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I couldn't sleep the night after arriving of this trip, so I started writing...

The motorcycle Grand Prix is going to be in Termas de Rio Hondo, Argentina from the 25th through the 27th of April, after 12 years the motoGP is coming back to Argentinian soil. Motorcyclists and super sport bikes fans are doing whatever is possible to get tickets to the event, among them, me.

Yes, I thought I’d love to go see the grand prix for the first time in my life, but it’s in Argentina and that most of the time, implies a superior grade of difficulty to achieve anything. I tried several times to get tickets through the official ticketek system, to find out later they only ship the tickets within Argentina or they can be delivered the same day of the race at track, that would mean I’d have to take the risk of going there and maybe not getting my tickets, so I thought, if I’m planning to go to the motoGP by motorcycle through 1,450 KM, from Chile crossing pretty much the half of Argentina, I need to make sure I will be able to see the show!

So, besides the online system that does not seem to work for foreigners there is only one place that is close to Santiago, Chile that is Mendoza, Argentina. The shop that sells the tickets is an automotive retailer of a big german brand, my mission was set, take the bike, do a 250 miles trip, around 6 hours if the border control and customs were fast.

I tried to convince a friend of joining me in this trip, that would make it more fun but he refused saying his motorcycle a triumph 675 did not have the level of comfort needed for this long haul trip, as the Scooter suzuki burgman does.

Therefore I set my mind to a solo trip to find out more about myself on these lonely roads, until my friend Claudio showed up and convinced him to join me on this six hours trip only to get the motoGP tickets, only if we were able to make it before 1230pm Argentina time on Saturday 8th of March.

When I told my motorcycle friends about that deadline they all told me, forget it, you’re not going to make it, it’s impossible, forget about it, but the goal was set and all this drawbacks that people kept telling me, gave me more motivation on my mission, get the motoGP tickets.

so now traveling with Claudio, we were set to take off at 6am Chilean time, that would mean we would have to keep the throttle twisted until we get to Argentina, I woke up at 0530 that morning and put all my stuff in the trunk of the burgman, I thought I would not need to add the two additional panniers adding 42 liters more of capacity, so I hit the road on my way to pick up my friend, picked him up at 0630, stash his stuff in the trunk and here we go, 15 minutes later my buddy would ask me to stop at the gas station to get some breakfast, I agree and accepted a coffee which ended up not drinking as it was pretty bad, I did not said it aloud but my mind was worried, this unexpected stop would mean only one thing, delay the trip and we will eventually not make it on time before the only shop in mendoza that sells tickets for the motoGP is closed.

I enjoyed every bit of the trip, having lot of good talks with friend through our helmet’s intercoms was pretty good, we pretty much catch up a lot and started to remember stories we lived as youngsters. He kept asking me, are we gonna make it on time? so I said, look, if we don’t make it, then be it. We should do the trip and enjoy the scenery and why not make lot of friends in our way.

We were getting near the border and then we saw the 26 switchbacks we had to ride through, pretty amazing “cuesta caracol” snail in english, we were to find out why it was called like that pretty soon, as the top speed on that thing, was 12mph. There were a lot of works on this route, they are making it better for the winter which is coming down here in Chile, and this border pass usually closed due to the bad weather.

We rode through the border and a chilean police waved us to continue our route and not to stop in the Chilean border control, so we were now in Argentinian soil, without any road signs, we kept riding without knowing why we were not checked, until we got to 2x2 feet cabin in the middle of the road with an Argentinian police inside, we were happy to have traveled this far and with a lot of emotion and happiness we said hi and try to make some conversation with the police but he opened the sliding window, gave us the border control papers and closed the window. We were shocked with our very first interaction with our Argentinian brothers, we were expecting some different from a person that does that job and it’s alone in the middle of nowhere for at least eight or more hours, however we didn’t let that put our mood down.

We kept riding and we arrived to the first town, Uspallata, we put some gas, ate some snacks and kept riding, at this point we were knowing the Argentinian roads, and we started to realize the like to built tunnels before a turn, that was something new for us, “the chileans” and started to slow down a bit trying to be extra safe for any new road engineering the Argentinians may have designed.

There in Uspallata was not rare to see a lot tourists, specially americans that come to climb the Aconcagua the highest mountain in the Americas at 6,960.8 metres (22,837 ft), that was very impressive to see and felt we were nothing compare this marvel of the nature.

We continue to ride until we got the first highway in our trip and after turning in the first road butterfly, our GPS told we were 24 miles away from Mendoza and the clock was ticking at 1200pm. We had no room for mistakes if we still wanted to get the tickets, but I kept saying, let the destiny to decide for us and let’s keep enjoying the ride.

We were approaching Mendoza and I had to stop to get the final directions from the GPS to get to our automotive shop, this would be the test for the new bought GPS, wrote the shop name and vóilà, was found! but the bad news was it said ETA 20 minutes and at that point it was 1210pm, the time was against us and we were getting excited that there was a little window that we might be able to make it.

Now in the city following our GPS’s directions my friend reminds me of the good quality of the GPS device and its battery life, when all of the sudden the GPS’s turned off, the battery was dead and that was a real problem, without GPS the chances of arriving on time and not getting lost, were zero to none. But I had a plan B, the GPS map was clear on my mind but to be more certain I would make a quick stop and ask a local for confirmation, we were running out of time it was 1230pm time where the shop closes, I didn’t gave up and kept riding until get arrived to the automotive shop a really quick question to the security guard in the front door which let us in, I parked the bike and run into the store which was 50meter away from where we were asked to park. Then I realized running in a leather suite with a yellow helmet in Mendoza was fashion but i was starting to sweat a lot, due to the heat and the excitement.

