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Riding through Argentina and Chile

It had already been 5 days since we first set our feet on Argentine soil. Those first 5 days were a smorgasbord of self planned tours, including an overnight trip from Buenos Aires to Uruguay by hover-craft ferry, and a subway ride underneath downtown Buenos Aires to San Telmo. We utilized each and every wake filled hour, engaging ourselves in this historical European culture that candidly displayed the genuine identity of its people.The economic collapse-merely 3 months earlier-was a major setback for the country's commerce and to all of the people of Argentina. Since public protests began on December 19, 2002-in reaction to government restrictions on public access to individual bank accounts-the government had already gone through 4 presidents, before settling, grudgingly, on Eduardo Duhalde.
The week before our arrival the decision was made to devalue the peso and allow it to run independently. United States currency had been the benchmark for the Argentinean peso for more than a decade up to that point, with the peso pegged identically to the U.S. dollar. Now the peso was only worth half as much!

Ironically-at this time in history-Argentina; meaning "land of Silver," anxiously waits, as the national currency continues a full free float. The expectations are that the exchange rate will eventually equal as much as 3.50 pesos per U.S. dollar.Argentina is the second largest country in South America. The country has a diverse landscape including, fertile plains, high mountains, tropical forests, windy plateaus and busy seaports.
Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina and one of the worlds greatest cities.Most Argentina and Buenos Aires people are of European descent and the national language is Spanish.
Prior to our trip I had used the Internet for booking reservations at the Hotel Victory in downtown Buenos Aires. Little did I realize that, what seemed to be such a good price-booking on-line-in fact turned out to be more expensive than the local rate! I still believe it wise to book at least the first night in advance, simply for piece of mind. I can't imagine, flying into a country so different from any other I have ever experienced without a hotel reservation.

The eleven hour overnight flight was rather long and even though we had slept some, we were still rather tired as the plane touched down at Eziezi International Airport, near Buenos Aires. But feeling the warmth of that humid February summertime morning, as we made our way off the airplane, somehow sufficiently re-energized us.

Scarcely a moment after our arrival-a remise driver snatched us out of the sea of chaotic travelers-assertively insisting his loyalty to us, as he directed us towards the carousel for our baggage.



As we stood there at the curb, watching our hired driver, toss our luggage into his car trunk, the authenticity of where we were, was now absolutely obvious. We snapped out of our stupor when the driver prompted us in Spanish to get into his car. My Spanish-being somewhat more than insufficient-was merely a minor handicap to our driver. We realized he had dealt with many tourists before as he confidently reassured us, he knew exactly where the Hotel Victory was.

The concierge masterfully snatched up all of our belongings and whisked us into the hotel, pausing at the front desk, to allow us to check in. It became apparent to us that this country had a service oriented society.


Later that day-we explored the vast city of 16 million inhabitants-walking along-side locals, who were also shopping the pedestrian only streets of Florida and Lavalle avenues. The sidewalk cafes were great resting places when we felt the need to rest our weary feet. Occasionally poorly dressed beggars would ask us for money, and we would just ignore them to discourage their persistence. Although, I do remember giving to one old lady. She had a note that was scribbled in Spanish explaining her health problems. I told her in English that I couldn't read her note. She was prepared for my English and promptly flipped the note over to the English version. The waiter-convinced she was faking-kindly but sternly admonished me for being too compassionate. I'm sure the restaurant dealt with these people all the time.
I am absolutely fascinated with subways in large cities, so the next day we caught a train to the barrio of San Telmo. The "Supte" as the locals call it was old fashion, convenient and clean. We found ourselves in a neighborhood where many establishments sold antiques and the town square had a huge neighborhood flea market. There were some interesting items that look to be antiques, but the sellers always wanted too much. We did however find a couple of souvenirs as we wandered around, enjoying the barrio for the entire afternoon.

The next day we took a taxi to the barrio of Palermo. Palermo was said to be similar to New York City's Greenwich Village, but it certainly had a unique twist to it's American counterpart! The streets were very narrow and the buildings were all just three stories high. Bustling sidewalk café's and Bar's were on every corner. We spent the afternoon and evening lounging around several establishments, sipping on Argentine beer.
A few weeks before our trip to Argentina, we had many people ask us if we were afraid to go since the economy was disintegrating, and the media was reporting protests and riots almost daily. We only felt minor concern for our own safety-just as we would in any foreign country-where a person must use common sense to stay out of trouble.


