January Hole

Okay, there is no translation for “Januarloch” but the meaning is quite simple. After all the festivities, the money spending there is the January Hole – no festivities, no money, tiredness, long winter nights, people being just a bit depressed 😉

So, apart from the fact that we reached Ushuaia, January hadn’t started on a good note.

THE wine for bikers at the End of the World – from the Bodega Fin del Mundo 😀

But since we got our spare parts, fixing the starters was top priority. Therefore, we returned from Ushuaia to Rio Grande. We not only had a nice apartment but a motorcycle mechanic had agreed to let Thomas work in his shop – while he was on holidays. When we were ready to get started, his daughter couldn’t get hold of the workshop key.

Fernanda, Juan and Fernando with the mandatory Mate tea

Luckily, Fernanda had a boyfriend with a small workshop, he and his friends used for their ADVs, which we were allowed to use. My bike came first.

All went smoothly

until the side cover cracked while Thomas tightening the screws. No way to hit the road without being splattered with engine oil. The guys agreed that JB Weld and some kind of bracket should do the deal.

Then the paper seal of Thomas’ side cover ripped. To find seal paper was kind of difficult but in the end we got lucky. So I cut a new one.

Friends of Fernando, the shop owner, showed up and invited us for an impromptu BBQ session.

They had a huge build-in grill in the workshop.

If you don’t have a bottle opener but plenty of tools

We were driven home after a fun evening and then picked up again the next morning. Hoping that all was fine, we took the motorcycles back to the apartment.

The broken parts in the starter

But both side covers were still leaking. That meant more time in the workshop, drinking more Mate.

Finally, after four days, Thomas was willing to ride on. It’s so easy, when you can simply press a button

and the engine roars 😀

For the first time in 6 months (15’000 km / 9’375 mi) the kick starter WASN’T needed

After 369 km (230 mi),

two border crossings and a ferry,

that brought us from the Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego back to the argentine mainland, it was clear that we couldn’t continue without spending more time trying to fix my side cover. On iOverlander we found a recommendation for a local mechanic. Luis proofed to be our savior in Rio Gallegos.

Not only was Thomas allowed to use his workshop, free of charge,

but he knew a welder that he trusted to weld my aluminum side cover. Thomas had removed the JB Weld very carefully.

Is this the end of our trip?

After the welding

and smoothing

a new paper seal was cut and then we could only hope.

Rain cut our next riding day short. But after 237 km (148 mi) the side cover was still dry/sealed. An entire landslide went off our hearts – what a huge relief. It would have been almost impossible to get a replacement in Argentina.

Culinary “Highlight”: Pizza Alemaña – with Sauerkraut and Vienna Sausage

The only reason to stop in Caleta Olivia would have been the sea lion colony directly beside the road. But that day, there wasn’t even a single one on the beach, of course. The locals assured us that this was very exceptional. Ha, big help, didn’t mean the beasts returned…

As it turned out, we wouldn’t have time to return and have a second look after finding a hotel room. Unloading our tail bags, we discovered that Tom’s rear tire had simply dissolved on the last kilometers.

Completely unexpected, we had to find a new rear tire. Sadly, 18 inch (in our width) isn’t really common down here. But we were lucky and found one at a reasonable price. Thomas took the wheel out, carried it to the dealer who took him to a shop to have it mounted. Soon, the wheel was back in and we went to pay for the tire. Suddenly, the dealer wanted 50 USD more for the tire – mounting not included. If Thomas didn’t want to pay the more expensive price, the dealer wanted the tire back. Huuuu???? After a long discussion that let to nothing but hot tempers on all sides, we put cash on the counter – the original price and 15 USD extra – and left the shop without another word. Since the guy didn’t show up at the hotel he must have been satisfied.

Worthy is the Worker – Caleta Olivia

After the experience with Tom’s tire, we weren’t willing to take chances but ordered new tires all around. 10 days later we should be able to pick them up at the post office in Puerto Madryn, a bit further north.

That left us with a lot of time to ride a part of Argentina that most people describe as boring.

Every couple of kilometers these gates povided us with some exercise

In almost all the blogs we follow people choose either the route along the Andes, take the ferry back north or are suddenly in Buenos Aires.

We decided to ride some more dirt, which provided us with some change.

Visiting the Magellanic penguins

was a further diversion on the long ride north.

In Trelew we spend 6 days in an ultra-cheap AirBnB – 10 USD per night (for 2) incl. breakfast.

Out on the Pampa

Our landlady lent us her car to visit closeby Gaiman to enjoy some welsh afternoon tea. We visited a tea room where, once upon a time, Diana, Pricess of Wales, had a cup of tea.

With 36° C, 97° F, in the shade, it was too warm for us to drink afternoon tea. Instead we went for an aperitif.

Then it was time to change location. Over the next three days our three tires arrived in Puerto Madryn.

Our landlord was fine with us changing tires in the yard and even took care of our rundown ones.

Still kind of undecided, we continued north.

The coastal towns and the transit stations were full of tourists. The hotels overpriced and therefore not worth their money. Vacation season, high season, then transitions into Carnival Season in certain regions. Riding a bit more dirt,

finally seeing some sea lions

and visiting a parrot colony

where the highlights of a long, hot leg.

1’000 km (625 mi) before Buenos Aires we reached our limit. Our only thought was getting out of the hype. The idea to continue along the coast and meet up for a beer with the bikers we had met on the Carretera Austral wasn’t attractive anymore, since they lived in the biggest beach resort – Mar del Plata.

Slideshow: Sea lions and parrots

Settling down, waiting for the high season and the Carnival to pass, not playing the hotel game for a month… Three dusty, boring and hot days later we moved into our little apartment. A bedroom, a bathroom, a kitchen, a living room, WIFI, a washing machine AND AC 😀

One thought on “January Hole

  1. Pingback: Januarloch | Sandra and Thomas on the road

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