Buenos Aires. It’s hard to leave. But there’s more of this continent to check out while friends have taken the time to visit me.
While Fernando has been gracious to let me park Doc at his secure apartment, it’s time I move Doc to the legendary Dakar Motos where it will be tended and cared for by javier and Sandra. Most motorcycle travelers visiting South America pass through Buenos Aires either on their way home or in many cases motorcyclists from Europe will ship their bikes to Buenos Aires and then begin the journey to Ushuaia. Others might ship to Santiago and then ship out of Buenos Aires. And for these and other moto travelers, Dakar Motos is the hub.
Located in a quiet suburb about 30 minutes from downtown Buenos Aires, Dakar Motos is set in the residential neighborhood of Vicente Lopez. With Fernando leading the way in his car, I followed him through the maze of streets until we made our way through a labyrinth of one way streets to Carlos Tejedor and the faceless garage door front of Dakar Motos.
As I turned off the key and pulled my helmet off a tall sturdy man sporting a shaved head with delicate wireframe glasses and a cigarette dangling from his mouth spoke in a gravely voice, “You’re a year late, Allan. I’m javier.”
We embraced as if old friends. javier and I have been communicating on and off for more than a year. I expected to be in Buenos Aires last year but my Bolivian Broken Leg incident hampered those original plans. Alas, here I was at Dakar Motos. There was a bevy of activity on this day. Amazingly enough, my friends I met in Bolivia the day I got Doc back on the road, I met Brennan, a fellow American who is riding through South America to raise awareness for Parkinson’s Disease, and a host of other bikers whose names I can’t remember at this point. The small workshop is divided into five basic areas. First is a small office and parts repository, second is a storage area for motorcycles. I counted about 20 bikes that seemed to be in permanent storage. Many riders who don’t have the time to tour all of the country in one jaunt can store their bikes (space permitting) at Dakar Motos. I spotted a familiar if not odd looking bike. Yes! Sitting amongst the pack of bikes was Ming’s DR650. You might remember Ming who I’d met with Jeremiah in Uyuni in Bolivia and then later in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. He’d made it all the way to Ushuaia and had flown his body back to Oregon but left his DR here at Dakar Motos. The third area of Dakar is javier’s workshop. Perhaps one of the most competent, creative and resourceful moto mechanics in Buenos Aires, javier has tended to more moto travelers than you can imagine. The fourth section of Dakar is a small bunk-room, kitchen bath and shower. With space for 4-6 travelers, this part of Dakar Motos serves as a motorcyclists’ hostel of sorts. The hospitality is evident everywhere and the evidence of travelers decorates the walls, refrigerator and more. Finally, there’s an outside patio and yard with yet more motorcycles and a young cat just to add color. There’s a small picnic table an asador (BBQ) and chairs. For riders looking to work on their own bikes, javier offers use of his workshop and tools if necessary. There’s always someone willing to make a cup of coffee or locals stopping bike to sip maté.
Today the place was packed. I stripped the bike of its Jesse Bags, tank panniers and top box while Sandra found a place to store them. Unfortunately, Tim, Fernando and I couldn’t stay long and chat with the international gathering of riders at Dakar today, but we had dinner plans and tomorrow first thing Tim and I were flying to Santiago, Chile to meet a crew of other world travelers — these travelers would be taking off from Vina del Mar, north of Santiago and heading to Australia — by boat. Then Tim and I planned to join the Vindimia celebration (Harvest Festival) in Santa Cruz, Chile just south of Santiago. Then we’d pick up Angie at Santiago Airport, who was flying in from California to meet us in the Chilean wine region and then together we’ll head to Mendoza and tour the wine region back in Argentina. We’d then travel to Villa La Angostura outside San Carlos de Bariloce in the lake district of Argentina before returning to Buenos Aires.
Yes. It’s a whirlwind of travel. But when friends fly in, it’s time to travel and party. And for the first time in months, Doc will be miles away from me.