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Archive for January, 2011

Day 120 – Continuous Strong Winds (Punta Arenas, Chile)

31 Jan

We left El Calafate at 8am and had to fight strong winds coming from the right side for 8 hours until we reached Punta Arenas.  At border with Chile, Vadim went through Rio Turbio point whereas Gintaras went through a different point a few miles further down the road.  Miraculously, we both reunited at the border point where Gintaras crossed. 

Upon arrival to Punta Arenas, Vadim went to the office of DAP airline to go through orientation for our trip to Antarctica tomorrow whereas Gintaras went to look for a hotel for us.  The Antarctica orientation took about 45 minutes and had some general logistics about the trip.

Routes taken: RN40, RP7, 9

Miles ridden:  365 miles (584 km)

 
 

Day 119 – Another Day in the Gravel (El Calafate, Argentina)

30 Jan

Thanks God nothing happened to us today.  We left our lodging at 8am so we could budget for any unforeseen delays on the road.  There were about 10 cars that passed in the first 3 hours of riding. 

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We saw many hares, guanacos (lama family), and rheas (ostrich looking birds).  

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Gintaras was going very slow after his accident yesterday.  The winds were very strong. Vadim was blown off the road into deep gravel and almost lost control of his bike but he managed to get out without falling.  We fought the wind all day and our necks hurt as a result.  This is not even a joke how strong the winds are and what it can do even to our heavy bikes.

Upon arrival to the hotel, Vadim asked the hotel owner where he could wash his bike.  Vadim’s bike was all covered in soft asphalt after he rode on fresh asphalt for 200 meters.  One of hotel owner’s friends cleaned his bike for 300 pesos (equivalent of $75), which is very expensive according to local standards.  But it was worth the price.  3 hours of washing Vadim’s bike with gasoline removed 3 kg (6 lbs) of asphalt.  Vadim personally washed his boots, lower portion of his pants and top bag with gas to remove the sticky asphalt grease that was getting everywhere.  The whole effort paid off as 90% of the asphalt was removed.  We hope another 10% will come off after a hot wash in Punta Arenas this week.

It is cold in Patagonia now.  We don’t think we quite expected this harsh climate. Vadim had to purchase a new jacket (which could be used under his motorcycle jacket when riding as well), a hat and a scarf from Columbia Sportswear.  These items were not cheap as they are imports but the quality and utility seems to be nice.

Routes taken: RN40, RP11

Miles ridden:  197 miles (315 km)

 
 

Day 118 – Emotionally and Physically Exhausted – Gintaras falling off the bike, Vadim Covered in Hot Asphalt (Estancia La Angostura, Argentina)

29 Jan

We crossed into Argentina around noon today and rode all day down Ruta 40, which is all gravel (in many case the rocks were almost the size of a fist). 

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It was extremely windy.  At times, we felt our helmets would be ripped off our heads by wind.  The gravel road was tough, especially if you ride on it for 3 days in a row. 

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Vadim tried to avoid the gravel on a short segment of Ruta 40 and got onto a new build asphalt road.  He ended up being covered in hot asphalt.  We hope his bike can be washed somehow after this incident.

Gintaras had an accident around 7:30pm after an exhausting day.  When going at approximately 40 kmh his bike lost control in a thick layer of gravel.  He hurt his back.  Vadim raced back to the scene of the accident and assisted Gintaras.  The bike was ok but the side case was damaged at the bottom but should be fixable.  We knew that our stamina for the day disappeared.  We turned off the road and continued for another 5 km off road and stopped at a local farm house for $100/night and $50 / dinner.  They can get away charging this price because there are no other options for 100 km radius. 

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The gas is scarce and one better fill up the gas tank for 300 km to be safe.  By getting some rest today, we hope to be more physically fit and emotionally ready to continue our journey.  We must be in Punta Arenas in two days to catch our plane to Antarctica. 

Routes taken: 265, RP43, RN40

Miles ridden:  310 miles (496 km)

 
 

Day 117 – Beautiful but Exhausting Day (Puerto Guadal, Chile)

28 Jan

In the morning, we spent 4 hours at the mechanic shop trying to fix the rear mud flap on Vadim’s motorcycle. 

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A metal part holding it broke off along with the screw.  The mud flap broke off from the vibrations from all the bumpy roads we had to take.   

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The mechanic fabricated the metal part that broke – the imitation was amazing. 

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We rode all day long down the twisty rode along the lake.  The views were the ones from a post card.  Towards the end of day, Vadim’s mud flap broke off again along with the newly fabricated part from significant road vibrations.  We decided that fixing it is pointless until the end of the trip.

In the evening, we knew that we are not going to reach Chile Chico (our today’s original destination) because we couldn’t go fast on the rocky road.  So, we decided to shoot some videos of us riding on a beautiful road.

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Every time we left our tripod with camera unattended for a couple of minutes (so we could approach the camera on motorcycles) a passing truck would stop and steal our camera.  We had to chase 3 SUVs at speeds approaching 100 kmh and demand our camera with tripod back.  We got so exhausted that we no longer wished to shoot any videos today. 

We arrived at a Terra Luna Lodge (right on the lake) owned by a French guy met in the morning at out hotel in Coihaique.  He built this hotel by himself – it took him 12 years – a really beautiful place with amazing views.  We had a nice French dinner.

 

Routes taken: 7 (Caratera Austral), 265

Miles ridden:  180 miles (288 km)

 
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Day 116 – Beautiful ride, cold, rain, hail, exhausted (Coyhaique, Chile)

27 Jan

We left Futaleufu at 8am.  It was cloudy as we started on the gravel road.

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The natures was beautiful – windy road with green trees, waterfalls, rivers, lakes, and very few cars. In about an hour it started raining and the temperature dropped to 48F.  It continued raining and raining and raining.  The road had many pot holes full of water and it was difficult to judge sometimes it we should go around them or through them.  It was a bumpy ride but most importantly it was very cold. 

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By 11 am we stopped by at a small gas station as we had to get some gas.  We were so cold that we drank 1.5 liters of coffee between two of us and 5 snickers bars for energy. The rain did not stop but we continued to travel under rain until it started to hail.  We were extremely cold and we had to go for another 6-7 hours. 

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Vadim’s mud guard came loose as one of the main screws was lost from vibrations from gravel road.  We had to stop and fix it with duct tape.  It was cold to get off the bikes and to pull out the tools to tighten the existing screws.  Gintaras was shaking as he put his helmet on.   Vadim was very cold.  We arrived to our hotel at 7pm and took hot showers.  It felt good.

 

Routes taken: 231, 235, 7 (Caretera Austral)

Miles ridden:  264 miles (422 km)

 
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Posted in Chile