21 December 2011

Cuenca, Ecuador to La Paz, Bolivia

Location: Mendoza, Argentina
Distance ridden: 8600km

Average fuel economy: 120km/gallon
Days since leaving: 21
Days offroad: 6
Days of bike repair: 2
Nights camping: 10

The Ushuaia for New Year's Rally continues at a butt-numbing pace.  With a top comfortable speed of about 50 mph, most days have me riding about 10 hours in order to get 300 miles in.  Highways go through many twists and towns at times.  Other times there is nothing but wind and sand.  My route took me towards the Peruvian coast.  In Lima, after too much of the wasteland riding, I turned inland and headed up into the Andes, cresting a mountain pass at 15,807 feet (the highest altitude I have ever visited).  From there, I followed river valleys and altiplano (high plains) to Cuzco and the heart of the old Inca empire.  After a day of bike repair(new suspension, new bearings, and an oil change), I cut for Lake Titicaca and the Bolivian border.  In La Paz, I put in a new timing chain, a new tire, and replaced a leaking oil filter cover seal.  Back on the road, I crossed the world's largest salt flats and rode through the desert down into Argentina.  In Argentina, I picked up the famous Ruta 40 and continued rolling through more desert to Mendoza.

Ushuaia lies ahead on the home stretch.  3300km left to go in about 10 days.  I am looking forward to reaching Patagonia after being on my brain so long.  Pictures will have to wait until I get a new USB adapter because the salt water from the famous canoe incident finally cooked mine.

Party in Ushuaia for New Year's.  Free airport pickup!  Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, or whatever else you might like to celebrate. 


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