Now in the front desk that looked at me as I were an astronaut, asked him for the guy that sells the tickets for the motoGP, and let her know I am the guy who called more than 50 times on Friday to make sure the guy would be there on Saturday to buy him the tickets.

Then we started to see our chances of making the impossible were starting to grow, the guy was about to leave for a 1 week vacation but has not been able to leave because he was doing the final workaround of a brand new truck he was delivering to a customer, that was his hold up, and our chance!

I stalked him for 10 minutes and then decided to approach him to let him know we were waiting on him, then it all suddenly changed. He told me he was leaving in 5 minutes and he would not sell anything as he was already gone for the day and his family was waiting on him to leave for their vacation, that was bad. However I explained him we traveled by 6 hours, crossed the Andes we ride at altitude of more than 2,400mt just to get the tickets, I would ask him again to do us this big favor, then he agreed to do that for us, but quick! he said. I went upstairs and try to buy 4 tickets with my “chilean” credit card, when he exclaimed “oh no, chileans credit cards don't work here” He still tried a few times with no luck, I was so close, so close that I would not give up, then I asked him if he accepted US dollars, which the day before I went to buy just in case of emergency or something weird happened. That did it! but instead of 4 I had to buy only 2, that was enough for me, and the mission was accomplished.

I went downstairs where my friend was waiting for me, and we started to hug each other, we made it! we said!

On our way out of the shop two more motorcyclists arrived and asked us where to buy the tickets, and we were the bad news messenger for them, the only guy that sells them, has just left and returns in one week. They were disappointed, they rode for 3 hours from San Rafael, Argentina to Mendoza for the tickets and it didn’t work for them.

We head out for Mendoza down town now and we’re curious about the locals they all give directions based on street blocks, go straight 30 blocks and then 4 blocks righ. Without any GPS that worked just fine.

For our surprise that very same day Mendoza had a surprise for us, they were celebrating the wine festival, from the 6th to the 9th, that meant there were parades all over the city, as a very nice welcome to our adventurers that have just arrived. It just could not be better, we were happy.

People in Mendoza or mendocinos, were pretty gently, lot of coffee shops and wineries all over the place, for our surprise there were a street called Chile and then we realized there was even a squared name after our country, that was cool.

Mendoza in general is not a big city but it is pretty and has plenty of activities to do for tourists, besides of course, of the wine tours to their world famous vineyards of Malbec.

The bohemia has an european touch I should say, which I liked it very much, was very easy to start talking to people that were always willing to give their suggestions for the best places to visit.

We would stay the night and leave on Sunday morning, but not without doing some partying, we came across the some other motorcycle riders that we passed in our way and we hanged out together until 0430 am of Sunday. We had a blast!

We woke up at 0800 and hit the road at 1000, we made few stops to eat and refresh ourselves, then after passing Uspallata we would be facing the very strong Andes winds, we rode across wind gusts that pushed us to the incoming traffic line, we calculated they were at a minimum 55 or 60 MPH wind gusts, that was dangerous, we slowed down until we got until the border control, where we were checked on the chilean side this time, but there were two lines of at least 50 cars before us that meant, 2-3 hours of waiting.

In the meantime, we started to talk to other fellows motorcyclists that were coming to Chile, among them was this American, Sean, from Atlanta, Georgia that shipped his kawasaki KLR 650 to Buenos Aires and rode it until Ushuaia, the end of the world, alone, then he crossed to Chile and went through all the Carretera Austral, we kept talking for about two hours and invited him to crash at my place if he wanted to, as he was leaving to the US the next day, to work for around a month and then come back, pick up the bike and start his trip from Chile to Canada.

Now we weren’t alone, we were riding with our new friend Sean back home, we stopped for a quick meal at about 1600 pm on Sunday and then we again hit the road with big smiles on our faces of having accomplished our goal, and on top of that made some new friends.

I arrived home with my new friend Sean, and we had good talking, both shared our road stories and had fun.

The next day I went to work, very sleepy but with a big smile on my face, my fellow bikers friends kept calling me to get together for lunch or a cup of coffee, they were all wanting to know whether I did the impossible or not.
When I started meeting them one by one and telling them my road stories and how I did make it, they were all impressed, and they didn’t stop taking pictures of the now precious motoGP tickets.

I was happy and I am happy now with a big smile on my face, knowing that having a positive attitude towards life, it is the best thing to do, and riding a bike while being happy is the best experience in the world.
:nike:


The video of this ride is here:
http://burgmanusa.com/forums/56-vid...tina-crossing-andes-2-400-over-sea-level.html
 

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Ivan Zamorano!
 

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Discussion Starter #3

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but i can't play header as he does. As to the Burgman Del Piero rides both, he even used to have a dedicated web site from Suzuki. Looks like it's closed now.
 

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Sounds like you had a fantastic adventure just getting the tickets, Fernando. Actually getting to go to the MotoGP will be even sweeter because of it! I'm surprised that the vendor wouldn't take the plastic, but accepted the foreign currency. It's exactly the opposite here in the States - a surprising number of places will not take any currency at all.

Glad you accomplished the impossible with the tickets, had a great ride, and made a new friend. We're all waiting for your description of the event itself!
 

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There's something else brewing in South America this year, tickets might be badly required also. Dunno about Fernando, but every Chileno guy i met played 'that thing' and played not bad at all :D
 
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