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Old 03-29-2014, 05:41 AM   #466
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Dan, are you still in Pto Montt. We just got of the ferry 7 hrs ago from Chaitén. Riding to Osorno Sat am for tires and a few small services items on the GSA. Our plan afterwards is to head towards bariloche, la angostura actually, then start riding north in Argentina. MotoGP in Termas Del Rio Hondo, Argentina April 25-27. We've got our toys!! :) Let me know if we can link up for a coffee or lunch, etc. Marc & Nadia.
Hey! You just missed me. But I suspect you'll see my motorcycle parked at Motoaventura in Osorno when you get up there. I took the bus to Santiago for the weekend to go to Lollapalooza music fest. I'll be back down there on Tuesday then going to Villarica/Pucon then onto San Martin de los Andes and then north east. hmmmm MotoGP would be fun.
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Old 03-31-2014, 09:06 AM   #467
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We are in Bariloche rt now. May stay here tonight or continue in to San Martin de los Andes and stay the night there. We may well be heading northeast as well towards BA. We are in need of a bit of a rest so may stay in SMdlA or somewhere further north
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Old 04-01-2014, 06:31 AM   #468
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Salta to Mendoza on Ruta 40

On a beautiful morning in Salta I loaded up the bike to continue south. Paul and Ian joined me and once again the three of us set off to discover what else Argentina had to offer. Not long after leaving Salta we started riding on one of the most well known roads for motorcycle travelers, Ruta 40. Ruta 40 in Argentina is one the longest highways in the world. It runs almost the entire length of the country covering over 3,000 miles. Until recent years most of the highway was still dirt but now it’s mostly paved. It was a beautiful afternoon of riding.


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Nearing Cafayate and more storm clouds. We only had a few minutes of rain.


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More than 4,329 kilometers till the end of the road in the south.


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There was a few miles where the road was unpaved and about a two miles of that was really bad washboard. When we stopped to look for a place to camp Ian noticed his iPhone that was mounted on his handlebars was gone. The washboard road loosened the bolts on the mount till it fell apart. The three of us rode up and down the stretch of road searching for it. Riding in low gear Ian’s radiator started leaking. The washboard stole his iPhone and cracked his radiator. Since there was a lot of foot traffic on the road I continued searching for the phone before someone else could find it. It was hard to spot but I eventually found his phone in the middle of the gravel road. When Ian rode up it felt good to give him some good news. Before sundown we started looking for a place to bush camp for the night. We found a nice spot on a hilltop overlooking the valley. With a few bottles of wine and pasta, we had a feast.


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When I woke up in the morning I realized the bush camp we had found wasn’t as good to me as I thought. Somewhere on the way in I picked up a thorn in my rear tire which caused my rear tire to go flat for the third time on the trip. I pumped it up and it was a slow leak so I rode to the next town to have a shop fix it so we could get on our way faster. In Argentina tire shops are called “gomeria’s”. I can’t remember the name of the man who ran the shop but while he worked on my tire his son, Franco, was curious about my gear. The repair only cost me $2 and we were back on the road. But not for very long.


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Only 10 minutes out of town Ian had to stop as his radiator was leaking, again. He poured in a stop leak powder he purchased in town and we rode on but a few minutes later his KLR was overheating and leaking. This was the beginning of a long day.


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After he thought he had fixed the leak we continued riding but less than 15 minutes later his bike was overheating. We stopped to let it cool down and when he went to start the bike he had no power. Not even a headlight. Obviously frustrated at his bikes problems, Paul and I tried to help troubleshoot the problems. Paul is tech savy and quickly started going over the possible electrical causes. The morning turned to the afternoon and there was little progress. Nothing was making sense with the electrical problem and he still had the radiator issue to fix. Ian was afraid this might be the end for his trip and said we could go on as he didn’t want to hold us back. In the hot afternoon sun I was tired of waiting around and thought about moving on. I didn’t think I had much to offer since I know little about electrical work. But the more I thought about it I decided I’d stay. The three of us had been having a good adventure over the past couple of weeks so why let a few hours of bike problems stop that. Plus, I thought it’s good to not be on my own schedule all the time. After tearing his bike apart for 3 or 4 hours it turned out to be a loose battery connection. Doh! It was now later in the afternoon and the temps had dropped so Ian wanted to see how the bike would ride. We left town and made it about 30 minutes when it overheated again. Looking in the radiator Ian thought the stop leak had perhaps clogged the entire system. With little options at this point, Ian and I flushed out his radiator on the side of the road.


