Buenos Aires, Argentina
We made it! After a momentous ride following the Pan American highway from Anchorage north to Prudhoe Bay then all the way south to the opposite tip of the western hemisphere in Ushuaia and back north to Buenos Aires, we all celebrated our arrival with a cold Quilmes beer at the front of the hotel. Pictures were taken and congratulations were given all around.
Now we unpack the bikes for containerization to London England prior to being flown home to Toronto. We are only allowed to have 4 liters of fuel in the bikes and everything must be manifested and notarized prior to shipment. The bags and bike are unlocked so that customs can check, but this also means that nothing of value should be left on/in the bikes. I have left my spare tire, an inner tube and my tool pouch in the bags. The bike was also power washed to get rid of month of accumulated dirt. I did not recognize my own bike after the washing!
The last few days have simply been focused on getting there, long days in the saddle but at least the weather was great. It is now near 30c here in Buenos Aires and the nights have been in the low 20s, very comfortable. This city is just huge and beautiful from what I have seen. The economy here is suffering runaway inflation, but the opulence of better times 40 years ago is evident everywhere you look, lots of parks, exquisite architecture, statues and fountains to rival the best in Europe, and very clean safe streets. The European influence is very evident here.
We hit our first divided highway again about 80 miles out of the city -- the first we have seen since Santiago. Traffic is much heavier here as this city of 8 million is sprawling out over 80 km edge to edge. We rode in as a group so we could all arrive together for the final group picture at the hotel. There were many tolls coming into town and we had to do a bit of a tango at the toll booths to keep everyone together. This was especially tricky on the main street in Buenos Aires where the hotel is located, as it's the widest in the world, being 28 lanes in places, and every lane is filled with jostling vehicles of all types.
All the bikes are suffering maladies of some description, one of the 800s has likely got a cooked engine as it is using 2 liters of oil a day, one1150 has a leaking slave cylinder, mine has a broken drive shaft, one 1200 has strange noises coming from the clutch throw out bearing, another has a bad oil leak coming out of the felt washer of the rear drive, another brand new 1200 is smoking badly. All the rear tires are toast, but all made it in on at least the wear bars or beyond. The diesel support van is smoking a lot and all the idiot lights are on and the windshield has multiple cracks and chips in it. The bikes all made it to the end for the most part, but it is very hard on them all, Brendan the van man spends many long hours in the evenings after driving all day to tend to the wounds and make sure they all complete, what for many of the group is a trip of a lifetime.
A couple of days ago 8 folks went whale watching in Puerto Madryn, but rather than seeing killer whales lunching on seals, they saw southern right whales and their young in the warm bay. They were only a few feet away from these monsters and all were in awe of the experience.
The South American HU meeting in Viedma was also visited by a number of the group and they had an opportunity to speak with the hard core adventure riders who attend these things. It was a mini-meeting with perhaps 30 attendees, but the characters there and their purpose-modified bikes left a good impression on those who took an interest. Oscar the organizer puts on a great event every year out of his own pocket.
The Trans-Americas Expedition
Follow the MOA's Flying Dutchman, Willem Hooykaas, as he rides with a group from the U.S. to Buenos Aires with GlobeBusters.
Do you have a question for our reporter/rider on the scene? Send Willem an e-mail with your question or comment. We'll publish his responses right here.