Monday, April 19, 2010

From here on, it gets wetter!


The morning we left Bariloche, Dave took the time to change the oil in his bike and I made more pointless enquiries in the hope of getting the shock repaired, so by the time we were finished it was almost 12:00. 

Dave managed to change the oil at the back of a local garage, it's always useful if there's somewhere to dispose of the used oil.

The road from Bariloche to Esquel.

We had originally planned to reach Tecka that evening but due to the late start we stopped 100km short of our intended destination at Esquel. We had passed through Esquel a few weeks back on our way down to the Carretera Austral and knew as it was a fairly large town it would be easy find accommodation. Just outside the town we stopped for fuel and got chatting to John and Isabel from the UK who had sold up and bought a 4X4 in order to travel the Americas, they had shipped the bike to Canada and had intended to cross the border into the US but had tragically been refused entry for some real weird reasons. Sadly this had scuppered a lifetime dream and they have now been resigned to seeing only 2/3 of the continent due to the anal homeland security system adopted by the United States.

John and Isabel.

John and Isabel had just left Esquel and gave us the name of the hostel where they had stayed but when we got into town there were some street celebrations going on which meant we couldn't get there. In the end we settled for a smelly hotel on the main street and then got fed up looking for somewhere to get a decent meal and ended up with a burger and bed!

After a crap nights sleep (music till 5:00am) it was back to bad roads and wind and even a short stretch of the dreaded Ruta 40 before we hit Ruta 25, the main road east to Trelew. Dave's neighbours in the hotel were worse than ours and he was concerned that the days ride would be too tiring,  there were options of stopping before we got to Trelew, but not many. The next 300 miles of road contained 4 or 5 villages but we had no idea if there was any accommodation, so at worse it would mean sticking it out until we reached Trelew.

A bit of early morning dust and gravel.
For the most part Ruta 25 was well paved.
More desolate pampas

Occasionally the road would pass though a canyon or follow a river which would break up the boredom or provide a welcome break from the winds. As I explained in a previous blog the wind on the pampas almost always blows from the west and as were heading in an easterly direction we expected to be given some assistance from a tailwind, strangely it wasn't the case and we were always fighting the wind from the front or the sides. 

Los Altares.
This place served the best steak so far on the trip.
Back to following Dave and 'Maisie'

And this is what it looks like from Sue's point of view filming on a bike with a blown shock absorber.


Because Dave had been struggling all day with the wind we took the advice of some friendly locals and stopped at a local beauty spot for the night. Dique Florentino Armeghino nestles in the shadow of a dam holding back the waters of a huge man made lake, at one time it would have been a remote canyon settlement alongside the Chubut river, now it provides campsites and basic accommodation for holiday makers looking to take advantage of the activities offered at the nearby lake.

The dam and hydro-electric plant.
The road over the dam.
The road out of the village.

Next morning we left for the run to Peninsular Valdez, first stop was Trelew, originally a Welsh settlement founded in the late 1800s when Welsh settlers migrated to this area to build a railway. We stopped for breakfast in the city centre at the Turing Club hotel, one of the original city buildings and a real throwback to the past with memorabilia everywhere and waiters in white jackets (Oh! and free WiFi).


The next few days turned out to be a complete washout, we did get to Puerto Piramides on the peninsular but any hope of seeing the killer whales were washed out along with the local roads by some of the worst rains this area had seen for years. The road around the peninsular was basically mud and to make matters worse the graders were out skimming the top surface of gravel off leaving a nice slimy base underneath, we did give it a go but turned round after a couple of kilometers. The locals predicted the rains were here to stay and could last a couple of months!, we weren't about to hang around waiting for the dry season and had to get to Buenos Aires, so left the next day slightly disappointed. The truth is we would have had only a 3% chance of seeing a killer whale attack so we'll have to make do with National Geographic or videos like the one below.


The next morning we donned the waterproofs and left in heavy rain and for the first time on the trip it felt like we were on the homeward stretch. Sue was now feeling homesick but not enough to think about missing the trip to the Iguazu Falls, but first we had to get to Buenos Aires to sort out BOB and look at getting him and us back to the UK. The worst part of riding to Ushuaia is the run back up Ruta 3, even in good conditions it's just a long boring ride but throw in some wind and rain and it becomes tedious to the extreme.


