Riding north from Ushuaia

Posted: June 12, 2012 in Argentina

After spending a couple of days in Ushuaia, I started heading back north towards Buenos Aires. I have to say that the #3 must be the most boring road of my trip. About 3000km of straight desert paved road with incredible winds pushing from the side.

The unpaved part in Chile just after leaving Ushuaia. Only about 170km if I remember correctly.

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The ferry ride back. I passed 2 borders in 1 day, Argentina to Chile and Chile to Argentina.

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Somewhere a bit North of Ushuaia

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As you can see by the spare tires, this gentleman was heading south.

A bit further down the road I met these guys, and not in the best situation. The wind on the road around here is so powerful that in order to keep the bikes going straight, you gotta keep them on the side. It’s no big deal as the wind is constant so you just keep riding on an angle. The bad part is when semi trucks come from the front as they disturb the constant wind and create a pull. A few times I felt close to loosing the front end of the bike and got pulled onto the opposite lane. This gentleman had the wind from a semi truck throw him in the ditch.

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The ambulance came pretty quick but luckily everyone was fine. The bike on the other hand had some broken plastics and a broken brake lever. Still rideable so they kept heading south!

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These guys were going down to Ushuaia on these semi sport bikes with sports tires. They were a bit worried about the 170km of gravel road. I wonder how they did?

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Some views from the side of the road, already about 1000km north of Ushuaia.

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As I was riding up, I started to stop in every town and look for a replacement chain for the bike. The one I had on was a Chinese one I had bought in Chile and had lasted about 8000km, maybe even less. It was stretching, clicking and eating up my sprockets every km. I was sure to be able to find what I needed in Comodoro Rivadavia as it was a larger city. I went around to every bike shop in town and did find a chain well over priced at around 200$ but couldn’t get a front sprocket. In front of one of the stores I met a mechanic who knew a bike mechanic about 15km away. He drove me there, to a small town in the back of a house. True enough, there was a bike mechanic there working on all kinds of higher performance bikes. All he had for chains were Chinese or Japanese without O rings but no sprockets. My other problem I brought up to the mechanic was the cold starting of the bike. I had started having major problems starting up the bike after leaving it over night. It had got to the point that I would have to hold the starter on for 1-2 minutes before getting it going. This problem had started somewhere North of Chile but it had gotten really bad around Ushuaia because of the cold. I would be worried all night when sleeping that in the morning I wont have enough battery to get the bike going. Long story short, this mechanic was pretty sure that the valves were the problem. There was no way to get valves anywhere before Buenos Aires so they just had to last. No valves, a chain that was about to break, and a sprocket that was totally done. The next city was about 500km North and it was hard to tell if the sprocket would make it or not but I had no choice, I had to try.

500km later, as it was starting to get a bit late, I made it to Trelew and just at the entrance to the city, the chain started skipping over the sprocket. I had no choice, I had to find a chain but especially a sprocket here. I made it up to the center, asked around for shops and then asked around in the shops for the right parts. I had found a chain but no matching sprocket. The owner of the store was nice and started calling around. Turns out that just around the corner there was another store…

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Cesar, at Todhogar had ordered a KLR sprocket just in case a traveller might stop by someday. Even though I was ready to pay a fortune for the only KLR sprocket available in the south, Cesar just gave it to me for free along with a chain lube spray can. After being a bit nervous all day, Cesar had made my day with his help and generosity. Thanks again Cesar! By the way, he also had a HUGE variety of tires and accessories for larger traveller bikes. So if you’re heading south on the #3, this can be a great stop to stack up on tires, brake pads…

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I went back to the shop next door to have the chain changed. We tried to do it at Cesar’s store but couldn’t get the front sprocket off. Even though the mechanics here were closing down, they took my bike in and helped me out.

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Here is what was left of the teeth on the sprocket.

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Once the bike was done, I got out of the city and went to find a place to sleep the night. Just off the main road, there was a place with some trees to keep some of the wind out and I was able to set camp.

Not too far north, there was a National Reserve on a peninsula. The entrance fee was a bit steep at 25$ but I was told it was nice to visit so I did. The thing is that on a heavier bike it’s a bit hard to see the whole peninsula as the dirt roads are pretty thick on the gravel so I just went to check out the town and some of the outskirts but didn’t adventure too far. I was also running low on gas and the gas station in town was all out of fuel.

Some of the pictures of the peninsula

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It was interesting but not worth 25$ in my books. So I got out of there before it was too late and kept riding north. As it was getting late, I found a place on a side road to pitch up the tent.

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I was getting closer and closer to Buenos Aires. I had ridden about 2500km of the most boring road ever so I decided to check out some beach towns and relax with some beers maybe. The climate was getting hotter and hotter.

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I made it to a town full of dirt bikes and quads. Turns out they would go there not just for the ocean but also for the fun in the sand dunes.

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After riding on the ocean shore for a bit I decided to try my luck with the 200+KG bike in the dunes. I had never ridden dunes before so it was a totally new experience.

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So much fun! Even though the KLR is a heavy weight, with enough throttle I could ride the dunes without problems.

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Well, almost no problems… Had the bike stuck in the sand twice. Both times had to wait till quad riders showed up to pull it out.

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Comments
  1. Alexandra says:

    Very cool! In India, I rode a camel on the dunes; one day, it will be bike!

  2. Vlad says:

    This trip made you very fit. You look like you are wearing my clothes now 🙂
    You can start selling a fun weight loss program: “Follow me to Brazil!” …and you can post some real pictures with you “before and after”.

    By the way …amazing pictures and landscape!

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