El Burro - In Ushuaia.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by TeeTwo, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

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    Nothing remarkable about the ride over to Montevideo, though the temps went over 70F which is unusual for this time of year here.

    Staying at the Hotel Universitas, nice apartment for $40 a night, secure underground parking ($5 a night) and 400 yards from Tres Cruces bus station (and shopping mall). Bought my Colonia Express ferry ticket to BA (counter 31 in the bus station) the day I arrived, one way ~$45 so not bad at all (compared to +$150 on the Buquebus ferry). Heading to BA tomorrow, and fly home Sunday.

    Dropped the bike off yesterday and had a tour of the bikes in Willi's shop with Kevin.

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    Kevin invited me to join him, his Mum and a couple of buddies to the Teatro Solis for a Tangazo concert (music inspired by Tango, no dancing). Solis is a cool place and it was a great way to finish off the cultural side of this leg of my journey.

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    A couple more night shots of the area near the Solis.

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    So that about wraps things for the second leg of my exploration of SA. Back late September to finish the trilogy of visits with the push south to Ushuaia.

    Here are a few factoids from this leg, for those that like numbers.

    6,000 miles travelled - not rounded just an act of fate.

    88 gallons of gas for USD 378. The most expensive gas was here in Uruguay, a tad under $6/gal for regular....eye watering.

    An average of 69.1 (though a little less as the tank is not full at the mo). The fuel economy dropped a lot in the last 2,500 miles when the average speed went up. At 70mph I was getting about 52mpg, putzing along at 35-45mph on back roads nearly 75mpg. The CB500X is a relatively high revving engine, and I geared it better for highway riding, the counter sprocket is a 16 toother, the stock 15. Torque...what torque...LOL, but it had what it needed when it was needed.

    Dogs…. much fewer than in the first leg. Biggest pack attack was south of Calama, Chile when I slowed nearing a police control point, about 8 saw an opportunity to have some fun. Outcome ..one of them got too close to my boot and scored an own goal with his head. So current score for both segments of the trip -

    Rider - 1 (og) Dogs 0

    Bike drops 1; inattentive rider made a school boy error in a dust squall on a Bolivian salar going to the Ollague border. Damage....pride and a turn signal snapped. Both repaired.

    CB500X Rally Raid.....all good. One oil and filter change. New brake pads installed, rear in Mollendo, Peru and front in Colonia, Uruguay. It is holding up very well. Hope that continues for the balance of the journey.

    Hope to attract some of you back for the final leg & for those in the northern hemisphere, enjoy the summer! Those in the southern...spring is not so far away!

    Cheers. T2
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  2. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

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    Thanks, still following your travails!
    Was that a French Solex in the bike shop up on the wall?
  3. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Safe travels on your way home @TeeTwo! Hope El Burro enjoys its well deserved rest and that she's ready to go upon your return in September :ricky :ricky

    Pretty cool to see those figured you posted, 6k miles for this leg...wow. Neat to know you consumed 88 gallons of fuel and that's killer mileage given the variety of terrain you covered.

    I'm along for the long haul man, hope you have a good "break" with the family and that getting back into the travel mode on your way to Ushuaia is easy once fall (here) rolls around :nod :thumb :thumbup
  4. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

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    No idea roadcapDen, he does have a bunch of European bikes in the shop....I will have to look when I get back in September and let you know.....my forgetfulness notwithstanding.

    Thanks liv2day ---- catch you in September.

    T2
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  5. Slickrick

    Slickrick Adventurer Supporter

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    Great ride report, see you for the next leg. I have been considering the CB500X for a SA trip as well, good to hear its working well.
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  6. powderzone

    powderzone Been here awhile Supporter

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    Great following along. I’ll look forward to the final leg - there’s some beautiful scenery down there. You’ll be fine with a September timeframe. It’ll be chilly so plan for that and risk of snow in the passes but still do-able. Plus you’re an expert with snow in high passes now, after your Paso de Jama experience!
  7. miguelR

    miguelR biker

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    Exact. The Velosolex were very popular here in Montevideo in the 60s
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  8. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

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    United Airlines from Richmond to BA then Austral Air to Montevideo; three flights, all on-time and the ultimate happiness is getting the checked box with the tire in it, followed by Uruguayan Aduana letting me through without the 60% import duty since it was for personal use. Thanks to Kevin L. who stored the bike for 31/2 months giving me the heads up to have the TVIP to prove the point.

