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Old 03-22-2013, 03:18 PM   #436
Archer13
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Thanks for sharing your adventure with the rest of us stuck in-side during winter here in the north.

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Old 03-23-2013, 04:25 PM   #437
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One of the best ride reports I have read. Your writing and pictures were outstanding. I made the round trip in 2007 (Key West, Ushuaia, Prudhoe Bay, Key West) also on a DL 1000 and had absolutely no issues. I did however send two sets of Metzeler Tourance tires, two chains and sprockets to Quito, before I left. I changed on the way down, and on the way back and did not have the same problems you experienced.
Your story brought back many memories and I recognized some of the places in the photos. Thank you.
I will tell you that while riding through Mexico I kept telling myself that I must return. I went back in 09 and will be heading back in May. I thought Southern Ecuador was absolutely beautiful. Congratulations on your adventure. All the effort you went through to share it with us is appreciated.
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Old 03-25-2013, 05:00 PM   #438
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Guys, thank you for your (maybe too) kind words. We are finally home, beating the snow with one day. We couldn't beat the low tempertures though and I have to admit that the ride from Munich to Bucharest was one of the coldest from the whole trip, right up there with Alaska or Patagonia (both in summer).

But, here we are, sitting in a comfy chair back home, sipping a big cup of tea and watching the snow flakes falling on the other side of the window. It is time to write the 5th chapter of this trip: The return home. Here we go, I hope you will enjoy it.

The New World V.1- The departure from Tierra del Fuego









The departure from Tierra del Fuego: 17 – 21 February 2013
We are back in Ushuaia after our 11 days break and it was time to leave Tierra del Fuego. But, before that, we had one more thing to do in Ushuaia: hopping on the train from the “End of the world”
This narrow gauge railroad was built in the last century by prisoners (Ushuaia was initially a prisoners colony) and used to be a very important transportation means in the area. Many years after, it was reopened for tourists. So here we are, having the opportunity to ride this train, thanks to Trevor and his friends from down South.
Weather was pretty gloomy and the wooden wagons, although covered, were quite cold, even with our motorcycle gear on. I cannot imagine how prisoners felt riding this train all winter long, in open wagons.
I loved trains ever since I was a child and I still do. I went back in time that day, riding a choo-choo train and enjoying a fairytale landscape. Like every fairytale, ours had wild horses galloping by our side. There are moments like this when you cannot stop smiling.
We get back to the main station and thank Gabriela, our host from Fin del Mundo Train and prepare for another trip, this time by motorcycle. Farewell, Ushuaia!
When we arrived here the weather was nice and warm, the road was dry but now we are surrounded by mountains covered in snow, the road is wet (we hope it’s just wet and not frozen) and it’s so cold that we start doubting we are still in the Southern hemisphere where it should be summer in February.
We are back in Rio Grande, the small town we stopped in on the 3rd of February, my birthday. The B&B we checked in then, was now full but the good side is that, as we were looking for another place to spend the night, we met (totally by chance) Dylan, one of the motorcyclists who was on the same boat as we, crossing Darrien Gap from Panama to Columbia.
We found another B&B and spend the night talking about our travels. Dylan was on his way to Ushuaia, it took him longer because he also visited Venezuela. Between stories I am busy saving my laptop charger. This was the latest in a long string of (and sadly not last) electronic components damaged by the road conditions. I found a new charger in one of the electronics stores in Ushuaia and was quite happy about it. Until the owner of the store asked (without blinking) 200 US$ for it. That shock made me remember that back in Romania we are used to fixing stuff on our own. Scotch tape might be less good looking but it should get the job done. So, here I am having a fun time with the wires.
After a while and some clumsy wiring the green led of the charger was indicating the laptop had again power. The operation was a success, yey! (Yap, I’m a computer junky)
The route for the next day was pretty clear: 70 km of paved road, 150 km of gravel and another 40 km pavement to a ferry crossing over the Magellan Straits and back on the continent. The sun is rising from the Atlantic Ocean, setting the grounds for another spectacular show of lights.
We barely get out of town and start facing the strong wind. It’s very hard to go further. A stone hits the Kappa windshield leaving us a souvenir that we actually didn’t need. One more casualty. At least this time it’s not one of our electronic devices. At least it hit the windshield and not something else.
After this incident we decide to turn around, the wind was too strong. We could have push it and still be OK most probably. But I was worried about the next 150 km of gravel that I was supposed to ride with strong lateral winds and I didn’t want to wait at the border for the wind to stop or get at the ferry crossing and realize we cannot cross because the wind was too strong. There is nothing we can do, we have to stay one more day in Rio Grande. When we get to our B&B we see on TV an alert for high winds.
The ferry connecting the island to the continent was not doing the crossing because of the wind. And it was not until yet another day when the weather finally permitted us to say “Good bye Tierra del Fuego”. This time, we are leaving!
We stop over night at Oscar’s place in Rio Gallegos. No need to use the keys he gave us, he is home waiting for us.
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Old 03-26-2013, 05:18 AM   #439
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So, just wondering about the 200 dollar charger. Is it commonplace for stores in Argentina, which is ostensibly a European country in terms of ethnicity, to display their merchandise without price tags?
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Old 03-26-2013, 02:44 PM   #440
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So, just wondering about the 200 dollar charger. Is it commonplace for stores in Argentina, which is ostensibly a European country in terms of ethnicity, to display their merchandise without price tags?
In fact I think the 200 US$ was the real price that was asked in Ushuaia for that Apple charger. What I mean is I don't think the shop owner was over-charging us in particular. Everything seemed overpriced there, from mountaineering apparel to electronics to normal clothes. It is just that the place is so far away from anything else that they can afford to ask such prices. Also they are relining on rich North American or Western Europe tourists that usually are pouring from the big cruise ships to not blink an eye on these prices.