A day after leaving Puerto Piramides we ran into the flood plains, there had been so much rain over the recent weeks the surrounding land looked like a huge lake. The news reports from Buenos Aires looked even worse with whole areas of the city under water, our only problem was the occassional submerged sections of highway.

Another foot of water and we'd be swimming!
A mile further on and the road was submerged.

Just keep it in a straight line....


Isn't she pretty!

On the second night we stopped in Bahia Blanca and were woken at 3:30am to the sound of heavy rain, there was a commotion outside in the corridor and when I went to investigate I was greeted by the hotel manager desperately trying to get rid of a floor full of water from overloaded drains. Our room was slightly higher than Daves which meant he had an inch of water covering his room floor but fortunately all his belongings were off the ground.

We could have asked for a discount, or maybe just free swimwear!.

The ride into Buenos Aires should have been straightforward, even if we had to ride through the middle of the city the GPS had the most up to date maps and we would only have to deal with the congestion of city traffic. The recent floods changed all that, the fact that the city had been under water for the past couple of weeks meant that there were whole suburbs that were no go areas for traffic and even with the TV news reports we had no idea which areas were affected, we had seen that parts of the city centre were still under water and wanted to avoid those if possible.

We'd like to avoid Palermo please, BOB would definitely struggle to get through this!

And we would certainly want to avoid this level crossing if this idiot is driving the train!

As usual we had a few misdirections entering the city and had to stop at one point to put on the waterproofs as the afternoon rains started, I couldn't force the GPS to re route us around the city centre so in the end we had no option but to follow the directions and hope for the best. Even after travelling through Central America in the wet season, I'm still amazed at the amount of rain that falls in such a short time, it took us less than 30 minutes to reach the city centre and by that time some of the streets were under a foot of water. People seemed unphased by the downpour and the majority of them didn't even bother with umbrellas, I on the other hand had to try and see though a constant stream of water covering my visor, follow the directions on the GPS, negotiate traffic and avoid what looked like the deepest bits of floodwater. Our initial destination was Dakar Motos in the north west of the city, a family run motorcycle business that seems to exist now purely to cater for travellers like ourselves. There is nothing on the outside of the building indicating Dakar Motos, simply a house number painted on a pair of galvenised steel doors.

Dakar Motos, Buenos Aires.

The premises are basically a lock up garage/workshop with an enclosed yard at the rear where those on a tight budget can pitch a tent or alternatively rent a bunk bed at the back of the workshop if one's available.
The owners, Xavier and Sandra provide various services from repairs and bike storage to assistance with shipping, when we arrived our priorities were to find some nearby accommodation and enquire about repairing the rear shock. The GPS managed to get us to our destination and someone came out to investigate on hearing the bikes pull up outside, there are always travellers on site and we were suprised to see Phillipe who we'd last seen in Ushuaia, he was waiting for repairs before heading north on his way back home to Quebec. When Xavier finally arrived I explained about the busted rear shock and after a quick look he said "no problem, bring it in on Monday morning and I'll have someone repair it", it was as simple as that, no sharp intake of breath, or "it's gonna be expensive" just all very matter of fact. We still had no accommodation but wanted to be close to Dakar Motos until the shock was fixed so Xavier suggested a couple of places, the first was a bit like something out of a horror movie but the other spot was ideal, a couple of miles away with secure parking and WiFi.
So this was it the end of the road for us, the final destination, we still had the ride up to Igauzu to see the falls and the run back through Brazil and Uraguay but eventually we would return to Buenos Aires to ship us and BOB home.
The first thing Monday morning, Sue, Dave and I went back to Dakar Motos, Xavier removed the rear shock and 5 minutes later a guy arrived to collect it for repair, we were told it would take a couple of days to service it and replace the damaged seal.

BOB undergoing surgery.
Xavier and BOB.

The rest of the day we hung around chatting to other travellers and waiting for Sandra to arrive so we could get some quotes for shipping the bikes back to the UK. It turned out the cheapest option was to fly the bike to Madrid and then transport it from there to the UK by truck. Sue and I would have to scour the internet to find a couple of cheap flights to Heathrow, however all of this could be organised when we got back from Iguazu.

Every day it seemed as though there was always someone arriving or leaving.

When we left Dakar Motos at the end of the day I got a lift back to the hotel on the back of Mark's bike, a fellow traveller staying at our hotel and Sue rode back with Dave and Maisie.

Xavier checking that Sue's happy as a pillion passenger.
Stop posing and get back to the hotel!