On our fifth day, we went to "Motocare," to meet with Mariano. We were really excited, knowing our cross country trip-ultimately ending up in Vina Del Mar, Chile along the pacific ocean-was to begin that very same day!



We packed everything onto the 1100 Honda Shadow as Mariano finished up the legal documents we would need to carry with us.
As promised, Mariano exchanged two hundred U.S. dollars for peso's at a 1 to 1.7 rate. We still had several hundred pesos on hand and planned to buy everything in Peso's. We had already experienced a lousy exchange rate when we tried to use United States dollars, so now we knew how to get the best price for our buck .

Riding the Shadow out of Buenos Aires was really not as difficult as I expected. Libertador street, was a pretty good sized boulevard with plenty of traffic. It stretched out-starting at the city center merely 3 blocks from the Hotel Victory-for miles towards the northwest. Eventually we made it to the entrance of the Auto Pista ocho, or Interstate 8 as we call it here in the U.S. Now we understood more clearly that our adventure was finally indeed happening!


We stayed on ruta ocho until the small suburban town of Pilar, where the 4 lane highway turned to 2.

We were already familiar with Pilar since we had been there 2 days prior, thanks to Sebastian's hospitable generosity.
Sebastian (he is part owner of Patagonia Motorcycle Tours) along with his girlfriend, Sophia had been super nice to us that day! I do mean super nice too! Tell me how many of you would let some total stranger...namely me...ride your Harley Davidson, Road King through the city streets of Buenos Aires and for 150 plus kilometers to Pilar and back? Especially since motorcycles (called moto's by the locals), are valued at twice as much in Argentina.



Sebastian...best regards forever to you for letting me ride your Harley that day and introducing us to some of your best friends! I only hope I can return the favor some day here in Minnesota!



We gassed up the Shadow, and filled up on some food, then rode back out onto Ruta 8, to continue towards the town of Firmat, where we intended to stay-over that night. It was then that I realized that there really weren't many express highways in this country. The best news was that finally traffic had become less intense.



In many ways the countryside reminded us of the farmland back home. There were corn and soybean fields everywhere. Although, the trees were different and the birds in the trees definitely seemed peculiar.

Later that afternoon-there was a stretch of roadway for about 35 miles-that had absolutely gigantic potholes strewn about so frequently that we could only go about 20 miles an hour. I felt if I miscalculated my position even once, I could end up riding into a pothole, and was certain the impact would be enough to damage the moto's front forks.



After riding only 325 kilometers, we made it to Firmat. The lack of riding time previous to that day really showed on us, as we climbed off the Shadow at a gas station. The Shadow was going to take some getting use to.
Next thing you know we were following the gas station attendant, who so willingly volunteered to take us to the Hotel Posta Juarez. He assured us it was the best hotel in town and we believed him! His gracious behavior was another of many reasons why we were slowly but surely, falling in love with Argentina.

Everywhere in Argentina the city streets were narrow with no stop signs at the intersections. The streets in Firmat were all one-way, so once I knew which way traffic was flowing, I would look either right or left and proceed. This turned out to be the same in every small to mid-sized town. The bigger cities-due to congestion-had traffic lights to prevent accidents.

At first, it appeared that motorists just seemed to know when they could go without getting into accidents. But then we noticed big round mirrors posted at all the intersections, which people used to determine when it was clear to proceed.


Firmat-a population of around 15 thousand-was bustling with activity all night long. There were many young people out on the streets, riding mopeds and small motorcycles, as well as older people driving older American cars.

For what ended up being $25.00 (45 Argentine pesos) we had a very nice room. In Argentina--Elevators start at the ground floor levels at zero instead of one, like we do here in America. So in other words-if we stayed on the 2nd floor in a Argentina hotel-in the U.S. we would actually be on the 3rd floor. It surprisingly makes more sense, that way, as I think about it.


Another notable difference was the European style toilets. For those of you who don't know what I mean-it has to do with the second commode in each bathroom where a person is to use it simply for cleaning off with soap and water instead of wiping with toilet paper and flushing the paper down. I personally find the system cleaner.

After settling comfortably into our room, we decided to go down and check out the hotel's restaurant.

