10. Dirt by Justin Chatwin



Santiago Ducati, bless them, were generous enough to loan us street racing bikes to drive to the least appropriate place on earth for them . The condition being that we keep them on the pavement.  No 'gravel' roads.

"But theres no paved road that goes all the way to the bottom.."

"You'll figure it out"

This sounded like a challenge.   

"Don't threaten me with a good time" Nik said.  

End of the pavement 

End of the pavement 

We were falling behind on time and needed to tally up some mile markers, so Nik and I left after eggs and toast.  The plan was to meet Drew and John an hour down the road at the end of the pavement.  We waited a few hours down the road.  We ate.  We gassed. We napped. We rode past motorcyclists dressed up as the wild hogs cast. Stopped and napped again.  We passed John Travolta and his cast mates once again.  Still no Drew.  My mind raced through all the horrible scenarios of what happened. The summertime sun was getting lower in the orange sky.  Which meant it was probably about 8pm.  Nik was face timing his girlfriend as I noticed two short skirt hitch hiker girls get into the back of an eighteen wheel disco truck. Lime green, eighteen wheels. Lots of hitching going on down here.  Lots of fluorescent going on down here. Every girl I saw on the dusty road was beautiful.    I don't even have a girlfriend, but I missed her anyways.  It would be nice to have some female companionship right about now.  We always hit this threshold on every trip.  And anyone who spends time on the road knows what I'm talking about.  The cocktail of anger and loneliness making your foot tap a little harder.  Then I usually meet a girl and that lasts about a day or two before I need to flee.

Nowhere is a place

Nowhere is a place

The Chevy cobalt arrived and drew stumbled out.  'I couldn't tell how much whiskey I had drank till I got out of the car'. 

Drew says he shoots better when he's under the influence.   And I'm sure whatever he shot today was nothing short of genius except the fact that his subjects were no where to be seen.   Not to mention Drew turns into an Argentinian street hooker named 'Consuela Franchesca' after a couple drinks.  Well they do say that Patagonia shows you what you're truly made of.

"Suzanne's fired" said John. 

I put my arm out to steady Consuela's wobble "who's Suzanne?!"

"Our gps.   We named her Suzanne." Said Drew his voice now four octaves higher.  "And she brought us down the old hwy 40.  That was all dirt" Consuela said as she pulled out her manhood and peed on the dirt. 

"So you took the stagecoach path from 1902?"

"For like 200 miles" he looked proud.

"Amazing." I shook my head. "And it's dirt you said.  Not gravel"

"what are you getting at?" 

"Well it says no gravel in the Ducati contact" 

We took off and were hauling at a good clip down the road when I had to swerve to an armadillo who tried to commit suicide under my tire. Normally I won't swerve because that's how you go down on a collision.  But Past trauma came up from when I accidentally beheaded a suicidal dog in Colombia from not swerving. Launching two feet in the air, this story didn't end well for my old bike nor the dog.

I can do snow, rain, even hail, but the one thing I hate is wind.  It hit us hard the next day.   We rag dolled it a few hundred miles across the barren tundra, dodging mentally ill highway alpacas, into another hour long lineup for gasoline.   This is good practice for what the apocalypse will be like.  He who has the gas has the power.  Here we met a man named Luis who felt like we needed to see his tattoo of Jesus on a motorcycle on his shoulder.   And we definitely did. He told us how to ride the Patagonian wind in the dirt further south.  The rule was get gas wherever possible.  

Jesus rode a motorcycle. 

Jesus rode a motorcycle. 

My map got us lost, which was fine.  We were used to it by now.

But we ended up backtracking a hundred miles, which wasn't fine.  We needed all the gas we had.  I stopped at the entrance to what I thought was the eighty mile stretch of dirt, not gravel, road.  I looked down and my tire was completely bald.  The threading was exposed now which meant I had a hundred miles till tire combustion. 

John called me over.

"It looks like the detour just turned eighty miles of gravel into a hundred and eighty.   

I looked around.  There was a cow.  An orstrich.  A giant sky.  Endless fields.  Two ducatis and a Chevy cobalt.

"This is where the fun begins".