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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
(For reference, Puerto Natales is a beautiful town approximately 160 miles from Punta Arenas. The trip there is done by route 9, where you can experience, on any given sunday, some of the worst winds ever, for a motorcycle rider)

Bike: 2002 Ducati Monster 750Si.e.
Rider: myself, on my own.
Time: Left the gas station at 7:30am, got to Natales at 12:30 (I stopped a couple times). Left Natales around 14:00 after a cup of coffee and some riding around, and got back to Punta Arenas at 17:30.

This was the bike's first longish trip. During the past few weeks commuting, I figured a tank of gas gives around 120 miles until reserve, so taking some extra fuel I would surely make it. Only one way to find out.

"To Puerto Natales for a cup of coffee, and back"

"On sunday I rode to Natales", one says. "How nice!" people say.

No. Nice, it is not. Enrichening, satisfactory, it maybe. But there is little pleasure in playing brave with Magallanes' winds, alone, on a bike with no fairing, for three hours, and then three hours more on your way back.

What it is to dream with valleys. With geographical accidents that may reduce, even for just a minute, that never resting struggle. In favor of the wind I could only admit its constancy and predictability.

What it is to push yourself to one side, while you are pressing towards the gas tank, with your back turned to face against the wind, for three hours, and then three more on your way back.

I couldn't help but look at those old trees and meadows, arched by the restless wind, giving away all integrity just to carry on living. And then I understood that phrase that refers to how, when you are riding a bike, you sort of melt with the scenery. Oh, can the wind melt you down...

Which is best, riding against the wind, or having it push you to the side? Which is less bad? Any of them is better than both, was my thinking, as I was deliberately target fixating to a crossed point on the road, as if I was trying to blow an eternal fast sweeper, just to be able to ride in a straight line!

My neck, sore from keeping my view ahead in spite of the wind, my stomach pressing the tank. The "pampa" teaches a man about patience: you can have a long suffering, or an internse suffering. But sometimes, one would rather not suffer.

But the view, the scenery. When contemplating the beauty I finally understood that the wind is just the last standing defense against the expansion of our weak race. Our eyes long for these lands, but only few feet decide to stand here daily. Magallanes has a very particular kind of beauty, but Última Esperanza ("Last Hope", where P. Natales is) is something else; some sort of hidden paradise. The last 120km I lived under its name, holding on to my bike, knowing that I would finally arrive at good harbour, and how good of a harbour (reference to an old saying that I don't know how to translate, and the town's name "Natales Harbour").

Why are these views here? Forests and canyons, lakes and prairies. Everything covered in wind.

But it's just the way it is. Just as summer in Punta Arenas actually feels hot when seen from a window, Route 9 is a beautiful spectacle when you travel with heat, and a closed interior. Cars are rocked by the force of the wind. So are trucks and buses, yes. But while my "cortavientos" (windbreak) was pierced by the air's sole persistance, I thought: "don't talk to me about wind".

I thought about the millions of dollars probably spend by sports vehicles' manufacturers doing "air tunnel" tests, while I took a crash course in aerodynamics.

But I got there and back, and with myself my faithful companion. The photos are crap, but I bring back the memories and thoughts of the road. Now, finally, the little Monster is a 100% approved.


Some things I took: Screwdrivers, french wrench, pliers, allen keys, cutter, 8mm and 10mm sockets, air pump, duct and electrical tape, fuel line and fasteners. Not pictured: air pressure gauge, tyre repair kit, food and gatorade.


Inner gloves, regular gloves; a pair of waterproof gloves (justincase), windbreak and balaclava. Not pictured: cordura pants with thermal liner, regular and wool socks (un calcetin de lana, of course!), mostly-waterproof riding boots, sweater, cordura jacket with thermal liner, home-made "buff".


7:00 AM. All set to go. I leave for the gas station for the last air pressure check, and to fill up the extra fuel cases (a gallon each). Luggage arranges were varying throughout the trip, but rest safe that it was tight all the way!


First stop. A little sunshine to help warm up my hands and gloves a bit. SO BLOODY COLD.


The pampa. Cold Pampa.


Second stop. First real stop. Real cold. I find this cafeteria in front of the square hill, what a life saver. They had some heat so I sat there for an hour, zipping a hot cup of coffee, while I let most of my clothes gather some heat. When I got here I honestly felt my legs freezing.