We ordered beer and were brought an enormous combination of cold cuts with cheese, olives, peanuts, pretzel sticks and some kind of yellow beans. By now, we had run into problems several times-trying to communicate with people-knowing how to say very few words in Spanish. Everyone was so nice and patient as we struggled to pronounce their espanol properly.


One of the girls who was waiting tables knew a little English and she tried to help us speak with the other girl working there, who was so excited about us traveling cross country by moto. Turned out her boyfriend had a moto and she told us how they had taken a long trip to Brazil once.

We were up early the next morning, and after a quick breakfast consisting of the same kind of croissants we had eaten every morning since our arrival in Argentina, and strong coffee with warm milk we hopped on the moto and were once again on our way.
Prior to that day, I had been warned that each provincial border had check points with guards, and I made up my mind that for the first couple of days we would stay on the smaller country roads not only to avoid check points, but also to enjoy the most rural images of the country.

Low and behold, later that day we came upon what appeared to be a provincial checkpoint and quickly found no one to be there! It was a spectacular landmark with tall pillars on both sides of the road and an archway connecting them.


There were also toll-booths at provincial borders. Motorcycles however, turned out to be exempt from paying tolls. As we rode up to the booths, the attendants would energetically wave us around, to the far side, giving us free passage. One more great reason to be riding a motorcycle in Argentina!

We did get sick on something we ate a couple days earlier, and assumed it was from when we had taken the hover-craft ferry between Argentina and Uruguay. The snacks on board appeared a bit out of date by U.S. standards, but since our hunger was more than we could bear, we both gave in and partook of some lousy tasting food anyway. We both ended up with upper stomach aches that were actually quite painful. These aches would effect us about every half hour.



Peggy was still feeling rather miserable after Firmat and as we came into Rio Cuarto, she insisted we find a Farmacia, so she could get some anti diarrhea medicine.



It took a while, but we finally found a pharmacy open during siesta and after some persistent and exaggerated hand gestures-to the extent of being embarrassed-the pharmacist finally understood the medication Peggy was looking for.



By this time Peggy was extremely nervous about the local food. I told her that it couldn't all be unsafe and convinced her it could only be rare occurrences where we might end up getting sick again. Not to mention, now we were hungry again, and we knew that we needed to eat something. So we went to what appeared to be a fancy restaurant just across the street and ordered hamburgers with fries and pop. Have you ever had hamburger with a fried egg topping instead of cheese? It really wasn't that bad, but the quality of meat didn't live up to our expectations.



As we finished up our meal-I leaned over to two gentlemen sitting next to us and said something like: Donde esta es ruta ocho? Obviously they had a hard time dealing with my U.S. accent and poor pronouncing of Spanish, so one of them-in perfectly understandable English-asked me to speak English also! That was surprising! As Peggy kept saying: "Just another Angel sent at a time when we really needed one!"



After giving us directions, the English speaking gentleman, whose name was Daniel, kindly insisted on leading us to the edge of town, just to steer us correctly on our way west. Daniel also told us of a wonderful place to stay about 100 kilometers further, in Merlo, where he also lived, in the western foothills of the Cordoba mountains.

The Hotel Flamingo had a setting to die for. The owners were Andrea, who spoke a entertainingly British style of English and her husband who spoke only Spanish. They were the owners and truly impressed us as absolutely impeccable hosts. We felt like celebrities the way they pampered us and catered to our every single want. Andrea wanted us to park the Shadow in their tuck under garage, where they parked their cars, and I told her she had already done to much and how I couldn't take her spot.



Merlo is a popular mountain retreat for many Argentines and we could certainly understand why.

During the month of February-all the children were on summer break and the business area of town was filled with over-energized adolescents, chasing each other around, laughing and singing loudly together, as we made our way to the laundry mat.



The gentleman operating the place was super nice and full service again was the only choice. For 11 pesos it was a simple decision! He told us to come back in a hour and half and everything would be folded up and ready.

We had just enough time before dark to make it to the scenic overlook at the top of the mountain.

The view as the sun slowly settled below the horizon was absolutely mesmerizing. As dark settled into the valley below, slowly overpowering the daylight that occupied the quaint village of Merlo, we carefully wound our way back down the mountain road.



Back in Merlo...the laundry attendant was still working on our clothes, so we just waited outside by the motorcycle. Some young men walking by really were grooving on the bike, and asked if they could have their picture taken while they sat on the bike. I enjoyed their enthusiasm and eagerly agreed.



