Mendoza to Junin – 21 January 2013
With Meyers bike playing up he decided to make an extra early start and set off just before 6:0am. As breakfast would only be served from 6:30am we decided on a 7:00am start. The plan was to catch up with Meyer on the road.
After breakfast we set off on the longest single stretch of our tour. This would be 780km and probably some 12 hours in the saddle. We had agreed to increase the speed a little as we had much ground to cover. The road was good and the skies were clear. The air was cool and the temperature around 24degC for the first stint. We moved along briskly and noticed that our fuel consumption was higher than expected due to our increased speed. Due to our little sojourn to San Martin my bike had less fuel than the other three and by San Luis I was starting to be concerned about the remaining range I had available to me. At 30 km before Merceda my fuel gauge indicated that I had run out of all fuel as well as the reserve. Thankfully the bike motored on but finally stopped at the outskirts to the small town. We took sufficient fuel from Neil’s bike to make it to the next station indicated on the GPS.
Our experience is that GPS is less than 100% reliable in South America and so it was no surprise to,find an empty lot where the fuel station had been indicated. After asking directions from a very pretty lady we located a station and filled all the bikes. Just as we were about to continue with our journey Mike’ s developed a problem with the centre stand. Putting a few heads together and also a few cable-ties together we fixed the problem and continued with our journey.
On two occasions we needed to stop for a construction stop/go section where the road was being repaired. The stops were short and well handled.
As the afternoon wore on so the winds picked up and the buffeting was quite fierce at times. This was more noticeable as the carriageway became a single lane in each direction requiring us to overtake a number of trucks as we approached Junin. About 150 km outside Junin we also noticed that the size of the farms seemed to increase. Now we were passing very large well-kept farms with a variety of crops but especially of maize and soy. Once again we were driving through a number of flying insects and our bikes and visors were covered in the mess caused by the little insects.
We had elected more cattle ranches and although we had seen some, we had definitely not seen as many as we had expected of Argentina.
It was difficult to remain comfortable in our saddles after such a long day and our bodies were beginning to feel the strain of the many hours on the road. The buffeting wore down the necks muscles and the wind noise were a strain on the ears. So it was a great pleasure to see Junin in the distance. Meyer had beaten us to Junin by about 90 minutes and had found us accommodation at the Piedra Mora hotel in Junin. It was an added bonus that the had space for our bikes to be parked around the back out of site of the passers by.
Once the bikes were unpacked it was time forma quick swim or shower depending on personal preference. The temperature at 6 pm was still over 33degC. Then it was time to catch up and share stories about our ride and our adventure in South America over a cold beer. This was our last evening on the road and we would be riding in to Buenos Aires tomorrow to conclude our trip.