Argentina 17

I have gotten a little behind in posting for many reasons, including weather issues, riding many more miles lately and internet availability.  Since I returned to South America I have covered almost another 4,000 miles.  It is now March 7th, 2007.  I have received a few emails requesting that I post a few pictures showing what the hotel accommodations are like so that they would know what to expect if they were to decide to spend some time in South America.

This is the dining room in my hotel in Purmamarca, Argentina.  It is very typical of the hotels in Argentina.

The area for "relaxing".
The hall ways.

Nice system which requires no ladder to replace burnt out light bulbs.

Partial view of the room, after I have messed it up.

I have been very pleased with the accommodations regarding cost, size and cleanliness.

On the 8th of March I am in "Ciudad de Libertador General San Martin".  The reason I rode to this area of Argentina is that there are 3 cloud forests here, and I want to ride through a cloud forest.

The dirt road going up to the cloud forest.

Beautiful view of the river wash, mountains and clouds.  It was a 300 foot drop off just beyond the trees in the picture!

It has been raining for 3 days.  This was the first day of sunshine.  After riding about 18 miles up the mountain, the going got tough (for riding by myself).

This red clay was nearly 12 inches deep. 

It was slippery.

My boots were covered in mud (to the top of the boot).

It felt like the cloud forests of Costa Rica.

I made a decision to be conservative regarding safety, so I turned around.

It was worth the ride to see the forest.

But not worth the risk to travel further into the jungle, by myself. 

Guess I am getting old and cowardly....... 

I now realize that things can go from Good to Bad very quickly!

A water crossing on the way out.  The water was not clear and the size of the boulders varied widely.

"Ciudad de Libertador General San Martin" is a company town.  It has a huge paper and sugar cane mill.  From everywhere in the city, you can hear the siren go off at 6:55 am announcing that it is time to get to work.  Then there is the lunch siren and finally the "end of work" siren.  The homes around the factory are all the same.  There were 12 blocks of homes like the one pictured below.  All exactly the same.  My guess is that this is a home for supervisors or middle managers.  There were also about 30 city blocks of much smaller homes, which I would think were the standard issue for the common factory worker.

I am not sure if this is the home of the owner of the factory or the offices.  There were no signs or company name anywhere near this building indicating that it was offices, so I assumed that it was a home.

View from my hotel room in Salta, Argentina. 

I spent 8 nights in Salta and stayed at 3 different hotels.

These rooms run about $40.00 per night.

And they put a Motel 6 to shame.

The motorcycle is secure.

And the grounds are kept immaculate.

The employees thought that the motorcycle might leak oil, so they put card board under the bike.

The mountain in the background is the same mountain which I took the tram to the top of, a few days ago.
My window, right above the flowers on the small tree.

Again, in nearly every village or town I visit, I frequently spend hours riding around in 1st gear, checking out the different neighborhoods (the nice and not so nice).  This is the only way, I think, to get a real feeling for a place.  Riding through a town on the main highway does not show you the town in it's entirety.  This home was very unusual.

And this mansion was very GRAND!

And around the outskirts of Salta, many people enjoy the country life.........

I spent 3 days waiting in Salta for the weather to clear, so that I could enjoy my FINAL day of riding in the Andes.  The ride was due west, up into the Andes and the village of San Antonio de los Cobres.  There is a train you can take, which is called the "Train to the Clouds", but it does not run during the summer due to rain/landslide issues.  So my option was to follow the dirt and paved road which follows the tracks west.

The condition of the track would cause you to think that this rail system had been abandoned!
The erosion down this wash indicates that you would not want to be in this wash during a heavy rain.

There was road damage all along this road.

One of many railroad bridges.

One of the few homes during this 200 mile ride up into the Andes.

Colorful rocks.

This was one of a very few lush areas

The pavement was covered with about 5 feet of rocks on the right side of the road and nearly 2 feet of rocks on the left side of the road.

Flood damage like this was very common on this day's ride.

The barren village of San Antonio de los Cobres.

It is located near the top of a mountain pass which was almost 14,000 feet high.

School had just been let out........

The 13th ended up being a very good day in many ways.  The 1st great thing about today was Sandy now has her doctors approval to return to South America.  She will fly down on the 21st of March, and arrive here 25 hours later (on the 22nd of March) in Iguaçu Falls, Argentina.  I relaxed by walking around Salta.

