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September 17, 2021, 3:25 pm
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Day56-480 miles the Hard Way!, Mon, Feb 21, 2011

A beautiful day doing 50 MPH!  The East Coast Argentinian head winds keeps things interesting.

Start & Stop: Comodoro Rivadavia to Rio Gallegos, Argentina

Mileage:  497 agonizing miles

Hotel: Hotel Comercio, Av. Roca 1302 esq. Estrada – (9400), Rio Gallegos, Republica Argentina

Fuel: $3.267 Argentine Peso /l liter ($0.82 USD/1 liter) or $3.09 per gal!

Currency Exchange: $1 USD = $4.02 Argentine Peso

Dean: We rode from 7AM (sunrise) to 5:30 PM at a 50 MPH avg for a total of 497 miles.

Obviously, the whole direction of our ride has changed.  With my V-Strom engine problems, which resulted in 7+ days deleted from our  riding schedule (the two Suzuki dealer stops), our original goal of enjoying a causal pace is gone.  Our goal now is to get this stinkin’, stallin’ bike to the end of Ruta 3!

It’s not much fun keeping the V-Strompasourus moving at 50 MPH.  The 3K RPM shut-off is abrupt.  Once the engine starts lugging, it takes 1-2 minutes to recover and slowly build the RPMS back to 3K.  If this happens in an uphill section, it can take 3-4 minutes to regain the 50 MPH speed.

Very stiff head wind and while most would consider this part of Argentina flat, it actually has many small hills and valleys.  Up hill speeds are 40-45 MPH. Down hill is 55-65 MPH.  Because I have no acceleration passing is a rare occasion.  So I ended up spending much of the time behind cement trucks, tankers and slow equipment loads.  To make things interesting, cars and pickups are passing us doing 100 MPH!!!

Lisa: Ok, so this basically sucks but it is what it is.  Dean is working his butt off but at the end of the day, we are both dealing with this and I am trying to convince the Perfectionist that things like this are part of life.  He ain’t buying it. But honestly, it could have easily been my bike with this problem and I am having to go as slowly as he is, so get over your bad Danish self.  At one point i thought that my mental calculations were faulty so I switched my GPS to statute miles from KMs and nope, I was pretty correct.  We were freaking crawling.  I think we spent most of the day somewhere between 41-47 mph. About 25% around 50mph and maybe .007% over 60. So yeah, we might as well have walked.  But whatever.

Dean: Lisa is being so patient!  As many of you know, Lisa is the original “Does this bike make my butt look F-A-S-T!” girl.  She rides everywhere like her hair is on fire.  Zoom here, Zoom there!  And here she is for the last week protecting my back.  Making sure no 100 MPH pickup or car comes roaring through me while I’m in the fast lane passing a moped.

We started the day riding along the beach.  Not much sand here.  Most of the beaches are rocks.

10 hours at 50 MPH gave me plenty of time to thing about worldly things like, what will I do with this bike when it gets back to California.  I can’t leave it in Argentina/Chile.  Import tariffs can be as high as 3X the original purchase price.  Back in SoCal, a skilled mechanic will repeat everything that was done in Vina del Mar and Osorno.  I could just “part-the-bike-out” eradicating it’s “salvage” title.

Lisa: Meanwhile, as slowly as we are traveling, I am trying to soak this in. This is a wonderful place, full of new experiences and I may never return so I want to really drink it up. I have really never ridden this slowly for any length of time and it opens new horizons, in more ways than I might have imagined.  Slowing down actually changes the whole riding equation.  Who knew that you could actually SEE things, pay less attention to ‘not dying’ and more care and consideration to the beauty that surrounds you?  I could get used to this.  When I’m old.

But clearly, returning to Santiago the way we’ve come is not a good option.  First of all, Dean’s head might pop off and if not, I might have to put him out of my misery (that is not a typo).  So we made a grownup decision to ship us and the bikes on a 3-day ferry north from Pto Natales to Pto Montt, leaving about 700 straight highway miles to where we ship them home.  It’s about a wash expense wise but the psychic expense savings is immeasurable.  Dean is relieved, Sue is happy and it’s all good.  My sweetie got a real person on the phone and made it happen – YAY!

