Saturday, March 10, 2018

Gone Gone Gone - Argentina - Moto Trip: The Americas

Our entry into Argentina was our easiest border crossing yet.
We woke up early from our campsite in Chile and quickly packed our gear. We were excited to enter a new country, and headed into the Puyehue National Park for our border crossing. The park was filled with mountains, trees, and lakes. A beautiful change from the mostly flat riding we had been doing. The border crossing was surprisingly easy, and we made it into Argentina within an hour.

We rode through some fancy ski-resort towns before reaching San Carlos de Bariloche, where we struggled to find an affordable place to stay. Despite there being a ton of options, they all charged an insane amount. We finally found a place that was acceptable (but still too high) and took some time to explore the nice but very touristy town. 

When we hit the road again we headed North East, into some of the most intense wind we have ever encountered. At times we were riding through a tornado of sand, and could not see the vehicle in front of us. Eventually we found a sand road running along a river and found a spot to set up our tents. The wind continued and made cooking dinner a real challenge. We ate more sand than pasta. But it was at least a quiet evening.

The next morning we were on the road again, riding for a long time through flat, straight, boring roads filled with construction zones. We found a campsite along a different river on ioverlander, which said someone would be by to collect our camping fee. Nobody ever did so we got another night of free camping.

The day after was more of the same, and we were realizing that the section of Argentina we had entered was just going to be unexciting, flat roads. Like Kansas. We had found a place on ioverlander listed as a motorcycle refuge, so we decided to give it a shot. As we pulled off the highway into the tiny town of Argerich, we wondered if we had the right coordinates. There wasn't much of anything here, but we eventually found the heavily marked building. Within minutes the owner Adalberto appeared from his home nearby and let us in. The property was like a giant clubhouse, and we ended up staying there for 3 days, with different bikers showing up every night to take advantage of this refuge in the middle of nowhere. Our days were spent doing minor repairs, and our nights were spent enjoying some cheap boxed wine in the makeshift hot tub in the backyard, fed by a natural hot spring piped in from underground.

Finally we were on our way again and continued toward the main city of Argentina, Buenos Aires, having to camp one more time along the way. But finally we made it. Arriving on a Sunday, we learned that everything is basically shut down that day. We finally found the Kilca Hostel, which offered us a terrible room for $50, but it was sadly the best we could find on such short notice. The room was filthy and we had to make them clean it, then the toilet stopped working. It was a truly terrible experience, but we managed to use their mediocre wifi connection to book a nice apartment a few miles away through Airbnb. 

We had such a great time at the Airbnb that we stayed there multiple times, only leaving because it was already reserved for certain dates. This gave us the chance to head East and camp along the coast. While there we visited a Parilla and were fed more types of grilled meats than we could ever finish. We also spent 3 days on a tiny sailboat, which caused us to bang our heads enough times that we realized the boating life is not for us. 

We had to say goodbye to our buddy George. We had a great time riding with him, and hope to see him again someday.

Finally the day came to drop our bikes off with Dakar Motos at the airport cargo terminal. We rode them there with barely any gas, but it was still determined that was too much, so it had to be siphoned out. Josh then disconnected the batteries, deflated the tires, and pulled off the mirrors. After that they were wrapped heavily in plastic. They were weighed and scanned for contraband, and then we said goodbye to them, hoping we'd see them again in the US. After that we had a week of being lazy in Buenos Aires before our long overnight flight to a place we thought we'd never return: Texas. 

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