In which Pete discovers why the local roads are generally used only by 4x4’s, gets completely lost many times as a result of a horrible map, and is forced to decide between a risky river crossing or giving up.
In which Pete enters Bolivia, runs out of fuel, discovers steep mountain roads do not work well with low horsepower, spends hours rebuilding Red in the dirt, and resorts to portaging gear up hills and through sand before arriving at what was supposed to be the beginning of the difficult bits. Day 87 Begin: Abra Pampa, Jujuy, Argentina @ 10:30AM End: Somewhere between Tupiza and Uyuni, Bolivia @ 8:30PM Distance: 224km (140 miles) in [N/A time/speed average due to borders] Most of today was boring and normal. I didn’t even stop to take any photos the entire day, fairly unusual for me. The road north from Abra Pampa was very bland, and the only spice the day held was my inability to locate additional fuel – both of the stations in Abra Pampa had no gasoline. Before too long I made it to La Quiaca, the border town with Bolivia, only to find the same true of the two gas stations on the Argentina side. I’d read that Villazon on the Bolivian side was much bigger, so I decided to go ahead
In which Pete goes for a “dry run” on horrid roads and nearly destroys his moto, only to run screaming back towards normal roads in order to buy much needed water. Day 85 Begin: Salta, Argentina @ 11AM End: Salinas Grandes, Ruta 40, Jujuy, Argentina @ 6PM Distance: 238km (149 miles) in 7 hours (34kmh / 21mph average speed) After so much time away from the open road, I had mixed feelings about leaving this morning. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to leave, more than I just couldn’t quite find the usual excitement about what the day would bring. I got lost in town for awhile before finally finding my way out; I had decided to head off to the west to reconnect with Ruta 40 instead of heading north on the very busy Ruta 9. At the outskirts of Salta I stopped at a YPF for gas only to find that, so typical for this area, they had no fuel available. I grabbed some water and soda and hit the road anyway, figuring I had just over a full tank and fuel enough for a solid couple hundred kilometer
In which Pete struggles across northern Argentina spewing oil, finds beauty in the painted desert south of Salta, and takes a short mini-vacation within a vacation. Day 69 Begin: San Jose de Jachal, San Juan, Argentina @ 10:15AM End: Famatina, San Juan, Argentina @ 6:45PM Distance: 300km (187mi) in ~8.5hrs (35kmh / 22mph) When I woke up, I thought about maybe sticking around Jachal for another day to spend some time with the awesome people I had met. I knew it was around 1000km to Salta, but I wasn’t in a big hurry because I was planning on flying out of there seven days from now; plenty of time to travel 1000km and coordinate some repairs. Thankfully I remembered to pay attention to the day of the week and realized that if I took my time I would arrive in Salta on Saturday and might not be able to get the repairs I’d need done before leaving – who knows what kind of hassle it will be to coordinate a full engine teardown and rebuild. I got a bit lost on the way out of town and ended