Touring Ted

2 wheels & no sense. My Motorcycle travel blog.

So… It was over a week ago since I left the other guys and decided to ride alone.

The day after the crash I left the others and headed South to the seaside tourist city of Puerto Madryn. It was my hope to find “Gato Motos” there so I could change my crappy street biast Trailwing tyres for some decent duel purpose rubber. Sadly, they didnt have what I needed so after staying one night in luxury (2 star hotel), I rode a short 90 miles back North to the Peninsular Valdez.
Peninsular Valdez is a a well known nature reserve and tourist site which is famous for Whales, Penguins and other marine life. It has a infamous Ripio (gravel) coast road which claims a few lives a year and seems to attract the locals and crazy bikers alike who want to circuit the coast for a challenge. So, I pull into Puerto Piramides, the major town on the peninsular and straight away I see 5 overland bikes owned by the German guys.. Small world huh !! We eat lunch and decide to find a hostel and go whale watching the next day and then maybe ride the peninsular.

We stumble into a brand new hostel which I immediately fall in love with. Stone built, wooden ceilings scattered with big sofas, a kitchen and most importantly, clean hot showers and comfortable beds. We settle in with the usual routine of beer, wine and home cooked food and chat the night away.

The next day on the peninsular, we decide to go Whale watching. I love nature and have always wanted to see whales in their natural environment so I was well up for this. Sadly, the main whale season ended a few weeks ago but we were lucky enough (with the skill of our Captain) to find a Mother Southern Right Whale and her calf. We followed the whale for some time with a few other boats until the whale got bored with us which was our cue to head back to shore. It was really nice to be out on the water but it gave me a major appetite (not for blubber though).

That night we headed into the town for a big juicy steak with a newly arrived American guy who had just turned up at the hostel from Ushuaia,  a Spanish guy from Madrid who was travelling by car and Mick O’Malley from the UK. We ate and drank while the restaurant slowly transformed into a bustling night club around us. There was a brilliant local 5 piece band playing followed by a DJ and dancing.  We danced the night away with the help of numerous ‘Cuba Libre’ coctails and wine… The rest became a bit of a blank . A good night all round I think 🙂

So after another lazy day at the hostel, the Germans decided to ride the peninsualar. I debated with myself all day whether to ride the bad ripio roads with my street tyres and very fragile handlebar clamps. I knew that even a small topple could break my bars straight off and end my journey south for new years eve . I felt the need to be sensible for a change so left them to ride out and camp while I sulked in the sun with some Quilmes beer.

My tyres were really pissing me off by then so I made the decision to have some sent down from Buenos Aires. Javier in Dakar Motos had a set of Metzeler Karoos and agreed to send them far south to the city of Rio Gallegos where I could collect them from a bus depot before heading to the Souther island of Tierra del fuego..The next day I set off alone for the long 3 day ride south to Rio Gallegos. I stopped at Comodore Rivadavia that night and then the next day I rode another 200 miles to Puerto San Julian.

I stopped in San Julian, one days ride away from Rio Gallegos where I can pick up my tyres and finally head the final stretch to Tierrra del Fuego and Ushuaia. This place was touristic but with not many people around which confused me as to why I couldnt get a room in a hotel anywhere. Maybe the thought of a smelly Englishman staying in their hotel doesnt appeal to them. Maybe it has something to do with the huge memorial to the Argentinians who died in the Malvinas (Falklands). Funny thing as you get further South in Argentina is that there are a lot of memorials and strong feelings to the Malvinas. They still take it very much to heart and there are a museams and tours devoted to explaining why the Malvinas are historically Argentinian. I just tell everybody im Irish to save any poential ill feeling. !!!  So another nights boring camping alone. Thank god the wine is so cheap and I still have my laptop full of music and videos.

The next morning I was woken up by wind violently flapping my tent. I just knew this was going to be a bad days riding. I lay in my sleeping bag hoping the wind would suddenly drop but it just seemed to get worse. I packed up my tent and geared up the bike up knowing that the longer I procrastinated, the worse it would probably get. It turned out to be the worst days ride of my life. The wind was just horrendous. I couldnt ride faster than 45mph with the head wind and it was a constant fight to keep the bike from blowing into the side of the road or into oncoming trucks. The other drivers were as crazy as ever, overtaking within cm’s and overaking on blind bends. There were more than a few moments when I saw my life flash between my eyes. The sensible thing would of been to pull over and sit it out but over here thats not really an option. You are so far between fuel stops and towns that theres just nowhere to stop, just praires and pampas. I battled for 7 hours in the cold, strong wind and finally made it into Rio Gallegos. I was soo cold and pissed off that I wanted to be back home with a hot cup of tea and a bacon butty. No such luck for me though as I still needed to find the bus depot to collect the tyres that were meant to be waiting for me and then find a hotel, as camping in this wind would be a nightmare.

In one moment of luck, the bus depot happened to be on the main route into town. In another moment of bad luck, the tyres wern’t there. By now I was just so pissed off. The guy just shrugged his shoulders and said “Manana” (Maybe tomorrow) so I just said thanks and left in search of a hotel where I would wait for my tyres to arrive.

After riding around the city for 30 minutes with every hotel turning me away I was really feeling sorry for myself. It had been a truely awful days riding, I was shivering cold, my tyres wernt there and I couldnt get a room.  I turned to my GPS to show every hotel in the vicinity and god bless it, it found me the one that im writing this post from. The downside is that i’m in the the last room which has 3 beds so I had to pay from them all 🙁 A horrendous £26 a night for a 3 bed room which is pretty expensive on my budget and especially for a uber basic room.

On top of all that, the hotel staff are really miserable and unfriendly.  Breakfast which was included in the price was never brought to me unless I haseled them, and one day they even dropped it on the floor infront of me and put it back on my plate which out even a sign of remorse.   My only example of poor hospitality from Argentina !!  Theres something about this town that just doesn’t sit well for me.

 So today is Saturday and iv just been back to the depot for a 3rd time (they had a siesta the 2nd time). Thank god my tyres were there so I can now leave tomorrow and hope to make it to Rio Grande in Tierra del Fuego for Christmas eve. I have to cross the border into Chille then back into Argentina to get there. Its going to be cold, wet and miserable but im used to that now !!!! Until the next time….

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3 Responses to “The way south”

  1. Holly  Says:

    It can’t be asados and siestas the whole time 😉
    Hope you get sorted babe and make the most of your Christmas there…what I wouldn’t give..!!!
    x x

  2. Mark  Says:

    Happy Christmas Dude!!!!

    Glad to see the adventures are going good. Remember that invitation for New Years with us in Mexico City still stands!!!

    Feliz Navidad y Feliz Ano Neuvo.

    Adios Amigo 😉

  3. Maura  Says:

    You write very well.

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