People of all age groups were milling about outside, engaged in a wide variety of social activities. Apparently no-one cared to be indoors. A far cry from our home country, where most people seem to be quite comfortable to be isolated from others.



Dinner hour, once again included with the room, was at 9p.m. We were just a little bit late getting there because of the laundry and found everyone already seated at their pre-assigned tables, marked with their very own name tags. Andrea, helped us with ordering a good local wine and explained how dinner would work. The wine was soft and sweet, and the meal was an excellent example of well thought out cuisine prepared with gourmet quality. Just at the end of dinner-Peggy felt sick and urged me to take her back to the room-ending a wonderful evening in a rather inauspicious way. Then I sensed her urgency as I hesitated for a moment, trying to extend the special occasion just a little bit longer. So we quickly got up to go out and just as we got outside, Peggy felt very sick, so I grabbed her arm to steady her, and found her a bench. She wouldn't have made it to the room without sitting down and actually became very weak. I encouraged her to try and make it to our room, and before we could get there, she fainted-passing out completely-for a couple seconds in the hallway.



The following morning-with Peggy feeling much better-we got busy. We quickly packed everything, hurriedly wolfed down complimentary pastry and coffee and were on our way. Our first ever chance to see the Los Andes was now merely a days ride away.



The arid region of northwestern Argentina was getting considerably hot (caliente), so we stopped frequently to drink liquids and keep hydrated. I kept the bike running at about 130 (about 85 miles per hour) kilometers per hour most of the way, feeling confident by this time, because numerous motorists were going faster. Frequently people waved or flashed their lights in curious, contumacious support for us. The weather was definitely hot by mid afternoon and I was totally drenched and soaking wet...especially under my black helmet.



By the time we got to Mendoza, my energy had evaporated and I desperately needed a much deserved break! We rode down the tree lined streets, contemplating whether to find a hotel here for the night or push closer towards the Andes, just 60 kilometers away. Several times hotel merchants came out on the street and waved us towards their establishments. This aggressive style was not what we expected or wanted at the time and ultimately we decided to move on.



Getting lost that afternoon was not what I planned to do either, but who would ever plan to get lost? That set us back over an hour and as late in the day as it was, with threatening clouds coming our way, I was concerned about making it to the mountain resort town of Upsallata.

The Los Andes were a magnificent display of multicolored peaks, ranging from chocolate brown to crimson red. There were no trees and hardly any vegetation at all. Even so, the destitute mountainous country was mesmerizing. We admired the beauty, overwhelmed with the realization that we were actually in the southern hemisphere, riding through South America, in February!



The mountain village of Upsallata was extremely inviting-a refreshing oasis-with green trees and plants growing everywhere. We passed a couple resorts and noticed one that looked fairly nice. Then I noticed a military checkpoint looming ahead, so instead of dealing with another communication breakdown, I defiantly whipped a u-turn in front of the guard and hastily retreated to the nice lodging.

At check in we paid for a combination of room and board-including dinner and breakfast. We met a couple from Argentina, who's names were Felicia and Juan Carlos, from a smaller town north of Mendoza. Felicia is an English teacher and we found her extremely helpful in helping us order our food.



After breakfast, we motored up to the military checkpoint, thankful it wasn't the same guard as the night before, showed our papers and were okayed to continue.



The sky was clear and a cool soft breeze made for perfect riding conditions. Both of us were comfortable wearing long sleeves and light jackets. Considering the more than 8500 feet elevation, we knew it would be a perfect day to see the summit of Mt. Aconcagua!

Mount Aconcagua is the highest peak in the western hemisphere. Its summit is higher than McKinley's in Alaska, reaching over 22,800 feet. It was a spectacular sight and an awesome feeling for us, standing there, in the Andes, looking at that mountain! Neither pictures or words can describe the feelings we had that particular moment.

The border crossing into Chile was kind of annoying. We were stuck in a line up of cars and trucks that didn't seem to be moving at all. There were several check stations, but only one of them was open. Eventually they opened another one, and we finalized our documents with customs after about two hours of waiting time.

It was downhill all the way from there. The border crossing was at the highest point on the Trans American highway.



