February 24, 2003

Ushuai Argentina to Torres Brazil

After  spending 5 days in Ushuai we headed back north. The trip up through patagoinia was pretty uneventful and the winds where not nearly as bad as they where when we headed down. Pretty uneventful except for our planned side trip to see the El Moreno glacier. A bit less then a 100 miles into our day while travelling about 65-70mph there was a 150' long break break in the road which was rather thick gravel. While I went through with hardly a wiggle from my bike I checked my mirrors just in time to see Todd's bike flipping through the air sideways with Todd flopping along the ground merrilly behind it. Todd and his bike ended resting on the side of the road. Fortunately neither Todd nor the bike where seriously damaged but that put an end to our plans to see the worlds only growing glacier and we headed back into to town so could fix his bike.

After a couple of weeks of chilly temperatures in Patagonia we stopped at a couple of beaches and then headed north to the town of Azul where we heard about a motorcycle club that had  an open invitation for motorcycle tourers. The club house in Azul was great and we set a record for the most travellers being there at once a total of 9. Three Germans, three Japanese, one English, and two Virginians. Todd headed for Bs. As. on Wednesday with the three Germans and the Japanese and the English lady left on Thursday but I decided to hang around till Friday for the regular Asado(BBQ) party. I'm glad I did as 5 American riders showed up on Friday and with half a dozen locals showing up a great time was had by all.

Leaving Azul I made my way back to 25 de Mayo to see my sister inlaws family before heading to Bs. As. to meet back up with Todd. As usual the hospitality of my inlaws was wonderful and it was great to see them again. I also got the chance to visit the local disco with some of the younguns which was a lot of fun as well watching some more polo action.

In Buenos Todd and I did a bit of the tourist thing and got our visas sorted out to enter Brazil. We had originally planned on taking a ferry from Buenos to Montevideo in Uruguay but since it cost almost a hundred dollars and took 4 hours I convinced Todd to just ride to Uruguay instead. Big mistake! While I'm generally very found of Argentina and and the Argentinian people the cops we meet that day did their best to change my opinion of the whole country. We got stopped twice and basically robbed to the tune of 80 dollars. The first time on the pretext that we didn't have insurance papers and the second because we where supposedly speeding. It was complete Bullshit and we should of just told them to piss off. Which is exactly what we did the following day when we got stopped less then 5 miles out of the town we stayed at and where told that we where spotted speeding when we passed a truck even though we hadn't passed anyone and where riding like a couple of old ladies. After repeatedly telling them that I wasn't gonna pay them a dime and taking all of their pictures they gave up and sent us on our way. It was still cheaper then taking the ferry but not by much and the aggrivation was definitely not worth it.

We crossed Uruguay in a day and made it into Brazil without any problems other then persistent rain. Unfortunately 5 months of abuse combined with rains of the last few days has caused my camera to give up the ghost so while I plan on purchasing an analog camera future updates may be lacking pictures. The difference between Argentina and these countries is stricking and I definitely feel like I'm back in the Third World.

Off to Carnival and more beaches.