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Old 03-07-2013, 10:02 AM   #211
dean10 OP
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Joined: Jun 2012
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Trelew to Balneario El Condor, Tuesday, 12 February 2013, Day 224

Nothing for miles behind and guess what up ahead not that much more interesting :-)[/caption]

Have decided to get all Daisyís consumables fixed in Buenos Aires so fettled with the chain to minimise the crunching noises but not sure how successful I was in this. Wind is already blowing strongly going to be another hard day in the saddle. I have no idea where I am going other than Buenos Aires, which is a long way of, and I am sure that not much of interest in between. I had missed a penguin colony yesterday as I did not fancy a 70km detour there and back with this wind and featureless landscape and today was similar was going to pop in to Puerto Madryn but the wind was gusting again and I just wanted to get away from it is so put my head down and headed north. Dull day today nothing interesting but the wind so I am just trying to get further north away hopefully from the wind, and to a more interesting landscape. Huge queues at the petrol station waited about three quarters of an hour before it was my turn and then they did a shift change that took another fifteen minutes. So fuelled up in the middle of who know where and the wind is still toying with me and I am bored.



Large queues at the Petrol Station and that is a highlight!

Just cranking the miles out Daisy whining all the way to as that chain is not getting any better. Have my destination as Viedma as according to my GPS its got a municipal campsite but according to the man at the next petrol station says its closed but another man at another petrol station say its just over there and when I ask at a police check point they direct me down a dirt road and hey guess what its closed been closed for 2 years. Chatting to a nice bloke and he directs to Balneario El Condor a beach town which has a couple of campsites about 35km away so of we trundle Daisy making some extraordinary noises that I am sure going to loose the chain at any minute bugger. Roll into town ask a policeman on a quad bike for directions to a camping he says to follow him and he takes me to a campsite. I have heard horror stories about police in South America but in my experience the majority have been very nice and helpful this was no different. Problem was the campsite had a charge for the person and a charge for the tent and added together expensive for camping so I go to the other end of town on the dirt roads as the camping are cheaper down there and they where.

Another dusty campsite but nice enough put me tent up when I am surround by a group of kids of different ages I had spoken to the eldest one earlier about bikes and he returned with the rest of the family as one of his sister wanted to practice her English. There timing was bad as I was just about to get out of my hot leathers and was balanced on my shoes as I did not want to get my feet dirty and they all turned up so we had a conversation. There were 7 siblings from the ages of 21 and I think the youngest was 7. The 10-year-old Larra was my favourite madly in love with Justin Bieber and very excitable kept yapping away in Spanish and wanting me to count to 20 or sing a Justin song. Not knowing any Justin songs I did 1 to 20 in English Dutch and French and very badly in Spanish. Their father turned up and apologised about the kids but it was fun. Finally got rid of them a very strange but amusing dialog in a mixture of English and Spanish covering the interests of a 7 year old to a 48 year old! Out of me leathers finally and walked into town to find something to eat again ask directions and again not shown but taken to my destination and I found a pizza place and ended up with half a pizza which I have no idea how I got half but that was all I really wanted anyhow so did not question it and it was half price as well.

Back to the campsite for a shower as they are only open in the evenings, why I do not have any idea why. Bumped into Larra again with her Mum and she asked for a kiss on the cheek so I obliged looks like Justin got some competition :-)

Working on this offline and reading my Kindle the book at the moment is Sea biscuit, which was a very famous American racehorse in the depression. Interesting read. So dull day nice evening.

Dullsville ![/caption]
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:05 AM   #212
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Balneario El Condor to Sierra de la Ventana, Wednesday, 13 February 2013, Day 225

Finally some half decent scenery unfortunately short lived![/caption]

Last evening with the help of two Argentinian bikers I had concluded that my chain was totally shot to tight when sort of adjusted but to sloppy at the same time could not find a halfway house solutions or compromise position and was not sure how long it would last and was seriously uncomfortable with the state it was in. Packed up the gear and headed to Viedma stopped by the police on the way just a routine paper check no problem was soon making my way noisily to Viedma. As I was passing through town I saw a bike shop ad decided that I would see if they had a Chain for Daisy, as I was not happy with the one I had anymore and from the noises she was making. He has a 520 and 525 118 links in stock quick check on the Internet to see which one we need yup as I thought the 525 and the mechanic will be in soon and we can fit it straight away. All good except it was just an ordinary chain not roller bearings so would not last very long but everything got to be better than whatís left of the old chain so we change it and it only cost 21 EUR for the chain and 12 EUR for fitting it so very reasonable and as usual credit cards for parts but cash only for the mechanic. So within an hour and half I back on the road and Daisy is no longer crying out with pain at every turn of the crank, which is a relief. So the last chain lasted 24k km not a lot should have gone much further but I think the dirt roads took there toll and at the last service I did not notice that the mechanic had adjusted the chain but the wheel was not aligned so was not running aligned for about 2000km with that and the off road adventures made sure the old chain was toast. I have been quite good on the adjustment side and with my OSCO oiler she is always smothered in oil maybe too much on the dirt as this was sticking and probably combining to make a grinding paste. Mechanic advised me to replace the full set so thatís chain and sprockets and new chain soon to the roller bearing type as this one would not last to long.

It got hilly for while Daisy likes hills especially with her new chain![/caption]

So today destination was Sierra de la Ventana which was supposed to be nice not sure I like anything with wind in the title at the moment but anything has to better than the dull boring scenery I was passing through at the moment. It had changed from scrub to agriculture but god it was very uninspiring so another grinding the miles out less grinding thanks to a new chain.

Last 100km scenery finally took a turn for the better still windy but a lot more interesting so a nice final run into Sierra. Went to tourist information, which was run by the council so they only had info council matters so no details on hotels/hostels campsites and no there was no municipal camping ground. So as tourist info place not much use really but nice lady.