The shock was repaired and ready a couple of days later, it was actually ready to fit the day after it was removed but I had taken the ignition keys back to the hotel which prevented Xavier from removing the seat so he could refit the shock. The whole repair including refitting cost us US$150 which was a bargain, how long it will last is anybody's guess but as long as it gets us round Brazil and Uruguay we can look at getting a more uprated shock when we get home. Sue had spoken to Jude and Johannes yesterday and arranged to meet them downtown for lunch, they were leaving for home in a couple of days and this would be our last chance to get together and catch up on what's happened since we left them in Puerto Montt. It turns out that Buenos Aires is actually a really cool city even with the torrential downpours, it's cleaner than most of the major cities we have visited and the people are friendly enough. Currently the Venezuelan president, Chavez is trying to brew up trouble over the proposed exploration for oil down in the Falklands, most people that we have spoken to on the subject seem to fall into one of two camps, those who aren't bothered about the whole Falkland's sovereignty thing and the other group (mainly younger adults) who feel aggrieved that the Falkland Islands are still under British rule and are thoroughly pissed off at the thought of us exploiting natural resources so close to their homeland. We just hope that if things get worse we're out of here and on the plane home!
We took the train into the city and met up with Johannes and Jude at the obelisk on 9th of July Avenue, the main thoroughfare through downtown Buenos Aires, it's also reputedly the widest street in the world (140m wide) although it is made up of three separate roads running parallel to each other.

9th July Avenue with the Obelisk in the centre.
The Obelisk
The Obelisk was built in May 1936 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first founding of the city. It is located in the center of the Plaza de la Rep├║blica, the spot where the Argentine flag was flown for the first time in Buenos Aires. Its total height is 67 meters (220 ft) and its base area is 49 square meters (530 square feet). It was designed by architect Alberto Prebisch, and its construction took barely four weeks.

Our arrival also coincided with the start of a demonstration for something or other, some of the demonstrators were equiped with machettes, baseball bats and steel pipes but it all seemed very civilised and colourful and we got the feeling the police were used to this kind of activity.

Nice day for a 'Demo'.
Jude dodging the BA taxis.
Downtown Buenos Aires.
As usual with the group dynamics it took us 15 minutes just to decide which direction to go for lunch!

Phillipe and Sue sporting the black tee shirt and long hair look.

Johannes and Jude were due to fly out the next day on their way to Germany to see Johannes's family before heading home to Tasmania, they had shipped their bike to the US as Australian Customs would not allow them to import a foreign vehicle less than a year old without paying exhorbitant import duties. It would be stored at Chris's place in Miami until they could get it back without penalty at which point they will decide if they want to continue travelling, we chatted over lunch and said our final goodbyes (again!) before heading back to Dakar Motos to collect BOB.


We were now ready for the final excursion up country to visit the Iguazu Falls, one of the world's greatest natural wonders, and after that we may as well ride back to Buenos Aires through Brazil and Uruguay (time for more stickers!).
The next day we returned to the city to buy third party insurance for the upcoming trip, the need to have insurance varies from country to country, sometimes it's available at the border but often it's up to you to find somewhere that will sell it. For a number of countries we simply didn't bother and took the chance if we were stopped, in all of our travels we were only asked once for proof of insurance and that was at one of the border crossings between Chile and Argentina. In that instance I managed to bluff my way out of it by presenting my medical insurance policy instead (fortunately the guy couldn't read English!) but this time we were heading up Ruta 14 and through an area policed by some of the most corrupt cops (cue Jeremy Clarkson's voice).....In the world!
Ruta 14 runs north from Buenos Aires and closely follows the border with Uruguay, the police on this stretch of road and particularly at kilometer 341 are notorious for fleecing any motorist but particularly foreigners as a means of enhancing their salary. We had been warned by other travellers about the need to ride within the speed limits and to make sure our documentation was in order. There are numerous threads on adventure travel web sites recounting horror stories of people being ripped off for fear of ending up in jail.
So that's something else to look forward to!

Crooked Cop shop - kilometer 341
Travellers beware! anyone riding Ruta 14 needs to make a note of this place, in fact anywhere on this road and you're a target. The worse thing is, even if you're abiding by the law and sticking within the speed limits you'll still get stopped....Bastards!

View km 341 Crooked Cop Shop in a larger map

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Run for Home...It's all uphill from here.


