirt road and to help us with this endeavour the wind is really strong and gusting pushing us all over the place which is all you do not need when you trying to find the smoothest part of the dirt road so progress is slow. There is a choice between a dirt track and another dirt track that sort of being prepared for tarmacking and we swopped between the two finding out that the grass was always greener on the one that we were not on.

Choice crap dirt road on the right or crap dirt road on the left Alex takes this seriously so he and Andrea took a closer look no photos of this!

I was already regretting my decision and my rush of bravado to do off road stint as we crawled through the dust counting the kilometres off one by one until we reached tarmac again. On one of the cross overs from one dirt track to another there was the dreaded soft sand on hill which I skirted around but in my mirrors I watched Alex and Andrea hit the dirt and they where down. I pull up park the bike so that it will not get blown over by the wind and run back to help the guys up to there feet. Everyone is ok bike is ok adrenalin is pumping but all is well. The first thing Alex asks me if is did I take any pictures and to be honest as I was running to help them I did think about this being the  perfect photo opportunity but my caring Phill kicked in first and I helped them first and made sure all was alright before pulling the camera out after knowing that they where fine and it was only a low speed off I now wish that I had pulled the camera out earlier 🙂

  

So I was not happy on the dirt and I am guessing that A & A where not that thrilled with miles and miles of dirt so when we hit tarmac the decision was relatively easy to make we are hitting Route 3 down to Fitzroy as it has already taken us nearly 2 hours to do 33km so at that speed we would be in Ushuaia in 2014 so its longer distance by tarmac but this is definitely quicker for us.

Happy to be back on Tarmac

We stop on the Tarmac part of Route 40 to take some fun pictures with the wind and the signs. I had been teasing A & A when they where looking to buy a Route 40 sticker for there bike that they do not deserve it until they had completed the full length of it including the dirt parts as well however after today and as they had seen Route 40 from extremely close up I said that they had earned it 🙂 and they could buy and add the sticker to there collection.

Windy!

So the original plan was to head to Perito Moreno and camp there but as we were now heading to Route 3, which was about 200km we decided as we were back on our beloved tarmac that we would try and take a large chunk out of this bit tonight and we headed of for Las Heras where my GPS was telling there was a municipal camp site and fuel.

We got there at about 8.30pm and filled up and we then went to find the campsite which compared with last nights it was a hole and there were gangs of youths that had been drinking all day hanging around which was most off putting so we soon decided that we were heading to the next town even though it was getting late and the next place was nearly 80km away.

So off we headed on the right looking back there was one of the most glorious sunsets I had seen for while the light was amazing and in front of us was the moon a new full moon coming up over the horizon so I did not know whether to look forward or backwards as we where passing through an oil field with nodding donkeys all over the place and it was beautiful and I really did not care on reaching the next place by nightfall as I was enjoying the light so much. I was trying to take photos whilst driving which was not working for me as I kept getting my gloves in the way I eventually decided to pull over to get a shot of the moon over one of the nodding donkeys from a stationery position which sort of worked then in hot pursuit of A & A which involved over taking a police car we had stopped earlier to ask about camping possibilities and they had said there was a Municipal campsite in Pico Truncado. They where doing 90km and they had a sticker on the back saying 110km so a sailed past at 109km waving politely and when they where out of sight I nailed it to catch up with A&A.

Got to Pico Truncado just as the Sun had gone down still a gorgeous pink light show and there was an interesting sculpture of a dinosaur made of old oil drilling equipment that was dying to be photographed.

Interesting Sculpture but better still the light

Whilst we discussing what to do next another a biker pulled up and walked over to chat with us his front tyre had just blown and he was busy calling folks. Alex had an electrical pump so we tried that but his blown front tyre was not staying up. It turned out the chap name was Daniel and he had a car repair shop a couple of km away and if we liked we could sleep there the night. Wow cheers mate so we follow his mechanic who had turned up to help with the puncture and find ourselves in a huge hanger / workshop in the middle of no where and this is going to be home for the night. The office for A & A and the supply room for Philly and it even had a hot shower on the premises. So after chatting to Daniel and looking at his bike we found the reason for the puncture was that he had hit something really hard and dented and broken his wheel explaining why it was no longer holding air so he was lucky to stay upright but it shows how fragile perhaps V-strom rims are on Argentinean roads that both me and Alex had a quick look and check of ours after seeing the damage on Daniels. After offering us dinner we politely declined we where left on our own in this huge workshop talk about trusting and generous spirit this bloke has for letting total strangers sleep in his workshop.