And as a general note about price tags: from Colombia to Chile it is very hard to find price tags any other place than super stores. Small shops or street vendors never have price tags and everything is negotiable (and you should, otherwise it is very likely you will pay more.)

In Chile and Argentina it gets better in general... you have price tags and there is less room for negotiation. But even so, Southern Argentina is very different in this regard from Northern Argentina.
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Old 03-27-2013, 12:22 PM   #441
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I just discovered this ride report a few days ago. I am only on page 14 where you crossed from Mexico to Guatamala. I have read many really great ride reports here on Adventure Rider. From what you have posted so far yours ranks among the best that I have read. I really enjoy your writing, your pictures and your unique perspective. I wish I wasn't so busy so I could just sit down and read all of you report to the present but it will probably take a few more days.

Anjin San, you are a very lucky man to have a wife willing to take a motorcycle trip like this with you. I wish you both the best of luck and good riding for the rest of your trip.

Thank you very much for taking the time and effort to post this outstanding report.

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Old 03-28-2013, 01:21 AM   #442
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I just discovered this ride report a few days ago. I am only on page 14 where you crossed from Mexico to Guatamala. I have read many really great ride reports here on Adventure Rider. From what you have posted so far yours ranks among the best that I have read. I really enjoy your writing, your pictures and your unique perspective. I wish I wasn't so busy so I could just sit down and read all of you report to the present but it will probably take a few more days.

Anjin San, you are a very lucky man to have a wife willing to take a motorcycle trip like this with you. I wish you both the best of luck and good riding for the rest of your trip.

Thank you very much for taking the time and effort to post this outstanding report.

Thanks! And don't worry about your reading pace. I know we are taking our time to write it :)... so...slow is better anyway. (and in motorcycling for sure :P)

I hope you will enjoy the rest as well.
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Old 03-29-2013, 11:05 AM   #443
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I have now read all the way to the end. What a great report I am jealous because I doubt I will ever make a trip of this magnitude but I am grateful that you have allowed me to at least partially experience your trip through your words and pictures. Your views and opinions where also very interesting to read.

Now I have to wait along with everyone else to read the rest of your report

Thank you again for all the work you have put into posting this.

Looking forward to the rest.
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Old 03-30-2013, 09:49 AM   #444
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Alex, PM me your email address so I can send you some photos Jan
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Old 03-30-2013, 04:51 PM   #445
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The New World V.2 – Good bye, Patagonia!


By: AlexMD On March 30, 2013 in Blog, Part V, The New World





Good bye, Patagonia: 21-22 February 2013
It’s something about this road. Gunnar keeps rolling all this time, so many kilometers. And we still want to ride. Hm, I am not bored at all. Andreea… takes some naps in the back from time to time. Sometimes I agree with her. What else can you do when you are sitting in the back of a motorcycle and all you can see is this:

There is something magic here, in this vast Patagonian land. Sky seems closer to the ground here. And it seems to be the stage for a magnificent movie. Sky is never the same, it’s always changing even when you stop. You need to be patient. An invisible hand keeps drawing, sometimes with a child’s innocence, sometimes angry as a grownup who seems to know nothing but frowning.


