Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Bajo Caracoles

We are noticing that as we get further away from the equator and the satellite that processes the SPOT signals, that the spot is becoming more and more erratic.  Mine has the additional problem of me breaking the electrical wire used to power it while removing the glove case to fix the fuel filter.  We are just trying to let people know through e-mail and posting where we are and that we are ok.

Based on the map we had, when we left Rio Mayo we expected the road to be almost all gravel (ripio) from there to Tres Lagos or about 300 miles.  However, the hotel proprietor had said, “no, asphalt 90k y ripio 30k to Caracoles.”  We’ll see.  He was right it was three quarters paved.
All distances indicated in Kilometers, these are NOT major towns. :-)

Bajo Caracoles had gas, a hotel and restaurant all in one.  When we arrived there was a fellow from Spain who was riding north from Punta Arenas.  We asked him about the roads and he said they were fine and gave us a little more information about the pavement.  Again about half of what we thought was going to be gravel turned out to be paved.  He also said there was little gasoline until we got to El Calafate about 300 miles. 
Rider from Spain on Rented BMW

We took a room, filled up the bikes up and parked them behind the hotel.  A little while later a couple guys from Italy showed up, Roberto and Doriano, sorry about the spelling guys.  They took a room as well and parked their bikes next to ours. 

Parking behind Hotel Bajo Caracoles – our room is the window on the right.

We communicated as much as we could and actually had dinner and breakfast the next day with them at the hostel.  They were also going to try to make El Calafate the next day.  They were ready and left before us, but we filled our extra gas containers for the ride to El Calafate.  Our plan was to make it to El Calafate without having to take a detour to Gobernador Gregores for gas.  The Italians were going to have to go the longer way.

Most the way to Gobernador Gregores was paved, and except for the wind it was very easy ride.  Once we got to the turn off the road turned to ripio, but not difficult.  We took the gas out of our side cans and filled up the tanks.  Then we inched our way closer to El Calafate.

Expecting Chuck any minute
Right on time!
The road from Gobenador Gregores joins again, just south of where the picture above was taken.  I had stopped to put the rest of the gas I had in my tank, and Chuck had just arrived when the Italians pulled up.  They asked if everything was alright and we said it was and they left.  We came across them again on the road, Doriano had had a flat and they were repairing it.  We stopped and asked if there was anything we could do to help, they said no, they were almost done, so we left.

Once Chuck and I got to the pavement I was starting to worry a little about gas.  It was still a ways to gas at El Calafate when my reserve light came on.  In Canada earlier this year, I had run completely dry to know my range, it was 50 miles exactly.  Chuck had a little gas left in his can, but I wanted to make it without having to dip into his reserve.  I pulled into the Station at El Calafate with 48 miles into my reserve.  … Perfect …

I took this picture on the road to El Calafate.  It shows the effect the wind has on a bike while riding.  Chuck is not trying to turn or maneuver, he is going straight down the road.  The lean is entirely from the wind.

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