Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Motorcycle vs. Wind - 12 March 2018

12 March 2018 - Another day of flat desert with well-worn down mountains.  I saw more llamas and emus today than I saw yesterday.  I say a herd as large as 40 animals all grazing in the ditch.  I also saw a flock of emus as large as twenty birds walking and eating in the ditches.  There were also more dead llamas in the ditches today than any other day.  I think they tangled with the semi-trucks and lost.

I got a good taste of the Patagonia Winds today. Two hundred miles of nonstop side gusts ranging from mild South Dakota winds to hard hits about 40 / 50 Mph gusts. The old Kawasaki got slapped around right smartly, to say nothing about the operator. I got buzzed in that wind by some jerk driver. When you were hit by one of those hard gusts you instantly moved sideways 4 feet+ depending on how fast you could react and correct the side movement. I was blown twice into oncoming traffic. I always hugged the shoulder of the road when I met oncoming traffic as a precaution.

When I arrived at the outskirts of Rio Gallegos I saw a sign which had an arrow to Ushuaia, my destination. I decided I had to get a picture of that sign. The sign was plastered full of stickers from people who rode their motorcycle or drove their cars to Ushuaia. It is the first sign I’ve seen that points in the direction of Ushuaia. It gave me an excited feeling like “God I’m nearly there.” I parked my motorcycle in front of the sign and there was no or very little wind. In less than two minutes the wind was blowing in 40 Mph wind gusts. I couldn’t get off my bike for fear it would blow over and it was facing into the wind. The wind died down briefly and I got off my bike holding onto the handle bars just in case the wind started up.

I was just about to take a picture and my bike shook from a wind gust. The support stick from under the right foot peg fell out and the bike slowly started leaned to the right. I tried to hold it upright but couldn’t hold the weight of it slowly falling to the ground. So, there it laid on its side like an upside down dead cockroach. Now I have a shit situation on my hands. I took a picture of it laying on the ground. I then removed all the tires, bags, and emptied the top box. It was still too heavy for me to pick up. About 20 cars drove by and no one offered to help set up my bike. Bear in mind this is taking place in 40 Mph winds. Everything I took off my bike wanted to blow away. Eventually a guy stopped and helped me pick up my bike. I got it started, luckily. We faced my bike into the wind again and he held my bike while I reloaded it. I offered him 200 Pesos for helping me but he declined it. He watched till I got rolling again and took off. I was eternally grateful for his help.

I rode into the city of Rio Gallegos. It was four lane all the way from the sign to the city limits. I stopped and reprogrammed Blanche and she took me to my hotel. As I drove toward the hotel the Police / Policia had some of my streets blocked off with burning tires. That mystified me. The weirdest part of all of that was they were standing in and breathing that black smoke. That just slayed me. Because of the tire burning I had to deviate from my route to get to the hotel.

I went to check in and it was booked up. The receptionist recommended another hotel that had secure parking. I walked over there to make sure I could find the hotel. I found it and checked in. I then returned for my motorcycle. This city has a lot of one way streets so I had to figure out how to get from the first hotel to second hotel using one way streets. I actually drove around one block three times because I took the wrong street twice. What a dope.

Unfortunately the lady gave me a room on the 3rd floor and all the way in the back of the hotel. This hotel has no elevator. It was going to be a hike to get all my stuff up to my room. I parked my bike in front of the hotel, off loaded all my stuff and left it in reception. I rode my bike into secure parking, oiled my chain, parked it and covered it for the night. I made sure that it was securely propped up so that it wouldn’t blow over during the night. I went back in the hotel and moved all my luggage to my room and went out to eat. The receptionist recommended a restaurant which I could order a hamburger or a pizza. I went to bed thinking this was a tough day and I hope I don’t have to deal with wind any worse than today.

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