    It was sunny and a warm spring day on arriving in Buenos Aires, before taking the hop over to MVD.

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    Took the bus into the city, Tres Cruces. Darn near killed me when the box got jammed in the exit door and I ended up on me bum....still, I got to see some of the city neighborhoods on the 30 minute journey in and only $2 - cheapskate. Got the tire unpacked and headed out to settle into the rhythm of the road...with a great meal and vino tinto. Slept like a baby.

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    Ubered over to Willi's Motos with the tire and met the main man for the first time; Kevin is off in Europe on a trek. El Burro was ready to rock and roll and in 10 minutes the rear wheel was off and headed to the tire shop.

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    Put a new K60 Scout on, the one that was replaced still had ~4,000 miles in it though with a few cuts and bruises from the unmade roads in Bolivia and Peru. I would have needed to get a new one in TDF at a healthy premium to US prices, so decided to haul one down with me. It takes the angst out of the ride and the rubber will get me comfortably home. Had an oil change - Honda calls for 10W30, but you use what you can get, so Motul 4T 5100 15W50 is in there now.

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    Got the Mosko Moto Reckless 80's back on a returned to the hotel to get sorted. The 3rd and final leg starts tomorrow...destination Ushuaia.

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  9. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

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    A few pics of the antique motos in Willi's collection.

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    Cheers T2
  10. BarryB

    BarryB Been here awhile Supporter

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    Good to see you back! Anxious to get started!
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  11. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

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    700 miles have been logged since leaving Montevideo yesterday. This update is being written from Santa Rosa, in the La Pampa region. From Montevideo at sea level it has been one long arduous climb to reach Santa Rosa at an elevation of about 680ft...yep, that is about 1 foot up for every mile travelled, I barely noticed it ...:rofl.

    I opted for the more direct and northerly route to return to Argentina via the Fray Bentos crossing. When I stopped for gas I noticed towers in the town of San Jose in the distance so detoured to take a look. Nice church and town square the likes of which I haven't seen for a while on this trip.

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    Worth the short detour and then onward to the border crossing. The whole process was completed in less than an hour, no big deal, then up and over the international bridge into Argentina.

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    A couple of interesting bridges as I neared Zarate where I would stay the night. The road bridge was flanked by a rail bridge that happened to have a freight train heading in the opposite direction. Trains are not commonly sighted in these parts.

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    Stayed at the Kin Hotel which was a good deal price wise, close to town and had excellent secure parking.

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    Zarate was a nice clean town in the process of expanding a pedestrian shopping area. The British style red telephone box was a surprising find in one of the town plazas.

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    Then it was onto Santa Rosa and the start of the long 1,000 mile crossing of the pampas.....
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  12. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

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    … as you probably learned in school the Pampas is big and flat. The roads through it are for the most part arrow straight. Seeing a sign 'Curva Peligrosa' caused a bit of a chuckle; there was line of sight through the curve and it wasn't sharp in the least; I guess it was considered dangerous because there hadn't been a another curve for 70 miles! A few shots from along the way on what was a delightful day to ride. As the temps climbed in the afternoon it caused the wind to pick up (light training for what is to come).


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    Front and rear shot of a toll booth...all free for motos in Argentina (Chile can you hear me?).

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    One of the rare bends in the road.

    Gas and vitals along the way.

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    ...and the payoff for a long day in the saddle. In Patagonia but with a long way to go to reach the final destination, though just 35 miles from Santa Rosa for the day.

