It was a bit slow getting out of Asuncion and Paraguay today, firstly because of traffic and then at the border crossing, everything went well with immigration and Argentinian customs, until I tried to leave. The police stopped me and wanted a “papel” which I didn’t have. It took a few minutes to understand what was happening, but everyone was good natured and helpful. Eventually, it became clear that even though I had been stamped out of Paraguay and stamped in to Argentina, and cleared customs satisfactorily, I didn’t have the little bit of blank paper the Paraguayan immigration girl gave me … i handed that to the Argentinian immigration guy, who was very pleasant and efficient – but didn’t give it back to me. How it Works is that they all put their stamp also on this little bit of blank paper as well as on your documents, and then the police in Argentina ask you for it, so that they can see you have gone through both immigration offices and customs, then they just throw it in the bin. You live and learn!
The road to Formosa is long and straight and relatively traffic free, with a good surface and I stopped to refuel at the first station. It was at this point the Ducati decided to remind me it is Italian. While the guy was filling the tank, I turned on the ignition to make a note of the mileage …. Ducati’s don’t like that! When I left for Resistencia, the computer spent the first 20 Kms flashing up “Fuel Sensor” warnings – and the following 40 Kms telling me the tank was almost empty. Then it gave me a real fright …. It started to stutter about 50 Kms short of Resistencia. I really didn’t fancy being stuck with a ducati in the Argentinian Chaco with a dead motor and I decided not to stop in case it wouldn’t start again! After about 5 Kms, the stuttering disappeared and I rolled in to Resistencia apparently functioning well. With about 5 Kms to go, two Brazilians, rolled into formation with me, and now I was riding ‘point’ in formation … a good start to the trip I think! These guys joined me for refreshments in the service station and they turned out to be part of a group of over 50 motorcyclists from Mato Grosso in Brazil. They were on the return leg of a trip through Peru, Chile and Argentina, which had taken them to Machu Picchu. It was interesting talking to them, partly because they could understand Spanish, but not speak it – and I could understand bits of Portuguese but not speak it! But mostly because they were able to tell me a lot about the roads I might be encountering in the next couple of weeks – and it was pretty much all good news. They didn’t go into to Bolivia though. Still a bit of an unknown quantity that.
After we took some photos and went on our separate ways, I turned my attention to my temperamental Italian friend once again. This time I turned off the ignition and didn’t turn it on again until I had fueled up and locked the petrol tank! Miracle …. not only did the computer start to work correctly immediately, it proudly announced that we had a full tank (I knew that) and that we now had a range of 310 Kms. It never did that before …. it always denied it had a full tank and just showed 50% until it was actually 50% full, at which stage it would start giving accurate information. Hmmm …. BMW’s don’t do this ….
Anyway, after friendly goodbyes with my new Brazilian friends, I set off for Presidencia Roque Saenz Pena …. And the bike never missed a beat. Confidence shaken but not stirred.
So, nice easy 500Km first day – enough to get organized, and see what I forgot – my watch, and an adaptor for Argentinian sockets. However, at least I’ll have time to look around Saenz Pena for the adaptor and I’ll see if I can find a watch when I get to Salta.
More tomorrow (internet access dependent)