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Old 02-24-2013, 01:23 PM   #97
porkandcorn OP
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Joined: Jan 2011
Location: Portland, Oregon
Oddometer: 296
merlo, argentina to mendoza, argentina

sunday, february 24, 2013

i was planning to spend saturday night in córdoba, but i checked the weather and saw that there was a big storm coming in saturday night. i didn't want to get caught there, and i didn't want to have all the mountains closed in with clouds when i crossed over on my way to mendoza.

so i did my patented 15 minute packing of the bike (i've gotten very efficient with this), put a route in the GPS, and left córdoba. i had to go through villa carlos pas again, to catch route 20. route 20 winds up into the mountains, with a pass at about 6,000 ft. they are not massive mountains, but they are beautiful.


overlook, west of villa carlos paz, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr


vista of villa carlos paz, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

there were lots of motorcycles on the road because there are lots of twisties to ride. i was stopping a lot to look from the vistas, talking to other motorcyclists, and in general taking my time.


garmin route 20, west of villa carlos paz, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr


route 20, west of villa carlos paz, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr


route 20, east of mina clavero, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr


vista on route 20, east of mina clavero, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr


twisties, route 20, east of mina clavero, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

i rode toward villa dolores, argentina, but took a smaller road south to merlo, argentina. it runs through about 10 really interesting small towns, each worthy of photos, stops, and exploration. i made it to merlo, and noticed a group of motorcyclists at a cafe. i pulled a u-turn, parked the bike. "¡hola motociclistas!," i said, and started talking with them. of course, i immediately received and invitation to follow them to the place they were staying and stay there for the night. it was a beautiful cluster of guests homes on the edge of town, right at the foothills that climb up into the sierras.


the boys having coffee, merlo, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr


panorama, aparts de montaña, merlo, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr


chaco, savino, y martín, aparts de montaña, merlo, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

i finally burned through my rear brake pads on the descent into merlo. before we all went out to dinner, i took the time to change them out - finally got to use some of the tools and parts that i have been dragging around all this time. the chain needed a good clean and lube also.


changing rear brakes, aparts de montaña, merlo, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr


successful installation, aparts de montaña, merlo, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

while i was changing out the brakes, some of the guys were watching and asking questions about my trip. i gave out my postcards that i had made for the journey. one side with a description of who i am and why i'm on this adventure, and the other side all about portland, my city. as he read it, cacho, the shorter guy with grey hair, told me that the postcard was making him very emotional. i was standing there cleaning the grease off my hands, and watched a tear run down his cheek. i'm not sure which part got to him, but i realized at that moment that what i'm doing is a lot bigger than me. there's something in all of us that wants to explore and connect with other people. there's a part of that in cacho.


postcard front by porkandcorn, on Flickr


postcard back by porkandcorn, on Flickr


yo, barbie, chachito, savino, martín, y chachez (missing paganini), aparts de montaña, merlo, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr


chachez, yo, barbie, y martín, aparts de montaña, merlo, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

all the guys are from cities and towns near merlo, probably just down for the weekend to hang out. martín, the owner of the guest house (aparts de montaña) is originally from buenos aires. while i was cleaning my chain, i asked him why he moved to merlo. he said that a couple of years ago, while in buenos aires, he was hi-jacked in the city at gun point for his car. from what i understand, they held him for 90 minutes, occasionally putting the barrel of the gun to his head and threatening to kill him. he told me that his cojones were in his throat. after that, he couldn't live in the city anymore, and moved to merlo to start his life over.

martín followed me out of the city this morning when i left. we stopped on the roadside to take these pictures. i could see tears in his eyes as he told me he would be with my on my journey, that 'i had his heart'.


me & martín, outside of merlo, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr


sierras de merlo, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

i couldn't have been luckier to meet such an amazing group of guys. thanks to all of you for adopting me for a night! the motorcycling family grows...


paganini, me, cacho, savino, chachez, & barbie, merlo, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

this morning, the ride from merlo back to mendoza, argentina was about a 5 hour blast through the valley that separates the mountains just west of córdoba from the massive andes range to the west of mendoza. the andes are so enormous, that you can see them for a couple hundred miles away. as you approach mendoza, twisting through the famous malbec vineyards, aconcágua looms ominously and snow capped in the background. as i looked at the andes, i though about the next couple of weeks that will take me into and over them again.

tomorrow, i change oil and tires, and hopefully tuesday i head north into the mountains.


straight blast through the valley, west of merlo, argentina by porkandcorn, on Flickr

porkandcorn screwed with this post 02-24-2013 at 01:50 PM
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