Northern Argentina

Motorcycle meeting - French fries in the desert - Lack of gasoline - Fuel pump in the ass

14.10.23 Motorcycle meeting in San Juan "Cinzano", Argentina

What a great event we were able to experience! We are invited by Dani @Vespacooltrip and the president Raul, of the Vespaclub San Juan, to the motorcycle meeting. Great vintage bikes of all makes are on display and in the afternoon the riders compete against each other with their steel horses. Who can balance their motorcycle the longest and therefore ride the slowest to the finish line! Stefan of course takes part and wins! The motorcycles are also awarded prizes and everyone gets to ride on stage! Yes! For the small appetite in between there will be asado (grilled meat in a roll) and of course cerveza. In the evening, the rock band "TIMO" performs and everyone moves closer with their chairs. We scream our heads off as the band turns the music up full blast. And at the end, there's a motorcycle on stage and the throttle is turned up to the beat. We've never experienced anything like it. The people cheer and the atmosphere is fantastic. Then they play the lottery. Everyone gets a small piece of paper with a number on it free of charge. The numbers are then drawn by children and lottery officials. There are chips, sweets, vouchers for repairs and engine oil etc. to be won.

Dani @Vespacooltrip

Dani is from Ecuador and is sins 4 Years travalling with his Vespa trough Souts America.


Präsident Vespaclub San Juan

at the Right...

Danis Vespa


The challenge is to be the slowest!


He is a missionary & gets shelter in the church... Everyone is excited about our motorcycles, especially the kids! They stroke our stuffed animals (lucky charms) that we have attached to Wanda & Barana.


Friends and family gathered around a table and the atmosphere was exuberant and cheerful - simply terrific! Our jaws and diaphragms ached with laughter!


The barbecue is bursting at the seams


Their asado is fabulous and the gin and tonic was witchcraft!

16.10.23 We continue on the Ruta 40 towards Villa Union. We pass a pretty little cactus village called "Acuña", where we make a short stop because we like it so much. And the dinos used to live here too ...


... a small green cactus holeri holero holera...




PARQUE PROVINCIAL ISCHIGUALASTO - This skeleton is real and is 250 million years old. How impressive!


In Villa Union we stop for refueling and an overnight stay (Rioja province) and continue on to Belén. From there we want to get to El Peñon and take the Ruta 40 - RP 36 and finally the RP 43. Some of the roads are gravel tracks. Most of them are paved. And as we see for ourselves, the tarred roads are being extended more and more. A pity really. At 3200 m above sea level, the GPS shows us a huge lake. We are excited. But when we arrive, there is no lake far and wide. There is desert, dunes and lots of high mountains. We drive over the highest point, which is 4200 meters above sea level. Wanda and Barana struggle with the headwind and the altitude reduces the power of the two motorcycles. The nature is overwhelming and we can hardly get enough of it. The colors of the mountains are spectacular in real life! The vastness is breathtaking. The wind is quite strong and we leave our helmets on during the breaks.

After 250 km we finally reach El Peñon. A small village at around 3500 m above sea level. The locals speak their own language here, we can barely understand them and the coca leaves fill their cheeks, which doesn't make it any easier to understand. It is already 5 o'clock in the evening, but somehow Simona still has the urge to see the "Pommes" - actually it is called "Campo de Piedra Pomez". No sooner said than done, after moving into our accommodation, we free our motorcycles from our luggage and head for our destination 30 km away. That's a piece of cake - we thought... hmmm.

Well, the road started out as a gravel track and slowly turned into a sandy track. The sand got deeper and deeper... Wanda skidded and suddenly I (Simona) was lying in the sand. The fall was actually gentle. The sand was soft and deep. But we had to get Wanda up again. That was a feat of strength. But a knight knows no fear - let's keep going... but not for long, then came the next fall! The sand was simply too deep. And after the third time I had crumbled in the sand, I didn't find it quite so funny and wanted to cry. Stefan struggled on a few more meters with Barana to see if the sandy track would improve. Nope, he also got to feel the grains of sand on his body - pure exfoliation. After we looked like breaded schnitzels, the sun was slowly setting and the water was running low, we decided to make our way back. Back at the accommodation, exhausted, we made pasta and pondered how we could get our hands on these "fries".


converted container

Entrance Portal

Campo de Piedra Pomez

Gravel Road...

which turned to sand after 20 km

Not funny!

fall in the sand :-(

19.10.23 New day, new luck! Yes, today was going to be a good day. Until we heard that the petrol station in Antifagasto was empty. We actually wanted to go back to Belén today, but the fuel in our tanks is not enough for the 250 km. Great. Hey, hey Wicky - Wicky hey! That's when Stefan had a great idea! We'd take the jeep on an excursion to the "Pommes" and in the meantime our rental company would get us some fuel. It was a deal! That was the deal. So off we go in the jeep and off we go on the 4-hour tour!


Now with a 4x4 Jeep


finally there are the Piedra de Pomez!

The stones are filled with air, so they are light and when you hit them together they make a sound - incredible!

