My Longest Dance with Salsa

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by SalsaRider, Oct 20, 2018.

  1. SalsaRider

    SalsaRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    228
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, Coolorado
    Tierra del Fuego — WHATSUP WITH SALSA?

    Puerto Cisnes, Chile
    29 January 2019
    Miles: 9,466

    BACKGROUND: Salsa is my 1995 R100RT BMW “Airhead” motorcycle, with 115K miles on the odometer. On 1 November 2018 we left Colorado Springs, Colorado heading for the tip of South America. Prior to departing Matt Parkhouse and I worked to make her as ready as possible for the long ride ahead: new fluids throughout; new tires; valves and carbs adjusted; (relatively) new battery; and so on. She was as ready as we could make her for the long ride ahead.

    SINCE DEPARTING:

    Ecuador — The generator failed, and the battery went dead. A mechanic, at the Moto Hell shop in Quito, repaired the generator and re-charged the battery. Good to go!

    Peru — The speedometer/RPM cable broke. Using DHL Matt expedited the shipment of a new one, and soon we were on our way again. A few days of delay, and some $$$ for the cable and shipment. Good to go!

    Argentina —The volt meter stopped working, and so did the horn and turn signals. A 15-amp fuse solved the problem for a day, then they all stopped working again. Nirbhai/BattDoc, with whom I was riding, confirmed that the battery was still getting a charge, so I kept on going. The fuse was still good, so the problem lay elsewhere. OK to go!

    Chile — After filling the tank with gas, about 50 yards down the road I noticed smoke, and stopped. I was horrified to see actual flames, right underneath that full gas tank! A bottle of water and some coffee doused the flames.

    Under the tank I found a mass of melted cables and wires.

    At an automotive shop nearby I met Victor, the owner and also a motorcycle rider. Over the next few days he went “above and beyond” to help me get Salsa on the road, and offer me his friendship.

    He towed me to the home of Richard, who spent long hours cleaning up the mess and getting Salsa repaired.

    Melted BMW wires were replaced with ones from his shop. The BMW cables were replaced with bicycle ones. And he installed a new 30-amp “master” fuse for the entire bike. I hope that was a good idea!

    When I finally picked-up Salsa, everything worked! All the gages function properly. The horn blows, and the turn signals flash. Also, while in Puerto Montt, Chile, I replaced her rear tire with a Michelin on-off road one.

    In short, Salsa is in better shape now than before the fire!

    She’s good to go!

    NOTE: I’ve gained great confidence in the creative, MacGyver ingenuity and talents of the mechanics here in South America.

    Attached Files:

    kres, DavidM1, joenuclear and 4 others like this.
  2. Aces 6

    Aces 6 Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Over

    Joined:
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    Bravo Zulu sir, Bravo Zulu!
    One of my favorite RR reports.
    6.5 years before I make the same journey.
    Saving the sites on a word doc. Thanks for the detail.:clap
    SalsaRider likes this.
  3. SalsaRider

    SalsaRider Been here awhile

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    Sep 2, 2017
    Oddometer:
    228
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    Colorado Springs, Coolorado
    Aces 6,

    Thanks for the kind words. Hopefully the worst is behind me now; but stay tuned.

    SalsaRider/Monte
    Aces 6 likes this.
  4. 95Monster

    95Monster Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2015
    Oddometer:
    834
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Salsa Rider! Glad you’re rolling south. I’m temporarily delayed in Valparaiso but hope to continue before long! Ride safe..,
    SalsaRider likes this.
  5. SalsaRider

    SalsaRider Been here awhile

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    Sep 2, 2017
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    Colorado Springs, Coolorado
    95Monster,

    Hope you get back on the road soon!

    SalsaRider/Monte
    95Monster likes this.
  6. Eldorado74

    Eldorado74 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2014
    Oddometer:
    65
    Location:
    Claremore, OK
    Enjoying your RR Salsa. Definitely keeps the candle burning for another SA trip. Keep it up!

