Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Malargue to San Carlos - March 2

We left Malargue just after 9am with plans for a long ride.  I missed a great photo opportunity just outside of town as we passed a Tarantula like spider sunning himself on the road.  We turned around immediately for a closer look but it had wandered off (probably in search of a small rabbit to eat).

The pampas ended abruptly at the Canyon de Atuel, where upon descending the canyon you immediately enter the San Rafael wine area of Mendoza Province. San Rafael is a medium sized city by Argentine standards, about 170,000 population.  After San Rafael, we were back into the pampas again.

We were through the city in no time, and making great progress towards Mendoza,or even San Juan, when - incredibly - I got ANOTHER flat tire.

This time a 3 inch nail had gone straight into my rear tire and shredded my tube.  I didn´t have a replacement spare for the rear since Petra´s puncture in San Sebastien, Chile, so I duct taped her old tube, put the wheel back on and nursed the bike to a service station in Pareditas.

Remarkably, the temporary repair gave up just as I rode into the station.

I need a 17"x4.10 tube and the closest they had was a 19"x3.00 (larger radius and skinnier).  I rode Petra´s bike to a local Ferreteria but struck out there as well, so elected to install the 19"x3.00 and limp to Mendoza - thinking that a larger city would improve my odds of finding the correct size and quality.

The guys at the service station installed the tube for me and I reinstalled the wheel on the bike and got underway towards Mendoza City.
1966 Puma and proud owner.

2km´s later the tire was flat again! So on the roadside outside of San Carlos I set about my third repair of the day.  It turned out that the new 19" tube was defective, having split along a seam away from the travelled portion.  It was now 7pm, so this time, I replaced the tube with our spare front tube (a 21"x3.00) and hobbled back to San Carlos and a hostel for the night.
It turns out the Hotel owner is an avid moto fan - he showed me his Yamaha R1, that´s a big bike by Argentine standards, and the same bike - as he proudly pointed out - as riden by Valentino Rossi the 9 time Moto GP Champion. He´s also got some friends in Mendoza that may be able to courier some tubes to us!

We´ll see how that goes "manana" - for now, after three roadside tube changes, I am filthy and "tired".

1 comment:

  1. Hola petra & Peter !!

    Un Saludo desde San Carlos !!
    Espero que sigan bien en su magnífico viaje por suramérica .
    Me gustaría saber como les fue por los caminos que les propuse.
    Pudieon trancitar por el antiguo camino del Inca ?? ( Pampa del Leoncito - Barrial - San Juan )
    Buen viaje !!

    Darío Trëttel
    Yamaha R1