Home for the night

It was quite late by now but I was buzzing at it had been a long eventual day so we had a cup of tea and sat in the office just chilling for while before pulling out the sleeping bags and mats. Earlier Alex was trying to figure out where he was going to put his tent up and I explained that there was no need as we sleeping in the office and store room I blame this brain freeze on the fall and the long day we had had today but it made me giggle.

Chilling after a long day in an office in a workshop in the middle of nowhere.

We finally hit the sack amongst the car spare parts and oil cans what a strange but great day.

Strange dreams about Police cars or was it a dream!

      

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El Calafate to Puerto Natales, Thursday, 31 January 2013, Day 212

Minors memorial for me Dad!

Day began with left overs for breakfast which is always nice and I was going to ride with A & A to La Esperanza where they would turn left in search of sprockets and chain and I would turn right because I did not want to do the same road again and we would meet up in Ushuaia or before.

It was very windy even in the sheltered campsite so I was a bit concerned how it would be on the open road but as we headed to La Esperanza it was not as bad as I expected but that was mainly due to the fact that we had the wind in our backs for most of the way. When I turned right I was heading straight into the wind and had it on right in my side, which made life for Daisy and me considerably more difficult so fighting with the wind for the rest of the day. Another border crossing the problem today was I could not find the road and my good friend the GPS was playing up as I was only about 30km away but when suddenly it was 130km away Homer Simpson Doh!

Very few photos taken during the day as I was to scared to stop just in case we got blown over by the wind and could not get back upright again!

Yet another Border crossing !

I finally find the road, which is not a road but a dirt track, and I find my way to the border. I am the only one there so get out of Argentina easily and another 14km of dirt road very windy and a bit of rain just to try and finish me of completely and I am trying to find somewhere where Daisy will not get blown over and I am going through Chilean customs. No one there either so chatting with the customs guys who are telling me that the winds have been gusting up to 100km an hour and idiot boy was out in that will he ever learn. You may have noticed that not many pictures have been taken today that is because my official photographer has gone of the other direction and that I was to shit scared to stop just in case Daisy and I got blown over in the middle of nowhere on me own and that I would not be able to get her upright due to the wind. So I was not surprised to hear about the strength of the wind, as the evidence of this was in me underpants! As I been kacking myself for most of the afternoon. So back in Chile again a short run to Puerto Natales and to the Hostel I had the name of and i checked in and did my usual wander around the town or today I was blown around town as the wind was still quite strong then to a short presentation on the national park of Torres del Paine which looked great but I had a date with the bottom of the world so no time for distractions as I am getting closer and closer to my goal.

Gorgeous wind related sculptures very appropriate!

I went for a nice Pizza where there was one long table that you joined and I was sitting and chatting to a nice German couple who had been traveling for 2 years and doing South America by bicycle and had also been defeated by the wind today. I like this set up as it is sometime difficult to talk to folks strangers whilst on the road especially for a shy bloke like me 🙂

Back to the Hostel and the never-ending chore of updating this blog and it is like the wind relentless!

Puerto Natales to Punta Arenas, Friday, 1 February 2013, Day 213

Middle of no where !

Shorter run today the wind is not as strong as yesterday but still blowing reasonably hard so I could stop every now and again but I had to pick my spot carefully out of the wind somehow to avoid me and Daisy ending up on our arses. Scenery is bleak and desolates both negative words but it has something special about it where bleak and desolate actually is very interesting and nice to be travelling through. I rolled into town or was that blown into town and found somewhere to stay I have been on a good roll recently and todays was no different. I got chatting to a chap called James who had been there for a month waiting for some spare parts (bearings) for a BMW he had left in Ushuaia and he had been on the road for 2 years in the Americas making my trip seem rather quick. The problem in Argentina is that you cannot import any foreign goods everything must be a manufactured in Argentina (assembled!) so that is why he was trying to get this done in Chile rather than Argentina. I do hope Alex made the right decision on going to Rio Gallegos, as it may be easier for parts in Chile.

Nice colours

I went for a wander round town and grabbed some food in a great interesting sandwich place huge meat sandwich no idea what I ordered and I was none the wiser when it arrived but it hit the spot.

Thought they where penguins till I saw one fly seemingly they are black and white cormorants John R correct me if I am wrong

That evening my computer or rather my computer power cable finally died so I am no longer able to charge my laptop as the connector to the computer which had been on the blink since Santiago finally gave up so tomorrows plan of getting the longer ferry to Tierra Del Fuego at 9am in the morning was shot and a new plan to go to a Tax free Zone just outside town to see if I can find a replacement cable! As I will be completely dead in the water without me PC, Daisy and my PC are my prize processions whilst on the road at the moment and I have no idea what I would do if either of them broke so I need to get the PC working as priority number one or maybe it is  just that I did not want to do an early start and the shorter ferry route with regular ferries is an easier route down south we will never no.