Sun flowers love them![/caption]

Find a nice campsite take ages in selecting the right spot needs to be out of the wind if it gets up again and needs to be in the shade in the morning so do not get cooked out of the tent. So after much deliberation found the spot and put my tent up and headed into town for some dinner. I say town more of a village so have covered most of it on no time. Find a nice restaurant have a sit down look at the menu go to order only to be told the cook will not be there till 8 and it was 7 and I was hungry so wish they told me before I had wetted my appetite on the menu.

Finding the right spot for the tent its a science I tell you![/caption]

So found a great little take away Pasta place where they had all sort of pasta home made being rolled on huge machines so ordered the dish of the day ravioli and sat on a bench outside enjoying freshly made and cooked pasta.

Freshly made pasta mmm lekker![/caption]

Back to the campsite sitting outside the office as they had Internet but did not make it to the fantastic spot I had chosen problem was it was dark and all the moths and mossies attracted the light from my screen making working very hard kept killing them smearing my screen in the process so time to hide in my tent and work offline again. Tent next to a power point so ran a cable into the tent and I was good to go for a while.

Nice scenery again at last.[/caption]

 
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:07 AM   #213
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Sierra de la Ventana to Azul, Thursday, 14 February 2013, Day 226

Hills did not last long back in the flat lands with the odd interesting view but mostly flat.[/caption]

Happy Valentines Day for those of you celebrating and bah humbug if like me your on your own some in a place called Blue. Good news is I am writing this blog on the same day as it happened so that means I am finally up to date with this until tomorrow. I am doing this without my glasses as well as I have left them at a restaurant I so have got word on a huge font so that I can read what I am writing why I would want to read this drivel I have no idea :-)

unmanned railway crossing normally whiz across them without thinking about every now and again huge train crossing must pay more attention or will get squished.[/caption]

So remember yesterday all the science that went in selecting my camping spot well I woke up slowly been cooked no shade what so ever miscalculated the height of the tree and the trajectory of the sun and was wanting a bit of a kip in but to bloody hot bugger. So up an away quite early to a place called Azul to a Bikers place run on donations that I heard about http://www.laposta-azul.com so short day today as I have been doing some big mileage days for a while. Pretty scenery short lived and back to the boring flat agriculture scenery and itís hot and the wind is still having a poke every now again. So a boring ride again not enjoying myself that much at the moment especially with loads of serious dull miles. There are moments of interaction that I am enjoying but boring bits are getting longer and I am not sure if this will change anytime soon so my thoughts are moving to pulling the plug and going home I think old Phillys run out of steam or needs another goal and target to aim at as the last couple of days have not been much joy on the bike and I do not want this last bit to be the last impression I recall of this trip as that would be a dam shame so need to figure out to get the joy back into this trip not just in the evenings but during the day as well. Been fighting the wind my invisible enemy for ever never knowing when it was going to give me a another nudge at the wrong time and this is using a lot of energy and I am mentally very tired so this needs to be addressed as well.

Very YMCA type policeman in my view![/caption]

So very happy when a pull into the La Posta its empty and very quite peaceful garden looks like a place I can stop and recharge my batteries and see if I can my head straight and find my happy mojo which is there somewhere its just hiding from the wind. (place is full of rabbits wondering all over the place)

Was hoping for a bed but back in the tent as Jorge reckons it will be cooler than in the bunkhouse, which is like an oven. Set up camp and then wander into town need some liquids as its hot and found a Internet cafť with a decent connection so spend a good while uploading pictures and getting parts of this published which was enjoyable having Internet that worked.

Went for a walk and found a nice place for dinner on the square but cook will not be in till 8.30 so order a Lomito which a meat sandwich which I keep ordering and like but I have no idea what it is but so far always lekker.

yet another nice sculpture![/caption]

Head back to the La Poste and realise I have left me specs at the restaurant and itís a good 20 minutes walk back into town will pick them up in the morning as I have decided I am staying here another night as its Friday night tomorrow and Jorge has invited me to a BBQ and another day on the Internet this will be up to date the tents is definitely in the shade so a lie in may be a possibility so looking forward to a lazy day tomorrow but its sounds quite busy to me oh well.

I am on my own in an empty clubhouse and its nice having the place to myself which is often hard to find when you are on the road that little place to just chill and do your own thing just like you would in your own house so it a bit of privacy that your missing you spend a lot of time on your own but your not really on your own and its moments like this that I like and miss and cannot always find.

So beddy byes enough drivel for now.

Names says it all![/caption]

Jorge has just popped into say hello and he say that the route north and north Argentina is totally different than Patagonia and its much more interesting which is a relief and he say that its not just me that has my head done in my Patagonia it does his head in as well so that a relief and I so glad that the scenery will get more interesting again heading north :-)
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:09 AM   #214
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Azul, Friday, 15 February 2013, Day 227

Azul nope I have no idea what this is all about either![/caption]

Tent is in the shade this morning so not cooked out of the tent today the plan as mentioned before is to have a relaxing days and do as little possible. So have a sleep in and crawl out of my pit at about 10 which is quite late for me and spend the morning just relaxing in the shade in Jorge lovely garden reading Burmese Days by George Orwell which I found on the bookshelf as my Kindle had decided it needed a recharge just when I wanted to read it (Technology is great when you have power! Crap when that fails)



Eventually made my way into town and back to the restaurant I went to last night to retrieve my glasses and had an omelette for brunch.



Back to the internet cafť to get my photos and this up to date finally so that took some time but is was nice spending a couple of hours on the computer doing all sorts of catch up on administration that I have neglected for a while.

Finally pulled myself away from the Internet everything up to date for the first time in a long time and went for long walk along the river getting lost in the process back to la Posta with a stop of at a bakery and a ice cream shop for some nourishment.

That evening Jorge was having his Friday night BBQ for all his local biker mates and was invited to join. A very enjoyable evening even though it was mostly in Spanish. Luckily for me there was a few English speakers who where able to help out when things got difficult for me to follow. Jorge had even put a Union Jack on his flagpole in my honour, which was very brave considering we are in Argentina and the anti Anglo sentiment I have seen with regard to the Malvinas.