    The wind story reminds me of a time riding a KZ1000 through the panhandle of TX in the late 80’s when I was 18 on my first solo cross country trip from OK to CA. Stopped to fill up when a gust of already stiff wind blew the bike over before I had a chance to slap the monza style cap closed spewing out about two gallons of gas before I could get it closed and the bike up while slipping and sliding in the fuel. The lessons we learn!
    SalsaRider likes this.
  7. SalsaRider

    SalsaRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
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    228
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, Coolorado
    Tierra del Fuego — CARRETERA AUSTRAL (#3)

    Puerto Rio Tranquilo, Chile
    31 January 2019
    Miles: 9,744

    The road from Camino a Cerro Castillo to Puerto Rio Tranquilo would compete with any road in the world for the sheer magnificence of the land it winds through, its curvaceous route, and the many gorgeous sites it passes . . . if it were paved.

    Unfortunately it’s mostly ripio, and “challenging” dirt at that; at least for me.

    Riding it consumed hours of my day, and left me feeling utterly exhausted. At times I was so tense, white-knuckled and jaw-clenched, that I had to force myself to relax. That would work for a few minutes, until the next near mishap occurred.

    Cars and trucks raced around blind corners, in my lane. Cold rain coated my glasses and visor, making it difficult to see. Wind pushed at us, trying to shove us out of the tire track we were tying to follow. Potholes and washboard sections — essentially the entire ride — jarred and rattled us.

    At one point the road diverged, and I stopped to catch my breath. A few hitchhikers waited at the junction, tying to catch a ride.

    Then, to my surprise, up rolled Marco, a man and his family whom I had briefly met the day before in Cerro Castillo. They had already spent a night in Rio Tranquilo, and he had doubled back to find me, and invite me to stay with them in their rental cabana.

    And again to my surprise, inside his car were two hitchhikers from Spain, whom I had met four days ago at the small eatery in Puyuhuapi, where I got the latch to my hard bag repaired.

    Hard to believe such coincidences!

    Right now I’m in my own room, in a hostel near the cabana where Marco and his family are staying. I’ve already had lunch with them, and am expected back for dinner at the early Chilean time of 8:00 p.m.

    Tomorrow morning Marco and I, guided by his daughter, will kayak through the marble caves. Then, instead of having to force myself to relax my jaw, I’ll probably have to remind myself to keep my mouth closed.

    The wonder, I suspect, will be jaw-dropping beautiful!

    Attached Files:

  8. joenuclear

    joenuclear Still here....

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2007
    Oddometer:
    10,190
    Location:
    Fort Smith, Arkansas
    Awesome!
  9. SalsaRider

    SalsaRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Oddometer:
    228
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, Coolorado
    Tierra del Fuego — CARRETERA AUSTRAL (#4)

    Puerto Rio Tranquilo, Chile
    1 February 2019
    Miles: 9,744

    Today my new family of friends — Marco, Viviana, their 4 lovely daughters, and 2 precious grandkids — kayaked about the Capillas de Marmol, or Marble Caves on General Carrera Lake. The second largest in South America, it’s filled with the turquoise water of melted glaciers, and seems to go on forever.

    Marco and I drove to the departure point with two guides and two other adventurers. There we exercised and stretched briefly, then squeezed into the gear and the kayaks, and set out.

    30 minutes of paddling later and we arrived at the Capiillas de Marmol, along with a small flotilla of other kayakers, and several speed boats filled with tourists.

    Our guides took photos, gave lectures on the history of the land, the lake, and the formations of the magical marble shapes that we encountered. All in Spanish, of which I understood much, but not all.

    “Monte,” one shouted across the water. “Come closer to the shoreline!” It was a call I heard more than once, so absorbed was I with the formations.

    Swirls of marble curves and fantastical shapes surrounded us, along with sharp edges, smooth bends, and unbelievable protruding rocks.

    We lingered at times, taking photos and inhaling the smells, eyes closed, as our kayaks floated on the gentle swells inside one cave.

    Finally back we paddled, now facing headwinds and rising waves.

    “Monte, come closer to the shoreline,” I heard, so absorbed was I about getting back.

    We were met at the landing site by the rest of his family, ready to take the afternoon tour. Marco returned to town to get some food, but I lingered.

    On the rocky beach his youngest granddaughter, Isadora, found some pretty stones and handed them to me. “For you, Señor,” she said. I admired them and thanked her very much. Soon, though, I had a pocket full of rocks, gifts from this precious little girl.