Before heading back on the road, I use the gas in the cases. I have about 100km left and fuel to spare. Good.


I stop for lunch some miles ahead at Hotel Rubens. Bike looks nice while I eat a "Barros Luco" (real beef and cheese sandwhich, beautiful).


And this crappy photo marks my arrival to Puerto Natales. Satisfaction!!

 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·

The rider.


The coast and weather. It wasn't as cold as it looks in this one, actually.


And my only stop on the way back. Couldn't be bothered to stop more, although it would have been good. This one is about 100km from home. The worst 100km of the trip, to be frank. Wind was truly awful.

That's it. Hope you enjoyed it! Little of the riding season is left here, so I had to get this trip out of my system.

Coffee was great, btw!! Sweet couple of "gringos" from the US managed the place, actually. :)
 

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A guy on a scruffy bike
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Nice. ;)

Yes, wind and cold aren't much fun, but it is cool that you got it out on a good shakedown ride.

I think you should be getting a lot better gas mileage than that, though. It looks like you have the same 4.2 gallon steel tank I do, and my M900 gets about 48mpg on gas with 10% ethanol (and more like 55 mpg on gas with no ethanol), so my effective range is a lot more than 120 miles. I usually start looking for gas at 180 miles, and can go over 200 (unless I'm riding particularly hard, or into the wind).

Thanks for the write-up. Very poetic; I enjoyed it.

Phil
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Nice. ;)

Yes, wind and cold aren't much fun, but it is cool that you got it out on a good shakedown ride.

I think you should be getting a lot better gas mileage than that, though. It looks like you have the same 4.2 gallon steel tank I do, and my M900 gets about 48mpg on gas with 10% ethanol (and more like 55 mpg on gas with no ethanol), so my effective range is a lot more than 120 miles. I usually start looking for gas at 180 miles, and can go over 200 (unless I'm riding particularly hard, or into the wind).

Thanks for the write-up. Very poetic; I enjoyed it.

Phil
Thanks a lot Phil,

the write-up might me a little rough, as it's just a translation of what I wrote about the trip in my own language. Found myself using a spa-eng dictionary :D

About the mileage, it's terrible here. My 916 gets about half what some people report, and so does this one. I AM guilty of using the full range of the right grip, though, but it does suck. Everybody here is getting awful mileage that I know of.

I use regular fuel (no ethanol, rated 93 octanes, which I think is 87 over there) on the bikes, and they run fine. But the mileage is awful... wouldn't know if I could do much better with premium.
 

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A guy on a scruffy bike
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Thanks a lot Phil,

the write-up might me a little rough, as it's just a translation of what I wrote about the trip in my own language. Found myself using a spa-eng dictionary :D

About the mileage, it's terrible here. My 916 gets about half what some people report, and so does this one. I AM guilty of using the full range of the right grip, though, but it does suck. Everybody here is getting awful mileage that I know of.

I use regular fuel (no ethanol, rated 93 octanes, which I think is 87 over there) on the bikes, and they run fine. But the mileage is awful... wouldn't know if I could do much better with premium.
No, premium wouldn't help any. Are you at high altitude?

PhilB
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
No, premium wouldn't help any. Are you at high altitude?

PhilB
I figured.

Not at all, I am not! However, my rides consist of:

-Cold starting and riding
-Short distances (sometimes the bike is just at the proper temperature when I'm blocks from the destination)
-Liberal use of the powerband

Batteries also suffer from these conditions.

It is no wonder, then, that I had fuel to spare for this trip, as the conditions were much more favorable for mileage:

-Constant revs (4k or so)
-Proper operating temperatures
 

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A guy on a scruffy bike
Joined
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15,367 Posts
I figured.

Not at all, I am not! However, my rides consist of:

-Cold starting and riding
-Short distances (sometimes the bike is just at the proper temperature when I'm blocks from the destination)
-Liberal use of the powerband

Batteries also suffer from these conditions.

It is no wonder, then, that I had fuel to spare for this trip, as the conditions were much more favorable for mileage:

-Constant revs (4k or so)
-Proper operating temperatures
That makes sense.

PhilB
 

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Awesome! Thanks for sharing
 
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