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Day 407– 19th January 2010

Posted by TravellingStrom on January 19, 2010

Tuesday – Rio Gallegos, Argentina

A bugger of a day today, multiple electronics playing up and my chain broke!!!!

Well, the day started OK, I left the nice hotel around 9.30 as it should not be such a long day, oh was I in for a surprise.

The first thing that went wrong was my heated clothing outlet, the saltwater from the crossing had corroded the connector on the bike and the socket was buggered. I could live with that and maybe repair it in a day or so, but it would have been nice as it was a tad cool. A bit further on my tank bag power went out and I found a blown fuse, which I replaced, but that only lasted a short while before it went out again. Well, the batteries should last a while and I can sort out a better solution next time I stop. The first section of highway went by the coast and was nice to look at for the most part, although when I did see a tree which was not often, I was all too aware of the wind strength and as it was from my right or head on, I could see I was going to be in for a tough day.

Now, remember that road side km marker I saw yesterday, well some deja vu today as here is the same damm one, but I am nearly 1200km from the last one, that was a shock to the system!

The worst part was, the number on the other side was the same, now how stupid is that, you would think one side would be ascending and the other descending in quantity 😕

But no, the numbers as I went south started to increase, I am now 1962km from somewhere and I have no idea how far I now have to go. Because I had not looked at the map properly, I was now maybe further away from Ushuaia than I thought, bugger! Oh well, onwards over the bleak windswept plains until I came to a small servo where I had some lunch. I also changed the fuse again in the tank bag and found a small nick in the cable that may have caused it to blow, so I fixed that.

After that while continuing south I had another failure, my Tyrewatch display shut down and would not restart, I did not think the battery was at fault because it had not given me any low battery notice over the past week like normal. So, I stopped and did some more repairs, the tank bag fuse had gone again, this time I did a more thorough inspection and found the 12V cigarette plug that plugs into the socket had its center pin stuck inside the housing ,probably from all the corrugations over the past few weeks, this was causing the short, so that was an easy fix. I replaced the battery in the tyre watch and then spent the next 100km trying to teach it to talk to the sensors, I need to find the instruction manual, I can get both sensors to talk but not both at the same time. It was just another minor annoyance, but not the last because as I was getting close to the next fuel stop of San Julian, I felt a clunk in the bike and it was in the drive system somewhere. I stopped and checked it all out and could not find anything loose, until I spotted the master link on the chain had snapped, bloody hell that could have killed me!!!

Now, this was a major problem, this was also weird because the actual spring clip which I had my doubts about stayed on while the rear plate snapped off, I have never heard of that before! Now I had a choice to make, do I stay here or try to get to town, being a lazy bugger, I put it in gear and at the slowest speed this bike has done yet managed to ride it the 5km or so to the next servo, I was very conscious of the fact it may snap and spit me off, but at this speed it would not hurt much, if at all. I managed to find a chap who spoke some English and he said wait around, when he has finished dinner with his family he would drive into town and see if there is a repairer there. In the meantime I lazed around and spoke to some other travelers, John the push bike rider and another father and son on bikes 🙂

I was aware that I may be stuck in this town and it did not look much at all, I was also aware it may be days before I can get to the tip, but there was nothing else to do. In the end, a chap turned up and he was the local bike mechanic and he had a pocket full of master links 🙂 He soon had the link in place and I was good to go, thanks to everyone who helped 🙂

Now, the reason it snapped I have no idea, but while doing the inspection I did notice the chain was drier than I would have liked. It seems the chain oiler tube had moved slightly, maybe a rock hit it and this combined with the high winds from the right hand side, caused any oil to fall and miss the chain. So, high speed and a dry chain, something was going to give, lucky for me it did not totally part company and jam in the front sprocket, that would have been a bit of a drama 🙂 So, with the chain oiler back in position and with a higher oil flow dialled in, it was off again, only 2 hours later than expected, but at least I was still on the road. I took it a lot easier at first, feeling the bike for any other problems that may occur. The scenery did not change, nor did the wind, but there were extra things to look out for, Rheas, those pint sized emu things and Guacoles, they sort of look like llamas and blend in quite well with the landscape.

The last stretch into Rio Gallegos was dirt as there were major works, not what I needed after a long day and it was gone 8pm by the time I got into town, and I was very tired by now, 4 days of hard riding were taking their toll.

I found a taxi to look for a hotel as I could not be bothered and eventually found one and then I had to walk 5 blocks to find a feed, but they had beer 🙂

While waiting for my simple meal of sausage and eggs I checked out the broken link, which is now a souvenir 🙂 Unfortunately, for some reason my understanding of the word sausage and theirs is totally different, so for some reason I had steak and eggs, it tasted quite nice, but it was huge when I only wanted a small meal, but waste not want not, I ate the lot 🙂

After that and two beers I made short work of the walk back for a well earned shower and some work. I was planning on an 8am start, this should get me into Ushuaia by late afternoon, but that was an unknown, because I had to cross the border into Chile, take a ferry, ride over 120km of dirt, cross the border back into Argentina and then ride a further 300km plus, but this time on tarmac, so it is doable, but another long day ahead, but the end was nigh in sight 🙂

Day – 494 miles and 795 km
Trip – 51,691 miles and 83,189 km



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5 Responses to “Day 407– 19th January 2010”

  1. Craig said

    Ah… a mechanic who came prepared… that is satisfying!! ‘Yikes’ on that failure.

  2. ybg said


  3. markharf said

    The main puzzle here is how it is that you can stay later at the bar than I, yet still post to your blog before I wake up.

    Once that issue is settled, you might want to think about why it is that a lot, maybe most of your mechanical/electrical issues are related to all the fancy add-on stuff that I, for one, don’t even own. No tire pressure sensors, no power sockets or wired tank bags, no oiler, no heated clothing….. There’s a lesson to be had here, though I’m sure I don’t know what it might be.

    And for godssakes, I hope you bought an extra master link from your mechanic friend! Even if you’re not going to carry a chain breaker, having the right link can mean the difference between spending the weekend in some little town when you’d rather be elsewhere, and hitting the road within a half-hour of finding someone with a pair of channellock pliers.

    But….back to the present: I’ll be out in the park a bit later on and will try again to connect with Julie at some point after that. If you’re really underway northwards, ride safe and enjoy!


    • Hi I have no idea either 😉

      As for the gear, as I am an electronics tech, I like gadgets and at least if they stop working, I have the available knowledge to fix them

      No, I did not buy another master link, sill me eh!

      I will be in the park in a few hours for the obligatory photo

      Cheers Richard

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