Leaving from Brazil we caught up with floods, it rained so heavily that people were dying
in Santa Catarina state. In some places it was impossible to see 20 meters away - the rainfall and the fog were very thick, and in addition, local cars use no lights (making passing ultra-hard while you can't see anything behind turbulent slow trucks throwing even more pissing rain on you). Killer potholes had started to form into tarmac due to heavy rains. Add to that a thick layer of water on the road that affects the maneuverability of the bike. Even with our fully waterproof gear (goretex inside, special raincoat outside, goretexed boots) we were COMPLETELY wet after 2-3 hours riding in those conditions - the water came in from the neck area and soaked everything, and the rain lasted for days - nothing dried in those conditions - our skin looked like on some aquatic animal.
...and we rode over 1000km in those conditions to get to Uruguaian border. You can't tell how happy we were to have the first ray of sun coming out of the clouds!
With our stuff and ourselves finally drying, for our eyes, even the big capivara
families looked happy aside the road (although honestly I think they don't give a toss about rain and floods - they're water animals afterall):
With the Wilbers shock again leaking, we made it smoothly through Uruguay. Our digital camera stolen, we took some pics with our (faulty) video camera.
The place we stayed was Punta del Diablo, which is super nice under-developed (that's what gives it that special atmosphere anyways) surfer's village:
Rented some nice hut there to cool off a bit with all those problems we had:
And enjoyed the view (click to enlarge the panorama, and click again to see it full size - just scroll the picture from bottom as you're there and turning your own head to see around):
Sunset in Punta del Diablo:
From there back to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to our previous "base camp" Dakar Motos.
You can see from the pics who we met there. Got some good info from other travellers:
Meanwhile had to helicoil one of the rocker cover bolts:
One day, the Dakar Motos' deep fridge exploded, while I was standing aside it, kicking the door open (a big bottle of lemonade was put there and forgotten, till the gas condensated into purity and plastic cracked). The "explosion" was so big that it kicked open the door and bits off the freezer itself. Thankfully I didn't open it - I'd be blind right now with all those plastic bits hiting into my face:
Christmas came along. Kariina made some pollo
(spelled as "poijo", meaning chicken in English) using local tools from the garage:
And the tree needed to be decorated with 32 degrees Celsius heat outside:
And the local cat wanted its part too:
But, meanwhile, Wilbers crap needed to be repaired and a new photocamera to be found in Buenos Aires.
We got the a s/h camera from Buenos Aires (everything new is just too expensive there - 100% tax to everything that is imported) but the the shock repair was delayed and delayed and delayed...
Horizons Unlimited meet was about to come in Viedma and we didn't have a bike to go there. Luckily one of our german friends was going there with his Land Rover and had some space for us in the 4x4 cager. Some pics from Viedma:
Started driving in the 3PM, arrived to HU meet in Viedma 3AM, some over 900km away from Buenos Aires (the next day):
Beach panorama (click to enlarge):
Loads of wind-sufers were there because of an international wind-surfing competition:
And biker-travellers from the Viedma meeting:
El Condor is a decent place to play with a proper (not the new shiny-fancy ones) Land Rover. In the dunes:
There were loads of Burrow parrots in El Condor, in fact it turned out to be one of the biggest parrot colonies
Also loads of seals and sealions:
The whole coast filled with 'em:
Then back to Buenos Aires - whola, our shock repaired.
...off to the Andes we are!
...our laptop screen was dead. After just staying 3 days still on the table and one morning we open it and no picture.
Not enough unluck yet? No, we needed more unluck with our laptop!!!
So we went to Buenos Aires Apple dealer, they checked it and diagnosed that the video-card is dead, meaning the whole motherboard replacement is necessary, meaning:
..."US 1000$ please sir"
We were frustruated. The computer's warranty had just elapsed, so that was it. Thankfully I contacted estonian Apple I used to work for and they gave me information that this video card blow should be relatively common on my model of MacBook Pro, so that NVidia (the videocard maker) offers 2-year warranty for it instead of 1-year, basically covering the motherboard costs themselves.
So I went back with this info, with specific Apple links, and gave it to them. 2 days later we picked up fully repaired computer and nothing charged, not even for the diagnostics. Way to go Apple dealer in Estonia!
Sooo, yeeehaaa ...to Andes mountains, with the bike!!!
Through boring Argentinian pampa some 700km away...
Just the kind of roads we love to ride, reminded us of our much missed home Estonia:
Camped, had a decent beer, a pool:
Everything seemed fine until the day after when I decided to check the condition of our Wilbers shock:
... it's leaking, AGAIN!
Followed with loud F***, Di****, As**, Sc*m, ***ecker, ****, ****er, **ck, Bi**h'in fox...
We made a 180 degrees turn, and with constant 80-100mph speed (with a leaking shock), rode back to Buenos Aires in one shot, almost 1000km (600miles) in thick traffic. Used every available pony my boxer could create. I was that pissed off.
Threw the shock back to the repairer to be repaired AGAIN and contacted Estonain Íhlins dealer for a deal on a new decent Íhlins (not some Wilbershit) shock. The price was very reasonable and we got a chance to bring it to Uruguay with our friend's parents who came to travel there.
Meanwhile waiting for the shock to be repaired again and new shock to arrive from Estonia we spent Christmas and the new year's eve in Buenos Aires.
And so the new year came...
Had a decent meal with local travellers (1 French (THE cook!), 3 Canadians, 1 Englishman and 2 Estonians):
The Wilbers was repaired, and we could ride to Uruguay to pick our new Íhlins up. We did some 250miles of smooth tarmac to there, got our brand new Íhlins and shortly after that I checked our Wilbers - guess what? It leaked...
Back to Buenos Aires. Shock back to the repair guy (thankfully he has a warranty 6 months for his seals) and the new Íhlins shock on. Got the Wilbers repaired and kept it as a spare in our pannier (with that amount of unluck with rear suspension, we'd rather have 2 of them).
Went to see the preparationsfor the Dakar race in Buenos Aires:
Bikes no.1, 2 & 3
Grabbed an autogram from Stephan Peterhansel, the most winning Dakar racer ever:
And followed the Dakar for the next two days.
From one of the privateers we got a picture where he had relaxed his butt on a long tar-section journey. Note: the speed was over 80kph while we did that.
Wild-camped aside the special stage, check the depth of the sand:
The next day Dakar leader (now a winner!) Marc Coma giving us a wave:
Must add that Argentinian Dakar was sooo overcrowded with (uneducated in terms of rallye) public and that the distances those racer guys had to ride on the tarmac (=harder to follow them) are just enormous (i.e. 600km on the second day - just silly!), so that after 2 days of following we decided it's better to see it from the TV.
We were off in our own direction again.
Meanwhile our bike had a birthday:
No problems at all with the bike except the cuntin' Wilbers aftermarket shock that repeatedly had those show-stopper problems. Should have kept the OEM BMW (Showa on mine) shock. But at least we have an Íhlins now, which is a big step forward IMO.