BBQ Night at La Poste[/caption]



So very late after an enjoyable evening good food and good company it is times like this makes me want to fall of the wagon as a drink would not have gone amiss but I am holding out on the not drinking front for a while longer as it been 123 days that I have been dry so that a bloody long time by my standards.

Crawled into my tent at about 2ish so a late night as well :-)

 

 
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:12 AM   #215
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Azul to Buenos Aires, Saturday, 16 February 2013,Day 228

Clean me, Get me some new tyres, and some new oil and tell that funny looking bird to stop staring at me![/caption]

Crawled out of my tent and started pulling my stuff together as it starts to spread out when I stay more than one night in a place. Already quite hot so a slow process but was not in a hurry as I was only doing a short run of about 300km to Buenos Aires. Jorge had popped out so I was ready to leave and unsure when he was coming back so left without saying goodbye and saying thank you so will do it here. Jorge great place you run had a very relaxing time I had so I am a bit more refreshed than when I arrived so thanks.

Hit the road and it was hot and again the scenery was not at all very interesting so put my head down and headed for the capital. Todayís problem was not the wind even though it was still a bit blowy but the roads. This was not only today but the last couple of days the roads here are so worn that in place the tarmac has two tracks which are very deep where the trucks with the heat have melted a deep ruts so a bit like on a dirt road problem is that on dirt road the side are usually quite soft with this its tarmac so it solid so the first time I hit this I was following a truck and then the bike started moving all over the road as it hit these tarmac berms which I had not noticed as I was behind a truck took me while to figure out what was wrong and what was forcing the bike to make it handle that way so if I was not careful or hit these berms at the wrong angle or place I would be off. So another sobering obstacle to impede progress have to keep an eye out for these ripples (deep) and once in one be careful on getting it out.

So another dull hot day pulled up at Dakarmotors at around 5 not realising that there would not be anyone there as they are only open during business hours and not at the weekends bugger. Nice bloke next door let me use his phone to call Sandra who politely told me to come back on Monday. Bugger hot sweaty and tired and did not fancy going into Buenos Aires to find alternate accommodation so did some pleading and whining on the phone but this did not work. Bugger so whilst I was cursing and trying to figure out what to do next a Swish chap called Markus came out of the closed Dakarmotors so I thought I asked him to call Sandra as he was there and he could let me in. So he does this and eventually Javier turns up and I am in at Dakarmotors which is a relieve as I said I had not much energy on finding a hostel in a new city especially one the size of Buenos Aires. Javier not to happy as he received the call from Sandra who had received the call from Markus and he had to shorten his motorcycle ride he was on to let in a hot sweaty bike from Holland who turned up out of hours on there weekend so apologies for this and thanks for making this work as Dakarmotors is not a commercial hostel but a workshop that just happens to have a couple of bunk beds for travelling bikers passing through Buenos Aires so appreciate them taking time to accommodate me hopefully so may be putting some business there way.

So settled in went for a walk looking for some diner found another fresh pasta place so ravioli for dinner again wish I had better culinary skills but fresh pasta not bad. Back to the workshop via a trip to the supermarket where I think I may have been a partner in crime in a shoplifting crime. I walked in and there was a young teenager who I held the door open for and followed him in. The first aisle was the booze aisle and he was acting a bit suspiciously and he grabbed a bottle from the shelf and stuffed it up his shirt and then ran out of the door. I was a bit shocked but no one else seemed to have noticed or if they have they ignored it. So welcome to the Big City been in the outback to long will have to have my wits about me as Buenos Aires is a tough old city so can not be to casual with my belongings here.

Nice evening back at the workshop chatting to Markus from Switzerland and then beddy byes its still very hot so will have to get used to the heat again

60,000km 36 degrees hot and only two photos taken todays tells you a bit about my day![/caption]

Daisy hit 60,00km today so another happy km day for her think she deserves some new bits and pieces letís hope we can get them in Buenos Aires.
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:16 AM   #216
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Buenos Aires (and Tigre), Sunday, 17 February 2013 to Thursday, 21 February, Day 229

Buenos Aire = Tango[/caption]

So thatís 6 nights in a row at the same place a new kind of record for me only do this if I staying with someone I know and or studying and this was neither except I was waiting for tyres and a public holiday and weekend thrown into the mix and the real reason was I needed a bleeding rest and some time to figure out what I am going to next. So priority one was rest and lots of it, in which I was successful, next was trying to come up with a route for the next part of the journey and third how and when am I going to get me and Daisy home both of them still blanks loads of ideas and options just need to commit to one and I have sort of already but will hold out on telling you my decision until I am certain that the option I am going for but I think my mind is made up.

So what have I been up to, well on Sunday did a trip into town on the train walked for miles round the old harbour and the San Telmo area it was a bit dull and overcast but nice walk.

Old Harbour Buenos Aires[/caption]



Tango on the streets of Buenos Aires[/caption]



Monday lazy day hanging around the workshop working on the computer trying to figure out the answers to the question posed above as well as catching up with my rest. Successful on the last one still not sure about the others!

Tuesday another trip into Buenos Aires walking around weather not so good but dry but it pissed down later so got well and truly soaked

Evita Peron still very popular here[/caption]

Balcony where she used to give her speeches from[/caption]

Wednesday was a public holiday so decided to get the train to a place called Tigre that is just outside Buenos Aires this is an area based around canals and boats. So two train out there a tourist boat trip whilst there and 2 other trains back. Pleasant day and interesting place folks living in nice place next to the water but I bet its mossies hell most of the year so may look idyllic eaten alive in the process.

Tigre Canals[/caption]



Thursday tyres arrived so hung around the shop again getting the rest of my rest caught up with and changing my route out of here for the umpteen time still no idea when I am going home!

Dakarmotos as I said great workshop and shipping agent run by Javier and Sandra with 2 bunk beds and a kitchen and small garden for camping. So all week itís been pretty busy with different folks coming and going all week and very good evening had just sitting at the table outside yakking about travel motorcycles and anything else that came up.



So the cast this week was Markus, Michael, Ende, Dwight, Chantal, Jean, Pavel and girlfriend and others popping by during the day so very lively place.