    I talked with Viviana, his wife, who wasn’t planning on joining the others. “I’m afraid,” she said. I told her that the best way to overcome her fears was in small steps.

    “Do something small that you’re afraid of,” I suggested, “and when you succeed, the next time it will be easier.”

    Much to my surprise, when it came time to board the kayaks, she hopped right in! I gave her a big smile and thumbs-up, and got the same in return!

    The Capillas de Marmol: good both for sightseeing and . . . perhaps . . . overcoming fears, too?

    I’ll let you know!

    POST NOTE:

    Viviana did just fine, despite facing high winds and choppy waves. The spray and rocking motion that she and the others faced made taking photos nearly impossible, too!

    Next fear to overcome? Fear of flying! Hope she overcomes it though. It would be great to see them and their daughters in Colorado Springs someday soon!

    One small step at a time, Viviana!

    Attached Files:

  10. joenuclear

    joenuclear Still here....

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    10,190
    Location:
    Fort Smith, Arkansas
    Wonderful!
    SalsaRider likes this.
  11. SalsaRider

    SalsaRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    228
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, Coolorado
    Tierra del Fuego — SAVED BY A LLAMA’S RIB

    Gubernador Gregores, Argentina
    3 February 2019
    Miles: 10,130

    The road from Perito Moreno to Gobernador Gregores, on Routa 40, runs for 220+ miles across the dry Pampas. Out on the grassland I passed herds of llamas, flocks of rheas, and at times small gatherings of horses, cattle, and sheep.

    Scattered farm houses hunkered under the brows of low mesas, surrounded by trees, seeking shelter from the omnipresent winds.

    Today, though, was unusually calm, and hot.

    Distant mountains and small hills floated on mirages, as did approaching vehicles, few and far between. And my thoughts, too, seemed to float as well; until something caught my eye and drew me back to the here and now: a pothole; a cow in the road; a llama suddenly darting in front of me, requiring emergency braking.

    At one stop I discovered, to my surprise, that my left hard bag was swinging from the bungee cords, completely unattached to Salsa. The frame, it seems, had snapped in two. I was 80 miles from the next town, in the middle of nowhere.

    What to do?

    Grassland surrounded me. No bushes or trees, where I might find a branch to insert inside the broken frame tubes.

    A few feet into the desert I found a dry gulch. Sticking up out of the sand were several white sticks, or so I thought; until I saw them up close. They were the bleached ribs of a deceased llama!

    Perfect, I thought, and broke off two. Then, back on the road, I rubbed one against the asphalt until it fit inside the broken tube. Medical tape kept the two parts together, strong enough with that rib to re-attach the side bag and continue on to Gubernador Gregores.

    It’s Sunday, and everything is closed until tomorrow, but it’s a small town of only 7,000 inhabitants. The hotel owner, Julio, drove me to his mechanic friend’s house, to see if he would repair the frame today.

    “Bring it here around 7,” said Chaco, “when it won’t be so hot.” So that’s what I’ll do.

    Hard to believe that on the vast, empty Pampas I stopped conveniently close to the bleached skeleton of a llama, offering exactly what I needed to effect a temporary repair and keep dancing down the road.

    I was saved by a llama’s rib!

    POST NOTE:

    Not only did Chaco weld the broken frame, but he also noticed that the port muffler had broken loose. Try as he did to remove it, the hex bolts wouldn’t budge. So now the muffler is welded permanently to Salsa.

    We’re good to go!

    Attached Files:

    kres, orv, Aces 6 and 6 others like this.
  12. staticPort

    staticPort Meditrider Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2001
    Oddometer:
    576
    Location:
    east tn
    ". . . saved by a llama's rib!"

    And by the ingenuity to repurpose scavenged materials to the task at hand. :clap

    Really enjoying this great ride!
    kres, powderzone and SalsaRider like this.
  13. SalsaRider

    SalsaRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Oddometer:
    228
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, Coolorado
    Thanks staticPort!
  14. holckster

    holckster dougholck Supporter

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Lodi, Ca
    Must be the remoteness (not to mention the ruggedness) of Ruta 40 that encourages things to break.
    30 miles north of Gubernador Gregores is where my DR650 3rd gear exploded.
    Riding buddy towed me into town and found a fellow who hauled my moto and myself 600 miles to Puerto Arenas in hopes of getting a repair.
    It was a 1200 mile, 2 day round trip for him in his new Toyota Turbo Diesel quad cab truck but was a fun trip.
    Agreed fee was $600 which I thought was a bargain (and I paid for fuel) but no repair to be had so rented a BMW 1200GS from MotoAventura to finish my trip.

