Calafate was a good place to hang out before the last days south. We explored the area and rode as far around the lake as the road allowed. One breezy morning on the waterfront we had a big surprise. Flamingoes again!
I suppose my childhood introduction to flamingoes were African photos in National Geographic so I think of them as tropical. Also, for my generation, African shots from National Geographic were our introduction to something else just as spectacular and seared into my memory but anyway. There are three species of flamingo in South America, this is P chilensis and it clearly doesn’t mind the freezing cold.
I was walking down the main street and saw a Triumph Tiger parked outside a restaurant. I may have mentioned it before but there’s one universal thing among long-distance riders: Tiger owners love their bikes. Normally I’d be somewhat frightened by anything made in England but there’s no arguing with the riders, the bike seems to do this well. I walk in the restaurant and meet Steve. I borrowed a photo from his Porvenir ferry ride as it’s better than mine
He’s riding from Buenos Aires to Alaska then New York. Being Scottish he drinks and we did. So here’s a story: what would you like to be most if you had to hang out in Guatemala City? A just-retired British Commando with the 29th regiment, with a tattoo of a huge dagger and the word COMMANDO in big letters beside it. Also perfect for the El Salvador/Honduras border crossing. Riding skills? Currently races motocross, showed me a photo of himself about 30 feet in the air. Experience overseas with people trying to rob or kill you? Tours of duty in Afghanistan, Beirut, etc etc. He OK’d me to write this. Steve’s the guy who told me that regarding self-portraits ‘if you don’t pose, nobody knows’. There are only 5 towns from here on down so if there are any riders around, we’re going to meet them, and being a bit off-season they’re likely to be the hardier types. Me, I’m just late.
Before a long dirt road ahead we’re greeted by this spooky person at a cattle grid. Click the video to the left (click, click enlarge, click HD). I’ve developed a superstition about ride videos and so no more of those until I get over it
Back onto great although rocky road. The Ruta 40 has every type of surface. Even sand and mud back in Belen
I give my speech and they’re brilliant and find a small spot for the stamp. Then off to the Chilean building. I’m in luck and they also find a tiny space for the stamp. I think the harder it gets the more they enjoy this. At least when I give my speech they all look up and listen intently to the gringo with a problem. A small epic is fun for everyone