We left Rio Gallegos without any surprises or complications. We said goodbye to Oscar and remembered to give him back the spare key. We also said goodbye to Manolito, a guy we met just one day before who (also) impressed us with his optimism and desire to help people. And that was it. We are traveling for hours through pampas and clouds, “admiring” what you can see in the photos above.
It’s cold outside, but that’s no surprise for us. We forgot how warm weather feels like. “The great outdoors” seem to never have changed since the creation of the world: cold, harsh and ever present wind. Everyone traveling on this road can only accept and adapt to these conditions.
Time seem to have a different pace here. Settlements are scarce and far away from one another. We lost track of time and it didn’t seem to matter. When we decide to take a break we realize we are next to a place where time seems to be standing still. Our engine was the only source of noise so I turn it off to enjoy the silence. Over the fence there is a pond that’s apparently the main attraction of the area for all the animals.

Some bird decides to break the silence to call for one of its mates. Then some flamingoes agree to change the spot and as they set sails they wake up everyone.
It’s that moment and that place, that maybe I will never be able to find again, that made me realize something. I can feel the smell of autumn. And I can feel we are getting closer to the end of our journey. It’s a long way to home and I know it but it’s the first time I am aware that it’s almost over.
Surrounded by the solitude of our newly discovered place I got a bit sad. We took our time to bid farewell to the pink flamingoes, wild ducks, egret and all their neighbours.
We were still a few kilometers away from the Patagonia “border” but this was the time and place to say goodbye to this place, so harsh and still so beautiful. Not everyone would enjoy it but I would definitely come back for a visit.
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Old 03-30-2013, 11:03 PM   #446
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Alex, PM me your email address so I can send you some photos Jan
Done :)
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Old 04-03-2013, 02:21 AM   #447
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The New World V.3 – Towards the Capital!


By: AlexMD On April 2, 2013 in Blog, Part V, The New World




I feel that this journey is not just a “cruise” through space, shifting from A to B and seeing places. Many times it´s about discovering (sometimes superficially and other times on a deeper lever) people. People you meet day by day. Always different personalities. Always different lives. You take with you, faces, gestures and words, small fragments that follow you in your journey and you pass them forward to the people you meet onwards. Some of them you might never meet again. But that´s the least important. There is a connection somewhere and you know there is no need for other words or explanations.

Ehee… you see, riding the motorcycle gives you enough time, plenty of time for thoughts, lie above and many others. And I feel that is one of the best part about traveling on a motorcycle. Somehow the open road, the scenery, the sound of the engine, all of this invites you to use your brain, to search, to discover, in your “interior”, as much as you discover by traveling, in the “exterior”. W
e were heading for Pico Truncado, where Daniel, our “old” friend, was waiting for us. He helped us alot the first time we were in the area and now he was waiting for us with a new transmission set for Gunnar. This time we get to meet his family, open and optimistic people just like him. We felt welcomed and it felt really good.

Ah and of course, we “had to” try the Argentinian stake (asado). Just like it´s traditional for the Finns to have a sauna in the house (or close to it), Argentinians must have their barbeque always ready for action.

This time I’ll keep my promise and I won´t share any food pictures, although that stake deserved all the credits. Well or the cook did. The stake was incredible, not less than a culinary dream came true
The next day we were planning to stop dreaming and get back on the road. Or so we thought.Well, it’s one thing what we want and another what the weather has in store. Daniel told us that it almost never rains in Pico Truncado. I mean, people can count the rainy days during the year. And even if it is raining it is never heavy. Usually. But not this time. This time they had to close some streets because of flooding.


Great! Actually, I don´t think we could have made a run for it and we would have been fine, but our hosts decided that there was no way we could get out of the house on this weather and on their watch, on this weather when not even dogs should not be kept outside.

So, after we spent 2 extra days in Tierra del Fuego because of the wind, this time we are “stuck” here because of the rain. It´s not actually a problem, good talks, excellent asado and grandma-made empanadas make for a nice Sunday spent in house. And sun comes out fast in such company so the second day we are ready to hit the road, not before receiving another amazing gesture of good faith from Daniel: when talking about Buenos Aires and the traffic there, Danie knew that our GPS was broken for some time now, so he wants to make sure we don´t get lost in the big city. So, he wants to give us his GPS for the remaining of our trip in Argentina. “It´s OK, you can send it back with a bus before you leave Argentina.” We were speechless. What´s there to say other than a big thank you. With Daniel’s GPS with us it´s less likely we get lost (ya, right) so back in the saddle. Goodbye, lovely family!

