Sunday, March 7, 2010

Into Ushuaia and the Motorcycle Dies

A dramatic beginning presented it’s self today and a dramatic ending occurred as well. To leave the campground, the very first thing that I did was ford the river with the motorcycle. Then as I rode the sun came up and the sky was brilliant red and shades of pink. It was very beautiful.

I rode to a gas station and met another KLR owner. We rode to the town of Rio Gallegos together and then I continued south en route to Ushuaia. I connected with an Argentinean couple on a Honda Translap and we rode to the island of Tierra del Fuego together.

While we were on the main land, we crossed into Chile. Then we took the ferry across to Tierra del Fuego. From there, we rode for 2 hours and then crossed back into Argentina. It was quite a lot of border crossings for a day. The gravel roads were in great shape and we cruised on through. When we approached Ushuaia, I felt the need to separate from the couple and go my own pace.

I pulled over and found that there was a beautiful lake, so I went to that. When I stopped I noticed a smell and saw smoke rising from the engine. I got off and inspected it and found a wire shorting against the frame. I quickly pushed the wire away as I didn’t want the bike to catch fire. A man who was fishing, lent me a knife and some electrical tape to fix the problem. He also helped wrap the wire.
I had the distinct feeling that the bike was tired and might stay here.

I rode the rest of the way to Ushuaia and the scenery was stunningly beautiful. Ocean, lakes, steep craggy mountains with snow, evergreen forests and a special feeling in the air.

The moment I rode into Ushuaia, the bike dropped its compression and ran rough. I’m not sure yet, but it felt like a blown head gasket. I eventually realized that the fan had stopped working… The bike is very tired. The timing was perfect. It lasted up to the second of when I needed it, what a faithful old friend.

Tomorrow I’ll take a look at the bike and figure out what to do with it and how I’m getting home.

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