Posts By Country




March 18th, 2012 | Argentina

Country Roads and Good Friends…

Determined to find a good road to ride on, I left my hotel later than I had intended to, and headed south towards Cafayate… I was told that it was about 200 km away and it would take as much as 4 hours to get there, depending on the condition of the road…

Every farm I passed, no matter how small, had a herd of horse in the paddock... I passed dozens of guys on horseback...

I did not want to spend 8 hours on the road just to do an outride, and hoped to find something closer…

A string of villages south of the city meant one long section of development after another… The farms were small and squeezed between the many villages I rode through…

I took a few turnoffs which seemed to lead towards the mountains, but they invariably turned into dead ends or ended up in a farmyard… I became frustrated, and by the time I got as far south as Coronel Moldes, 60 km away, I had had enough…

I sat at this tiny roadside restaurant, drank three cups of coffee, munched on a stale sandwich, and muttered to myself...!!

Roadworks in the town had thrown traffic into chaos, and cars jockeyed around heaps of sand, through ditches and flooded tracks… I wanted speed…!! I needed an adrenaline kick, and nothing I encountered gave me one…

The one section of road that warned about “camino sinuoso”, twisting road, was nothing more than a series of a dozen gentle bends that I took at over 100 km/h without any difficulty…

I could feel the bike running smoothly under me, wanting to be let loose as much as I felt the same need…

After a stop for coffee and a bite to eat, I decided to head back the way I had come…

I made my way back to Salta, feeling out of sorts and planning to have a quiet day working on my blog…

A few minutes after I had taken off all my riding kit, there was a knock at my door… I opened it to find Don Augusto Delgado, owner of the hotel…

He rattled off in Spanish for a while and it took me a minute to realise that he wanted me to come riding with him and his buddies… When he dragged me over to my balcony and pointed to a huge Goldwing parked beneath it, my translation proved correct…!!

Don Augusto Delgado and his 1800 cc Honda Goldwing...

I got dressed again and ten minutes later, we were parked outside his house, waiting for his mates to arrive… It was hard to believe that a man a good few inches shorter than me, rode such a massive beast of a machine…

I was presented with one of the club stickers, which I managed to find a spot for on my bike...!!

Inside his beautiful home, he showed me his collection of vintage models, and it became clear that this man had a passion for all Ford vintage cars and trucks, and spent a lot of time and effort restoring them…

More things vintage...!! A fully restored and working Gramophone...!!

I also discovered that together with his friends he had started a motorcycle club known as Cyclosalta…

I thought about how lucky I had been to stumble upon his hotel… Here was a guy who obviously knew all there was to know about motorcycling in Salta…!!

Two bikes pulled up minutes later and I was introduced to Daniel and his wife Cristina, who were riding a Yamaha FJR 1300, and their son Imanol, riding a Yamaha TDM 900…

I patted the Big Fella, showing him that he was not the smallest bike here after all… His nose was getting a bit out of joint, you see…!!

After introductions were over, we hit the road, riding north towards San Lorenzo, and then into the country side to take a back road towards Caldera and than onto the highway towards San Salvador de Jujuy…

Augusto Delgado and his wife Lili on their Goldwing...

With the Goldwing taking the lead, and the Big Fella tucked in behind him, we cruised along at a steady clip, the two Yammies bring up the rear…

Daniel and Cristina on thier Yamaha...

Imanol brought up the rear on his father's previous bike...

We rode through a number of small villages, where people stopped in their tracks to stare at us…

We stopped at Laguna la Cienaga, a large man made lake that where people were water-skiing, and messing about on Jetskis… At a large waterfront restaurant we joined another group of friends and enjoyed a light lunch… A small pan fried fish was served with vegetables and fries…

Daniel and his son both spoke more than passable English, and with their assistance and translations, I was able to join in the lively conversation that took place around the table…

A happy group of bikers enjoying a lively lunch....