I got the PC fully charged by using someone else is cable (thanks James) so I had a good couple of hours left in the old girl if I was not successful in sourcing a new power cable.

Yellow House

Cerro Sombrero to Rio Grande, Sunday, 3 February 2013, Day 215

Phillys under arrest by the Argentinean Police and very relieved by that fact 🙂

Dirt roads bring them on after a good night sleep I am ready for anything well that’s what I thought and as you can see by the title of this post I failed to make it Ushuaia 😦

I had breakfast and then I tried to find the final short bit of tarmac south but I got lost but I was helped by a nice policeman who led me to the right road. 15km then a sign saying Fin Pavimento so its dirt roads for me for  the next couple of hours 😦

End of tarmac dirt for a while oh great joy!

Weather is dull and overcast wind is getting stronger but it is on my back so that is okay and the scenery is interesting. As for the road this is a mix of washboard corrugated iron surface which shakes Daisy and me to death and or rocky stony gravel which is a bit better as there is route left by car and lorry tyres that is a bit smoother. But then I hit a place where they are working on the road and they have had the huge road smoothers out and I hate it when they do this as in my view this makes the terrain harder and less manageable for motorbikes and the nice smooth track left by larger vehicle’s is gone so slow going. Then the universe thought lets really take the piss out of Philly and Daisy and there was a perfect concrete road running parallel to the crappy dirt track but it was not yet open and or not easily accessible. I was chatting to a bloke on the ferry and he told me some bikers where killed on this trying to get on the new road and every couple of km there where sections missing so I decided not to risk sneaking onto the new road. The dirt track had turned to soft sand and it had been raining heavily all night so this was the most difficult part so its down to a snails pace for this section.

Dirt roads mine and Daisy’s favourite NOT!

Finally I hit the Chilean border and by now the wind was getting stronger so had to try and find somewhere out of the wind to park Daisy or she would be blown over while I went and did the Border formalities.

Daisy sheltering from the wind at the border

Quick and simple and then 15km to the Argentinian side of more dirt roads also simple only problem was the wind was getting stronger and scarier.

So final push to Ushuaia back on tarmac road again heading to Rio Grande where I need a cashpoint and some petrol. Both are easily found the problem is the wind it is getting stronger and stronger and more and more unmanageable. Driving through town I keep getting hammered by strong gust of wind and I am having difficult in keeping Daisy upright whilst filling up with Petrol.

So I thought as long as I kept moving I was fine and out of town the wind would be more manageable and I determined to get to Ushuaia today. What a total arse I am!!! Gingerly I made my way out of town jumping the traffic lights as I did not want to stop just in case I got blown over and then at one stage I was blown over 2 lanes of traffic and I was no longer in control. I get out of town and I am struggling to keep Daisy in her lane and I am physically trying to pull her into the right lane using her weight my weight and all my muscle power that I process but I am failing miserably and I keep moving uncontrollably into the oncoming traffic and that’s when the penny dropped that I was no longer in control and shouldn’t be out there. DICKHEAD!!

So what do I do I was scared shitless fighting a losing battle and getting tired and more scared as I inched forward I did not dare to stop I did not dare to turn round as I would be on my arse in a blink of an eye all I could do was look for some shelter but as I had left town and was now in open country so there was no obvious place to stop. Heeeeeelp!

In the distance there was a police control post and two policeman so I managed to get there and stop there with these two guys making sure that Daisy and I did not fall over so it was taking 3 of us to keep Daisy upright due to the wind. One of the coppers says “I advice that you do not go any further as it dangerous”. Really officer! I had concluded that as well just recently and I was totally done in scared shitless and exhausted and it took 3 of us to manhandle Daisy out of the wind and returned to their little hut.

So this is where I met Alejandro and Harnen my two favourite policemen in the whole world and pretty high on the list of my favourite people at that moment they had rescued Daisy and me from the clutches of the wind which was going to seriously damage both of us if I was to continue.

It was about 3pm and the guys told me that the wind should drop at about 8pm that evening so I settled in for a long wait as I was going nowhere just happy to be alive Daisy was parked behind Alejandro car with a big metal bar holding her upright.

Sheltered behind Alejandro car and huge stick to stop her blowing over and she still moving which you can not see in the picture!

      

So I spent of the day chatting with my new friends drinking Mate first hot and later cold with orange juice learning the whole ritual about Mate which is local drink and custom http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mate_(beverage) and it is quite sociable.

