Saturday, April 6, 2013

Nebraska, Argentina

Day 159 (March 24, 2013)
Coronel Pringles, Argentina to Buenos Aires, Argentina
Day's Ride: 320 Miles

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After some debate on what I should do concerning the crack in my luggage rack, I decided to reinforce in order to make sure it didn't crack off while I was riding and become more difficult to fix:

Which leads me to one of my deep thoughts concerning adventure motorcycle travel:

Q: What are the most important spare parts to bring on a 20,000 mile motorcycle trip through Central and South America?

A: Bailing wire, zip ties, and duct tape.

I actually found the bailing wire pictured above laying on the ground in front of the shop in Bolivia where I had my rack re-welded the last time. I'm glad I saved it.

The road north continued through acres and acres of agricultural land. It felt like I was back in Eastern Oregon where I grew up.

Actually, after a while, it felt like I was in Nebraska or some other Midwestern agricultural state. Maybe Iowa. It was crazy. Just tons and tons of farms and ranches. Now I see why Argentina is known for it's beef.

The ride was fairly boring again. Just long straight roads with tons of farming and not much to see. With only about 20 pesos ($5) left in my pocket, I was forced to continue using gas station internet to call my bank and authorize my card to make transactions for gas and food. Thank god this didn't happen somewhere like Bolivia. I would have been dead in the water.

I'm still somewhat of a celebrity whenever I stop. People see the big bike with the strange license plate, the list of countries on the wind screen, and the gypsy wagon load of things hanging off of it and immediately want to know what you are doing and where you are from. As soon as you tell them that you are from the states and that you rode all the way down, their eyes go big and they say things like: "Increible!" or "No!" or "En serio?!".

I snapped a picture of some Argentinas posing in front of my bike. A picture of a picture. I don't think that they knew that the owner of the bike was sitting just inside the gas station

As I neared the outskirts of Buenos Aires, I began to see tons of cars pulled off on the side of the freeway. After a while, I began to realize that there were tons of Argentinos just hanging out on the grass next to the road, having picnics and BBQs. The closer that I got to the city, the more people that I began to see. A lot of them had brought small quads and dirtbikes and the kids were riding around like hooligans right next to the freeway. I guess it's quite common here on Sunday night to go hang out on the grass next to the autopista and have a party.

After literally spending my last few pesos at toll booths, I finally made it to downtown BA and rode straight into absolute chaos.

For some reason, tons of kids and young adults where blocking the streets, banging drums, waving flags, starting fires, throwing trash, and protesting. There were also tons of busses parked all over the place, blocking traffic and generally adding to the mayhem. WTF?

I had no idea what the protest was about, but the cops didn't seem too perturbed, almost like it was something that happened every day. I'm all about the right to free assembly, but damn, it's hard enough navigating a large Latin American city at night on a motorcycle. Add a bunch of angry protesters to the mix and it becomes nearly impossible. It took my about 45 minutes to move a mile. I had to stop a few times and shut my bike off to keep it from overheating.

I eventually found a hostel that bubbletron had told me about, unloaded all of my gear, and took my bike to a parking garage down the street. After making sure it was parked in the light, locking the handlebars, putting on the disc alarm, and chaining it to a steel railing, I figured that it was secure enough for the night and went back to the hostel to crash.

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