Friday, 6 April 2012

Day 15 – to Sierra Grande

5 April    Kms travelled – 1310

Up with the dawn, or at least some squawking wildlife!  Packed and off at 8:30 – which was pretty good considering I´m still getting into my rhythm.  I had no phone signal at the campsite, so as soon as I heard the bleep of incoming texts, I sent a message off to my online tracking system to let family know I´m OK (and where I am). 

Around 100kms down to Bahia Blanca only resolved to confirm Javier´s advice that it is best avoided.  A sprawling industrial town with little to commend it – but it had fuel – of which Idris partook – and we were off again.  Well, not quite.  I know it is a bit of a crappy place, because I got lost and spend around half an hour ´exploring´ before I finally turned the GPS on and got out of Dodge! 

I took the 22 inland and then the 251 and 3 south – neither of which I have anything notable to say about other than they are flat, straight roads, with little or no places to stop.  Javier´s advice to fill up with fuel every time you see a petrol stop really struck home now.  You can be fooled into thinking that there are many, as around (some) towns you could see three or four – but then nothing at all (not even other buildings) for hundreds of kms.  And be prepared to become some form of minor celebrity as the locals all want to know about the bike, you, your trip, and can they have a photo with you!  I filled up the extra fuel bottle that Javier kindly donated to the cause – even though Idris has good fuel consumption and a 23 ltr tank - and I´m glad that I did.

You see, I had the opportunity to whisk off the Nolan helmet and don my good Samaritan hat, on not one, but two occasions.  A couple of middle aged ladies with a flat could not be ridden past!  So Pat and Idris to the rescue.  Thankfully I also had my compressor, as their spare was a little worse for wear, but at least it saw them on their way.  Next, only around 30 minutes from what was to be my overnight stop, a local biker and his better half out of fuel.  A few litres from my spare supply, saw them on their way after having only stopped about 2 minutes before I arrived.  The look on the guy´s face when I told him who I was and what I was doing was priceless.  You run out of fuel in the middle of nowhere, getting dark, windy and chilly, and this chap from Wales turns up with a spare can of go go juice – what are the odds!  Good to get some karma points in early methinks! 

The delays and the wind did mean that I pitched up in the dark at around 7:00 pm at the Sierra Grande Hotel, probably still a couple of hours off my planned destination.  I felt bad about that, as contacts in the Welsh community had put on a little welcome dinner – which I was to miss.  But it is a long adventure, I was tired, it was dark, and I had already been warned about the conditions of some of the roads ahead.  I opted for common sense, and I took a walk around town for about an hour (or until the dust being kicked up from the road got too much for me) to get some blood circulating again.  And settled in for the night.

Thought for the day
I´ve had a few thoughts today, and they go something like this...  Boy is this country big!  And boy is this part of it really boring to ride through.  And boy is that wind already starting to get tough - so what is it going to be like in the deep deep south.  And why do they plough the surface of the asphalt so that on a bike it feels like riding on train tracks.  And why to trucks (of which there are many) all seem to be so considerate, yet so many car drivers think that overtaking me in my lane in this wind is an OK thing to do.  And isn´t it a nice feeling when you can do something for someone else, even though I also feel bad about letting down those in the Welsh community in Patagonia. I´ll try and make up for that tomorrow.


  1. hey pat wooo hoo on your way at last! my god it sounds a massive country. i would imagine the slight delay wont alter the itinerary. after warm spring weather its back to sub zero in wales. look forward to next instalment

    ian turner

  2. Pat,
    Your blog appears like mine, intended mainly for friends and family.
    I dunno if it bugs you like it does me, but I have found a way of turning the chronology the correct way up. I.e. latest post at the bottom like a forum.
    If you are interested see this on ABR
    Once done, adjust the number of posts displated to '1' and the the visitors can use the newer/older buttins for more logical navigation.
    Keep safe, Ray

  3. Cheers Ray - that´s useful. I´ll leave it as it is for now, but try and swop it round later.

  4. Hi Pat, we too are on a couple of motorbikes and are currently in Northern Argentina, been to Ushuaia and now heading to Bolivia.
    If you have any questions or need any tips RE fuel, camping, accomodation, roads, feel free to keep in touch.
    Good luck and all the best, you'll love it!/

    Chris & Chloe

  5. Cheers both - any recommendations for campsites always welcome. I´ll be pretty much heading up the Ruta 40 to Bolivia.

    Best of luck on your trip - I´ll put a link to your blog on this one (you´ve got some great photos!).


  6. Hi Pat,

    Really enjoying the blog, your style of writing is really engaging.

    Ride safe and enjoy the great experiences

    All the best

    Gavin (ABR)

  7. Hi Pat

    The Welsh in Patagonia have suddenly come to life for me after reading your exploits. Even Bruce Chatwin's 'In Patagonia' doesn't do such a good job.

    Great stuff.