And the residents of Dakarmotos Javier, Sandra, Julian, Negrita the cat and the new guest the little kitten who no one know where she came from and Javier wants her out as he does not likes cats but problem is she is very shy and no one has been to get near her and there are loads of places for her to hide in the places sneaking out to eat the other cats food when no one is watching will be interesting to see how this on pans out :-)

Some starting there trip others finishing and shipping out using the great service that Sandra provides from what I saw of the process and this could be the way I am leaning as well but when is the next obvious question.

So very relaxing and enjoyable week did not do much but that is exactly what I needed am I motivated for the next part of me trip not sure as part of me has had enough and just wants to go home but I know I would regret it if I pulled the plug now so I am aiming at a return date of middle of April but watch this space this could all change.

Why because they are yellow![/caption]

On a totally unrelated topic that I forgot to mention in a previous blog, whilst riding on the dirt roads from Rio Grande or maybe I did I cannot remember, I saw a man walking down the middle of the road which I thought was strange as why not along the side? I had to manoeuvre from one dirt rut to another and did not want to stop in the middle of no where and as I was making progress in the dirt did not want to upset any rhythm I may have had. As I passed I noticed he was pushing something in front of him that only had one wheel and as looked closer it was a monocycle! He was trying to ride a monocycle on the dirt roads amazing or what you see the strangest things and forget about them until someone else mentions it.
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:19 AM   #217
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Buenos Aires to Rio Cuarto, Friday, 22 February 2013, Day 234

Rio Cuarto[/caption]



So which way is he going well I was going to go to Montevideo but total change of plans and the new plan on the page is first to Cordoba via Rio Cuarto desperate to get out of the pampas and wind and back into the hills and or mountains. Then to Salta and maybe into Bolivia for a quick visit to the Salt flats at Uyuni and then a right turn and drag across Paraguay via the Iguazu falls up to Rio de Janeiro and then a run down the coast to Montevideo and back to Buenos Aires to ship the bike. So thatís about 10,000km round trip roughly taking into account Phillys navigations skills and that fact that he is easily distracted given myself about a month and half for this so should be doable!

Daisy is mostly wearing a set of new Metzler Tourances (Cost a bleeding fortune) Dodgy replacement non O ring chain may need to replace this again and fresh oil so she should be able to do the above no problem question is how is Phillys stamina well we will just have to wait and see.

So day started with the 4th run to the bank as DakarMotos is a cash only establishment and tyres in Argentina do not come cheap and the cash point only giving a grand out at a time.

Next was free petrol from Markus as he was shipping his bike back to Switzerland and his tank needed to be emptied as he had just filled it with about 35 litres (big BMW touring tank) as he was going to do some riding around Buenos Aires area but his bike died about 150km out of town and needed to be trailered back. He knew it was risky as he had already taken it apart and was not really able to fix it but it was now terminal so we said goodbye to him on Tuesday Morning and hello again on Tuesday night unloading his bike from the truck in the pissing rain. He was going to stop his trip soon this little upset just brought that date closer.

So why the new route well I wanted another fix of the Andes before going home to erase any memories of wind and pampas from my mind but this was going to have wait as I still had about 700km before it got slightly hilly again.

Still flat still windy but least trees block some of the wind and give me something to look at![/caption]



Nice enough run flat with the odd hill but greener and more trees than in the pampas and was nice to be on the road again. Javier had given me the route of a loop into the back of Cordoba and the plan was to take 2 days to Rio Cuarto which was 650km away but daisy was biting at the bit so we polished this all of in one day rolled into town at about 6.30 and headed straight to the Municipal Campsite, so back under canvas again.

Rio Cuarto[/caption]

Buzzing City Center[/caption]

Set up camp and wandered into town which was buzzing as it was Friday night had a nice chat with the lady at the tourist office got a local map and figured out my route through the hills to Cordoba. As yet I have yet to see the hills but I have been assured that they are there just over the horizon I cannot wait. Went for a walk and for some dinner and than got totally lost on my way back to the campsite. No worries looks like a reasonable neighbourhood I was lost in but then it got slowly worse or maybe just felt like that because it was dark and street lighting non existent. So kept on walking to what I thought was the direction of the river as if I found that I could follow it to the campsite but it never seem to appear and I had not a clue where I was. Did not want to ask anyone directions, as I did not want to alert the neighbourhood that there was a dumb gringo wandering around lost in the wrong part of town. Finally a cop car stopped at the lights near were I was walking so asked them for directions but promptly got lost again but at least found the river and after asking another local shop found my way back to Daisy and the campsite. Bugger my sense of direction was really of the radar tonight normally quite good :-) was getting slightly nervous as I got more and more lost walked for miles its seems.

Settle in with me Kindle, which is my standard routine whilst in the tent still reading Sea Biscuit so that may explain some of the horse racing terminology used in todays blog!

I have decided as yet I have no deadlines boats, or weather related so can take my time a bit and no need to rush so I may be treating this last month or so like a holiday spending a bit more cash being more of a tourist not sure I am capable of either but going to give it a whirl :-)
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:21 AM   #218
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Rio Cuarto to Cordoba, Saturday, 23 February 2013, Day 235

Are those hills in the distance?[/caption]

Another long day in the saddle and it was about 50km before I saw the hills but fortunately the road did not go into the hills but ran along side them for a long time teasing and tempting me to dive down dead end or dirt track roads just to get me of the straight boring roads. It was a bit of eye candy at least.

Do like the old Fiat 600 fancy an old 500 as well :-)[/caption]

At a certain point the road did dip into the hills, which was a nice change, then it was a mountain pass over the hills and into Cordoba, which was even better so climbing, and twisty roads yes bring it on.