Some days things go well and other days are just crap!. Today was one of those crap days with a capital 'C', Sue and I had packed to leave early and head north with Dave to catch the ferry from Povenir to Punta Arenas  Because Dave could only travel at a steady 55mph, Johannes, Jude and Chris could have a lie in and still catch us up at the ferry port. 

Here's BOB on the centre stand just before loading up.

I normally pack the bike parked on the side stand as it's easier to manoeuver once fully loaded, it wasn't until all the bags were on that Sue noticed a patch of fluid underneath the rear shock absorber. I optimistically said it was water run off from the rain the night before but on closer inspection it turned out to be hydraulic fluid...a few expletives later and we were looking at the possibility of riding back to Buenos Aires on a blown shock. We knew the leak had only just started but had no idea how long it would be before the cylinder was completely empty and we would be riding on just a spring with no damping. For the less technically informed this meant that once the spring on the shock was compressed there would be nothing to slow it's progress returning to it's normal state and keeping the rear wheel in contact with the road, in short we would be riding the equivalent of a pogo stick just like Ingo and Cecilia had been doing. There was no chance of getting the shock repaired anywhere south of Santiago and waiting for a new one to be shipped down was not an option so we had no choice but set off and hope the leak was a slow one. We still had over a hundred kilometers of dirt road to cover but fortunately it was going come sooner rather than later...
After a couple of hundred kilometers we stopped for fuel and the shock was still dripping fluid so it hadn't emptied completely but the back end was noticeably 'springier'.

Seriously 'windswept' trees.
Sue and BOB resting on the shores of the Magellan Strait.

We arrived at the ferry port in Povenir 500km after leaving Ushuaia, by now the rear shock had lost all of the hydraulic fluid and every dip in the road or speed bump would set us bouncing until BOB settled down or I applied the breaks to stop the oscillating. I was surprised we had made such good time and that we had kept ahead of the following group, we still had a few hours before the ferry sailed so we planted ourselves in a cafe and waited for Johannes, Jude and Chris to arrive.

Waiting to board the Povenir to Punta Arenas ferry.
These southerners have no staying power.
Loaded up and strapped down. During the voyage the seas got a bit choppy but the bikes remained firmly anchored to the deck. Someone obviously fared worse than the rest of us and decided to throw up right next to BOB...Thanks.

Punta Arenas, Chile.

Whilst we were in Punta Arenas, Chris and I had a look round the place in the hope of finding someone who could repair the rear shock. We got to meet Horatio, who runs 'PatagoniaRiders' a motorcycle hire company that rents BMW GS bikes for people who want to see this part of the country on two wheels. Sadly, we had no luck with the shock, Horatio reckoned we could get the the seal replaced in Santiago or Buenos Aires, Sue and I didn't fancy riding back to Santiago so resigned ourselves to having a bouncy ride to the Argentinian capital. 

Horatio and Johannes.
But we did get the bikes cleaned before leaving for Puerta Natales.
Memories of home!

The next morning we all left for Puerta Natales and met Pablo Escobar from Osorno in Chile. Pablo shares his name with the more famous Columbian drug baron (now deceased) but he assured us he wasn't related in any way!. Pablo was on his way home after a road trip to Ushuaia and had booked a berth on the same ferry sailing as the rest of us, he was as friendly and helpful as the other riders we had met on the road and told us about another motorcycle hire company in town that may be able to help in sorting out the shock, so whilst the rest had something to eat, Pablo and I went off to MotoAventura. Bad news again, they were unable to help but did suggest we may get some help if we call  in at their main office in Osorno in a few days time. So it was back on the pogo stick again.


Pablo Escobar. 

On the way to Puerto Natales we called in to see the Magellan penguin colony at Otway Sound. The colony consists of around 5,000 birds that occupy this part of the Magellan strait for seven months of the year. Every year they travel thousands of miles from southern Brazil and the Falklands to nest and rear their young. They leave the nests in the morning for an eight hour round trip out into the sound to feed returning in the afternoon to care for the chicks.

These penguins have adopted the strange British custom of 'queuing.'


On the beach it's a free for all.
Penguins pair for life or until one or the other gets eaten by a seal.
This isn't a penguin!.
This is the same colour as a penguin but considerably smellier!
This was the most evil looking bird,ever.
They all looked the same to us.

