Patagonia – Day 10: El Calafate, Argentina (The Moreno Glacier)

Date: 11/19/2014 Wed
Starting Location: El Chalten, Argentina
Ending Location: El Calafate, Argentina
Mileage Today:  133 Miles
Mileage Total:  1330.8 miles

Leaving El Chalten

Breakfast this morning was even more rich in Carbohydrates than yesterday.  Yum, this sure is great bread…  Actually, the bread is not bad, but that’s about all there is to eat.  Bread!

Breakfast was completed by 8:30 and then we had to pack, and get all of the gear out to the truck, for a 9:00 AM departure.  Departures in the AM are always a bit of chaos, but as you’ll see this morning proved to be even more chaotic, or exceptional (in the chaotic sense).  Peter was running  a few minutes late, and with this group of riders, the last thing you want to do is to hold up the group.  You might hear some grumbles about Peter’s tardiness.

As we head out of town, the first order of business is to get gas.  The previous day, at 4PM, Eduardo had confirmed with the local YFP station that they had plenty of gas, and that they would be open at 9:00 AM.  As you can see, we arrived at 9AM and found the station completely closed, and locked.  We parked the bikes, and waited for the attendant to show up.  That’s when more of the S&%t hit the fan.

Our first mishap with the bikes

Jay leaned on his bike, and with a quick gust of wind, the gravel in the parking lot, and a little nudge, his bike toppled over.  Unfortunately, it was close enough to Tom’s bike to cause his to also topple over.  Now, these BMWs are pretty hearty, but Tom’s bike was close enough to the yellow steel and concrete poles that his windshield didn’t stand a chance.  So, when we picked up Tom’s bike, we discovered the damage.  Here are all of the pics.

I thought it might be fun to also get Tom’s perspective on what happened.  Tom and I were both standing right next to the two bikes when Jay tipped the first domino, which caused the issue.  Below, is the interview with Tom.

MotoGP comes to Patagonia

Below, you’ll see two videos, which were filmed by Alain Dupois, CSC.  Alain, an avid MotoGP fan happened to be in Patagonia recently, where he was able to capture this extraordinairy footage of, what looks to be some new form of MotoGP.  This new formula is using big bikes, with large displacement engines, most are 2 cylendar 4 strokes, delivering approximately 60 bhp.  Early research indicates that this new form relies on skills and mastery of 2 disciplines.  The best pilots are said to have an upright riding posture, are comfortable on the road (cutting the curves) and are not intimidated with dirt roads.

Interviews with these young pilots does however indicate that they know that they are mortal, and while no one would argue with statements of their bravery, most of these pilots openly admit that they are scared shit-less of gravel.  This film footage includes some of the newcomers, but interestingly enough, it also includes rides by some of the veteran pilots.

Valentino Rossi in Patagonia
MotoGP Adventure Formula – Novice Class (Qualifying)

Hotel Pico Del Sur

We’re going to spend 2 nights at this hotel.  The accommodations for these weary travelers are quite nice, I might even say on the up-scale side of things, but it’s a far cry to call them 4 star.  There is however one very good attribute of this very hotel.  The Internet is working again.  That’s right, the Internet is working.

In fact,there seems to be enough bandwidth for me to upload photo galleries, and even videos.  The two videos above were uploaded in about 10 minutes each.  At the last hotel, I was informed that the upload time was estimated at 350 minutes for a file that took only 10 minutes at this hotel.  So, I’m in Bloggers heaven.

Below, you can see a number of pictures of and from the hotel.

So, what about tomorrow?

Tomorrow should prove to be a “really excellent day”.  We’re going to leave the hotel by 7AM, riding about 80Km to the Perito Merino glacier.  At that point we’re supposed to jump on a boat, and take a trip out to the glacier.

As I understand it, this is one of the only glaciers on Earth that is not receding.  Given the wind and temperatures that we’ve been experiencing, it does not surprise me at all that this glacier is not receding.  The bigger surprise is why it isn’t growing, given all this damn wind.  And, if there was some way for gravel roads to contribute to the glacier’s progress, then I’m absolutely sure that it would be growing, considering the amount of gravel here in Patagonia.

About the Author

Cliff Musante

Cliff Musante is a technologist, business leader, motorcycle enthusiast, father, grandfather, and more. In June, 2013 his passion for motorcycles was revitalized, and he set out to ride across Patagonia. This ‘Blog is the story of all of his adventures.

Comments

  1. Cliff

    I have three bikes in the garage but nary a one has a motor. Nonetheless, I am thoroughly enjoying your two-wheel, multi-media travel-log from Patagonia. Great story, great writing, but I knew you were quite the raconteur before you shipped out for Sudamerica. Thanks for taking the time and effort to share your unusual experience.

    Ken

    1. Hi Ken,
      Glad that you’re enjoying the writing and the stories. I’m enjoying writing them, but even more important, living them is simply awesome. Perhaps one of these days you’ll get your 3 bikes up and running.
      Cliff

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