Mr Stripey's Blog

October 13, 2010

Autumn, Mon 11th Oct.

Filed under: Uncategorized — hondablack @ 8:39 pm

Went for a trip into the countryside today. Took a few pix to try and capture the beautiful colours which are appearing everywhere. The transition from summer to autumn here is very sudden. Although it is possible to get hot days in December in these parts, it is as if all the trees want to shutdown on the same day.  Leaves all over the roads and a gorgeous spectrum of browns, orange, yellow, gold, red etc.   As below.

 

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Huntsville Alabama October10th

Filed under: Uncategorized — hondablack @ 6:24 pm

Well, eventually we have got mobile on the bikes. Pete has very kindly lent me one of his Triumphs, a 2001 Sprint RS model. Mind you we had to refurb it a bit first. I fitted new tyres, did a bit of crash repair damage and general tarting up and now have a rideable machine. Dunlop Q2’s they call them over here. Qualifier 2’s in the UK. They feel safe and predictable. Now for a few miles

First trip out, we went to the National Space museum at Huntsville Alabama, a 340 mile round trip. The roads are big and wide and pretty safe. Most drivers seem to be pretty courteous and laid back. A stark contrast to the UK, where paranoia rules.

Its very warm, we had 85 degrees on Sunday. It’s OK when you are riding but you feel it when stopped. Fuel is a lot cheaper here , just under 3 dollars, which is about £2, compared with £5 in the UK. Rip off Britain eh ?

Well the space museum was interesting , a glimpse back in time to  more optimistic times. Fascinating to see and touch the actual nuts and bolts of these amazing machines which left our skies for space in the 1960’s and 70’s when I grew up.

They told us that the shuttle has two months to go before it gets retired. They have no replacement. The knock on effect of this will mean that the Hubble Space telescope will be shutting down. Big shame. Blame Obama.

Here are a few pics of what is the NASA legacy. One hopes it will kick back into action before long.

October 1, 2010

Nashville Tennessee, September 2010.

Filed under: Uncategorized — hondablack @ 3:53 am

Well here we go again, back on the blog. For anyone who wondered what happened to me after my little ‘off ‘ , in Argentina…  Well

I got flown across South America to a hospital in Beunos Aires in my own private plane, supplied by the insurance company. I was supplied with my own doctor and two aircrew. Nice to get a bit of attention !

Apparently I had cracked and broken ribs, a cracked pelvis and a rather swollen thumb .  Anyway after the hospital, a lovely Roman Catholic sanatorium, had  given me the all clear, I was shuttled over to a posh 4 star hotel in BA.  A few days wait and the insurance company slotted me on to a British Airways jumbo, first class ( because I was sort of incapacitated , not able to move easily). Anyway, after a superb flight back to the UK, I was met by a Merc  limo, to take me back to Wales. Service, big style . That was in April.

My bike , I left in Argentina and I still have not had it back, although I am told it will return to the UK sometime in October. Wait and see ?

Fast forward to September…and a flight back across the Atlantic again, this time to North America, to my mate Pete’s farm , near Nashville Tennessee, close to city called Lebanon. Pete and his good lady Sharon own a farm , Bell Farm on the bank of the river Cumberland. The Cumberland in turn, flows into the Mississippi river .

The idea is to do some riding here in Tennessee . Pete has two Triumph motorcycles which we are going to use. The weather is gorgeous, sunny and hot, about 80 plus. We had one day of about 95, they said. We went to Nashville yesterday and bought a couple of helmets. I got an HJC flip top with a built in sunvisor for about £110. A bargain ! Now for some fun.

We have been in and out of Nashville and Lebanon, last few days and here are a few pics I have snapped around the place.

This is a lovely rural part of the south. Settled originally by the Brits, the Dutch and the Germans. Lots of history. This is where the civil war was fought fiercely. Gone with the Wind land. Everyone talks with a southern drawl. Quite charming really. Also, most everybody here is welcoming and friendly.  Even the cops are polite… We got stopped for doing more than 15 mph past a school ! Pete received a very civil bollocking, then we carried on, slooowly.  They use speeding as a way of raising revenue, just like in the UK

OK, the pics. These are on my camera phone, so quality isn’t marvelous.  I shall be out and about with my Canon slr next week. The wildlife here is amazing.  I have an invite to try and film a hummingbird, no less. That will be good.

Anyway, enjoy the pics…more to follow.