It was good to feel part of this group and the subject of the “Brotherhood of Bikers” soon came up… We spoke about the unwritten rule of helping each other out, and standing together, a band of unrelated brothers… We talked of bikes, routes and rides we had made… The fact that only three of us at the table of ten spoke any English, mattered not a jot…

I thought about Ezequiel, Pablo and Agustine, and about Roger (who was now back home in New Zealand) and realised how lucky I was to have ridden with them… They had made the ride through South America so far, a pleasure…

After lunch we rode to the village of San Antonio, where Augusto and Daniel chatted to an old man, Don Fredrico, who helped them restore their vintage Fords… He is 88 years old, and knows everything there is to know about these old cars…

The old Don tries to explain the intricacies of these Ford Roadster to me... He might as well have been talking about the Space Shuttle....!!

Augusto and the old Don share a laugh... He was worried that at the age of 88, the authorities were going to take away his driver's license....!!

We rode away after Don Fredrico wished me a safe journey onward… I thought about all that knowledge locked in his head, and that when he was gone, much of it would go with him… I was glad that there were enthusiasts like my two friends who shared his passion and would pass on what they knew one day…

We climbed higher into the mountains after that, and then stopped to take a few roadside pictures....

By the time we got going, the light was fading, but we stopped again anyway for coffee at a service station south of Jujuy… The last 100 km were made as the sun was setting and eventually in complete darkness…

A molten sky behind us, and darkness up ahead as we made our way back to Salta...

We stooped for a last time just before Salta… It was pitch dark by then and the temperature had dropped… Augusto and Lili bid me goodbye and went towards their home, while Daniel and Imanol rode with me all the way into the city centre where I had to draw cash from an ATM…

The last thing Daniel said to me before they rode off and after we had all thanked each other for the ride, was,

“Remember Ronnie… You are not alone…!! You have our numbers and emails, if ever you need something, call us…!!”

I arrived back at the hotel at 9.00 pm…!! It had been a long and unusual day, that started off not so good, but ended very well…!! And most importantly, I had added to the list of friends I had made on the GBWT…!!

©GBWT 2012

 

6 comments to Country Roads and Good Friends…

  • Mark Behr

    Man, this is what your trip is really all about. What a great day that rose out of the ashes of your uninspiring morning. Great Stuff!!!

  • Hey Ronnie,

    See you are back in Argentina! We are in Rio Grande heading down to Ushuaia. Well, at least we are on the same continent now.
    I share your shock issues of sort – our fuel pump packed up a few days ago and I had to hotwire the bike back into action!
    I wonder if I may hassle you for some info – we are going to take the porvenir ferry on our way back north after ushuaia, any idea where to check the timetable?
    Take care!
    Andrew

  • Hiya Andrew…!! The company is Broom Shipping… (Transbordadora Austral Broom S.A.)
    http://www.tabsa.cl
    The ferry leaves Porvenir from about 2 pm every day except Sundays I think, but the schedules change often… You might have to sleep in Rio Grande to make it to the ferry in time… Check your distances and times carefully… The road to Pornevir is about 150 km of good dirt road, but allow three hours for it… Lots of nice scenery to take in… Also two border crossings, and if you get caught behind a busload of tourists, you’ll spend an hour on each side…!! R.

  • Hey, thanks so much for such a quick reply!
    Have checked out the site, thanks – hope they give reliable info!
    Awesome tip about staying in Grande – makes sense.
    Thanks again and chat soon!
    Andrew

  • Michael Brewer

    Ronnie

    Frikkin’ awesome trip and blog! Dolores Mourinho told me to have a look – I ride a GS and enjoy adventure riding.

    Best of luck and ride safe!!

    Mike Brewer

  • Hi Michael…! Welcome aboard…!! Hope you enjoy the ride and the read…!! Not too much left of either, as in five or six months, it will all be over…!! Ha…!! Take care, R.

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