Dakar 2013 – Day 14

Junin to Buenos Aires – 22 January 2013

Meyer and I shared a room during this stop and around 6:00am his alarm sounded. It had been a good sleep but I awoke to a bright sunny day. This was to be the last day of riding and we only had 300km to do today.

We packed and went to breakfast around 6:30am. The room was empty except for the hotel staff setting things out. Meyer had not taken the change in time zone into account and we were a little early for the planned departure. Gus stumbled through looking for some early morning coffee to take back to bed. We chatted briefly and then decided that we would go on ahead as we were already packed and set for the road. Gus returned to his room with a cup of the best as we finished our breakfast and checked out of the hotel.

The temperature was a moderate 24 degC as we started the bikes and hit the road around 7:30am. At the first traffic circle I hailed Meyer to stop. Our GPS units were showing different routes and I wanted to clarify the route he had chosen. As he was the leader and as the map seemed to indicate that his route was valid I followed him. It soon became clear that his unit had chosen a secondary road that was slightly longer than the direct route that mine had chosen.

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Either way it was a great morning to ride as the farm lands stretched out to the left and right of our road. We passed and were passed by a number of farm trucks of different shapes and sizes. Some were carrying crops or implements while others carried only the farmer on his way to start a days’ work.

The ride was easy going and Meyer maintained a speed of 100kph for gear of a recurrence of the misfire he had been experiencing on the trip.

We passed through a number of smaller towns as the morning passed and occasionally picked up the smells of the farmlands as we passed by. The air remained cool and the pace easy. Around 120 km form Buenos Aires Meyer noticed that he needed more fuel and so put in just a few liters to ensure sufficient range but not so much as to leave fuel in the tanks for the return shipping of the bikes. We also took the opportunity to stop at a street vendor who was selling her wares from a roadside caravan. She seemed to be a farmers wife and was selling an assortment of salami and cheeses. She was very friendly encouraging us to taste her wares and trying to communicate despite the language barrier. Good marketing! We acquired some of her salami and Meyer even managed to have his knife sharpened before we took to the road again.

As we approached the outskirts of Buenos Aires there was a noticeable increase in traffic sometimes forcing us to slow our pace considerably. Eventually our route joined the more direct route and we started on the final freeway stretch into BA. We stopped to pay twice in the last 50km which was in stark contrast to our journey across Argentina from Mendoza where all motorcycles were allowed to pass without the payment of tolls.

The hustle and bustle of the freeway was also in stark contrast to the riding of the past 10 days. There seemed to be something frenetic about riding in BA as cars, trucks and motorcycles all seemed to jostle for every available inch of tarmac in their efforts to reach their destinations early. The loss of a mirror made it more difficult for Meyer in the traffic and we were careful. We didn’t want to end a great trip with and incident.

We reached the hotel around 11am and soon unpacked, checked in and showered in the familiar rooms of the Olmo Dorado Hotel in downtown BA. The other arrived about an hour later and we immediately made plans to start the process of preparing the papers needed to re-export our bikes to SA.

We found a restaurant for lunch near to the offices of the clearing agents and were present in their offices at the appointed of 2:00pm. After signing a few papers we arranged to be at customs at 9:30am the following day. Claudia from Geodis had been very helpful in all of our dealings with customs. The rest of the afternoon was reserved for a little shopping and R&R in BA.

After freshening up at the hotel we went looking for a restaurant in the Plaza Serrano area of Palermo Soho. We found a delightful street cafe and ordered some refreshments in the cool evening air. There was a real energy about the square as young people came and went. Street buskers entertained us with their music while vendors tried to interest us in Panama hats, sunglasses or scarves.

It was clear that our clocks were out of sync with the natives of BA who only started looking for a restaurant after 10pm and were quite happy to dine and chat until the early hours of the morning. Around 11:30pm I decided it was time for a sleep and headed home to catch up with this blog before turning in for the evening. My eyes thought otherwise and the blog would have to wait for another day.

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Claudia from Geodis – our lifesaver with customs

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The final stop for Meyer and I

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