Day 1 (February 8, 2014). Today my brother Adrián and I begun our fourth major motorcycle trip. In early January of 2012 we took a six-day trip through the beautiful rolling hills of Uruguay. We visited Colonia, Piriapolis (where we camped at a gas station for lack of better lodging), Cuy and several cities of the interior. Later that month we followed the Andes from the Argentinian border with Bolivia to southern Patagonia covering almost the entirety of famous Ruta 40. That trip ended abruptly for me with a silly fall on a gravel road that resulted in a broken tibia, a broken fibula, major surgery, two titanium plates, many screws, and way too many bedridden months. Adrián did complete the trip coming back to our town in one piece. In July and August of 2013 my brother and I covered 4,800 miles in the Western USA. We rode north from Claremont to Mt. Hood, Oregon, and then east to Yellowstone National Park. We came back home though parts of Wyoming (Grand Tetons, Snake River), Utah (Green River, Uintas, Capitol Reef, Escalante, Bryce, Zion), and Death Valley. Now we are going to drive West from our town (General Las Heras) all the way to Valparaiso, Chile, on the Pacific Ocean. We will then move north toward the Atacama Desert—the driest desert on the planet. We will then cross back to Argentina though the Paso de Jama reaching altitudes of more than 4,000 meters (13,000 feet).
Today we left Las Heras early in the morning with a beautiful sunshine but the air was very humid and storm clouds covered the horizon in every direction. By the time we were reaching the town of Suipacha a major thunderstorm was upon us. Traffic on route 5 was heavy and Adrian and I lost contact though our helmet intercoms. Adrian was riding ahead of me and I was not sure were he was. It begun to rain so I decided to stop at a gas station to put a cover over my North Face bag. Adrian joined me a few minutes later and by then thunder and lightening were intense. We sat under a gallery to wait for the heavy downpour to pass. An hour later we were back on the road.
We reached the city of San Luis by sunset after covering more than 800 kilometers (500 miles). We were able to elude several storms that we encountered throughout the day so we stayed dry. The wind, however, was a constant presence. As we were reaching the city of Laboulaye, Córdoba, we rode though a wind storm that from the distance looked like a curtain of rain because of the dust that the wind was blowing. In San Luis we are staying at Hosteria Don Lura in a modest but clean room with a relatively good WiFi. For dinner we had what our waiter described as a typical dish from the region: “chivito con estofado” (young goat with stuffing). We have a nice albeit warm bottle of wine, Don Valentín, to accompany the goat meat. Why do restaurants store their wine near the kitchen? We did not ride our bikes to dinner but took a taxi instead.