The guys should have been checking the vehicles as they past but due to the wind they where having an easy day as it was pretty impossible to stand out in the wind and any documentation shown would be blown to Antarctica before you knew it.

So just chatting in Spanish Alejandro chatty Harnen very quite loads of questions about how much living in Europe cost, as Alejandro was only a policeman as a temporary measure and was studying mathematics and was going to be high school teacher once he had completed his studies so was fascinated by economics and numbers. Unfortunately Philly has no idea what anything cost or the price of milk so I was not much help but did my best in telling him in my bad Spanish about living in Europe.

We had a visit from the Desk Sergeant so I met him as well and then back to the Mate and the chatting.

During the day more Bikers came through and each time they would be advised about not travelling further because of the wind and it was amazing how many people ignored this advise and kept on going the arrogance or the ignorance amazed me. Others joined us in the hut so in the end there where 6 bikes.

Just to give you an idea how strong the wind was 2 Chilean bikers where stopped and given the advice and while talking a gust of wind picked one of them up and his bike and blew them completely over. They listened to the advice given 🙂

So very gezellig in the hut and before I knew it was 8pm and I been there 5 hours but the wind still showed no signs of abating. There was change of shift at 10pm so said goodbye and thank you to my new friends and hello to the next shift of police who where much more serious. At about 10.30pm me and 2 Columbian brothers Julian and Daniel Ruiz decide the wind has dropped enough for riding back to Rio Grande to try and find somewhere to sleep for the night its dark the wind is still gusting but you can ride and control your bike sort off!

First place closed second place bloody expensive and then we find Ruta 40 B & B and Willy which is reasonable so we have shelter for the night it 11.30pm Daniel has managed to get some Roast Chicken for dinner and we are safe and sound enjoying a meal together.

Late night as still buzzing from the day I had just had I did not make Ushuaia but I was just happy to be in one piece and I will try and will complete my goal tomorrow as the wind should have dropped by then (Oh god I hope so as I am so close!)

Trelew to Balneario El Condor, Tuesday, 12 February 2013, Day 224

Nothing for miles behind and guess what up ahead not that much more interesting 🙂

I have decided to get all Daisy’s consumables fixed in Buenos Aires so I fettled with the chain to minimise the crunching noises but I am not sure how successful I was in this. The wind is already blowing strongly it is going to be another long hard day in the saddle. I have no idea where I am going other than Buenos Aires, which is a long way of, and I am sure that there is not much of interest in between. I had missed a penguin colony yesterday as I did not fancy a 70km detour there and back with this wind and featureless landscape and today was similar I was going to pop in to Puerto Madryn but the wind was gusting again and I just wanted to get away from it is so put my head down and headed north. Dull day today nothing interesting but the wind so I am just trying to get further north away hopefully from the wind, and to a more interesting landscape. There are huge queues at the petrol station I waited about three quarters of an hour before it was my turn and then they did a shift change that took another fifteen minutes. So fuelled up in the middle of who knows where and the wind is still toying with me and I am seriously bored.

Large queues at the Petrol Station and that is a highlight!

Just cranking the miles out Daisy whining all the way to as that chain is not getting any better. I have my destination as Viedma as according to my GPS its got a municipal campsite but according to the man at the next petrol station he says its closed but another man at another petrol station say its just over there and when I ask at a police check point they direct me down a dirt road and hey guess what it is closed and has been closed for 2 years. Chatting to a nice bloke and he directs to Balneario El Condor a beach town which has a couple of campsites about 35km away so of we trundle Daisy making some extraordinary noises that I am sure I am going to loose my chain at any minute bugger. I roll into town and ask a policeman on a quad bike for directions to a camping he says to follow him and he takes me to a campsite. I have heard horror stories about police in South America but in my experience the majority have been very nice and helpful this was no different. The problem with the campsite was that it had a charge for the person and a another charge for the tent and added together expensive for camping so I go to the other end of town on the dirt roads as the camping sites are cheaper down there and they where.

Another dusty campsite but nice enough I put me tent up when I am surround by a group of kids of different ages I had spoken to the eldest one earlier about bikes and he had returned with the rest of the family as one of his sisters wanted to practice her English. There timing was bad as I was just about to get out of my hot leathers and was balanced on my shoes as I did not want to get my feet dirty and they all turned up so we had a conversation. There were 7 siblings from the ages of 21 and I think the youngest was 7. The 10-year-old Larra was my favourite madly in love with Justin Bieber and very excitable she kept yapping away in Spanish and wanting me to count to 20 or just sing a Justin Bieber song. Not knowing any Justin Bieber songs I did counting 1 to 20 in English Dutch and French and then very badly in Spanish. Their father turned up and apologised about his kids but it was fun. I finally got rid of them a very strange but amusing dialog in a mixture of English and Spanish covering the interests of a 7 year old to a 48 year old! Out of me leathers finally and I walked into town to find something to eat again I ask directions and again I am not shown but taken to my destination and I found a pizza place and I ended up with half a pizza which I have no idea how I got a half but that was all I really wanted anyhow so I did not question it and it was half price as well.

