Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Success! - 16 March 2018

16 March 2018 – Today is Mary’s birthday. I have to get a text off to her before I leave.

I took my first load down to my bike. It wasn’t raining but it was pretty cold. I pulled off the cover off and stuffed it into its sack. I love that cover especially in the rain. It sheds all the water off the motorcycle, electrical instruments and speedometer. Anyway, I loaded my top box, my saddle bag, and put my GPS in its docking station before going in and eating breakfast. While I was at breakfast I wished Mary a Happy Birthday from the South End of the World as best I could.

As I was loading my second and third load on my motorcycle an Italian lady came out of the hotel and wanted to take my picture. I said sure, no problem. She asked me why I didn’t have an Italian sticker / oval on my saddle bags / pannier. She asked if I didn’t like Italy / Italia? I told her I rode motorcycle in Italy / Italia in September 1986 and that I liked Italy / Italia. She was happy about that. She went back into the hotel.

The most important thing about loading my motorcycle is not working up a sweat. If you’re sweating when you put that rain suit on your perspiration stays inside the rain suit and will freeze you up. I was able to get myself dressed outside in the cold without working up a sweat. One of the Italian ladies was watching me get dressed and came out to help me get the rain suit over my shoulder pads. Sometimes that is a little tough. While I was putting on my rain suit I had my Kawasaki idling to get it warmed up before I left. I finally got my rain suit all zipped up and gloves on. I jumped on my motorcycle and pulled out my sticks supporting and stashed them. I had some problem getting my kickstand board out from under my kickstand. One of the Italian ladies got out her vehicle and came over and pulled it out. I thanked her and they were off.

I now had everything stashed away and was ready to go. I stopped in and filled up with gas and followed Blanche out of town. I don’t always follow Blanche’s way of thinking but she sure picked a weird route out of Rio Grande. I was zig zagging in some of the poorer neighborhoods and then drove up a roadside ramp out of the ditch to get on Hwy 3 to Ushuaia. I was baffled by that route.

Anyway, I was on my way to Ushuaia and was starting to get excited about finally getting to my final destination. It has been a long haul. About 60 Miles / 100 Kilometers into my trip my fingers got really cold. I stopped along side the road and worked them back and forth to warm them up. It also allowed my motorcycle to get some heat into it. After fingers were working again I continued on into the mountains before I arrived in Ushuaia. It was snowing in the mountains but none of the snow was sticking to the highway. It was a pretty slow ride through the mountains as they had some pretty tight switchbacks and I was just being cautious.

When I came out of the mountains and started driving into the city of Ushuaia it started raining. It wasn’t too bad, actually, when I drove by the large orange vertical Ushuaia signs as you’re entering the city. I pulled over and typed in the GPS address of the hotel I wanted to stay at. Then it started raining heavier and the wheel tracks are full of water and the water is running down the hills toward the ocean. Cars were passing me because I was driving too slow and didn’t know for sure where I was going.

After a few missed turns I eventually ended up at the hotel I was looking for. I had the drowned rat looking going on when I walked in. I thought they were going to throw me out. I asked for a room and they said they were booked up. I keep getting that and it’s annoying. I’m almost being forced to reserve hotel rooms ahead of time. That is not a pleasant thought to me. So, I leave some of my stuff in the hotel and check with Blanche if she knows where the American Hotel is. She does………..good old Blanche! I go inside, get my gloves, my stuff and off I go.

I arrive and walk in the hotel. I didn’t take anything off, but walked up to reception and asked if they had a room. They checked their computer and they had one suite available for 3 nights and I said I’d like to stay for 4 nights. Then I asked if I could get a reduced price because of the length of my stayed. They reduced the price some but not much.

I took my time unloading my motorcycle and sent a SPOT message to Mary. I was basking in the happiness of finally having reached my destination. It was a long haul fraught with many challenges. I also got in contact with Russ from Chicago and we agreed to hook up for a steak sometime after 4:00 p.m.

Russ showed up in timely fashion and it was great to see him. We talked a bit and headed down to Main Street / San Martin and back to his hotel. Russ introduced me to a friend he had just met. Neil is from Scotland and has been traveling for some time. He has traveled from Alaska, U.S.A. all the way down here to Ushuaia, Argentina. A hike to put it mildly. A great achievement. We talked probably for an hour before we left the hotel and went out to eat. Russ has a discriminating palate and loves to eat a lot of different food. He can’t get enough steak or lamb and it must be topped off with a cigar. Neil ate a steak with a glass of wine and I ate a steak with a salad and a bottle of water. My steak was rather large and required some time to eat because of all the talking. A great time was had by all. We walked back to Russ and Neil’s hotel and parted ways.

I continued on and made a stop at the local grocery store / Mercado. I picked up some apples and a pint of ice cream. This is kind of interesting: I could only check out in the line where you had less than 20 items. I know there were 15 to 20 people in this check out line. The lady operating the cash register would talk to each of the customers 3 to 5 minutes even if they had only one item. This is the truth… exaggeration. I stood in that line for over 35 minutes as I watched this over and over. Even the Argentine people were getting annoyed. People were looking at their watches. If you used a credit card it even took longer. I eventually got through the line and went home to eat my ice cream.

I kind of got lost on the way home. I didn’t know what street the hotel was on so the only way I found my way back was remembering landmarks. The next time I go walking I will put my GPS in my pocket so I can find my way back to the hotel without a struggle. That ice cream had some time to soften as I walked home which made it doubly good. I went to bed.

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