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Paul hanging around


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Ian doing a roadside emergency radiator flush


The stop leak was in fact clogging his radiator. Less than an hour later at 6pm we were finally on the road south. In the 9 hours since we had started we had traveled less than 60 miles.


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We rode on Ruta 40 until the sun set behind the mountains. With nothing around but endless desert we easily found a spot to set up camp for the night.


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Our bush camp for night two on Ruta 40


It didn’t take long for the morning sun to heat up the desert landscape which had us wanting to get moving fast.


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But first we had to have our morning coffee


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My Giant Loop panniers top straps have many good uses


The highway worked its way over a mountain pass where we had to wait for construction crews to clear the rubble after they used dynamite to break a part the rock.


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Down from the mountains the road once again was flat and straight. Ahead of me I could see the sky turning dark. But it wasn’t the typical dark grey storm clouds. This was something different. A few minutes later I was riding in the middle of a sand storm that blocked the sun. The strong winds in the valley were blowing everything across the road. I imagined I was trying to outride the apocalypse.


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Just as we rode out of the worst part of the sandstorm I felt the feeling I’ve become all to familiar with. A flat rear tire. I found a place where there was some protection from the wind and got to work. Ian and Paul helped which made it faster. The cause of this was the rim tape wasn’t put in place properly at the tire shop the day before, exposing the spokes to the tube. I should just stick to doing my own tire repair. Anytime someone else does it there’s always a problem a day later.


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The rest of the day was more great riding.


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Before sunset we rode about a mile or two down a dirt road off the highway and then up a dry river bed and found a good spot to camp. We had the tents set up in a few minutes and enjoyed exploring the area and watching the gorgeous sunset.


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Argentina bush camp on Ruta 40


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Paul and Ian. Suns out, guns out.


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I was careful not to run over these!


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Camp fire ready


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I think I’ll get a haircut and shave in Mendoza.


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In the morning we only had two hours to ride to Mendoza so we stopped in a small town for a quick breakfast. The restaurant we picked ended up being a two hour ordeal. The owner was an older women who was the most talkative person I think I’ve ever met in my life. It didn’t bother her that we couldn’t understand half of her questions. She kept talking. This woman was a character. She told us all about her life, her kids lives, and her dogs, before she would even take our order. Trying our best to be polite but at the same time hurry up the process of getting our breakfast. After an hour we eventually got our eggs and coffee. Getting out of there took another hour. She certainly filled our morning with laughter as the three of us sat the table asking each other if they understood what she said.


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Next I’ll take you to the vineyards of Mendoza.

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Old 04-01-2014, 08:43 AM   #469
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More great pictures Dan, thanks. What kind of bike is Paul ridding? It seems that although the problems are frustrating, it also adds some important memories to the trip.
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Old 04-01-2014, 08:50 AM   #470
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Oh I hope you got to Belasco de Baquedaro - that place was incrediable! If you go thru SanJuan there is a beautiful lake to the North West that should have some good camp spots and/or small rental cabins.
There are a few low spots between Mendoza and SanJuan on the 40 that were flooded a couple of weeks ago - be aware.

Great area, wish I was there with you guys!

Matt
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Old 04-01-2014, 12:59 PM   #471
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More great pictures Dan, thanks. What kind of bike is Paul ridding? It seems that although the problems are frustrating, it also adds some important memories to the trip.
Phillip
Paul has the Vstrom 650.

And of course the problems make some of the best memories.
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Old 04-01-2014, 01:00 PM   #472
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Oh I hope you got to Belasco de Baquedaro - that place was incrediable! If you go thru SanJuan there is a beautiful lake to the North West that should have some good camp spots and/or small rental cabins.
There are a few low spots between Mendoza and SanJuan on the 40 that were flooded a couple of weeks ago - be aware.