Back in the hills again yep :-)[/caption]

Tyres should be bedded in by now but as they are wider than what I have been using for the 11k km feel a bit different so need to get confident in the new rubber. The road are also a bit challenging so that is pot holes right on the apex of a bend awkward bumps on the breaking points and random dirt and sand strewn over the road just as you are dipping it into a corner normally on blind bends so had to be really on my game today. Just add to the complexity or the technicality of the ride our friend the wind decided it wanted a peace of the action too so it was also quite strong adding another dynamic whilst cornering so earned my money today dealing with all these elements and keeping Daisy on the upright and on the black stuff. There where a lot of bikers out as I guess this is the local bikers playground for Cordoba and they where whizzing up and down one unfortunate fellow came a cropper right in front of me and Daisy coming down a steep hill with quite a simple corner heading towards us he suddenly lost the front end and hit the dirt on the side and went flying off the road. I pulled up and stopped as soon as possible trying to find a safe spot at the side of the road as this was a steep narrow road so was difficult and then ran back down the road to help the stricken rider warning oncoming traffic to slow down so not to add to the carnage. Others had stopped to help as well so we soon his bike upright he was not hurt only a sore shoulder from what I could understand and the bike fairing and clocks where ripped off. Oh yes and he was only wearing a T-shirt! I tried to get the folks to move the bike to a safer spot as we where in a very vulnerable place and get the traffic under control which was still flying past at a rate of knots but unfortunately my Spanish not quite up to the job of managing an accident scene but I did try. The chap seems okay and insist he can ride the bike so bits that had fallen off given to a passing car bike starts and of and he pulls over to the other side of the road as I suggested and I head back to Daisy who is parked further up the road also not in the best slot and resume the ride to Cordoba pace a bit slower after what we had just witness roads look quite reasonable but are quite treacherous and I think he hit a bump as he was coming into the corner throwing him off line and into the side of the road and I was not going to be caught out like that so caution the order of the rest of the ride.

Caution is the new order of the day![/caption]

As I hit the motorway into Cordoba matey boy comes past me reasonably fast T-Shirt flapping in the wind heading back to town to lick his wound physically and financially.

Its hot again 30 degrees plus have done a lot of km today last one quite hard work so needed to find somewhere to stay so stop put 2 hostels from Lonely Planet into my GPS and head for the first one which does not have parking facilities for Daisy and either does the second one but there is a private car park opposite where I can park Daisy but will cost me but to hot tired to be that bothered about this so settle in after a trip to the Supermarket as Philly is cooking to offset Daisy Parking Cost no not really just did not fancy eating out again.

This is one of those trendy hostels that think that atmosphere is to have loud music blaring all the time this went on to the small hours but fortunately for me I am deaf and was knackered so did not bother me to much other than that nice enough place. Tomorrow a rest day and to discover Cordoba as promised no need to keep rushing on can stay a bit longer and need to relax the pace a bit as I have been doing some big mileage /hours days on the bike the last 2 days.

 
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:24 AM   #219
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Location: Netherlands
Oddometer: 258
Cordoba, Sunday, 24 February 2013, Day 236

Cordoba Cathedral nice[/caption]

Itís Sunday so have a bit of a lie in free breakfast till 10 so get up just in time for this and have a leisurely breakfast and work on my Computer.

I am busy at the moment in updating the first part of my trip of the US and Canada as this was all done on I Web application and I only had one photo per entry and the pick of the crop of my photos where on a separate page so busy updating the first 100 days with additional photos in wordpress.com. This is for two reasons one is that I want the Blog to be consistent and as interesting as possible and as the narrative sometimes sucks so adding piccies to cover this shortcoming. The other reason is that I am an attention grabbing slut and I am not getting enough feedback and or response to the blog that I would like so have decided that I am putting a version of this on Adventure Rider Ride the World site or www.advrider.com on ride reports so extra pictures needed as all folks do there is look at the pictures first and narrative second and I can increase my audience base and finally get the praise and kudos and be told that I am awesome my trip is the coolest that this attention grabbing slut craves *:-)

Been meaning to this forever but never had the time but now on my more relaxed pace I have the time to do this.

Finally went for a walk around town its Sunday so very quite but I prefer it this way so a pleasant long walk taking in the sights trying to keep out of the sun as it was another scorcher.



Cordoba

Been holding this bloody thing up forever when is someone going to fix it ![/caption]



Back to the computer working the project above brain dead activity but I am enjoying myself and then later out again to a food court I had found that was open on my earlier trip out for a huge Lomito sandwich. More walking around it was livelier than earlier as more folks on the street walked for quite a while just soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying Cordoba.

Its a Puma Built in Cordoba and I like it would look great in my living room![/caption]

Finally back to the Hostel again working on the same project till there was a power cut in town and it was late so time for bed. The good thing about the power cut was that shut the loud music off so no problem getting to sleep tonight either as room was right next to patio where music was being played.

Not quite the Bellagio Las Vegas but we liked it :-)[/caption]

And for those of you interested here is the link to the Advrider site where I have been busy updating so a nice trip back to the beginning of my trip which seems like a lifetime ago. http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=837163
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:26 AM   #220
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Cordoba to Tafi Del Valle, Monday, 25 February 2013, Day 237

Salt Flats[/caption]

Strange day the original plan was to go to go a place called Catamarca and would be there about 4ish as it was only 400km away. The hills of yesterday where short lived back on the straight flat pampas roads and was like that most of the way so not much to write home about.

Nice Place to stop to fettle with my chain again which is wearing out mucho rapido![/caption]

About 200km into the trip I stopped for some fuel but there was none available as they where topping up the tanks will be ready in 45 minutes but there was another station 5km down the road. Whilst all this was happening a Brazilian biker came over for chat about the road and he was adamant that Catamarca was not that interesting and the roads in and out were terrible he invited me in to the cafť at the petrol station to chat to his two mates who had the same view as he did as well as another local who had joined the dialog and for a while it was as if I did not exist as these 4 guys planned a new itinerary for me and all this in Spanish so even if I was involved in the dialog I could not understand half of what was being said. So they decided that I was not to go to Catamarca but my new destination was to be Tucuman, which was 400 plus km away. I politely disengaged myself from the discussion and went back to Daisy and on to the other fuel station thanking my new friends for all the info. So a seed had been planted about the roads in and out of Catamarca being bad however not much else around in the direction I was going so Tucuman seemed a reasonable option but I did not fancy another big city I was looking for small town hence my original choice of Catamarca. The turn of for Catamarca is not for another 100km so I have plenty time to come up with a new plan. The road flat and boring scenery wise only bit of interest was a salt flat where I stopped for a while and mucked around for a bit before resuming my route North.