Chile seemed to be economically superior to Argentina, and the people seemed so much busier. We did not sense the amicable disposition like the Argentine people. The mountainous countryside was heavily developed with agriculture. Fruits of every kind were growing in the temperate climate. Vina Del Mar was very big, crowded and chaotic. We were perplexed as we rode into the resort area, worried about finding our hotel. We asked A military policeman, who was directing traffic at Ocean Boulevard, how to get to the "Best Western, Marina Del Ray." He was really helpful and gave us a map, pointing as he spoke in Spanish, towards the hotel location. Fortunately, by that time we were only about 8 blocks away.

The Marina Del Ray Hotel was really nice. Monica was our English speaking Angel in Vina Del Mar, and always seemed so willing to answer our questions.

Chile continually proved to be much more enterprising than Argentina. For instance; one day we went to a shopping mall for supplies and a man insisted on washing the bike while we shopped. In fact, there were several young men competing to wash vehicles with total approval from all the motorists as well as the establishment! This was just one example of how everyone so willingly worked together, no matter what the task.
Argentina had nothing like this at all. Although the people of Argentina seemed to be substantially more accommodating in most every way.
Maybe there is a message here: that hard work creates unneeded stress and anxiety, and laid back-less hard working cultures-are much more relaxed, friendly and hospitable.
We had dinner in Valparaiso one afternoon and ordered a shrimp entree that was less than adequate in our opinion. The shrimp were popcorn size covered in some sort of creamy sauce. The service at that particular place was appalling!
The day before leaving Chile, we picked up some copper souvenirs from a local merchant, and because of the limited supplies we were capable of carrying on the moto, had them packaged and shipped home. It was interesting-trying to get the postal workers to understand what we wanted to do. Not a single person in the post office knew English. But I'm happy to say everything arrived to our home address unscathed, a few weeks later.
Vina Del Mar has a confusing road system and it finally caught up with me, on February 6. Planning an early exit to beat the rush hour traffic was a good idea, but getting lost turned out to be a stroke of luck we actually never expected.
Pulling into the resort community of Renaca-we actually forgot about being lost-thanks to the spectacular, coastline scenery.The immense surf aggressively smashed into massive shoreline rocks, forcing torrential geysers high into the air. Fine Mists of saltwater spray, incessantly drenched the narrow winding highway. My desire to keep the motorcycle upright and under constant control was challenged, and I slowed down as I abruptly maneuvered around the deep puddles. These conditions made it difficult for me to entirely view this magnificent coastline, so I had no choice but to pull over. If only we had known how beautiful and scenic this area was, just 10 miles north of Vina Del Mar. We could have stayed here instead! Oceanside homes, resorts and condominiums abruptly climbed the mountainside, providing a commanding seacoast view for the many inhabitants! We could see stretches of golden sandy beach in between the rocks, enlivening our view even more. It was a breathtaking experience that morning, traveling along the seaside of Chile. Truly an experience we shall never forget!My anxieties overpowered my contentment of the moment and I dug out the map to try and figure out where I missed the connection to route 60. We ended up making a complete circle right back into the crowded streets of Vina Del Mar before I could figure it out.

Finally-with a lot more traffic by this time-we made it onto route 60 and out of the city.

That evening found us in the quaint agricultural town of San Rafael, a little bit later than expected but none the worse for wear. San Rafael was a rather large town and we rode all over town trying to find a decent hotel to stay for the night. Eventually we pulled over and asked a local where a good hotel was. We were guided to the Hotel San Martin.



Of all the towns we stayed at, San Rafael was the friendliest by far. It is the kind of place where I could see myself wanting to possibly retire at.

Thulma was the desk clerk (she spoke broken English) and was persistent in giving us the best treatment she possibly could. The room was only 40 pesos. Once again the people of Argentina notably displayed their unrivaled kindness. She also provided a safe place with security to park the scooter! Thulma really enjoyed the chance to use her knowledge of English on us, and we bared with her as she struggled along with limited English, which was much better than my Spanish, but it was still hard for us to understand what she was trying to say. Thulma guided us to a close by pizza restaurant for dinner that night, and the food was excellent.
The following morning after coffee and croissants, we packed the bike with Thulma staying very close. She attended to our questions like a press secretary would a very important person. We certainly enjoyed all of the pampering she continued to give us. Thulma gave us specific information on several wineries in the region, and we were able to find one that was on our chosen route for that day.

Goyenechea (pronounced "guy in a chair") vineyards were taking siesta (usually between 11a.m. and 2 p.m.) when we arrived.



