More Mountains, Lakes… and flat tires

Posted: May 11, 2012 in Argentina, Chile

Direction: South towards Ushuaia.

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The roads looked something like this

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Doing a good 100km/h on a great gravel road shown above, I lost the rear once again. I make it to a full stop and by this time I wasn’t surprised to have yet ANOTHER flat.

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Nail went in through the middle and came out through the side.

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Another tube left behind. Good thing I had bought one in Bariloche.

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I change the tube and try to inflate it. The SLIME compressor I had purchased at Wall Mart before leaving has kept me good company along the way but like most Wall Mart products, it was limited to a real minimum number of uses. I was able to fix it just enough to get about 5psi in the tire and make it back to town a few KM back. The gas station was closed and so were all the businesses as it was Christmas day but luckily they left the compressor running so I was able to get the tire back up to normal pressure.

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I rode all day and it was starting to get late. I saw a camping sign on the right side of the road and went to check it out. I was in a national park and true enough, there were nice camping spots but no one there. I tried to find a person in charge but there was no one working on Christmas day. So I camped and shot a few pictures. In the morning, I turned on the hot water heater and even took a nice hot shower. It had been a few days that I haven’t showered so I can’t tell you how good it felt to be clean again.

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Empty insect shells.

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Cooked up some spicy rice with dried mushrooms.

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Next morning, back on the road. Luckily, no forest ranger came by to ask me for $$ so I ended up spending the night for free by the nice lake where I had running water and HOT shower! Pure luxury…

A few km down the road, I met this couple. They were riding on 2 BMWs in the opposite direction. Had a short chat and we went on our way.

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The roads turned purple

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Even though the roads were nice, mainly gravel and I was having a blast riding on them, I couldn’t stop thinking that I didn’t have a spare tube anymore for the rear tire. What would I do if I’d get another large nail and blow this one too? Coihaique was coming up and I thought I’d be able to find one for sure. It was a large enough city with Wall Mart type looking stores so a tube shouldn’t be a problem. Well, I was wrong.! There was one motorcycle dealer in town and only had the wrong size tubes for my bike. I tried every store in town but no luck. The next larger town was going to be a few hundred km south. While running around, I did meet Matt. He has been traveling south as well from the US. He did most of the trip on a bicycle in Central America, then crossed the Darien Gap in a Canoe and in Colombia decided to get a motorcycle so he bought a used Suzuki DR200. He wanted to get to Ushuaia before New Years, doing all South America in 30 days I believe… he succeeded! Crazy guy!

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We found a nice green place to camp for the night with spectacular views and some trees to keep the wind out.

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The next day, we split up. Matt made a left at the bottom of this windy road towards Argentina, meanwhile I continued south through Chile. He wanted to make it all the way to Ushuaia for NY, meanwhile I was aiming closer to El Calafate.

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