*

Catamarca would mean getting into the mountains sooner however the sound of those 4 guys ringing in my ears I set my GPS not to Tucuman but to a place called Tafi del Valle which I loved the sound of it was 50km further than Tucuman but was a small village in the mountains so that was it decision made going to be a long day in the saddle but hopefully worth it.

It was dull and boring until the last 50km when I finally turned into the mountains after been teased by them for while and by this time I was knackered as I already being going hard for hours so a thin difficult mountain road came at the wrong time as I was tired and making mistakes silly bugger always pushing to hard when its not really necessary but was committed to my new plan so made my way slowly up the mountain enjoying the change of scenery and trying to keep Daisy on the black stuff blind corner after corner up to 2000 meters and I finally made it to the outskirts of town it was just starting to get dark and today had one final challenge to throw at me a little diversion the bridge was out and there was a small matter of a river crossing. So pulled up to see how deep it was as it looked pretty deep and when a car went through confirmed my suspicions this is quite a deep river crossing been riding for 10+ hours knackered and fate has thrown me another hoop for me to jump through bugger not looking forward to this. Then a small motorcycle came through from the other side as well as some blokes on horseback and they stuck to the far side of the road where it seemed the water was a lot shallower so had a plan and was across the other side in no time using this route making sure I had enough momentum as I did not fancy getting bogged down in the middle of the river (stream)

Took me a while to find the hostel I was looking for after riding around town for a while seemingly it had just moved down by the river crossing so had driven passed it. Excellent little hostel and the price included dinner that evening so scored there, as I had no energy to go into the village. I was that tired I dropped Daisy whilst unpacking her. I had parked her badly so she was pretty vertical on the side stand and when I took the side pannier of she went over. Of course I tried to catch her as she went down but she is a pretty big girl and there was no way I could hold her up as I felt my muscles go ping ping one by one I just let her go.

Home for the night[/caption]

Did not have the strength or energy to pick her up myself so called for help from a Canadian chap who was inside so the two of us got Daisy vertical again and parked properly. Time to chill out as I am totally gaga dinner with a Canadian New Zealand couple, two Danish lads, an Argentinian lad and lass, and the ladies from the hostel and I cannot remember a single name god I am crap with names its embarrassing. Gnocchi, which was excellent and before I knew it was late night after chatting to the folks very pleasant but time for bed for this tired little bear. I am staying another day here as I knocked out enough miles today to deserve a rest day.
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:28 AM   #221
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Tafi Del Valle, Tuesday, 26 February 2013, Day 238

Great view shame about the clouds![/caption]

Great night sleep not surprising after the tough day I had yesterday, as we are at 2000 meters itís a lot cooler which makes me sleep a lot better. So have decided to spend another day here just relaxing so first a leisurely breakfast home made bread so very nice coffee in a teabag format which was a first for me but why not seems to work and then a bit of a fettle with my panniers as they got a bit bent out of shape yesterday when I dropped daisy so locks needed adjusted. Also a bit concerned with the chain as its stretching very fast but I guess that because its not an O ring type so going to have to keep an eye on this and may need another one soon bugger!

Itís a bit dull and overcast so go for a walk through the village which is nice and then go to the tourist office and ask about the road to Cafayate then through to Salta as I have had heard that it is ripio (dirt) but according to the chap he tells me tarmac all the way so that the next couple of days routes sorted. Talking of routes Philly has screwed up again with his lack of research and looking at maps was going to Bolivia to see the salt flats but have decided against this as I do not fancy the hassle of Bolivia difficult to get petrol and roads not to good so I am heading for some Salt Flats in Northern Argentina called Salinas Grandes as a substitute. Then I was going to head onto the top left hand side Argentina and cross the border into Paraguay and do a nice run through the middle of Paraguay to Asuncion. Well after looking into the details I find there are a no border crossing up here. Well there are but they are unlikely to have Aduana for my bike and unlikely to have facilities or immigration for Foreigners like me as itís for local Argentinean and Paraguayan folks only and I have heard itís a notorious drug running route and the roads are all dirt tracks so the first large commercial crossing is way down South near Asuncion so looks like I have a long straight ride ahead of me of about 800km for this miscalculation hope what I am seeing during the next couple of days makes up for this and the trip up here worthwhile :-)

I digress back to Tafi del Valle ask the chap about short walks in the area and he pointed me to a 40 minute walk up a hill to cross that had some nice views so that is the plan for today went to a local market stall and brought some fresh out of the oven empanadas and something to drink and headed up the hill.

Cross on top of hill todays plan.[/caption]

Its quite cool as there are a lot of clouds but pleasant enough walk and yes the views where very nice so sat on top of the hill with my Kindle and picnic very relaxing joined by 3 beautiful condors flying around above me where they after my chocolate biscuits?

No you cannot have one of my chocolate biscuits![/caption]

Eventually headed back to the village to the local petrol station cafť that had Wi-Fi and spent some time there doing the usual uploading and updating of things phillysbigtrip related and still figuring when and how to get home.

Back to the hostel sat outside reading for a while then dinner, which was a lentil stew, which was gorgeous, may just stay another night just for the food. Another pleasant evening chatting and relaxing and this is probably one of the most relaxing rest days I have has as I have a habit of doing absolutely loads on my rest days well not today just what the doctor ordered.

Daisy's well guarded tonight[/caption]
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:31 AM   #222
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Tafi Del Valle to Cafayate, Wednesday, 27 February 2013, Day 239



So a short day planned today to Cafayate, which is about 120km away the sun, is out and it is clear as bell so absolutely stunning compared with yesterday. Good relaxing breakfast slowly packed Daisy and hit then road stopping every 5 minutes to take photographs as it was a beautiful ride so maybe not such a bad idea to come up here after all.



