Wednesday 5th Feb 2014
Left Purmamarca at 8:00am … knowing it would be a tough haul to get to Saenz Pena … was hoping for two things, good weather (100% success rate so far) and good behavior form the Ducati. I didn’t get either ….
There were storm force northerly winds all day and part of my route was going to be about 500 Kms through the Chaco region – running West to East …. So the last thing I wanted was a Northerly wind … but I got it …. Seven hours of gusting onto my left shoulder non-stop …. And the Ducati …. Well she was just a thundering bitch today …. Everything started off fine in Purmamarca, but after the first fuel stop in San Salvador De Jujuy, the usual nonsense with the range computer started “Faulty Fuel Sensor”…. And it flashed that warning at me for almost all of the seven hours, making in harder for me to work out my fuel stops. However, I’m used to that now and I ignored it, so Mrs. Ducati decided to throw in the orange engine warning light again “EXVL“ …. Ok, two warning lights flashing at me, all day. I continued to ignore that too, so Mrs. Ducati decided I needed another prod and she started announcing “lost power to the GPS ,” (she hadn’t) “shutting down in 15 seconds.” Then after counting down the 15 seconds, she would restart the GPS instead of shutting it down and take up where she was before. I tried to ignore this too, but it was a problem because the whole process would take about 30 seconds, by which time I had would / could have passed a couple of key junctions when I was in cities / towns. I was not a happy bunny. To top it all off, the Ducati decided it wasn’t going to start with the keyless switch anymore …. So I had to go through the ‘enter your pin’ process EVERY time I wanted to start the bloody thing. Hmmmm.
Despite all this and also a key fuel stop in Monte Quemado failed resulting in the two garages in town being closed due to no fuel, where I eventually bribed the guy in one of them and suddenly there was fuel enough in the village for one Paraguayan bike after all, I was making good progress (basically by not stopping for anything except fuel) and my scheduled arrival at Saenz Pena was coming up at 15:30 – ahead of my self-imposed curfew of 16:00. I had a good rhythm going … about 750 Kms done, so 150Km more would take me all the way to Resistencia. I decided to take advantage of that and keep going for another hour and a half. I had just enough fuel and although I was tired, I was still good for it and it would have made my last day very pleasantly easy. The minute I made the decision, the GPS announced, “low power – shutting down.” Bollix … bollix … bollix, I have had enough F*****g Ducati today to last me a lifetime. It would now now be a much harder task to find a hotel when I got to Resistencia, so I pulled in to Presidente R. Saenz Pena, drank a couple of beers and went to bed !
This was disappointment to me, because if you noticed in my early blogs, the original decision to buy the Ducati for this kind of long distance touring carried some risk and I volunteered to take that risk. And the bike (engine and suspension were absolutely in their element … it performed like a dream except for these electric / computer niggles, which when they all happened simultaneously today, were a problem.
I got away with it over the last week because they only happened sequentially and on the second last day when there was no real need for the GPS, but if it had happened earlier, in the mountains, that wouldn’t have been pretty. I had a backup plan of course, maps and a compass etc., but the cold reality – and it kills me to say it, this simply doesn’t happen with the BMW.
Not a good day … and not the end I wanted to a fantastic trip either. However, I’m writing this in the heat of the moment and after a relatively hard day in the relentless infierno verde at 40C …. so maybe it wont look so bad tomorrow, but the writing is definitely on the wall. Do I go to the Ducati guy and say “new fuel sensor, new keyless starter system, new EXVL exhaust valve, oh – and fix the GPS under warranty please (I can hear them laughing already)” …. OR … sell the Ducati and buy a BMW. Right now it’s the latter.
Adios amigos ….