    Keep pushing forward and Salsa will carry you to your goal.
    SalsaRider likes this.
  15. SalsaRider

    SalsaRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Oddometer:
    228
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, Coolorado
    Wow Holckster, that’s quite a story! Glad you were able to finish your ride, though. Thanks for sharing.

    SalsaRider/Monte
  16. Aces 6

    Aces 6 Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Over

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
    Oddometer:
    4,488
    Location:
    CONUS
    "No shit, there I was. In the middle of nowhere Argentina with a broken frame, a blazing sun, down to my last oz of water (got to make it good) old man death staring me in the eye. Then I spotted a llama rib....."

    A legend is born.
    :photog
    A COL McBragg tale if I ever heard one.
    joenuclear and SalsaRider like this.
  17. SalsaRider

    SalsaRider Been here awhile

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    Location:
    Colorado Springs, Coolorado
    Tierra del Fuego — IT’S MY WIFE BONNIE’S BIRTHDAY, AND WHERE AM I?

    Rio Grande, Argentina
    5 February 2019
    Miles: 10,640

    Today is my wife, Bonnie’s birthday, and where am I? Nowhere near, to help her celebrate!

    On this ride I’ve missed Thanksgiving, our anniversary, Christmas, New Years, and now her birthday! It takes a special kind of woman, a partner-for-life, to grant her husband such liberties!

    Right now I’m on the island of Tierra del Fuego! Ushuaia, my southernmost destination, is a mere 130 miles away. I hope to reach it tomorrow.

    97 days! That’s how long it has taken me to reach this point of my ride. 97 days, and over 10,000 miles! 97 days for Bonnie, coping alone without me.

    And while I’ve been gone snow has fallen about our home in Colorado, ice has covered our driveway; and our wonderful neighbors have stepped-up to give her their helping hands.

    She has visited our son — Casey — in Virginia; and our daughter — Kim, our grandsons, and our son-in-law — in California. And weekly she’s been invited to local events by our neighbors, too.

    Hard to believe all that has happened during those 97 days, both on my end and on hers!

    Hard to believe I married the perfect woman, my beautiful Navy Bride, Bonnie, so many decades ago!

    Love you mucho, Bonnie!

    Not much longer, and I’ll be holding you in my arms again!

    And THANK YOU, friends and neighbors, for all your help and kind wishes!

    Where am I? Right beside you, with all my heart!!!
    mathdl, powderzone, ScotsFire and 2 others like this.
  18. SalsaRider

    SalsaRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
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    228
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, Coolorado
    Tierra del Fuego — I MADE IT!!!

    Ushuaia, Argentina
    6 February 2019
    Miles: 10,781

    The Strait of Magellan is known for its rough waters; but on the day I ferried across it was as smooth and flat as the Pampas. Then, shortly after riding off the ramp I saw a sign: Bienvenido a Tierra del Fuego

    A big smile broke out on my face. I made it!

    But why, I wondered, did Magellan name it the land of fire? For miles I didn’t see a single tree or bush, just vast grasslands.

    I spent my first night at the town of Rio Grande, right on the Atlantic Ocean. Then today headed out to reach Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world.

    Soon mountains grew out of the horizon, so tall their tips reached high above the tree lines. And as I closed in forests covered their slopes and valleys.

    The road climbed up and up, to a high pass above Lago Faguano, then dipped down to the coast and . . . Ushuaia.

    Another big smile. I made it there, too!

    Attached Files:

    roadcapDen, kres, lakota and 8 others like this.
  19. ADVer

    ADVer Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2006
    Oddometer:
    420
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Well done man.
    Congratulations!
    Enjoyed your writing and travelogue down.
    staticPort and SalsaRider like this.
  20. twowings

    twowings Comfortably Numb... Supporter

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    Dec 29, 2015
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    Satellite of Love
    Well done! :thumb:beer