Road from Tafi to Cafayate nice[/caption]

Got to Cafayate in a couple of hours it was hot so needed to get out of my bike gear ASAP and found a nice little hostel of the main square next to a posh hotels whoís car park I could use for Daisy. Off exploring the town which is also very small and compact head to the tourist info place for a map and ask if there are any walks yes there was up a hill to a shrine so that is the plan so keep walking up hills to these religious spots its like I am doing some kind of pilgrimage or just the religious folks have nicked all the good spots for crosses and shrines. A lot harder walk this time as its 30 degrees plus and no clouds cover so hot and sweaty but make it.



View from the hill.[/caption]

It is in private ground but I am told I am allowed to go in but when I try to come out the gate been locked save for a small gap which tubby here could not fit through. Oh bugger no one around and I am locked behind this huge fence with sharp objects on top so climbing over not really an option, as I am not as limber as I used to be. Finally get the attention of someone and I am free. Head back to town and see a gym with some guys playing a game similar to squash but the court the size of a basketball court and four guys playing at the same time team of two. Sat and watched this for a while still could not figure out the rules but very entertaining be interested to know what it was that they where playing and then back to the hostel.

What they Playing?[/caption]

Went out again for some dinner and some more exploring saw some lions! Seemingly the circus is in town and they still use live animals here and they where driving them around the square on the back of an articulated lorry not very HSE compliant in my view!

*

Had a pizza from a takeaway joint that had seats on the street then across the other side of the street for an ice-cream so very pleasant meal. Back at the hostel there was a BBQ Argentinean style with a huge amount of meat and was asked if I would like to join them for dinner. I was already stuffed but it would be rude not to so another feed of big chunks of meat and sausages lekker! No one spoke English so another evening with my limited Spanish but very enjoyable another late night.

Peel me a grape![/caption]



Love old wrecks![/caption]

 
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:33 AM   #223
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Cafayate to Salta, Thursday, 28 February 2013, Day 240

Loverly ride and great scenery![/caption]

Nice breakfast in the courtyard no hurry another short run this time to Salta and its already very hot. Hit the road and wow what a road even better than yesterday if thatís possible the scenery is stunning. Feels like I am driving through the Wild West gorgeous red rocks and canyons and a lovely twisty road following a river cutting through this wonderful landscape.



I am sure its my right of way try telling this lot that![/caption]

* *

Arrived in Salta at about 3 found a hotel and asked if they had safe parking yes they did only problem had to drive through the front door and lobby to access it no problem me and Daisy have done this before so up the curb up another steep doorstep after removing the panniers to reduce girth (if only it was that simple for me as well!) sharp left in front of reception desk sharp right watch that mirror and Daisy is safe and sound for another night. Chatting to the guy at reception about routes to the Salt flats and he highly recommends the Ruta 40 which is about 150km of ripio (dirt) and I tell him me no gusto ripio (I do not like dirt roads) and he replies quite rightly welcome to South America get used to it which is a great response and he is right I am probably missing loads due to my aversion of dirt roads so sort of considering giving the Route 40 another bash.



Before all of the serious stuff after collecting my laundry back to the hotel working on this and then out to the main square for an ice cream and another short walk enjoying what is left of my trip :-)



 

 
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:36 AM   #224
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Salta to Purmamarca, Friday, 1 March 2013, Day 241

Salinas Grandes![/caption]

So we thought the last two days on the bike was good well believe it or not it just got better!

Had my free breakfast, which was dry bread, and coffee if I wanted butter and Jam it would be extra! Funny the posher a place the crapper the breakfast!

Remember my bravado of yesterday claiming I was going to hit the dirt of Ruta 40 well bollocks to that I am not feeling that brave so will stick to the tarmac route to Salinas Grande the Salt flats.* First 80km nice run through the mountains funny thing is that this a main road but I have seen wider cycle paths in Holland than this road its skinny as hell mainly single track but they have painted a line in the middle! So fortunately not much traffic as it was very twisty and lots of blind corners with no where to go if you met someone coming the other way so slow going but scenery lovely again.

Skinny roads and blind bends make for cautious riding[/caption]



Hit San Salvador de Jujuy and its already 1ish and it still 200km to the salt flats and I was planning on staying in Jujuy tonight and doing a round trip to the flats but looking at the time may not be feasible but lets give it a whirl anyhow. Have some lunch and hit the road and its even nicer than this morning beautiful winding road through the mountains good tarmac and proper width now bit rough in place so still had to keep your wits about you as it would turn into dirt for very small parts in the blink of an eye normally half way round a blind corner. Every corner also seemed to have a scattering of loose stones and rocks that could cause problems if hit at the wrong speed and angle of lean.

Loverly twisty roads bikers heaven but treat with caution![/caption]

But it was not the road that was the star but the scenery was gob-smacking lovely and this went on for miles. Climbed to 4000 plus meters so definitely back in the mountains and short of breath maybe due to altitude or was the gorgeous vista after vista I was seeing?



My favourite light brown Llamas where back as well

Just love these guys beautiful brown colour smile every time I see one :-)[/caption]

After reaching the top of the pass run downhill onto the Salt flats. On the way down there was a stranded biker on the side of the road waving at me so pull over. Local guy says he out of fuel can I help him no problem as I have spare fuel with me the strange thing is that he wants it in a jerry can not directly into the tank which I find strange and suspicious so before I give him some ask him why and he says the fuel in his tank is not clean and something wrong with his carburettor so I ask him to show me and see if I can help him but strangely enough he does not seem to have the keys for the tank and keeps insisting I put the fuel in the jerry can. So I am already suspicious as to how a local comes to be out of fuel in the middle of nowhere and his reluctance of my assistance of help and him unable to explain where he had to get to and how he was going to get there so I got pissed of with the guy and started getting angry and in the end refused to give him any of my fuel as I suspected this was some kind of scram so put away my spare jerry can and hit the road frustrated and angry unsure if I was right or was it a language thing and I had just deserted some poor chap in the middle of nowhere. And my good vibe had been totally buzzed bugger. 10 minutes down the road is another stranded local biker waving me down so I pull over and ask him want the problem is well guess what he is out of fuel and have I any spare? He pulls out a petrol tube/line ready for syphoning so he has got the kit only problem his he not getting nothing from me as I am pretty sure now that it is a scam and I tell him about matey boy down the road doing exactly the same scam but a bit more elaborate in his act than this chap and wave bye to this fellow he is not getting anything from me. I do hope I am right or I have just deserted not just one fellow biker but two fellow stranded bikers in the space of 15 minutes so I may have angered the biker gods whom I am a big believer in and they have looked after me rather well this trip but what are the odds of two local running out of fuel in there local turf in the space 10 minutes yup definitely a scam me thinks those guys probably do this everyday or not!

