Don’t Bug Me When I’m Riding.

It was a late start when we all left Villa General Belgrano, and after leaving the boys back in Rio Cuarto I made the journey back toward Buenos Aires. Just a few days ago this rode looked a lot different as I swam through the incessant rain getting the longest and wettest shower perhaps since riding through the Ecuadorian Andes many moons ago.

But today the sky gradated from a cobalt dark blue high above to a pale baby blue on the horizon. And there was that ominous moon. Massive and glowing orange. The rain a distant and somewhat bad memory. The moon heeded my beckoning call for fuel as I rolled into Venado Tuerto from where I then headed south across the campo toward Junin.

Once again traveling over familiar territory. But instead of rain, I know had to contend with diminishing daylight. While the rising moon added dramatic effect to my southbound travel, the light it reflected barely could cast a shadow on the endless miles of farms and small communities. My nemesis this time was a different beast. Actually insect. Rather multiples of insects.

There were few vehicles on the road this night. At one point as I was battling the onslaught of insects pelting my face-shield, I was passed by a large 18 wheeler truck. I couldn’t have that. So at the next chance I passed him. I wanted the ability to have my high beam lights to track the road. Here out on the prairie the roads were not well marked. No white line on the side of the road to mark the shoulder. And there were certainly no center lines. Soon the bugs were thicker and pounding me at a rate perhaps greater than the rain from a few nights ago. I had to slow to a crawl because I couldn’t see.

Also floating in the air were these wacky white wind carrying blobs of something that had the look of white cotton candy and the sticky consistency to go along. They would be floating in the air and if you ran into them they’d stick to your helmet, riding gear, motorcycle, windshield. Days later I would battle getting these little flying freeloaders off my gear.

No exaggeration, but my face-shield would get covered by bugs in less than a minute completely obscuring my visibility. I stopped on the side of the road to clean my face-shield several times. Then that truck passed me again. I was still 60-70 miles from Junin where I figured I’d say at the same hotel I did a few nights before.

But if I kept this kind of pace, it would be 3 hours before I arrived. That’s when I had to leverage that truck. If I could comfortably ride close enough behind the truck I would ride in the draft pocket and thereby avoid the onslaught of insects. Plus, the trucks lights were far brighter than mine so I could see better. The downside, of course, is that I would be riding dangerously close. But the benefits were far greater.

I spent an hour and a half riding behind that truck until I got to the outskirts of Junin, and then found my hotel. It was a Monday night, and a national holiday in Argentina. Most every restaurant was closed. But I did find a small little cozy place called Ulisies. If you somehow ever find yourself stuck in Junin for a night, look for this place.

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