When we return from the tour, we are overwhelmed by nature. We have never seen anything like it in our lives. High mountains, volcanoes, dunes at an altitude of 3500 meters above sea level, flamingos splashing around in red, blue and yellow water! The utter beauty of the fauna and flora. We get goose bumps. But unfortunately we also found out why they built a road to nowhere. Because El Peñon is a dead end. Well, lithium is also mined here. Nevertheless, nature here is bursting with energy and so are we. So we put fuel in the tanks and head back to Belén to the "Tata Bencho" campsite. Or not? Our landlord has suddenly disappeared... hmmm which means - no gas, no return trip! We are a bit pissed off, pack our bikes and try our luck in the village, hoping to find someone selling gas in the backyard. Luck is on our side! We meet two enduro riders from Buenos Aires! They are kind to us and take us straight to their "dormitorio", where we get 20 liters of petrol from the landlord! On the way back, we notice that the wind is getting stronger and stronger and the sky is slowly closing in. I wonder what that means? You don't want to be exposed to storms and rain up here. So, put the pedal to the metal! Yes, we make it out of the valley with about 20 raindrops. Overjoyed and tired, we are greeted by Sulma and Raul (Camping Tata Bencho). We stay here for a while.

5 Days Break

on the Camping Tata Bencho

The Camping bar

We managed to drink the bar empty


clean and warm wather

The Brändi Dog madness

with the bicycle fraction

homemade Empanadas

the landlady Sulma spoils us

Simona AND Salome

Roxana With DOGGY Caillo

Dän AND Stefan made a Deal

As Dän's and Salome's petrol stove has given up the ghost, Stefan aka Super Mc Gyver gets to work. And lo and behold, the gas stove is working perfectly again. They decide on a swap deal. As they now have one stove too many, we get their gas stove as a gift. Walter will be delighted to get his stove back, because now he can sip espresso again!

The Berner Velo Crew is now a little lighter (apart from the beer glass ;-)) and we are one gas stove richer. THANK YOU Salome and Dän!

Cu again in Patagonia!


Repair after a fall in the sand




the chaotic troop ready to leave

23.10.23 And another farewell. Salome and Dän head south on their bikes, our paths part, because our next destination is the wine-growing region near Cafayate, which is in the province of Salta. But we keep in touch with our two Bernese friends, because "Brändi Dog" ended in a draw, so we arrange to meet up for a rematch in Patagonia. We should be in Tierra del Fuego around the same time (February 24). We're already looking forward to the next game!

On the way to Cafayate, we discover a beautiful motorcycle route with canyons, an obelisk, an ancient amphitheater and an old, disused railroad bridge. And even Germany is represented! Video Northern Argentina.


Formerly used for astrology


He must have fallen from the sky



fascinating Canions - What a Wonderful Live!

In Cafayate, we treat ourselves to a bed in the Cadones hostel. Cafayate is like an oasis in the desert. There are cacti among the numerous vines. There are many beautiful colonial-style buildings in the town. It is very touristy and lively, so we move on after one night.



Tito & Juan

Brasilians are loud!

24.10.23 We continue north, our final destination is the "Salar de Uyuni" in Bolivia. But there are still a few kilometers to go. Our next stop is the city of Salta. But we have seen enough of the suburbs of Salta and decide on a somewhat quieter campsite in "San Lorenzo". The first campsite we arrive at is rather uninspiring, so we move on to the Camping Municipal, which includes a sports field. It's not an attraction but it's clean. We are tired and pitch our tent. Felipe arrives and says we should use the roof of the sports field. And we can already see why. Dark clouds are gathering and the first drops of rain are pattering down. We grab the tent we've already pitched - just as it is - and run under the roof. But first we have to hoist it over a fence. That's it! Three changes of clothes in one day. That's enough for now. Our stomachs are rumbling - we have spaghetti al tonno. And then a little volleyball fun with the women's team from Salta. Good night!

The next day it drizzles a little and luckily our tent is dry! We drive along the Ruta 9 through a small jungle in the rain. It is mystical, damp and we are happy. The route takes us via San Salvador de Jujuy to Purmamarca. We gradually get closer to the Bolivian border. We meet up with old friends at Hostel Colorado. Manne and Walter are also staying with Pepe and Lili. A day of rest awaits us and we decide to stretch our legs and feel our bodies again. Exercise does us good. We marvel at the splendid colors of the "Cerros 7 Colores" and the pretty little town of Purmamarca.

On the MArket




Restaurant del Sol

Mario from Cordoba

Motorbike driver

But before we can continue, Mann's fuel pump needs to be inspected. His bike doesn't want to do what he wants and is stuttering along. Stefan and Manne clean and tighten... will it hold?

We decide to drive a bit together with Manne and Walter on 27.10.23. But first we need gasoline. There is a petrol station in Tilcara, but due to the elections in Argentina there is a lack of "Nafta". Well, we join the queue and 5 hours later the tanker truck rolls in and the column is now about 2 km long. The vehicles are parked everywhere. So far we have come exactly 20 km... what to do...

We drive on euphorically with full tanks. The countryside gets drier and drier and 20 km after Humahuaca the steel horse no longer wants to go... At a snail's pace, we decide to ride the 20 km back and luckily we have a contact! Fabian is a motorcycle mechanic and we meet him at our accommodation at 7pm. The altitude is getting to me (Simona) and Walter. So we drink lots of tea made from coca leaves and lie down. Manne and Stefan unscrew the fuel pump. Fabian is in good spirits. Normally this spare part is not available in Humahuaca... but as it is a similar pump to that of a Toyata, the matter is settled by 11pm. Fabian returns with a replacement pump! Luck is on our side! Muchas gracias Fabian por su ayuda!

Goodbye, wonderful Argentina. We are returning again. But now we're making a detour to Bolivia!

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