The flat plains were calling, and I obliged, keeping the throttle open as I road through Argentinian farmland. Miles and miles of cotton fiends were interrupted with miles and miles of wheat. I love riding through lush farmland so was right in my element as bugs splattering across my visor. I was not paying particular notice to what the effect of going fast was having on my fuel consumption, and when I pulled into Quimili for the night, I had 35km left in the tank. Luckily, Quimili had two fuel stations, but unluckily, neither had fuel. Putting this little problem aside, I noticed a motorbike part shop in town, and went to see about the possibility of getting a new front tire. They had one in stock, so while they were mounting it, I went to the ATM to get replenish the money supply. All ATM’s in town were down due to a communication issue. There is no credit card facilities anywhere in town. Quimili and I aren’t singing from the same song page so far.
With no money coming from the machine in the wall, I only had enough for half the cost of the now mounted tire, and would leave me nothing for food, lodging and gasoline, if some happened to be delivered overnight. The guy managing the motorbike shop said I could pay in the morning once the machines were back up, and that I could stay at his house for the night. The whole family came over and we had dinner at 11pm, and I entertained them with photos of my trip and frequent visits the Spanish/English dictionary. Morning didn’t see the ATM problem fixed, and my new friend said no problem, we are all even. These Argentinians know a thing or two about customer service. So off I went, riding at 50 km/h to conserve fuel, stretching my 35 km tankful to 80. A moment of pure ecstasy when the Shell sign appeared, and I was riding the bike not pushing it.
The next two days were spent riding up to the junction of Argentina, Brasil and Paraguay and a wee waterfall by the name of Iguazu Falls. It seems to me that often the must see things are disappointing, as it is hard to live up to the expectation conjured up in our heads. There was the thought in the back of my mind that this would be the case with Iguazu Falls, having spent considerable energy to get here. Iguazu Falls was amazing. The edge is 2700m wide, dividing the falls into 275 separate waterfalls and cataracts. Walkways have been set up so you walk across the river on the top, and can basically stand where the water thunders over the edge. Paths all over the park allow you to see and feel the falls from every angle. Numerous animals on the land, in the water and in the air made it that much better. I have never seen so many butterflies, kaleidoscopes of them taking flight as I approached on the paths. An absolute highlight.
My next stop is to be Uruguay, which means I need to retrace my route back south for 300km, which is completely fine as this part of Argentina is logging country, and has the corresponding cut wood smell to go with it. This section of Argentina also has numerous police checks, which are reputed to be corrupt. I was able to sample this first hand when at one stop one of the officers decided that my wearing headphones was an infringement. Waving his hand in a way as to show what looked like a drunken motorbike rider careening across the road, demonstrated to me the perils of listening to music while riding. The foolishness of it all was lost on him, as I was standing there with a fully functional bike, ABS brakes, full-face helmet and riding gear head to toe when a family of three sitting on 50cc scooter help together with strap ties, struggled past. Mounting my video camera on my helmet had me on the road again within sixty seconds. The GoPro saves yet another attempted bribe.
All conditions where right to make a distance record attempt, an early start; straight, flat roads; clear skies. 839 kms ticked over as I pulled into Concordia, ready to ride into Uruguay tomorrow.