Everyday is an adventure while riding in South America. One day can be rinding perfect paved roads in sunshine, or riding in 150 kms winds, or heavy rain, cold or extremely hot, dirt roads that never end, or the most beautiful scenery you never want to end....
Some days, bad or good epics, no matter what... you will always remember them all.
Leaving Cordoba was smooth going along *tranquilo* traffic. I arrived at a construction area on the highway and got confused on the road I had to take to make my way east - towards Uruguay. I decided to pull out at a gas station so I could look at my map to see the highway # I'm supposed to take. Some trucker guy says something to me from distance, blabbing about a bag. At first I didn't quite get what he was telling me, until he described my yellow dry bag. My dry bag that holds some spare parts and tools. He's trying to tell me that another trucker has driven off with it??? I looked at him all puzzled until I realize that yes, my bag was messing!!! I did loose it along the construction pot hole road!!
So here I am riding full speed down the dirt road next to the highway trying to catch up to this trucker.
Several minutes later I approached the semi truck, breathing in all his dust and honking at him. I then passe him making sign to pull over. The guy looks at me with a big smile, " Mi bolsa!!!" He reached on the passenger seat and handed my yellow bag from his window.
" Gracias Senior, Gracias!!!" Happy to have retrieve my bag. I rode back to the gas station. Thinking about if the trucker thought he had scored or was taking my bag somewhere down the road.
I was pretty lucky to have it back. If I would of been on the right road and not pull out at the gas station.... I wouldn't of had my tool kit! It would of been "Gonzo!"
I strapped my dry bag back to my bike and rode off. While thinking about my funny epic, I miss the stupid turn off once again!!! So here I am making detours on some dirt road that fallows the highway thru homes and backyards. Finally, I saw the sign and I was back on track.
Approaching small towns, I often run into police checks. So far since Canada, everytime I had been stopped, police would look at my bike, ask me where I was from, maybe ask for my passport, but mostly just my bike papers - registration and temporary country import paper.
This time, Mr officer * Mauricio* asked me my insurance papers. ( I haven't had any bike insurance to date since I left Mexico in 2008!) Insurance from Canada wont cover much down here in South America. So here I am trying to explain Mr. Officer *Mauricio* my insurance wouldn't cover me even if i would have some. " Seguro" he kept telling me. (your insurance) I showed him my papers, some old expired insurance and told him it was still good, only the date was off since I couldn't get a new paper from Canada. The bike is mine, registered in Canada and papers match my name. I have passed thru every country so far, including in and out of Argentina over a dozen times! Never once I have been asked to show insurance, if a country insist on insurance, I would then buy some before entering the country. But never once I was told in Argentina was necessary.
For Officer Mauricio, it was very necessary. After 15 minutes of dealing next to my bike under the 30 degree blazing sun, Officer Mauricio asked me to join him inside the little brick police shack to deal with the issue. Another officer was inside. Now one of them flipping thru the pages of my full of stamps passport. The other, flipping thru a photocopy home made paper booklet, * National road rules of Argentina *. He then read me the rules in Spanish - in Argentina, insurance are mandatory for all vehicles traveling on national roads. Once again, trying to explain in my best spanish that when I cross the borders, I always ask if I need insurance since mine from Canada didn't cover me. Never I was told I did. But here, on this part of the country, only several hundred kms from Uruguayan border, after over 10 000 kms of riding in Argentina, I did need insurance! So what should I do now?? Mr. Officer * Mauricio* holding my passport and driver's license in his right hand, flapping it on his desk - " No seguro - No moto!" then puts my documents in his little drawer. You need to pay 450 pesos! or no moto.
"450 pesos!!" I'm pist, but doing my best at holding my frustration. Over an hour later of arguments, trying to deal with the issue with best spanish. Still no moto until I paid something. "I give you a discount" he says. "Pay 250 pesos, you get moto".
Their was nothing more to do then pay a stupid $60 ticket - cash! He hands me a ticket receipt (for my souvenir collection) got my passport and driver's license back. He then tells me "if you get stopped again, show them this, you will be fine!" - "Bueno" I said, and rode off.
Not even 50 kms down the road, another Mr. Officer *Juan* asked me the same thing, "Seguro" showed him my papers, explained my past issue with Mr. Officer Mauricio. " Muy bien" he says. "Gracias" - Thank god! ... I was back on the road. - Like they didn't just spoke together on radios! * watch for a gringo coming your way, maybe you can get a few bucks from him!
Now I'm riding down the highway, glad to not see anymore Mr. Officers when a bus comes passing by me with the door open, a young kid was standing in the door frame with my dam yellow dry bag!!! I don't know how, but it fell off again. The bus indicates to pull over, the young fellow runs up to me and hands me my dry bag. I couldn't believe it. I might be having bad luck loosing this bag - but for some reason it comes back!
I get to a small town where I stop to eat and relax for a while. Still frustrated about paying a ticket after so much time riding thru Argentina. Laughing about my mysterious yellow dry bag and how lucky I was to have it back after loosing it on a highway twice.
Back on the road again, I start to accelerate out of town and notice something strange with my steering. I look down at the front tire and realize it's going flat. Trying to slow down without loosing control at 70 kms hour. A car was coming straight at me realizing that I'm loosing control. So he tries to steer away from me. I do my best holding it together steering towards the side of the road, trying not to drop my bike flat in front of the coming car or crash into the telephone pole coming right at me. I put all my force and mind power holding on to the bars. Finally, all came to a stop.
Heartbeat pumping at 8000 rpm, pale as a ghost! I took several minutes to take deep breathes and let my heart rate back to normal. I rolled back towards town with my flat wobbly front tire on the side of the road. Lucky enough there was a *gomeria* - tire fixing place - 500 meters away. Talk about luck again!
I tell my near death story to Mr. Gomeria at *El Gordo* while helping taking off my front wheel. He didn't seem very amazed with my story.
Several minutes later my tire was fixed for less then $5 bucks, he put my wheel back on. Waved him goodbye and got back on the road - little slow at first... I rode into the colorful sky with the sun setting,- enough epics for a day I told myself. Time to look for a camping spot.
Helping Mr. Tire Fixer at the Gomeria.
Mr. Tire Fixer - the Expert - fix my tire in less then 5 minutes! Notice the white bucket on the table of fresh pig flesh! mmm Yummmi!
Sky along the way.