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    More of the same tomorrow, but a few lakes thrown in on the way to Neuquén.

    Cheers T2
  13. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Fantastic to see this spinning up again, can't wait follow along as you make your way south @TeeTwo :thumb
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  14. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

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    Another early start from Santa Rosa, though not so much chill, it was 64F at 7.45am when I left. I was surprised by the undulating terrain with a few small lakes along the way, some completely dried up. This area is normally dry, but the past winter has been exceptionally so, according to the host at the homestay last night. The one below caught my eye, still filled and I saw specs of pink in the distance.

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    Yes, they are flamingoes; another surprise delivered up by the Pampas.

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    Neuquén, the capital of La Pampa region, was the target destination. The planned route took me across country on Ruta Nacional 152, though as I made the turn onto RN152 there was a police check point, where I came to a stop. Asked my destination I was advised that the road had some problems, not sure quite what, but they recommended using a different route, longer in miles but not in time. I took the advice and as a consequence met up with the three Argentinian moto amigos below, who are also heading to Ushuaia.

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    Rather a lot of luggage on the 250cc single cylinder Honda, ridden by the well-rounded guy on the left. We passed each other a few times on the road during the day. Who knows I might bump into them again as I head south.

    Evidently the area north of Neuquén is a source of hydrocarbons. Just as well the wildfire was not close to an oil well.

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    And fruit growing. Pears based on the signage by the road.

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    Neuquén is a relatively large city, and being in Patagonia commemorates the Falkland War (as we Brits call it). Many of the military bases used in the war are in Patagonia, the memorial to the fallen was simple; an infinity reflecting pool, understated and well done.

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    I salute the fallen on both sides of the conflict.

    Most restaurants in the town do not open until 8pm or even later. I managed to find one not too distant from the hotel that opened at 7. Spaghetti and meatballs washed down with two glasses of a local craft IPA. I was ready for bed!

    Today I journeyed from Neuquén to San Carlos de Bariloche, it was a great day in the saddle. But that update will have to wait till tomorrow....I'm feeing a little knackered after 1,400 miles over the last 4 days and a renewed encounter with snow since the Paso de Jama adventure. A rest day in SCdB is in order.

    Cheers T2
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  15. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

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    RN 237 is the direct route from Neuquén to San Carlos de Bariloche, I elected to head due west on RN22 to Zapala with the goal of riding Ruta 40 south and onto the mountains north of Bariloche. It didn't work out that way.

    The day was forecast to be windy and heading west in Patagonia is asking for it I suppose. All was well for the first 50 miles, the wind finally bit as I passed through Plaza Huincul. With the throttle pinned El Burro could only make 40-50mph, the slightest incline in the road made for more of a challenge. The CB500 would not make more than ~4,000rpm; the engine was working hard and mpg dropped into the 30's. I figured that I was running into a consistent 40-50mph headwind, easier riding than a crosswind of course. Did I wish for the horses in my prior R12GS ...at that point you bet ya; only the second time in 12,000 miles. After 30 miles or so I crested a ridge and the wind diminished dramatically, like a switch went to off.

    Ruta 40 is joined at Zapala, pointing in a southerly direction, so 20-30mph crosswinds replaced the headwinds, not bad but enough to make the occasional shelter offered by bumps and dips in the terrain very welcome.

    As I approached the foothills of the Andes it became obvious that precipitation of the frozen kind lay ahead. Sure enough, short lived, but heavy snow squalls descended onto the Pampas. The temperatures dipped from the mid-40's into the mid-30's but never reached freezing, the roads remained wet not icy. The Andes lay ahead, visible at times, but more often obscured by cloud and I would guess snow falling. It was enough to convince me to cut off on RN234 and pick up RN237 on the run into Bariloche. This route is marked as Ex40 on some maps I have seen, which I presume is 'Express 40' it isn't the real deal but still went through decent scenery with some twists and turns. Even staying east of the mountains the occasional snow squalls still enveloped me, followed by clear blue skies. It was an interesting day. Pictures from the ride.