When we arrived at our accommodation in Puerto Natales the hotel didn't have the rooms we'd booked so we ended up looking for somewhere else, the ferry didn't sail for another three days which would give us time to visit Torres Del Paine National Park which was another sight on our list of 'must see' places. We had a serious problem booking accommodation in the park, firstly because of availability and secondly because of cost. In the end Sue, Dave and I found a decent camp site whilst Johannes, Jude and Chris opted for the more expensive yurts which are basically canvas igloos with all mod cons.

Upmarket camping for the seriously well off.
Camping Pehoe.
"Stop posing and give me a hand with the tent"
Camping economy style, for the seriously hard up!.

Torres Del Paine National Park is arguably one of the most beautiful National Parks in the world, on a good day the scenery is mind blowing. When we visited the park the weather was less than kind but nevertheless it was still impressive, what wasn't impressive was riding through the park on dirt roads with a blown rear shock!. I can hear you all saying how lucky we are to be doing this and we shouldn't complain but I'm the one trying to keep the bike in a straight line with Sue bouncing up and down on the back of the bike like a ruddy Jack in the box! It was something of a novelty putting up the tent for only the third time on our trip, the intention was to camp more often but the convenience of hotels and hostels won hands down every time even for hardened adventurers....Yeah right!

The view from our tent.
Lago Pehoe.
This is what it looks like in perfect conditions. The jagged peaks of the Paine massif and the turquoise waters of the surrounding lakes look like computer generated images.

Our campsite had all the facilities we needed including a restaurant and that evening we had dinner with a German couple Marcus and Mirielle who were on their way down to Ushuaia on two motorbikes. We then retired to our tent to listen to the wind and rain. The next day started with light rain as we were packing up and before we returned to Puerta Natales we rode back into the park to visit the Salta Grande waterfall. 




We rode south through the park avoiding the rain as best as we could, only stopping for lunch and a chance to warm up in one of the parks restaurants.

Dave warming up on the wrong side of the counter, mind you he is a soft southerner.


The Navimag ferry was not due to sail until 6:00 the following morning but all the passengers and vehicles had to be on board the previous evening at 8:00 so we spent the day hanging around waiting. Sue and Jude went to arrange the tickets whilst the blokes took the bikes for a well earned wash at the local gas station. We also met Mark and Nick a couple of Americans on their way home after riding to Ushuaia.
Gino, who we'd left in Santiago was supposed to be arriving on the ferry so we sat around at the port when the ferry docked in the hope of meeting up. It turned out he hadn't caught the ferry so the chances were no one would see him again on this trip.

The Navimag ferry
Waiting for the all clear to board.

Here's a joke... Question: Why did the dog cross the road?

Answer: To see his flatmate! get it? Flat mate, I suppose I'll get nasty comments now about being cruel. Well it's not really cruel....using two kittens as oven gloves, now that's cruel!

The ferry journey to Puerto Montt is advertised as a cruise, in reality it's just a roll on - roll off ferry with some cabins for rent. The fact that it sails for three days through the Chilean fjords means they can bump up the prices accordingly. For us it was a chance to save riding the thousand and odd miles up through Argentina on a blown shock.

Time to load up!

The three day trip north was cold and wet for the most part, whilst navigating the fjords the wind remained relatively calm with the odd squall every now and then. This continued until a twelve hour sailing out into the Pacific Ocean across the Gulf of Penas when everyone's stomachs were tested to destruction! We were given fair warning by the Captain to take whatever anti sickness remedies we had before we hit open water and not surprisingly, few passengers took advantage of the sloppy spaghetti bolognese that evening.

This was one of those odd squalls, Chris looks like he's enjoying it!


On the morning of the second day we were woken at 5:45am so that anyone who wanted to could view the Pio XI glacier, the largest in South America. Pio XI is as big as the city of Santiago, Chile with a surface area of 1265 square kilometers, and grows 50 meters in height, length and density every day. This is a unique quality, all the other glaciers in Patagonia and in most areas of the world are losing extension, whereas Pio XI keeps growing everyday. At 5:45 in the morning there's not a lot to see but as the dawn light spread across the glacier you could at least get an idea of the scale of the thing. It wasn't as impressive as the Perito Moreno glacier and certainly not worth getting up at this ungodly hour.