Salinas Grandes[/caption]





So my good buzz vibe slightly ruined by these events as I roll onto the flats and I am in for another of natureís treats. Stunning definitely worth the trip hang around for a while sucking up the scenery and then calculation time. Do I have enough fuel to get me back to Jujuy or do I need to go an additional 60km in the wrong direction towards Chile, which will give me enough to get back to Jujuy. Well I am having a great ride so far and have the energy for some more so opt for the additional km and I can hole up there for the night or somewhere closer than Jujuy if I run out of light (time)

So cross the plains up the mountains at the other side and the weather had turned wind was getting up and was threatening to rain (motorcycle gods?) Missed the rain found some petrol in the middle of nowhere and then checked out the village to see if there was anywhere to stay, as there was tourist info place at the side of the road. Yep 3 places to stay in Susques but as I drove around this dusty village it did not really seem that appealing and I had some energy so decided lets do the salt flats again and high mountain pass and stop at the first village on the other side only about 140km away so headed back to the salt plains. Funny thing about energy it can disappear within seconds and as I headed into the mountains I suddenly felt tired as I being going hard all day my friend the wind decided he come back and haunt me and drove into a dust storm on the salt flats. Great decision Philly stopped on the salt flats and totally contrast to a couple of hours ago then the sun was shining the salt glorious white and great refectionís in the still clear water, now it was dull and overcast so looked like dirty snow so not at all as charming as earlier. Oh well couple of chocolate biscuits for energy and then over the mountain pass, as it was dull and cloudy focus not on the scenery but on the road as I scratched my way back to the nearest village on the other side enjoying myself immensely. No sign of the stranded bikers so least I know they got moving somehow and pulled into Purmamarca at about 7 found a cheap little hostel after trying a couple of other places and it was just of the main square. Weird setup house with 2 rooms with some beds a kitchen bathroom and a sitting room and only me and a Dog there as after I paid some guy he disappeared and left the place to me. Never saw him again.

Home for the night![/caption]

 



Went for a walk and some dinner and back to my own little place for an evening of trying to get this up to date just for a change.

Been a glorious 3 days however tomorrow the long boring straight-line drag of over 1000km to Asuncion but at this moment time I think my trip up here to North Argentina is worth it after a couple of days of tedious roads I may have changed my view so watch this space.

 
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Old 03-07-2013, 11:56 AM   #225
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Purmamarca to Los Pirpintos, Saturday, 2 March 2013, Day 242

Seriously dull roads today just as expected unfortunately![/caption]

Left the hostel at about 9 still no one around had no idea what to do with the key so just locked the door and left the key between the screen door and the door hope that was the right thing to do.

Nice run again into Jujuy then it got seriously boring. I had plugged in Asuncion into my GPS and after filling up about 60km out of Jujuy I had a closer look at the route it was taking me. It was routing me North via route 81 and I remember seeing on another map that route 81 was ripio (dirt) but itís a main route so I guess Mr Garmin think this is not a dirt road as I had specifically turned the dirt roads option of on my machine. So kept following the Garmin route whilst I made a decision on the next route do I trust my GPS or do I trust Philly. So did another 20km before I pulled the plug and did a U turn back to Route 16 trust my Garmin you got to be kidding me J

So a 120km detour on an extremely boring stretch of road and the rest of the day not much better dull dull duller. Reached the Route 16 which is a straight road that goes on for ever so for the for first time this trip I pulled out my IPod to see if some music would help with the boredom stakes. First time I have used an IPod on the bike and it was not a success. Had to have it a full volume and still could not really hear due to the wind and helmet noise and what you could here where only parts of the music so half the time I did not know what I was listening to. My friend the wind was also back pushing my helmet from the right making the right side headphone uncomfortable. So after 2 hours gave up on the IPod and went back to being bored.

It was getting late and I had seen very little in the way of accommodation and I was in the middle of no where and the towns or lets call them village getting further and further apart that at one stage I was considering just setting up camp on the side of the road.

At one village I stopped and asked about accommodation and was directed to a place at the far side of the villages that had rooms you would not have known looking at the place from the road so fortunately I had stopped to ask.

They had rooms but what a shithole but not to expensive after a bit of haggling no water in the cistern just a bucket and the previous tenants had use the cistern as a rubbish bin! Graffiti on the wall decrepit old air conditioner and the lock on the door did not work so in short a hole.

My hole for the evening! looked even worse on the inside![/caption]

But beggars cannot be choosers and was just glad to have a roof over my head. Went for some dinner and before I even asked a Milanese sandwich was plonked in front of me which was fine as that all I really wanted anyhow. Sat outside watching village life, which was non-excitant till the sun, went down (did not fancy going back to my room!). Entertainment was a couple of dogs chasing a small pig around and around the yard until a bigger sow came over and chased them of typical bullies picking on the smaller ones and running away when something there own size or bigger comes along. I was routing for the pigs.

Finished my book Sea biscuit which was good and would recommend it and finally ventured back to my room and my asthmatic air condition and pushed all my luggage against the door to keep out anything that goes bump in the night remember no lock.

It absolutely pissed down that night so I am glad I was in my little shithole rather than in a tent at the side of the road. It had a tin roof so the noise was horrendous!
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