Saturday, October 9, 2010

55. The Dash for the Cash- driving from Perito Moreno to Buenos Aires (04/02/08)

Riding a motorcycle for so long has started to take its toll on me. Driving in a straight line through terrain that looks like Nebraska has not helped to reinterest me in riding. Having something break or fall off the bike has not been good for morale either.
The mechanic in Perito Moreno ghetto fixed my chain by hammering 2 of the pins out and replacing the damaged links with new ones (I had extras). It took an arguement to get him to use o-rings when he reinstalled the pins. For the first pin he was able to get the o-rings on with a few minutes of fiddling, but the last pin had to be hammered in while on the bike (it is very time consuming to mount a non connecting link chain on a F650). I gave the mechanic permission to hammer the pin in by using the back of the axle bolt as a platform for hammering. I do not think it did any damage to the bike but it can not be a good idea to hammer on a part that is used for making adjustments.
Unfortunately it turned out to be impossible to put the o-rings on the last link. As I headed off for Comodoro Rivadavia I decided that I would oil the chain every hour just to be safe. Fortunately I pulled into CR without incident and than looked for half an hour trying to find a place to camp. The city was founded after oil was discovered in the early 1900´s and camping was very difficult because of the barren ground of the region.
I finally found a soccer field that looked like a great camping spot but kids were practicing on the field at 9:00 pm! They really take soccer (football) seriously here. As I waited for practice to end a man came up and introduced himself. The soccer complex turned out to be a club and this man (Nicolas Lamas) was head of the club. After asking me what I was up to he kindly offered to let me sleep inside in the club´s gym with my motorcycle. I took him up on his kind offer and he showed me the gym. He had some water boiling and It felt so great to be inside a warm building drinking ¨¨mate.¨ Nicolas told me it would be okay to send other motorcyclists his way, so here is the info (Club Deportivo Prospero Palazzo is in Chubut which is a section in Northern Comodoro Rivadavia, address: Juan Jose DAS0751, Note: The turn off on highway 3 for the club is at the top of a hill with a gas station at the top of the hill. The turn off is towards the ocean. Drive for 8 blocks, turn right and go 2 blocks and ask where the soccer fields are.)
The next day of driving was very productive (nothing like sleeping on a bed (I mean gym mat) after 2 weeks of camping). The following day I got off to a good start but I ran into a police roadblock at 10:00 am. There was a group of men protesting around a buring car right next to the police and I assumed that the highway closure was due to this protest. I chatted with the police and he kept telling me that the road was closed because of an accident and to take a detour. Other people drove around the roadblock and continued down the highway while he told me this. Unfortunately I neglected to take his advice and drove an hour up the highway to come up on a leaking chemical truck.
It was interesting to watch as Hazmat workers in there protective suits worked on the spill. At first I was nervous about breathing in the chemicals but than I realized the wind was blowing it the other direction. I waited 2.5 hours while they pumped the liquid into another truck and cleared the road. The chemical spill ruined my dream of pulling into Buenos Aires while it was still light out and taking pictures.

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