Great area, wish I was there with you guys!

Matt
Didn't get there unfortunately. And I am a bit behind in my RR so I'm well passed Mendoza now.
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Old 04-01-2014, 01:06 PM   #473
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We are in Bariloche rt now. May stay here tonight or continue in to San Martin de los Andes and stay the night there. We may well be heading northeast as well towards BA. We are in need of a bit of a rest so may stay in SMdlA or somewhere further north
I'm probably a week behind you guys or a little less. I think Im going to spend a few days in Pucon working on a home build project there. Might catch up if you guys are taking your time. There's not many of us still on the road. Ian on the KLR flys out in two days. I think from the Stahlratte crew it's just you, nadia, me, and aussie Matt (Afewsketchymoments) just started again after taking two months off to make more $.
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Old 04-02-2014, 08:17 AM   #474
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Enjoy Pucón. We did! Stayed at nature hostel. Good place. Secure parking. But sounds like you probably have things organized already. We are in San Martin de los Andes. Very nice! Staying today. Head north tomorrow I think. We haven't done northern Argentina or Bolivia yet. Still trying to decide which direction to head before the MotGP race. Go north to Bolivia then back to Termas del rio Hondo or BA, Iguacu, brasil then back to Termas for MotoGP.

We met Steve, a Scottish bloke on his Triumph Tiger, from Plymouth England, while riding the carretera austral. Spent a cpl days riding with him. We've seen a few "local" (Chilean) riders here in the area but you are correct, few of us remain on the roads here. Stay in touch!
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Old 04-06-2014, 01:55 PM   #475
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Wines of Mendoza

The uncommon rainstorms in Mendoza weren’t enough to keep me from enjoying what myself and every other traveler visits Mendoza for, the wine. I read a great blog about doing wine tasting in Mendoza on a budget which meant taking a bus to the Maipu district south of the city. Paul, Ian, and I were meant to rent bicycles to get around but we missed the bus stop for the rental shop. Not wanting to wait in the rain for the bus to return we decided we’d do our wine tour on foot, in the rain. Welcome to the no frills wine tour of Mendoza. Where the bus dropped us off happened to be near a small olive oil tasting room. I’d never thought this was something I’d want to taste outside of a meal but the smell of fresh baked empanadas drew us inside. We tasted four distinct kinds of olive oil. I never knew olive oil could be so good and that I would enjoy tasting spoonfuls of it. When I get home, I vow to never buy the cheapest bottle of olive oil Trader Joe’s offers.


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Looking at our rain soaked map we headed down a side street to our first vineyard of the day which would be the oldest and largest winery we visited. Trapiche has been making wine since 1883 and has become the largest producer of wine in Argentina. I won’t pretend to be a wine expert so I’m not going to attempt to describe the varietals. There was one wine that stood out amongst all the others, not only for how good it was but for the context of this wine. After tasting a few malbecs, cabernet sauvignon, and a white, we tried a wine I had never heard of before, cabernet franc. It was my favorite of the day but unfortunately I haven’t been able to find it in stores. The host of the tour talked about how they believe Cabernet Franc will become more popular than malbec in a few years.


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my “Hello and welcome to my vineyard” pose


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Lights are kept low to maintain the best temperature for the wines.


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The Mendoza region isn’t just for wines. A short walk down the gravel road from Trapiche is the small eclectic beer garden of Cerveceria Artesanal Pirca.


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Not sure who the fourth beer belongs to in this photo. But it we had a good time at Pirca.


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I think it’s impossible to find a bad empanada here.


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I couldn’t think of a better way to spend one last day with Ian and Paul than walking around Mendoza drinking wine and beer, and eating empanadas and steaks. I don’t even remember how long we’ve been traveling together now, two weeks, or three. From riding at over 16,000ft in Bolivia passing herds of llamas and flamencos, wiping out on sandy roads, riding over mudslides on the highway, camping out under the stars, to enjoying the best steaks and wines in Argentina. Buen viaje, amigos!


