Day 2 (Feb 9, 2014). Today we were supposed to have a relatively short ride from San Luis to Uspallata at the foothill of the Andes. Unfortunately, Adrián had a flat on his front tire so we had to stop for almost two hours to fix it. Thankfully, Adrián noticed the problem at a toll area and we were able to park the bikes on the shade of a building to remove the tire—there was not much vegetation by the side of the road. Luckily, there was a tire repair shop, a gomería, only 3 kilometers away. We removed the tire, secured it to the KLR, and Adrián rode to the gomería while I stayed with all our stuff. It did not take long for my brother to be back. It was very hot but we managed to work quickly to mount the tire back on the bike and get back on the road. Two years ago when Adrián and I rode Ruta 40 and I broke my leg, my brother had a flat on the second day of our trip. Let’s hope that this time a flat on the second day is not a sign of things to come.
At the first gas stop as we were leaving San Luis, we met a group of approximately ten Chilean motorcyclists from Santiago who were riding to Camboriú in Brazil. Most of the Chilean riders, who were members of a motorcycle club called Tira pa’ la Cola, were riding BMWs.
We reached the city of Uspallata in the late afternoon. The last part of the ride on route 7 was a lot of fun despite the heavy traffic. After reaching the Potrerillo Dam, the twisty road follows the Río Mendoza which runs through a narrow valley flanked by the dry mountains of the Precordillera. In this section, the river offers class III-IV rapids that are used for rafting. We saw several colorful rafts floating down the muddy river.
In Uspallata we stayed at Hotel Los Cóndores. We had dinner at restaurant El Rancho. The meat (bife de chorizo and churrasco a lo pobre) was good but the waitress was very antipática.