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Old 07-10-2009, 08:58 AM   #51
tsiklonaut OP
the (in)famous boxer perv
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Joined: Nov 2004
Location: semi-homeless
Oddometer: 1,069
Argentinan and Chilean Patagonia in South-America

After the Dakar headed to Argentinian patagonia.

Visited Peninsula Valdes, with decent sand/rocky/dirt roads and scenery. Amost no traffic at all. Just the way we like it.

Wild-camped in the beautiful Punta Norte ("Northern Point" in translation). Click to enlarge:

Just down the beach there were loads of sealions and seals.

And they had mating season.

Some 60 miles away on dirt roads there was a penguin colony:

And you could see loads of rheas on the roads:

Rhea camouflage.

From Valdes off to Argentinian patagonia, took a decent 150mile long trail road through it to see its real beauty.

Road conditions varied much.

From rocky corrugated road... sand

But the nature was stunning in deeper Patagonia.

Some panoramas (click to enlarge, and click again in new window to see in full size - then scrholl with horizontal scroller):

This is where we wild-camped, in a place with a million-dollar view. Note that the winds are awfully huge in Patagonia: you first of all must have a very wind-stable tent and pitching it up w/o tent flying off into horizons is another chapter of pure art.

Road conditions were quite hard, but we're used to it since around a half of the roads in Estonia are like this, but combined with astonishing side-winds that was something new for us, so we obviously had many falls and crashes. Couple of examples:

This was around 40-50mph off.

Vern alu-panniers and the bike proved to be bomb proof.

Seen the real patagonia we headed back to the boring tar Ruta 3 that had another secion of huge winds, but on tar it's no problem, boxer cylinders cut the wind for you.

And some 1500 miles later we're on Tierra del Fuego and Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the World. Click to enlarge the panoramas:

More panoramas:

And the classic - a picture from the end of the World (as we know it):

We took a 5 minute break there to think: could we reach Alaska this evening?

The answer was: no

But we headed North none the less. Off the Tierra del Fuego we saw some abandoned estancia:

Coupled with abandoned ships on the shore:

Everything was left as it was, nothing stolen. Amazing was to see the inside of them.

Wild-camped just couple of miles away from there and had stunning light-play in the Magellan strait (click to enlarge):

And then there was more of Chile.

Namely Torres del Paine national park.

Roads there are ment for shaft drives, especially after the rain:

But the scenery is worth it - it's stunning between the mountains (click to enlarge):

Yes, the colours were like this with your own eyes!!!

Torres view from farther away.

Next stop: Perito Moreno glacier back in Argentina. Moreno glacier is just astonishing, you can't even imagine it's (awe-) size from the picture. Only if some bits of ice cracks loose and you see the waves it creates dropping into the water till the sound reaches you later while you're there gives you the imagination of the scales involved.

Panorama from Perito Moreno glacier (click to enlarge and click again to see in full size, then horizontally scroll):

Once back in Argentina it was the classic Ruta 40 dirt road up to north. We did a detour to Monte Fitz Roy, but the weather was awful, the biggest storm we ever had followed us there. Our bike was almost 45 degrees on the road to keep it straight in the rain aind wind - we took the first [expensive] hotel available and even there the floor was flooded with loud whining wind noise outside. They said it's the first time they're having a storm like this - and we had to ride in this kind weather), the next day it got much better, but clouds still covered the peaks of Fitz Roy. We only got a glimpse from the bottom end (click to enlarge):

And back to Ruta 40 that was awful there, and hundreds-hundreds miles like this. It felt as if the bike was about to be fall into 2 pieces riding Ruta 40 on those parts, but the views were great none the less:

And of course, loads of guanacos running around on the roads:

...oops, final drive seal is slowly leaking.

I'd be fine on continuing thousands of miles just toping it up with new oil, but instead I opted for seal replacement ASAP.

Till we successfully made it to Perito Moreno (not the glacier, it's the name of a village far away from the same-name glacier). There Raul hosted us, he's one of the most friendly people we've ever met:

With the help from him (good people know good people) I got a chance to use a private garage in Perito Moreno, that had probably the best tools in the village, better than the most commercial car-truck workshops. So I decided to replace the final drive bearing also, since the bike was over 100 000km already and more beating to come.

It really wasn't neccessary to replace the FD bearing, but since I had only once seal set I did it. Another motivation was to do it just to learn it - first time I did it and what's better than doing in the the "third-world's bush" to prove the idiots wrong who think when your FD bearing goes you're on the road.

So... I tested the bollocks BMW-haters have said about FD repair in the "bush".

I did everything myself and used creative methods since I still missed a lot of tools.

Heated up the bevel box with our camping cooker.

Got it open.

Crown-wheel looked nice.

Pastrana (the owner of the garage) had a bearing puller (the only one in the village!!!). I had to modify it to get a "bite" beneath the old bearing:

Centrally supported it with a big key:

But it didn't work - it was too small and fragile. I went to a local welder and let the old bearing be heated up to extremes and with raw force I could get it finally out - easy!!!

New bearing (I carried it with me) went into the Raul's oven:

Crownwheel into deep freeze and whollah, the new bearing is on without any force:

Then mounted it together w/o shims to start preload measuring procedure:

I made a support frame for micrometer myself from random materials I could find, but it seemed to work:

Measured the correct preload (not really needed if your old bearing worked over 100 000km tho!), took it apart again and re-shimmed my bevel box, put it back together.


A happy ending pic with Pastrana & family.

And after 6 days in Perito Moreno we finally said goodbye to Raul and headed back to Chile, the Carretera Austral was waiting.

Still in Argentina, you can see loads of shrines dedicated to Difunta Correa:

Till Carretera Austral was finally reached:

Stunning sceneries! On some spots you could not believe the colour the water had. On some spots it looked like a lemonade, on others something way different, and it's pure nature - just amazing. (click to enlarge the panoramas)

The road:

River delta:


Till it got into mountaneous jungle:

Some of the peaks in Carretera Austral:

Panorama (click to enlarge):

The road ended in Chaiten, that was devastated by volcano that still goes:

All the area is basically extinct. The city is covered with ash, empty houses, cars abandoned aside the roads.

The city under ash and the devilish creator of the scene behind:

Ash even inside the cars:


Volcano panorama (click to enlarge):

From Chaiten ferry took us to Puerto Montt. Couple of hundred miles away it wasn't that horrifying to be anymore so we could chill out under the southern sky with barbeque and beer aside the lake:
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