Stone buildings-built in the 1800's-comprised the primary office area, but nobody was to be found anywhere. By this time we thought for sure we were out of luck for a tour. I decided to knock on the huge ornate wooden doors, not very optimistic at this time that anyone would answer. I did here voices inside, but no one came. Giving up, we turned toward the Shadow when all of a sudden the door opened and two young women came out. They explained that there were no tours for now, but sympathized with our disappointment. Then for a brief moment they began talking back in forth to each other in Spanish, leaving us wondering if they were possibly trying to figure out a way to grant us our request for a tour. You know how you can almost tell what someone is saying even though you can't hear or understand them? At that point we thought we had a good chance of at least getting a mini tour.

Next thing you know, Angeles and Soledad Goyenechea were taking us on a personal tour of the entire Bodego Y Vinedos!

We enjoyed a taste of one of Goyenechea's premier wines that was drawn from one of several 5000 gallon fermenting tanks. It turned out to be a fantastic experience, enlightening our senses to a level that was not ever anticipated.

After sampling a variety of wines, tasting fresh grapes off the vine, the women gave us a couple bottles of Cabernet and Chablis, that I carefully lodged into our tourpak. All in all it was a fantastic illustration of what wineries in Argentina are all about!



Back on the road, feeling a bit lazy after our remarkably satisfying time at the vineyards, the pothole ridden route 188 appeared to be a perfectly ironic anecdote to continue an extraordinary day.



The challenging highway stretched eastward for mucho kilometers across the semi fertile plains called pampas. The pampas-extending for miles-is serious cattle country, and this part of Argentina boasts a legendary past where gauchos roamed free. The beef coming from those expansive ranches (estancias) is of absolutely excellent quality and the parrillas (grills) that serve the tasty beef are everywhere. The local people should, and do take great pride in their thick steaks.



Later that evening we decided to stop at Realico in Corboba province. As had become customary procedure, we asked the local gas station attendant for a good place to stay.Realico was a small, poor town and the motel was dirty and gross. For 44 pesos ($25.00) the motel wasn't even worth it. A young man who also was staying there, understood our discontent and trying to help us, told of a parrilla in town that was suppose to have good food. We walked through town on what turned out to be a lovely summer evening. We ordered Bife Lomo (a type of steak). Considering that day was our anniversary, we were kind of dissatisfied with our choice of motel.The next morning after sleeping rather miserably the night before, we made the quickest exit that we had ever done before. Our days plan was to deliver us to the more tourist-like town of Lujan (pronounced lukan). The only thing that was a bit unusual about that day was when we stopped to try and exchange some more cash for pesos was to see another enormous protest in the city of Junin. We managed to get to a bank even though most of the city center was cordoned off. Every major town was organizing public protests that were responsibly well-behaved!

Lujan has the Basilica as it's main attraction. It dominates the skyline with its spires reaching to the heavens! We motored down the broad boulevard, past the Basilica and through downtown, looking for a nice hotel. There were plenty of choices, but we wanted to make up for the previous night and find something nice, so we could consider it to be our belated anniversary celebration.
Delightfully, we ended up at the "Hosten Hotel" in the V.I.P. room for 90 pesos ($48.00). The hotel was exceptionally clean and our room was enormous with a super comfy queen size bed. It was just right for our last night in South America.
We only had to ride about 90 kilometers (50 miles) back to Motocare the next day, so we decided to go back into the center of town and find a decent restaurant or lounge to relax at for the evening. We hung out at a couple different establishments, enjoying a couple of cold brews, and then we headed back towards the hotel, hoping to find something to eat. A pizza place called "Loco Todos" happened to be along the way, and since it was so crowded with people, we decided to give it a go. The pizza was a little bit different for us, but one price was good for as many slices as we could eat. The waitresses kept bringing pans full of various pizza's around and we would just help ourselves, sampling every single kind.

That last morning as we motored toward Buenos Aires, rain moved in and we were forced to pull over and put on our rain gear the first time on the entire trip. The worst part about that was that when we got into Buenos Aires, the rain made for more difficult vision, considering how big and busy the city was. We did however, make it safely through town, back to Motocare, after stopping for a moment to get one last picture of the obelisk.

Mariano and Peter were glad to see us back in one piece, none the worse for wear, even though we were soaked and wet. I would suggest renting a moto from Motocare to anyone. Totally reasonable-especially now with the exchange rate, bikes are going for about $60.00 per day! Check out Motocare and their rental site on the web.