A big day ahead. 470kms. The third long day in a row. We gifted ourselves an extra 30 mins in bed this morning with a leisurely 7am start. However we had made the school boy error of not replenishing our tanks the night before. So it was off to the filling station first thing. What could go wrong? 😎 Hope for the best plan for the worst. We failed on this front. When we arrived the fuel truck was plugged into the underground tanks and the gas station was closed.
Miraculously there was another filling station in the town AND it was open. We were lucky.
The snake of 16 fully fuelled bikes headed south on Route 40 which runs the entire length of South America. It was all going swimmingly, apart from wild dogs racing out of driveways, until, if you excuse the pun, we came to the bridge…..well actually it hadn’t been built yet….so things continued swimmingly as we found our way to the rivers edge….and, as there weren’t many alternatives, went for it. Only Kneegate Will had a mild ducking. But he’s young, and entirely dispensable.
The road continued along the edge of an impressive mountain range to our right, the road itself being down on the flood plane. Every kilometre or so the road would dip into a flood gully. Clearly when there was a storm in the mountains water would cascade down into the flood plane and tear across the road. Hence the myriad of gullies to take the flood away. Inevitably one or two of these bear traps would catch you out if you were not paying full attention and as the bike lurched into the dip your stomach would hit the roof of your mouth then your chin would hit the handlebars. After doing this twice you didn’t make the mistake again.
We stopped awhile after 150km for tea. We waited and waited but the cruiser never arrived. There was a deserted farmhouse just off the road. David K peered through the dilapidated doorway and found a sheep’s head, wool and all, swinging on a piece of string threaded through its ear. Lovely.
We abandoned tea as the cruiser was slow and decided to seek caffeine in a town called Belen at the half way stage which is where I am now sat writing. This last section of road before lunch was glorious. Wide sweeping bends on a brand new road with no traffic. We tanked it for an hour at high speed round endless perfect bends. Imelda swears his eyebrows as well as his knees were scraping on the tarmac. For such a hardy biker he has been complaining incessantly about chafing from his braces. He’s just gone to buy cream….
More to come this evening.
Well evening has arrived and we are safely necking cold lagers in the comfort of a nice but simple hotel.
But this afternoon…you just couldn’t make it up. That was yesterday’s saying. But equally relevant this afternoon. Now concentrate.
Imagine 16 motorbikes arriving at a T junction. A huge deserted T junction. We have just come up the ‘leg’ and we have to choose left or right. Our satnav says right. And off we turn.
Now step back a moment. Immediately before lunch we refuelled. It’s always a bit chaotic with so many bikes. After lunch as we set off on the second half of the journey, 3km in, I discover that whilst the attendant had made a pretence of filling my bike he had not refuelled it at all.
I had only 90km in the tank. We decided to plough on, stop at 90km and refuel from the jerry can in the cruiser. What could possibly go wrong?
Back to our junction. That was at 80km. We turned right, and went 7km then stopped to wait for the cruiser. There was no mobile signal.
The cruiser didn’t show. Suddenly Gregg leapt up. It had just dawned on him that there was a route to our destination going left at the junction as well as right. Had the cruiser taken the other route? He hared back to the junction at full lick. As did George. At the junction Greg retraced his steps back down the leg in case the cruiser had not arrived. George carried on across the top to chase it down if it had already gone through. George carried on for 35km at Mach one. No cruiser. Gregg 15km in the other direction. No cruiser.
It turned out that after the junction there was a right turn after 5km to our destination of Chilecito. George not knowing this had carried straight on.
In that small fraction of time the cruiser had sneaked through all these bikes trying to track it down and was merrily ploughing on to Chilecito. And it had all the fuel on board.
The rest of us sat baking in 32 degrees by the side of the road. We decided all to return to the key T junction. The last 4 km I travelled on 0km in the tank.
When we got there with nothing and nobody in sight we got a fleeting phone signal. We managed to patch through to Gisli and send a locator. 50 minutes later the cruiser turned up together with the various search parties.
And off we went again. After 2 hours marooned.
The rest of the ride was quick. We averaged 130km/hr. until we were hit by a downpour. Oh what fun.
I am writing this in the comfort of my room as the thunder rolls across the hills that surround this town of Chilecito and the heavens pour down.
The day ended well but we could easily still be stuck 200km back out of fuel with the cruiser here in Chilecito.
My bike didn’t get filled. We went right the cruiser went left. Just before I ran out of fuel. George didn’t know about the subsequent right. The cruiser wriggled through all the bikers unseen. We went back to the junction. We hit an intermittent phone signal.
You couldn’t make it up.
Great barbecue tonight. Meat for starter. Meat for main. Welcome to Argentina.