April 4, 2010

Crash and burn , the end of my adventure :(

Filed under: 1 — hondablack @ 5:34 pm

The following day, the wind had dropped. My foot hurt and I was late getting up. I didn’t feel right on the bike. Still we press on, up Ruta 40. Many short sections of tarmac have now been constructed at seemingly random positions along this route, leading one on a stop start regime. Progress slows right down on the piste sections.

So there I was , bombing along on one of the tarmac sections behind Nigel. Only it changed, all of a sudden, pesky road. The fact I wasn’t paying attention had absolutely  nothing to do with it, naturally I am exonerated from all blame.

Well Nigel didn’t see it either but he managed to stay upright. I threw the bike to the right, in order to miss him and  discovered that I should have gone left, where there was no signpost.  Sod’s law dictated that if there was a hard object within range, then I was guaranteed to hit it. Which I did !

That object happened to be the signpost, which if I had took the trouble to read it, would have advised me to moderate my speed to 40kph  🙂  In fact my speed, at the time was nearer to 75 mph !

Well the signpost slowed me down well enough. It broke three of my ribs and fractured my pelvis. In return I broke it. All 4″x 4″ solid wood of it. Pictures to prove, below. Bugger.

So they picked me up, stuck me in the Ute and I finished the day feeling pretty pissed off, watching the action from the comfy seat. Doh !

Ruta 40 !

Filed under: 1 — hondablack @ 5:28 pm

Ruta 40 !        Nemesis ? Challenge, certainly. Not for the faint hearted.

We set off from the the scene of our first camp site, a municipal provision, used by everyone and their dog. Or more specifically dogs, it seemed. Broken glass and debris strewn everywhere but nevertheless a peach of a place for a camp. By a river and to top it all, a massive full moon. This, our Malayan photographer, Alex proceeded to compose with gusto.

The tarmac soon petered out into a poor imitation of a road, ‘piste’ they call it, ‘pissed’ might be more appropriate. For those of us who had not encountered this sort of terrain before, this proved to be a time for quick learning. I had had a day’s off road training with Ady Smith which proved to be a worthwhile asset.

At least I had a clue what to do. Keep vertical, light grip on the bars, weight the pegs alternately, very light throttle and don’t use the brakes. If you hit gravel, let the bike drift where it wishes. Fine in theory but if you factor in 80 to 100 mph side winds, then a whole different situation begins to arise. TERROR !!

First one , then another, then another ! We got blown over , one by one. Friends stopping to help were getting blown over at a standstill. It was moto mayhem. I came off at 45mph and hurt my left foot. By the time we came to camp, everyone was exhausted and in low spirits. We slept like babies.

The Glacier

Filed under: 1 — hondablack @ 5:25 pm

Next stop, Perito Moreno, the glacier. This is the world’s best example of a real live glacier. We are told that, contrary to what ‘global warming experts’ tell us, that this  glacier is actually growing in size.  Suck on that Al Gore 😉

As one can see from the photographs below, this is a wondrous  sight, as well as being one of the Argies’ key tourist destinations. We spent a pleasant afternoon there before heading off from Calefate, laden with provisions for what was to be our first night’s camping, before hitting  Ruta 40, North.

On the road again

Filed under: 1 — hondablack @ 5:23 pm

Well that was that. We reached the Southernmost town ( city ? ) in the world. A pretty lovely place too. The folk are friendly and exceptionally laid back. I think that I would be, if I lived in Ishuaia.

Packed up and on the road again, temperatures in the -5 to -8 Centigrade, still not light but irresistible twisties on the road to Rio Grande, where our first petrol stop of the day was to be. What fun !

Petrol stop nailed and back on the route towards Chile again. Border crossing and then things start to happen. There is a blocked road , due to an accident, so we take a diversion. Then Nick Robbins’ bike develops a puncture. Various plugs and patches are tried but it was decided to fit a new tyre. We manage to get back to the small cafe where most of the crew is congregating. The tyre is changed, then there is a medical ’emergency’. Caroline , the team medic is called upon to administer emergency treatment to the cafe proprietor who had allegedly fallen asleep at the wheel of his truck, ostensibly causing the road block, aforementioned. Anyway, this is the cue for Nick ‘ the Vid’ Sanders to enrole me to take some Gory photographs to go alongside the copious video footage, he was shooting of the poor man, whilst the medical treatment was occurring. Despite all this special treatment, the miserable old git never gave us any discount on the meal. Probably Nick’s fault.