On the 14th I did more walking around Salta.

Below is the view from a window in a building I wondered into..........

I met 6 Canadians during the day.

We all went for a very enjoyable dinner, in a restaurant that I had dinner at the night before.

The restaurant had traditional Argentine entertainment.

The "End of a Pleasant Evening" photo.

I am getting too relaxed in Salta.  I feel moss growing on the bottoms of my feet.  I wake up and it is pouring rain.  I ask the hotel if I can stay another night.  They were booked completely full.  They offered to get a room at another hotel for me.  That required loading the bike up.  I asked my self, "Are you getting lazy and soft"?  I made the choice to head east towards Iguaçu Falls, which is about 1,000 miles to the east.  For the first 4 miles, in the city of Salta, the streets have 5 to 12 inches of standing water.  It is 1st gear for 20 minutes.  Then I reach higher ground.  It continues to pour for the first 50 miles, but after that I drive out of the rain to the east!  I am planning on riding about 250 miles today.

I rode this dirt road about 8 miles until I got to a complete, impassable wash out.  I hate back tracking, but there were no options.  This was a flooded bridge over a raging river.  I now think of Simon and Lisa every time I cross a bridge (and Simon breaking his neck in the Amazon).  Simon's experience has caused me to pump up my level of caution. 

I get close to Monte Quemado (my 250 mile goal for the day), and decide to try and get to Resistencia.  It is only another 300 miles.  This section of Argentina (the Chaco) is known for being boring and extremely hot.  The books state "Do not go during the summer, it is hell".  It is summer, but the day is pleasant, so that motivates me to push on.  The GPS says I will get to Resistencia 3 minutes before sunset.  I usually like a 3 to 4 hours of daylight for margin, so if anything happens there is time to resolve the problem!

This is a poor and isolated area, with many miles between villages and many more miles between gas stations.

This is the beast..... Looking back at it, the bike was failing me here, and I did not realize it.  The bike felt like it was weaving a bit, left and right.  I justified it to myself, that the 3 gallons (in the 6 gallon can) were splashing back and forth causing the bike to weave.  In reality, the rear frame of the motorcycle had completely snapped.  The luggage rack was holding the tail on the bike.  Two days later, I notice the rear metal box moving 2 to 3 inches from side to side as I hit bumps.  I do have my lucky days, and this was one of them.

I rode well over 500 miles, which is unusual for me.  I made it to Resistencia, Argentina 10 minutes after sunset.

On the 16th I continue on to Posadas.  I am enjoying the riding and want to cover more miles.

Resistencia is known for it's hundred's of sculptures.

They line every boulevard and park.

There are literally 100's of sculptures in Resistencia.....

I usually like to travel slowly, but I ended up driving through Resistencia......

Maybe it is the excitement about getting to Iguaçu Falls and picking up Sandy next week, which keeps me moving.

There were many horse drawn carts in Resistencia.....

There is a Dengue outbreak in this region of South America, and the standing water explains why there are mosquito problems in this region!  It is very flat in Chaco, and there is standing water everywhere.

I stop to take a picture of a major bridge just east of Resistencia.

Nearly every time you stop people come up and introduce themselves.  This gentleman was from Cuzco, Peru.

The Great Parana River.  I follow the river for the next 200 miles northeast bound to Iguaçu.

To help pass the time I reflect on Teddy Roosevelt heading up this river nearly 100 years ago (1911), and starting his famous exploration of the Amazon basin.  He was one tough guy.  The picture was taken at a fishing retreat along the river, where I had lunch.

I arrive in Posadas, which is only 200 miles short of the Falls.  I covered nearly 800 miles in 2 days, which is a lot of riding for me.  But then I do my usual 1st gear riding up and down the streets of the city.  That is when I stumbled on this Enfield Diesel Motorcycle.

So..... can anybody tell me any information about this bike.  Was it manufactured as a diesel?  Did they sell many?  What year is it (about)?

It was real clean, considering the bikes age, which I really have no clue (1958 to 1968?).

My bike was a little larger than the typical bike on the streets of Posadas, Argentina.

A Rhea?
The ground was flooded like this for the last 100 miles......

And I am coated with bugs......

Great road, great sky and great clouds!

Well, that is it through the 16th of March, 2007.

For "Argentina 16"  hit the "Back Button".....       For "Argentina 18"  hit the "Next Button".....

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