Dean: I was not looking forward to backtracking up through Argentina and back over the Andes to Chile.  Not at 50 MPH and all the limited engine parameters.  Thank you Alan for making the ferry happen!!

Lisa: So tomorrow we finally head to the finish – Ushuaia.  As I have said over and over, I am not a fan of dirt/sand/gravel, especially on these titanium tires we’re running.  So wish me well.  I am hoping for a no-drop day but meanwhile, back on planet earth, Dean is hoping there will be bystanders to pick up the pieces of my bike after they stop laughing. Prayers appreciated.

We hope to post tomorrow from near the southernmost road in the Americas!!!!

Dean: Tomorrow we have TWO border crossings.  We are in Argentina today.  We cross back into Chile then take a ferry ride, then cross 90 miles of dirt/gravel/sand to the Argentina border then mostly paved to Ushuaia.

22 comments to Day56-480 miles the Hard Way!, Mon, Feb 21, 2011

  • Kirsten T-S

    Here’s wishing you all a no-drop, speedy, easy boarder crossings kind of day!

  • Lurleen

    The end is in sight! Just enjoy it. Thanks for bringing “us” along.

  • Puppychow

    The goal is in sight! I am sure the adrenaline of anticipation would somehow counteract the lack of adrenaline from the need for speed! Although, I am not sure how you guys are handling it, 50mph sounds like a shoot me now and end my misery type of torture!

    Also, not to burden you with fresh theories, so forgive me for this, but if the shut off at 3K rpm is so abrupt, could it possibly be a marginal kick-stand switch, the vibrations are just enough @ 3K rpm’s and above to mess it up?

    Good luck tomorrow! I will be watching your SPOT and wishing you an incident free last push to the goal!

  • Great report – no doubt, it has to be work keeping the rpms that low. Looking forward to the finish and great idea to get back to Santiago. As for the bike? Dean, you got to figure out what is making it do that after all this lol – at least before you part it…

  • Tom Botz

    Dean:
    you should leave EARLY tomorrow because the border into Chile can take hours. Ride to the very front of the line of cars and walk to the human lines. You cannot see this right away but there are actually TWO lines; once you recognize this, you two can make progress in these separate lines simultaneously.
    The gravel tomorrow is easy, no issues, and the second border will be your easiest of the entire trip.
    Say hi to our bikes in Ushuaia, they are parked in front of the Aonikenk Hostel, 25 de Mayo 576 (we didn’t stay there but it looked like a perfectly acceptable hostel, walking distance to the center).

  • Jerry W

    I liked Lisa’s thing about how life changes at 50mph. Be Here Now, and all that. Lemons, lemonade. You’re in frigging Argentina on one and a half motorcycles. Super bitchin’.

  • Tirzah

    Godspeed! Prayers for safe sound and somewhat speedy travels. Enjoy!

  • Bob K

    It’s just over the horizon!!!

  • Ernie Conner

    Dear Dean and Lisa,
    Thank you so much for taking us along on your journey. I have read all of your dialogue and both of you are masters at giving us an idea of what it’s like on the ground where you are and what you are experiencing. I await each posting with great anticipation and it makes good reading. I looked at the satelite picture of your last stop and from my experience of my days as a photo intelligence analyst, just looking at the white surf along the coast tells me there was some really high winds that would cause such a wide band of white surf. I doubt that it happened just on the day the picture was snapped. God’s speed on the rest of your journey and I look forward to the time I can review some of the many pictures you have recorded. I still, though, get saddle sore pangs thinking of such a long ride. lol
    Prayers and Ride safe and stay healthy.
    JoAnn sends her love and prayers as well!

  • Dave McQ

    Not too early for a hearty “Congratulations” is it?

    When you get to road’s end today, you’ll likely take your photo at the sign marking the “End of Route 3”. That may well be your favorite shot from the trip, a symbol of the culmination of a memorable series of pleasures, adversities, surprises, and the kindnesses of strangers.

    Yes, from Ushuaia, you will still ride some, sail between ports, ride a little more, and finally fly back to the USA, but that portion of the journey should be a cruise, compared to the southbound adventure.