Isn't this fun Sue? the blackness is stunning! 
Oh! there it is. Right, seen it now...back to bed!
You can clearly see the difference between the salt water and the fresh water entering the fjord from the melting glacier...Interesting eh?
Navigating the 'narrows', not easy at speed. in bad conditions when the distance between the rocks is only 80 meters.
The wreck of the MV Capitain Leonidas which ran aground in 1968 on Cotopaxi Bank, a notoriously dangerous spot. The ship was carrying a cargo of sugar from brazil. In an insurance scam that went wrong, the Greek captain sold the sugar and sought to scuttle the ship on a known hazard whereby he could then claim that the sugar had disolved in the water. Unfortunately for him the ship did not sink...Oops! The Chilean navy used her as target for practice shooting and still couldn't sink her which is why the hull and superstructure look so messed up. 
This storm petrel was sheltering on deck from the wind (so why is it called a storm petrel?) it looks like something has run over it's feet but it's supposed to look like this.
Evening gloom.
The lower deck was filled with vehicles crammed with livestock in appalling conditions and after the first day the smell was enough to keep people firmly on the upper decks.

On the last day of the journey the skies cleared and we got to see Patagonia in all its splendour, the sun shone and everyone spent the last evening having a drink on deck watching another Pacific sunset. Most of the voyage had been spent chatting, reading or in my case swapping photos with the rest of the group and blogging, it hadn't been the 'cruise' that everyone expected but it had given us a break from riding and made the trip up from Ushuaia less tedious.


Sadly for Sue and I, today would be the last day together with Johannes, Jude and Chris. Once we reached Osorno, 100 kilometers north of Puerto Montt, they would head across to Buenos Aires whereas Sue, Dave and I would take a slightly longer route via Peninsular Valdez over on the Atlantic coast. 


Puerto Montt harbour.

This is a proper cruise liner (no smell of cow shit on this baby!)
Disembarking.

Pablo (no drugs on board) Escobar!
Our last 100km ride together.

The ride up to Osorno took us around an hour as we escorted Dave and 'Maisie' at a leisurely pace while the rest of the group rode ahead and arrived fifteen minutes earlier. We are now used to travelling with Dave at a slower pace to avoid putting too much strain on the old girl and with our blown rear shock we're a right pair of invalid bikes! 

Volcano Osorno, the Mount Fuji of South America.

When we arrived at the outskirts of the city Pablo escorted us to a restaurant for lunch and then left to make his way home, Dave and I took a short detour to try and resolve the broken shock issue and the rest had a drink whilst they waited for us to return. Fortunately I didn't hold out much hope of getting the shock fixed as when we got to MotoAventura they were next to useless, they did try and sell us some oil though at US$30 a litre! 
So that was that, the next chance of any kind of repair would be Buenos Aires...Boing! Boing!

Last supper lunch.
Mark and Nick setting off on their way home.

After a tearful farewell we left Johannes Jude and Chris and headed for the border with Argentina  It would be strange not being part of the 'Cosmoto' group anymore but the friendships we had formed with all our travelling companions over the past months would be a constant reminder of the unique bond that develops between 'smelly bikers' on the road!. There has been much talk of us all meeting up in the future to tackle another continent so we may get to ride together again one day.....

And now we are three, and I will see you again...but not yet...not yet! - Gladiator.(2000) sort of!

Back to the road, back to shadowing Dave and Maisie and back to the border we had crossed almost a month ago.   

The familiar sight of Dave doing 50.
More distant volcanoes.


The Chilean side of the border passed without problems and the ride through no mans land past the lakes on the way to Villa la Angostura was as picturesque as last time but as we rode up to the Argentinian border we were confronted by half a mile of parked cars waiting to pass the first check point. We rode straight to the front and pushed in to the usual honks of disapproval, after playing the dumb tourist card the check point guard signed us in and we were good to go.

Looks OK from here.

Everything changed over the next 200 yards, as we reached the parking area there was a queue as though they were giving away free money. Even the border officials were taking photographs of the lines of people, the guy at the restaurant said he had never seen it this bad, he said something about the end of summer holidays as well as a Friday night. We took turns at standing in line and drinking coffee in 'no mans land', it was 5:00pm when we first took our place in the queue and it was gone 6:30 before we entered Argentina. 

Welcome to Argentina...eventually.
We're good at queueing us Brits!

We stopped that night in San Carlos de Bariloche before the 1000km ride across country to Peninsula Valdez. The next three days would find out if us and the rear shock were up to the rest of the trip.


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