Punta Arenas to Buenos Aires – Riding North

Back on the mainland in Punta Arenas I spent a few days in town waiting for a mechanic to take a look at the bike. Luckily the hostel owner was a moto guy and sent me to his mechanic. He thought I’d easily be able to sell my bike here. He called a few friends but unfortunately no takers. So when the bike was finished up I headed north. So, for the 4th and final time I entered back into Argentina. I doubled back on some roads that I used on the way down however it was a completely different experience. There was no wind and it was heaven!!! I got an early jump on the day and without the wind I used little energy and rode 1000 km (600 miles) north along Ruta 3 to Fitz Roy. 15 km before the tiny town I was having some problems with my drivetrain. The chain was skipping. I stopped and noticed the chain was shot and the sprocket teeth looked like cresting ocean waves. There was no mechanic in the town but an Argentine motorcyclist came by and said he was a mechanic in the next town 70 km away. Maybe I can make it I thought… I started up and the chain popped off. OK, that’s that. He said that if I can get to Caleta Olivia he’d be able to help me. Fortunately, there was a police checkpoint and I convinced the cops to ask all trucks passing by if they could give me a lift. 2 hours later it’s pitch black and there’s has been little traffic.

Caleta Olivia (Ruta 3) 002

Finally a nice couple with a very small pickup agreed. We loaded the bike and I hopped in the back for the 45 minute ride. We called Diego, the mechanic and he came down, opened his shop and showed me to a hotel. Exhausted, I passed out. The next day Diego and his team found me a new sprocket and chain for a great price. We shared some matte and I also helped them translate instructions for a carburetor synchronization tool then I was on my way. Diego was intrigued by the Jetboil Flash.

Caleta Olivia (Ruta 3) 003

But today was different. The wind and rain returned and the roads were super slick with my  balding tires and numerous oil slicks. Riding fast and pushing into the night I finally arrived in Trelew. Back up early the next day it was another 1000 km through the boring pampa up Ruta 3. It’s the start of Semana Santa (Easter) and I saw lots of motorcycles out on the road enjoying the nice weather.

Ruta 3

Driving into the night was scary with the terrible KLR headlight. Finally I called it quits in the town of Tres Arroyos. A pizza and a beer and I’m fast asleep. The next day is the final 500 km (300 miles) to Buenos Aires. Dakar Motos was closed due to the holidays so I found a hostel in the Palermo barrio. A few days here was great. I walked all over Palermo and downtown. I didn’t bring my camera with me as I was paranoid after hearing 3 stories from others who had been held at gunpoint in the city. I also took a tango lesson with Eliane and Christian that was lots of fun! I’m rhythmically challenged but had a great time. Watching the professionals was amazing as well.

Buenos Aires 003

Thanks to Francisco, Christian and family for inviting me to their house for a delicious home cooked meal. A friend of a friend of a friend turned out to be a great connection!

Buenos Aires is a HUGE city with lots of character. The trains and subways were great and cheap and residents walk their dogs all over the city and never pick up the poop. It’s challenging to walk down the street and dodge the dog poop.

Dakar Motos opened after the holiday. The shop is synonymous with adventure motorcycling in South America. Javier has a well stocked shop and they have bunk beds as well. It was nice to stay with other motorcyclists and talk moto for a few days. Sebastian cooked us up a delicious curry for our group dinner.

Dakar Motos 001

Sandra immediately helped me to get a quote to ship the bike home. The next day I brought the bike to the airport where a pallet was waiting for me. Shipping charges are based on weight and volume. To keep the price down, I needed to lower the bike as much as possible so I took off the mirrors, windshield, front wheel and front fender. The airlines require the bike to have deflated tires, be purged of all gas, and disconnect the battery and wrap the cables in electrical tape. The bike and gear were then banded down to the pallet and wrapped in shrink wrap. Easy stuff.

Placing the bike on the pallet.

Shipping 005

Packed up and ready for shrink wrapping.

Shipping 011

Unfortunately, you can’t have any liquids on the pallet. There goes my idea to ship home a dozen boxes of Argentinean wine… Before leaving Dakar Motos I felt I needed to contribute to the atmosphere of the shop so I donated my inflatable sheep, Dirty Joe (a.k.a. Bahhhhhhbara the 3rd). You can tell Sebastian is excited.

Dakar Motos 003

And of course the Swedish riders sponsored by Primus shared with me their sticker. Jetboil was here too!!!

Dakar Motos 002

And just like that I took a bus to the airport and boarded a plane for the USA. Goodbye Latin America, I’ll miss you.

Categories: Argentina | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Punta Arenas to Buenos Aires – Riding North

  1. Haley

    I’m going to have to visit Dirty Jo someday.

  2. How much did you pay to ship the bike back from Buenos Aires? Flights are pretty expensive, I’m curious how freight compares.

    I’m ready to sell my KLR in a few months in Costa Rica or Panama. I’m also out of pages in my passport. Great to hear you got stamps on top of stamps, I figured I’d be screwed… 🙂

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