Kawasaki quad bike accident in Argentina
25 July 2006
A day with special action!
75 km Kawasaki excursion from Humahuaca to the much praised Iruya. During the fast ride on the bumpy washboard road, shortly before reaching the pass, we met Freddy and Rita, old travelling acquaintances, holding their gazoil tank into the sun. The night at 3800 m had been cold, they said, and the engine of their truck did not run on frozen and viscous gazoil. We arranged to meet later in Iruya and continued our trip, since we wanted to take the turn to Coranzuli.
In the small and remote Coranzuli, located on a high mountain ledge, we watched a group of women choosing two lambs from a sheep herd for slaughtering. Everything made the impression of being a very natural procedure. The lamb was selected out of a herd of some 40 animals, pushed into a corner, grabbed by two women, who pressed it down onto the ground outside the wall of the pen, they pulled its head up, cut its throat with a sharp knife that had been sharpened just before, and collected the blood in a container. The dead animal was then put on the stone wall where its skin was pulled off. All of this was conducted by various old women with varying number of teeth and - under these circumstances - somehow did not appear cruel to us.
On our way back to Iruya we wanted to take a shortcut to save 15 km. Even though it was marked by a signpost, the hardly visible path led down into a narrow, deep gorge with a wild torrent. The first 200 m were o.k. to drive. Then the track broke off a first time, and we had to drive into and through the torrent, which was quite a daring endeavour. Then there was an indication of the path again, but only to end with a rope and hooks after 100 meters, so that there was no way for us to get through. We turned around and drove back.
Unfortunately, at an almost vertical, rocky river exit, I wanted to go too fast and did not lean forward enough, so that I was overthrown backwards with the Kawi - both of us lying on our back in the stony riverbed. It was quite nice though that the Kawi did not land with its full weight on me. Thanks to the back protector shield and the helmet the whole story resulted only in painfully bruised costal bones, an over-stretched neck as well as some sore spots on the back. Since Brigitte wanted to take pictures anyway, we now have visual memories of my circus act.
After we had put the Kawi on its wheels again, we noted that, apart from the broken right back mirror, it was in top condition and the engine ran accordingly. Talk about luck!
Iruya, where we briefly met Freddy and Rita, is a real tourist attraction.
We liked the previous day's excursion to Palsa de Parzo and the colourful landscape at least as much, if not better. Over 160 km we had met only one other vehicle, and that was a local. At over 4000 m, cows were grazing freely in the most remote region.
It should be added that, during the various Kawi excursions that we undertook from Humahuaca, we were constantly at an altitude of between 3000 and 4500 m. At altitudes of over 4000 m, the Kawi sometimes snored a little bit at load changes, but still ran very well, even though I had not changed the carburettor settings.