M/Cing to SA – First Ride!

Does this look fun?

500 Miles Across the Pampas

It’s only the first day on a bike (not the bike) and I’m thinking whose idea was this anyway?  Here’s this episode’s scene from the Shit Happens Express.  It’s almost midnight and we’re 400+ miles west of Buenos Aires on what I think is Highway 9.  I don’t know for sure as I’ve been looking at the back of this Mercedes van for the past nine hours, as its my only compass of where we’re headed.  Why I have my nose up this van’s butt is a long story and I don’t want to repeat it.  Suffice it to say that if I lose the van, I’m lost.

Back to our scene.  I’ve been on the bike for nine straight hours and will eventually do 10+ before all is done.  I’m not in my “comfort zone” to say the least: I’m on a machine I’ve never ridden, on a road I don’t know, not knowing where I am or where I’m going, with a helmet that’s 2 sizes too big and… it’s raining!    Oh, and it appears we’re lost as the van driver keeps pulling over to the side of the road, asks a question of someone on the road, and then makes a U-turn.

As the S.H.E. has taught us, it could always be worse.  We’re on our way to join the other RawHyde Adventure tourists to begin our Chase of the Dakar at a famous Estancia called La Paz.  We’re told it’s a wonderful place, but we’re staying somewhere else tonight and we still can’t find it.  We’re now well past the city of Cordoba, winding on a narrow two lane road through small villages in the pampas of Argentine.

Crazy as this sounds, there’s still lots of people up as we finally roll into the restaurant we’re suppose to have dinner at.  Yes, our hosts arranged for a midnight dinner once we arrive.   They are waiting for us and we indeed have a wonderful dinnner.  Still don’t know the name of the town nor the hotel we eventually stay in.

Did I tell you about New Years in Buenos Aires? We had dinner at an outside cafe in Palermo on New Years Eve. About 11PM-ish a street party materializes as a band swings down the street.   People pour out of the bars and restaurants, who start dancing, which attracts more people and…you get the idea. A wonderful way to bring in 2011.

Devilish doings on San Salvador St in Palermo

Two different views of the “first ride.”

This is the “after” picture of what 10+ hours looks like. We were welcomed by a wonderful little restaurant in La Granja, about an hour north of Cordoba. One of the best meals ever, although they cook pork in a unique way.

Breaking News: We made it to the start of the Dakar Tour!

After a short ride this morning, we arrived at the Estancia La Paz, the gathering place for our group.   Everyone is meeting here, getting their bikes and adding whatever accessories they want.   We’re staying here tonight and will begin Chasing the Dakar tomorrow morning.

The Estancia La Paz sits on a private lake in the center of 100s of acres of pampas. The estancia was built in the mid 1800s as a summer retreat for Argentina’s then president, Julio A Roca. It still serves some moder presidents as a Camp David type retreat.

On one side sits a quiet veranda.

On another sits the Rawhyde Adventures crew. Each rider is adding his/her personal equipment to their bike.

Juli and Kevan take a more leisurely approach to bike prep.

KR is a happy camper too

The estancia even supplies a white horse to the rescue


7 replies
  1. Ryan "Mad With Envy" Reza says:

    Sorry you couldn’t get your bike in time, but it still looks like more fun than I should be missing out on…

  2. Gary Wescott says:

    Hi Fred & KC,

    Great web site!! We just launched our new site, leading up to the Trans-Eurasian Odyssey, following the Silk Road, (our version), from Lisbon, Portugal to Shanghai, China. Sure hope our paths cross again soon. We will be in Calif. most of this year. You know how preparations go.

    Looking forward to more on the Dakar. I will forward your site to Overland Expo organizers. This is an event you should attend this year.

  3. FHW says:

    Hey Larry! How’s it going? I saw that you and Blamer have hooked up and I hope that your New Year is full of agency reviews 🙂 KR and I are in Rosario today, which is Argentina’s 3rd largest city. We stayed in its oldest yesterday. We’re on our way to Buenos Aires to pick up our “real” motorcycle. fw

  4. Chuck Brown says:

    I like your sense of humor. Yo have done a tremendous job on your web site. Great photos.
    I suppose your on the road and can’t update just yet. Love to hear more. Love to sit down with you and KP and listen for hours to your tail.
    Good luck.

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