    Ruta 40. The snow coming in from the south.

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    ..and then the sun returned. This picture was taken a few miles prior to the RN234 turn off.

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    RN234 was worth riding, things have a habit of working out.

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    The run into Bariloche on 237 was decent,

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    ...though the snow squalls where never far away.

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    Bariloche eventually came into view, across the lake in the shadow of the mountains. The snow coming down in the mountains at right of the picture, where the true Ruta 40 runs...happy to miss that, no views to be had there anyway, just a cold slog. Temperatures fell below freezing overnight, but the trend is warming for the next few days.

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    A little hamlet, closer than Bariloche.

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    R&R today, some planning and a walk around town and the lake.

    Staying at the Kospi Guesthouse; recommended. Close to town, parking behind locked gates. Smallish rooms but with bathroom and relatively inexpensive.

    Cheers. T2
  16. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Woof, that's a chunk of mileage to cover in 4 days - even on a comfortable moto. Hope the rest day proved to be just that and you're ready for the next stint, cool pics from your days' journey and the places you visited. Haven't heard reference to the Falkland War for many moons - remember learning about it as it happened when I was in school. Good on you for visiting the memorial.

    Safe travels @TeeTwo :-)
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  17. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

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    Some photo fodder from my wandering around Bariloche today.

    Not quite Lombard Street in San Francisco, but they gave it a shot.

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    Argentina is getting into improved main streets, some parts are still being developed in Bariloche. It will all be like this when it is done. P1020323.JPG

    In case one had forgotten the location....

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    Spring is here....

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    It would be wrong not to buy a bragging rights vanity sticker.....no?

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    I plan on staying in the area tomorrow, it should be an even better day to take a loop ride, retracing my path up on RN 237, cutting off west on RP 65 by the side of Lake Traful, then back south on the real Ruta 40, on the north side of the lake pictured above, Nahuel Huapi. 150 miles just to keep loose :hmmmmm.

    T2
  18. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

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    Lake Nahuel Huapi was dead flat calm this morning, no wind, the forecasters had it right.

    Heading north on RN40, nothing like the color of a glacier or snow fed river.
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    RP65 is an unmade road of about 40 miles, with a short blacktop section in Villa Traful, which is a little over halfway from the start of the eastern end of the road. The surface was good to the village, on the west side at higher elevation the recent snowfall and melt coupled with the shade from the trees made the surface a little slick in places. A centimeter or two of slime/goop on top of the hard pack, frozen in places, better in the sun.

    The beginning,

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    towards the end and the high point for the day.

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    Lake Traful is pristine.

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    No compass needed in these parts, just check the trees.

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    At Villa Traful.

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    Back on Ruta 40, heading south, below is the northwestern end of Lake Correntoso. A guy pulled in at the viewpoint with his left rear brake giving off smoke. Not sure if he had a frozen caliper or had been riding the pedal. After a few minutes his son threw water on the rotor....not a great idea.

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    At another viewpoint I met up with a group of lady cyclists (they had a meat wagon and trailer accompanying them). Anyway, a moment in the sun for me. They wanted pictures of the bike, I suggested they climbed aboard, which a few did for photo ops. Had a nice chat. Lake Nahuel Huapi is the backdrop.

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    A nice day out. Back to the business of heading south tomorrow.

    Cheers. T2
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  19. Guri

    Guri Adventurer

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    I was born in Argentina, today I live in Los Angeles and I travel with you and your report.
    I wish you can enjoy the beautiful Argentine landscape and the friendly people who live there.
    Just be careful with "los asados" (the BBQ) because it becomes addicted.
    Take care.

    Hernan
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  20. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

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    Too late Hernan, I'm hooked and will need to enter rehab on my return to Virginia. I have statins with me so life is good….and almost guilt free at the parilla. Hooked on Argentina and the people aswell.

    Thanks for riding along.

    T2
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