Motorcycle adventures and stories

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  • About ten years ago my sister gave me some Welsh slate which was minded in Blaenau Ffestiniog and used on the roof of her house in West Wales. I always had the intention to give it to a Welsh community or association in Patagonia and have finally been in touch with one in Puerto Madryn.

    Plans begin now for a possible trip in November or December, by bike of course.


  • Splinter

    Changed the title of the thread from “Motorcycle adventures” to “Motorcycle adventures and stories”.
  • In early April 2016 on my way back from Salta, in the far north of Argentina, on my trusty Jawa 350, I had a rather uncomfortable ride from La Madrid to Frias.

    The day had started beautifully in the hills of Cafayate wine country, with bright sunshine, dry roads and magnificent views of the near Andes mountain range. My destination was Jesus Maria, near Cordoba, where I knew a beer, a hearty meal and a comfy bed were waiting for me.

    As the day progressed and the further south I went, the cloudier it got and eventually, by about 6 pm, a fine drizzle began to fall, eventually becoming a fine but persistent rain, so I pulled into a service station at La Madrid, which is nothing more than a petrol station and a few shacks in the middle of nowhere.

    It was already dark, the rain was still falling and I had to ask myself, should I stay or should I go?

    There are good reasons for not riding at night in many countries - wild animals, bad drivers and very poor road surfaces. But could I really kick my heels for hours on end and wait for the rain to clear?

    As I was lighting a roll-up and taking a sip from a steaming cup of coffee, sheltering from the rain under a canopy, I saw another rider shaking the rain of himself, so we got chatting.

    After a several roll-ups and coffees, we decided to head for Frias - about 115kms away - in a mini convoy, with me up front because I had two decent LED spots and a new headlight and he would follow because he had hazard lights. I also had a reflective jacket over my rain gear.

    So we headed out into the rain and found that safest speed was about 40 kmh because the oncoming traffic was just truck after truck, each one kicking up spray, reducing visibility considerably.

    Fortunately on our right was a continuous but rather narrow hard shoulder, so we stuck to that as much as we could to allow traffic to pass us. And there was a lot of traffic, with glaring headlights and swirling rain which seemed to find its way into every part of me.

    The most difficult aspect was visibility through my visor which I had to wipe every minute or so. There were no street lights and when the traffic thinned, it was just blackness and the fizzle of rain illuminated by my lights.

    I wasn't scared, but I was concerned and all I could think of was the motel which I knew was down the road in Frias. Neither was it cold, fortunately, even though my gloves became like two sponges.

    Finally, after what seemed like like an eternity, but in reality was only about three hours, we spotted gleaming lights ahead, just like an oasis and eventually a petrol station and the motel Queens. We pulled in like two wet and rakish outlaws, glad that we had made it safely.

    We soon found a table next to the petrol station, grabbed a few bottles of Stella and sat in silence for several minutes as the rain and our heads cleared.

    My mate then headed home a few kms away and I checked into the motel for a hot shower, piling up the Zs a few minutes later.

    The ride to Jesus Maria the following morning was bliss!

  • After meeting up at a popular biker rendezvous and trying our best to avoid the mosquito invasion, my mate and I hit the road to San Antonio de Areco, a colonial farming town about 100kms from Buenos Aires. With a welcome cool breeze we were soon away from built up areas and riding through majestic avenues of eucalyptus, endlessly flat horizons of maize, corn and soy, with that wonderful feeling of long, empty roads.

    Passing a couple of riders stopped in the middle of nowhere and pointing in the wrong direction, we then pulled up at our first police checkpoint, then realising why those riders had decided to turn around. I asked the policeman if armed motorcycle bandits (motochorros) were a problem out here, to which he replied, yes.

    This pic is from a previous ride:

    We pulled into the sleepy, farming town of San Antonio, found a roadside grill next to the River Lujan and enjoyed a typical Argentine bbq lunch as we watched the peaceful world go by.



    On the way back, for we weren't in a hurry, we rode into Carlos Keen, another small colonial town founded in 1885 and renowned for even better grills (parrillas) and an old railway station. We then took off for Open Door via Lujan and the main drag back into Buenos Aires and fortunately, mozzies don't fly at 100kmh!

    Gauchos are a common sight out in the 'campo'!


    The weather was perfect, about 28c, a strong breeze, much improved roads, some off-roading and more than anything, the freedom and peace and quiet away from the city.