(If you're just coming to the blog and want to read from the beginning of the trip, start here.)
Day 8 (of 8): Villa Maria to Buenos Aires
The motel in Villa Maria served good pastries for breakfast and we got back on the road for the final day. Route 9 at this point was a high-speed autopista, speed limit 130km (80mph). This let us cover a lot of ground quickly, but the ride was not very pleasant. The temperature was in the high 90sF/30sC. The road had no trees alongside to block the wind, so we were riding at a constant lean to compensate. And the highway was filled with poorly laid bridge seams, so every few kilometers we'd hit a big bump.
To add some humor to the ride, the GPS was very confused, thinking the highway was under construction and we were riding on unpaved road most of the time. (I kind of doubt the highway was moved recently, so Garmin probably needs to fix their maps.) I imagined that it wasn't just our device getting confused; maybe we'd get home and read a news headline about a Golden Eye-esque hacking of the GPS network. Anyway, we couldn't really get lost, since it was a straight shot all the way home.
Fatigued and hungry, we stopped outside the town of General Roca for lunch at a gas station. The sandwiches were mediocre at best, but we had some fun improvising iced coffee in a place where it was clearly alien: hot coffee + ice (in an ice bucket not fit for drinking, because the waitress didn't understand what I wanted it for) + a wine glass = very refreshing.
Rather than get back on the highway, we stayed on a parallel road for an hour or so, going 100kph instead of 130 but enjoying the shelter of the trees. All afternoon, we stopped frequently to pour water down our backs and cool off. (We drank constantly from our camelbaks - we were very well hydrated all 8 days - but drinking warm water doesn't cool you off.)
At one random stop off the highway, we walked through some shrubs and came upon a little pond, and a rusted-out car by the pond, a little haven hidden from the highway.
Onward... ice cream at a gas station, then Route 9 ended and merged onto the road ringing Buenos Aires, 8 lanes of rush-hour traffic. Then into the city, a few final kilometers, and we were home! We unloaded our stuff and changed our sweaty clothes, then I took the bike back to the northern neighborhood of Florida, where the rental company (GoodBike) is based. I was amazed, after riding such a heavy bike for 8 days, how maneuverable the Street Glide actually is when it only has a driver! Of course it started to pour along the way, but it was good to cool off. I spent some time telling trip tales to Alberto, the proprietor of GoodBike, and finally took the bus back home, checking my email for the first time since we left and looking forward to the tapas and sangria we were going to have for dinner at our favorite restaurant.
Continue to Epilogue...