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Old 04-06-2014, 02:01 PM   #476
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Back to teh world of no internet for a few days. I'm working on an eco house build in the lake district in Chile. :-)
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Old 04-06-2014, 09:47 PM   #477
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Back to teh world of no internet for a few days. I'm working on an eco house build in the lake district in Chile. :-)
no worry dan, we know you'll come back with more good stuff.

have fun.

the noobs rally was a huge success. hope to see you there again next year.
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Old 04-12-2014, 05:10 PM   #478
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Empanadas and knobs!

Love this ride report! Good friends, wine, good food, bush camping and beautiful vistas! Thanks for sharing this and if you make up a blog and such, be sure to post the info.
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Old 04-13-2014, 05:40 AM   #479
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Over the pass to Santiago

*No photos for this post unfortunately. I had some but they were lost when my phone broke.

Seeing the forecast of sunny skies and warm weather just over the Andes in Santiago Chile was all I needed to leave the wonderful city of Mendoza.
With rain still expected in the area around Mendoza I was told it's possible the border could close due to snow. I took my chances and hit the road.
The ride was great once the road started getting higher and riding through the red canyons. A few miles from the border I started passing big ski lodges by the side of the road. The parking lots were all empty as winter is still a few months away. I met an older French couple who are traveling around the Americas on a Ural with a sidecar.

Since I didn't see much traffic on the road I figured it'd be a fast crossing. That hope was dashed as soon as I saw the parking lot for the border checkpoint. Once inside I was in a room with about 100 other people. Myself and everyone else in the back of the line asked each other if they knew the process. Eventually I stopped an employee and they brought me the necessary forms to fill out. It was a painful 30 minutes waiting in line. Chile requires that everyone in each vehicle be present inside the office. So that means all the families traveling with kids had to keep the kids there. It was the loudest border office I'd been in. The sounds of kids crying echoed in the large warehouse building. I wanted to join the party and let out a few tears myself. I just wanted to be back on my bike riding. After waiting at window #1 for 30 or 40 minutes I was directed to window #2. The process only got more complicated after that. When I visited what I thought was the last window, I asked if that was all I needed. The employee said I was good to go. When I got outside about 2 hours later the temp had dropped and it was raining steadily. Knowing it was likely only raining around the pass, I quickly got back on the bike to leave. At the checkpoint to exit the parking lot I was told I didn't have the necessary stamps and to go back. After 3 hours and being told I was good to go I was not happy to have to turn around in the rain and go figure out where I needed to go. People were telling me to go to different windows so eventually I just walked back up to the last window and told him they wouldn't let me leave so what did I need. This led to his supervisor coming over to see why I had returned. She looked it over and saw he had made a mistake. Another 15 minutes inside and I was ready to leave. As I approached the gate I was thinking if the checkpoint agent told me I had to turn around again I might just take off. Luckily the paperwork was in order and I could leave.

When I finally rode away from the border the rain was coming down harder. Immediately after entering Chile the road begins to wind it's way down the mountain side. The switchbacks were sharp and seemed to go on forever. The TKC80 rear tire that I still have on lost traction in ever corner. I basically drifted my way down the mountain. I'm not surprised as that tire has over 5,000 miles on it.

The rain eventually did stop as soon as I was at a lower elevation but the sun never came out. I was thinking I would find a spot to bush camp before reaching Santiago but the area was covered in dark clouds. Twenty miles outside of Santiago I began to see familiar looking things, suburbs. New home developments sprawling out into the country side. The land seemed familiar too. It resembled southern California's dry landscape. I could have been in Orange County riding by Irvine or Tustin Ranch. With the sky looking like it was going to rain, I rode into Santiago and checked into a nice hostel in Barrio Bella Vista. (Hostel Caracol - stay there!)
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Old 04-13-2014, 06:42 AM   #480
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no worry dan, we know you'll come back with more good stuff.

have fun.

the noobs rally was a huge success. hope to see you there again next year.
I love hearing that! Any summer rallys in the area? I'll have to make it up for one of your weekend rides in L.A. at least.
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