Ah well.  Onwards and upwards. North we continue. Ferry crossing. Back in Argentina. Almost run out of fuel. Scrounge some fresh. Hotel.

March 30, 2010

THE END OF THE WORLD !!

Filed under: 1 — hondablack @ 12:19 am

Having set off from Buenos  Aries early last Thursday , a week late, thanks to customs, we started making steadily better progress, getting snags ironed out as we went. People getting lost, that sort of thing. A bit of effort in sorting the small things, packing and bike set up, makes the job a lot more manageable. In my case, getting the sat nav working properly was the most helpful, enabling me to enter and leave towns a whole load easier. I am using a Garmin compatible, open source map from an Argentinian web site. Brilliant !

The riding has been totally awesome. Tiring at first, hard on the wrists and lower back. Bum totally OK. The KTM’s riding position is great and enables one to crack on, with good visibility all round. It is perfectly possible to maintain high average speeds of 115 mph and above. Sustained for 20 mins, half an hour, no effort at all. Love it.

We crossed over into Chile yesterday, got the obligatory stamps in our passports. A ferry crossing, which was great fun, then a hard ride down a gravel road for 200 k. Real fun but very  tiring, especially if , like me, you haven’t done much off road. A  good challenge though and a great help to learn new skills. My KTM Adventure was in it’s natural environment, of course and performed faultlessly. We shall be going up Ruta 40 next,  along the Andes’ Eastern side and we have about 2000 miles of similar roads to cover next. That will be major, including some camping too. Woopee Doo.

Anyway, we progressed on towards Tierra del Fuego  ( ‘Fire Land’ , after the oil which was found here, I believe ). Beautiful scenery, snow capped mountains,trees, lakes and of course , the Atlantic ocean on our Eastern flank, dark blue and cold looking.

Our ride was made all the more tiring because of the high winds we experienced on the way down. Gusting, high , probably up to force 6 or 7 .

After a second border crossing into Tierra del Fuego, which belongs to Argentina, bit more riding, then we rode into Ushuaia, yesterday afternoon.      Milestone. From here we go North, all the way to Alaska ! Ushuaia is a lovely town. Bright and colorful and full of happy friendly people. That was yesterday. We did about 2,600 miles in about four days, not bad.

So today we had a day off to recover and explore Ushuaia. Tomorrow we head on up North, retracing our steps back to Rio Gallagos, then we head West towards the glacier at the bottom of the Andes and hopefully see some penguins 🙂

We had a  photo call at the Tierra del Fuego National Park today. Photographic proof of us being here. Pics in todays album above.

March 28, 2010

Nearly in Ushuaia

Filed under: 1 — hondablack @ 9:46 am

Well folks , another fantastic day. We did 780Kilometers today which works out to be getting on 500 miles. Major, and what a fantastic ride. Long straight roads, 110 mph for 20 miles at a time. It was windy, making for a bit of a challenge, especially when overtaking the many commercial vehicles. You get a shock wave from the turbulence, like a bang !

Got the sat nav working properly now. Open source maps from an Argentinian web site. Great to have the confidence that you are not going to get lost. Makes the ride so much more enjoyable. I was first to the hotel tonight- result !

I have come to the conclusion that Argentina is a total waste of space ! In the geographical sense of course 🙂   There is all this unused land, 1000’s of acres of it ! And they still want the Falkland Isles !! I don’t know. Anyway, as I am tired and ready to go to bed, I am just going to post a few photies now to whet your appetite for what’s to come. Good stuff folks.

March 27, 2010

Progress

Filed under: 1 — hondablack @ 1:22 am

We are in Comorado Rivedero [ I think its called ) . Not got my map with me here. I am in a little internet cafe down the street from our hotel.

We have had two easy days now, time to recover and do a bit of work on the bikes.  Lovely long roads in Patagonia , dead straight. You can see the horizon for 360 degrees, amazing. Fuel is cheap. We do full days for 2o GBP.

Had breakfast in a Welsh hotel, Plas y Coed. I managed to have a good conversation with Anna , our host and also with another Welsh lady, from Penrhos in Bangor. Small world.

We set off for Rio Gallegos tomorrow. A long day of 780 kilometres. Then one more similarly long day to Ishuai, the southernmost town in the world. A gnats hop away from Antarctica !

I should be able to access the internet from there and upload some of the many photographs of the last 3 days.

We are having a ball !!!  Bye for now, love to all.

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