    Thanks again for letting us ride along.

  • Jim Carroll

    Thanks for keeping us up to speed?! (Sorry)

    Your willingness to keep us in the loop via the blog and SPOT is fantastic and very much appreciated. One can only imagine what highlight will surface in the days, weeks, months and years ahead that stands out the most. Only you will make that determination and don’t be surprised if you can’t single just one or one hundred out. It’s OK, you’ve earned the right to pick and choose.

    An early congrats for all you have accomplished is being sent your way. I won’t be able to follow along as closely today as I’ll be at the office, “getting old”……

    Keep Going! The best is yet to come….

  • John H

    Lisa and Dean, the two of you frequently remind me of Teddy Roosevelt’s quote “Speak softly and carry a big stick”, but this trip has brought to mind one of his other quotes:

    “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

    Y’all have dared to do, and it is nearly done. Awesome!
    Now don’t let your guard down just because the goal is near. Thanks for taking the time to include us in your trials and tribulations as well as your highs and photos.
    Muchos gracias!

  • Steve Aikens

    Ok Lisa, here’s the new perspective. You’re getting the “old fart” speeds out of your system now, so you can happily ride like to wind when you’re 80. Regardless of the challenges you’re faced with, you guys have both had an incredible run to the end, now in sight. As much as I hate running into problems, I’d give my right one to be there with you guys.

    Stay safe. We’re all anxious for your return.

  • Diane Z

    Thank you Dean and Lisa for making January & February more exciting. No drop and Godspeed–Early congrats. Wish I had a photo of your smiles when you reach the end of the road. Thanks for the blog, its been SO EXCITING!

  • TurboDave

    One the last leg to you UCC, congratulations to both of you. You two are an awesome team!! Dean if you decide to part out I wud like dibs on Tanji cell??

  • Chris McGaffin

    You’ve made January & February a little bit more bearable. I’ve enjoyed coming home from work and catching up on the days latest mishaps/triumphs/tantrums/highlights/lowpoints etc etc etc.

    Be nice to see a pic of you two at the end of the road. That Vstrom deserves a pat. It did get you all the way…even if it was v-e-r-y slowly.

  • John Parker

    I see from today’s Spot Tracker that you are very close to Ushuaia. Congrats on the tenacity to keep it all together on your adventure despite many challenges. I think the ferry ride from Puerto Natales to Puerto Montt is an excellent idea. Kinda like the Marine Highway in Alaska. It looks to be an adventure in its own right. You’ll see a part of the World you would have missed by back tracking on the bikes. Plus you’ll be able to watch the scenery and take photos. Doubt if we’ll hear much from you during the cruise, so leave the tracker active so we can follow you on Google Earth.

  • Matt Watkins

    Wow, some serious perspective. I’m wondering if it’s going to snow this weekend to go knock out a few dams in the Dam Tour and spend the night from home.

    You guys are definitely in the middle of an adventure you’re going to look back fondly on.

    Ride well!

  • geri

    hi dean and lisa.

    what a ride for us back in the states. it’s probably been as harrowing for us reading your blog as it has been for you to “ride” the road.

    what i want to know NOW is—ARE YOU/WE THERE YET??? and if so, congratulations.

    as everyone writes: ride safe.

  • TeeVee

    Perhaps you’ve read this, but you never did mention that the dealers did a fuel flow test. It’s relatively simple.
    http://www.vstrom.info/Smf/index.php/topic,11603.0.html

    best of luck!

  • chuck hickey

    Lisa –
    There is a ROSE — but you don’t have to stop to smell at these speeds.
    Now……don’t you feel better?

    The good news is the road is almost to its end – the bad news is that when you all are through you wont have me adding to your misery with my [pithy] [caustic] [funny] [not so funny] [appropriate] [inappropriate] [on/off the money] [apropos] [revealing] [ominous] [fortuitous] [confusing] [ineffectual] [on/off target] remarks {feel free to pick one or more from the above or add your own (as I’m sure you already have)}.

    keep the faith – you are almost there – and good call on the ferry.

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