Sunday, January 2, 2011

Day 83/84 - Paso de los Libres to Cunuzu Cuatia to Victoria, Argentina

Day 83:  We went over to Daniel's house, rather, his mom's home where we spent the entire day fixing the trailer he picked up for us to transport RobCs bike to Buenos Aires.  It needed welding, electrical work, plates and the left wheel was wobbly.  He had also told Rob that it was going to cost him 75 USD for the  “rental”.  What? After we spent the whole day fixing this piece of crap?  Fine.  We were out of options and he “seemed” nice enough although we were both getting stange vibes from him.  Comments like, "I was going to take a nap this afternoon, but did you a favor and spent the afternoon fixing the trailer instead."  There were some red flags that went up but we had no other option and figured he was just strange.  His mother was a nice person.  She did RobC's laundry and cooked us lunch.  Okay.  No problem.  We were also supposed to leave his mom's place by 6 pm to go to Cunuzu Cuatia  (100 km away), so Daniel could see his girlfriend for New Year's Eve and then we’d go to Victoria, the place of arrival of the first stage of the Dakar Rally, the next day.  This was an existing plan for Daniel to see his girlfriend, so we went along with that.  We still didn’t know where we would stay for the night, as the hotels were closed for New Year's Eve.  Later, we found out we would be staying at Daniel’s cousin's vacant house.  Cool.

Well, we didn’t leave until 8: 30 pm ... without supper.  Once we were off Highway 14, the remaining road to this town was brutal.  Huge potholes were difficult to avoid in a down pour, as we drove along at 40 kph.  Seemed like we were in the middle of nowhere.  We got to this guys cousin’s vacant house and spent  45 min looking for the keys.  Finally, we found the keys and we are in.  What a dump.  We were offered the bedroom but figured it was safer on the floor on the back porch.  RobC reiterated that we wanted to leave at 7 am (this guy stated he did like to sleep in) to get a start on the day and try to catch some of the ambience of the Dakar Rally.  Daniel avoided a direct confirmation.  He left with his girlfriend for the evening (New Year's) and we were left alone in this house with 2 granola bars for supper and a dirty back porch floor to lay our sleeping bags and pads on.  

Day 84:  We were both up at 6:30 am, ready to get an early start on our trip to Victoria and the Dakar Rally.  RobC figured this Daniel guy would sleep in so he woke him up at 7:30 (He had ended up coming back to the house to sleep in the master bedroom.)  That took some doing and we were on the road by 8:30 after picking up his girlfriend ,who was going along to the Dakar.  Things started getting very uncomfortable, as the ride wore on.  We had 500 km to go to get to Victoria and when it was time to get gas, we found gas station after gas station without fuel.  Finally found one, while we were running on fumes.  Daniel proceeded to accuse RobC of not telling him to get gas earlier. What?!?!  Then, stated that the car would take 300 pesos of fuel (75 USD).  We were skeptical so we watched the pump.  170 pesos.  He complained about having to get regular fuel.  RobC went into the service station (it was now 12:30 and we had no breakfast yet) and he buys some food and drink when this guys plops all of his goodies beside Rob’s expecting it to be paid for.  Rob talks to him and Daniel states he is expecting a "free ride" for driving us.  This was not part of the original deal.  Fine.  We put up with some more crap as we were now at his mercy.   This guy kept needling RobC the whole trip about paying for this and that and how he was doing us a huge favor, etc, etc.  It was getting to be too much.  Little side note:  this guy drove like a complete ass .... I looked at the GPS and then at his speedometer as I couldn’t believe what I saw ... 190 kph at one point on a straight section of road ... dodging potholes.  Okay.  This has got to stop.  We arrived in Victoria and decided on getting a hotel.  We found one and Daniel stated that he expected us to pay for lodging for him and his girlfriend as well.  He claimed he didn't bring any money.  Well, this was it!!  Rob and I discussed this and agreed to ditch the guy right there.  Rob told Daniel what we had decided and he proceeded to put up a big argument, but the damage was done.  We unloaded our stuff from his car and walked into the hotel.

Not letting this whole incident spoil our Dakar Rally experience, 74th year of the race and the 3rd year in South America, we headed out just as a guy from the Ukraine Dakar truck team came into the hotel looking for Internet services but didn't speak Spanish.  Rob immediately sees an opportunity.  I smile, as I know exactly what he's up to.  We end up catching a ride with this guy (computer tech) and two mechanics to the crossroads just before the Dakar Bivouac, where the racers would be driving though.  Very cool.  Only thing, we forgot how we would be getting back to town, not realizing how far we had driven outside the city.

RobC getting out of our "taxi", the Ukraine's Team support van.

Dakar Truck category

Support truck with spares and sleeping quarters

Never realized how enormous these trucks are!!!  And they drive through the dunes as well!!

Quad category

Crowd pleaser.

Participant videoing the huge crowd as he rides past.

We watched the trucks, quads, motos and a few cars roll into town but left at about 9 pm, as it was getting late, we had to get back to the hotel and the crowd had grown so large that it was impossible to get a good view of the vehicles coming in from Buenos Aires.  Didn't get any pictures of the cars as they began arriving after dark.

We both agree that to give this race any justice and really experience it, one would have to know of a very good technical section in a stage and watch the driver's navigate it.  You would also need to find a way to get to that location which may be near impossible due to the cross country nature of the race.  This seems to be very much a driver's/participant's sport rather than a spectator sport like hockey or football back home where these sports are viewed more as entertainment and have all the infrastructure to support huge crowds of fans.

1 comment:

  1. Transporte Motos Darimar
    gracias ..ROB CROESE y ROB TODOROVICH ... por tanta buena quimica , y GRACIAS por requerir nuestros servicios ( VIAJE A PASO DE LOS LIBRES corrientes) un calido abrazo marcelo