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Archive for January 24th, 2010

Day 412– 24th January 2010

Posted by TravellingStrom on January 24, 2010

Sunday – Rio Gallegos, Argentina

What a bugger of a tough day, cold and wet, wait wait wait and strong wind to boot

Yep, a bugger of a day to start moving, cold wet and windy, but my trip down here was ended and the next stage needed to start and that was to move north at least as far as Buenos Aires. I managed to get my heated gear working, just a blown fuse caused by the dodgy connector, I can work around that until I find a permanent fix, but I was glad for it because up through the hills was yuck!

Down the other side though it was a bit drier, like the hills had stopped the rain, but not the cold nor the wind.

Here I saw the site of what I guess was a bus crash or maybe a multiple pileup, there were heaps of markers here with a side road now in front of them.

Well, it was not long after this that I arrived at the Argie border crossing of San Sebastian, here I met my first absolute arsehole of an Argie. He was in charge of the Customs side of things. There were 4 people stamping the passports for immigration, but only ONE dude on the desk for vehicles, how absolutely pathetic, and I even will go as far as to say I think this was done on purpose. The reason being it was a Sunday, one of the busiest days of the week and the manager walked by many times and looked at the people there and did nothing about it!

Now, in the above photo, after waiting in line for 15 minutes to get my passport stamped I then went to the back of the customs line, I was standing where the old chap on the left is and it has taken me 1 and a half hours to go around the corner behind me and back to where I am now about 10 minutes away from the counter! The people behind the old chap go as far back as the wall and nearly outside, they will have a 4 hour wait! The worst part was, when I get to the desk, I get a stamp and I was out of there within 30 seconds, but prior to me he was asking all sorts of stupid questions of the people in front, not needed, stamp and go, bloody idiot. They seriously need at least two people there, one for entry which takes time and one for exit which takes no time, grrrr that blew a big hole in my time budget! The Chile entry just down the road was a doddle, it only took 10 minutes! And guess what, now I have 120km of dirt to do with the wind absolutely blowing its ring out from left to right, terrifying!

The only thing noticeable about the next few photos, which I took when the wind slackened a bit, is the fact I am riding on the left hand side of the road. Because most of the time the wind was blowing me onto the right hand side so I needed as much extra room as possible when I could, it must have been gusting 40 knots at least!

It took me two hours to cover that section, a whole lot slower than riding down in the wet, and to tell the truth I nearly gave up, the tears of pain were mainly from the dust blowing through my helmet and under my sunnies, maybe it would be better if it rained. It was certainly great to see pavement, I could increase the speed a tad, but as the bike is tall and with all the gear it still acted like a big sail and the lean to the left is evident.

Next came the ferry and well, another stumbling block because they are not running due to the high wind, buggerit! The line up was huge but I snuck to the front where a few other bikes were parked. The HD rider with the trailer is John from the Fields, a Dutch chap, he has been waiting here since midday, it is now 5pm. He says the ferries may run again about 7pm, this looks like a late night, but better a late one than camping here! I had time to look around, but I stayed away from the fence, a reminder of the Arg/Chile conflict back in the 80s. You can see also the white caps on the bay, not a nice place to be.

There must have been about 100 cars and trucks and buses on this side and it looked like twice that from what we could see on the other. After a few hours though the waves did die down a lot and the ferries loaded up from the other side first, but at least they were moving, it was 7pm when the loading this side was finished and we three bikers were lucky to be on the first crossing, but we now had to beat all the buses to the next border crossing if we did not want to wait another age in a queue!

The crossing still took 25 minutes but on the other side we passed a massive line up, I am not sure what time the ferry service closes, but some of these may be waiting all night, boor buggers! It was 60km to the next border out of Chile where I did not want to spend the night and once again we met a queue, but this time they had more staff and as both borders were in the same building, it was a lot quicker, only 30 minutes total.

It was gone 8pm when we left there and well after 9pm by the time we entered the outskirts of Rio Gallegos, this is the army base from where they launched the Falklands War, but they still call it the Malvinas.

After fuelling up again(I had run out due to the wind about 10km ago and used my jerry can) we rode around until we found the same hotel I was at last time. We had found a different one, but they were full so this was next best thing. Rooms were available, but once again the parking was an issue, if we wanted to park so we could get out first, we needed to park them later on. No worries, it was time for a feed and we were down having beer and steak etc around 10pm at the same place I ate last time. I was teamed up with John and he seems a nice enough chap, but he does ride a HD though. 🙂

By the time we had eaten and got back it was 11.30 and they were still bitching about the parking, but we were adamant we wanted to be first out, it seems they were waiting on someone specific, but we argued that it was nearly midnight and how long were we to wait before we can get some sleep? In the end they let us park the bikes just inside the door ready for an early get away, I was planning on leaving at 8am, John was not sure yet.

So, all in all a very long tiring day, I had sore hands from gripping the handlebars so tight, it was not the time for soft hands today and what made it worse was that I had lost the pin and actuating lever from my throttle lock, so I had no way to rest my right wrist. 😦 It was on my bike at the park yesterday on the way in for at least part of the way, but must have fallen out during the ride further on with the corrugations, bummer 😦 I really could have done with that today, even for a few seconds here and there. Oh, well as you can imagine it was a late night and it did not help that I started to develop a stomach complaint, bring on tomorrow, I am over today!

Day – 367 miles and 591 km
Trip – 52,477 miles and 84,454 km



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