Back to the campsite for a shower as they are only open in the evenings, why I do not have any idea why.I bumped into Larra again with her Mum and she asked for a kiss on the cheek so I obliged it looks like Justin Bieber has got some serious competition 🙂

Working on this offline and reading my Kindle the book I am reading at the moment is Sea biscuit, which was a very famous American racehorse during the depression. Interesting read. So a dull day but a very nice evening.

Dullsville !

 

Buenos Aires to Rio Cuarto, Friday, 22 February 2013, Day 234

Rio Cuarto

So which way is he going well I was going to go to Montevideo in Uraguay but a total change of plans and the new plan on the page is first to Cordoba via Rio Cuarto I am desperate to get out of the pampas and away from the wind and back into the hills and or mountains. Then to Salta and maybe into Bolivia for a quick visit to the Salt flats at Uyuni and then a right turn and drag across Paraguay via the Iguazu falls up to Rio de Janeiro and then a run down the coast to Montevideo and back to Buenos Aires to ship the bike back home. So that’s about 10,000km round trip roughly taking into account Phillys navigations skills and that fact that he is easily distracted I have given myself about a month and half for this so it should all be doable!

Daisy is mostly wearing a set of new Metzler Tourances (Cost a bleeding fortune) The dodgy replacement non O ring chain may needed to be replaced again but I have fresh oil so she should be able to do the above no problem the question is how is Phillys stamina well we will just have to wait and see on that one.

So today started with the 4th run to the bank as DakarMotos is a cash only establishment and tyres in Argentina do not come cheap and the cash point only giving out a grand out at a time/day.

Next was free petrol from Markus as he was shipping his bike back to Switzerland and his tank needed to be emptied as he had just filled it with about 35 litres (big BMW touring tank) as he was going to do some riding around Buenos Aires area but his bike died about 150km out of town and it needed to be trailered back. He knew it was risky as he had already taken it apart and was not really able to fix it but it was now terminal so we had said goodbye to him on Tuesday Morning and hello again on Tuesday night unloading his bike from the truck in the pissing rain. He was going to stop his trip soon this little upset just brought that date a bit closer.

So why the new route well I wanted another fix of the Andes before going home to erase any memories of wind and pampas from my mind but this was going to have wait as I still had about 700km before it got slightly hilly again.

Still flat still windy but least trees block some of the wind and give me something to look at!

Nice enough run flat with the odd hill but greener and more trees than in the pampas and it was nice to be on the road again. Javier had given me the route of a loop into the back of Cordoba and the plan was to take 2 days to get to Rio Cuarto which was 650km away but daisy was biting at the bit so we polished this all of in one day rolled into town at about 6.30pm and I headed straight to the Municipal Campsite, so I am back under canvas again.

Rio Cuarto

Buzzing City Center

I set up camp and then I wandered into town which was buzzing as it was Friday night I had a nice chat with the lady at the tourist office who gave me a local map and I figured out my route through the hills to Cordoba. As yet I have yet to see the hills but I have been assured that they are there just over the horizon I cannot wait. I went for a walk and for some dinner and than I got totally lost on my way back to the campsite. No worries it looks like a reasonable neighbourhood I was lost in but then it got slowly worse or maybe it just felt like that because it was now dark and street lighting non existent. So I kept on walking to what I thought was the direction of the river as if I found that I could follow it back to the campsite but it never seemed to appear and I had not a clue where I was. I did not want to ask anyone directions, as I did not want to alert the neighbourhood that there was a dumb gringo wandering around lost in the wrong part of town. Finally a cop car stopped at the lights near were I was walking so asked them for directions but I promptly got lost again but at least I found the river and after asking at another local shop I found my way back to Daisy and the campsite. Bugger my sense of direction was really of the radar tonight as its normally quite good 🙂 I was getting slightly nervous as I got more and more lost and I had walked for miles its seems.

Settle in with me Kindle, which is my standard routine whilst in the tent still reading Sea Biscuit so that may explain some of the horse racing terminology used in todays blog!

I have decided as yet I have no deadlines boats, or weather related so I can take my time and no more need to rush so I may be treating this last month or so like a holiday spending a bit more cash being more of a tourist I am not sure I am capable of either but I am going to give it a whirl 🙂