Buenos Aires is getting closer. We are less than 1500 kilometers closer to the capital city of Argentina.

Before reaching Buenos Aires we spent two nights in random but interesting places. First one, a resort by the Atlantic Ocean (I always loved the resorts off season) with colored buildings and interesting messages.

The other one was Azul, a small city 300 kilometers away from Buenos Aires, in a place called “La Posta de viajero“. People there own motorcycles and are passionate about motorcycle travel so they decided to offer a place to camp for the other travelers. And now it´s not just a place to camp in a yard full of rabbits. It is so much more.

You find good advice, someone to listen, tools if you need to make any repairs and there is a big chance to meet other fellow travelers. There is no price list or bookings, everything is based on donations. There is a box where you leave as much as you want if you want and if you can. Jorge, the owner, convinced us to stay one more day, what was the hurry anyway? Why hurry to get to a big city when you can camp and get visitors like this:

Jorge has a tradition: he puts up the flags of the visitors he has. One week ago he even had the Union Jack flag (England) up. That night, there were 3 flags up.
It´s getting harder to leave this place and even harder to pack, we have a long debate on whether or not Gunnar should take an extra passenger. Jorge has nothing against it but it´s hard to convince Andreea that we cannot take our new friend: we don´t have a bunny helmet!
We left our furry friend behind, we are curious if he misses us and more curious about what´s ahead. We get pretty close but the landscape refuses to give us any hints on how close the big city is. Same narrow road, only 2 lines going straight ahead, same endless fields and spectacular sky.
And still we know that the autonomous city of Buenos Aires (there is an interesting story about that name) has over 3000000 inhabitants and the metropolitan area more than 12 millions. So sooner or later we will meet the obvious effects of a large urban area. The road gets “a little bit”… larger and we have to pay for it now (notice the small booths).
And buildings soon get taller, reaching for the sky, like jumping up in a desperate attempt to escape the crazy traffic below.
We were in a big city again and as we walked down the streets we felt like walking the streets of an European city. We get to an old neighborhood where we spot a huge tree making its way through tall buildings. Its branches were so big that they needed an improvised support to prevent them from crawling on the ground.
The old tree reminds us of our roots. We remember we are going back to Europe soon, back home. But not yet, we have a small “detour” planned. Stay tuned!
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Old 04-03-2013, 09:13 AM   #448
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"People you meet day by day. Always different personalities. Always different lives. You take with you, faces, gestures and words, small fragments that follow you in your journey and you pass them forward to the people you meet onwards. Some of them you might never meet again. But that´s the least important. There is a connection somewhere and you know there is no need for other words or explanations."

Beautifully expressed Alex.
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Old 04-04-2013, 04:12 PM   #449
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Old 04-07-2013, 11:07 PM   #450
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The New World V.4 – A small detour


By: AlexMD On April 7, 2013 in Blog, Part V, The New World





In Buenos Aires we had to face an important decision: how to send the motorcycle back home?
We already had our plane tickets from Sao Paolo to Europe in two weeks. It would have been a good option to ship the motorcycle from Sao Paolo also, or maybe Rio, it was not that far. This would be around 3000 km, the last kilometers of our trip. We would get there, leave the motorcycle in cargo and prepare to fly home.

But… it´s not as easy as it seems. I sent some emails to shipping agents (you can only arrange cargo shipping through them) but the ones in Brazil didn´t give me any good news: lots of bureaucracy at customs, complex shipping process and lots of “uncertainties”. Here´s how one of the conversations with a Brazilian agent went:
“You will need to prepare . And the process will take from 3 to 14 days.” “Well… I am in Buenos Aires now, and I have a plane from Sao Paolo to Munich in 14 days. It would help me alot to know how long it will take because it´s a pretty big difference from 3 to 14 days and we might not catch our plane under these circumstances.” “We are sorry but we cannot tell for sure. It´s all up to the authorities here.”
I decide to contact Bogdan, who shipped my motorcycle from Otopeni to Montreal and his investigations lead to the same result. This is not good at all. So change of plans: we send the motorcycle from Buenos Aires (where things seemed to be a lot more easier) and then see how we can get to Sao Paolo to “catch” our flight to Munich.
In this case what shall we do the next 2 weeks? There is no use to stay in Buenos Aires (especially since it is not a cheap town). Let´s go visit something. A 10 days “detour” that includes Iguazu falls, a little bit of Paraguay, South of Brazil and Uruguay. Not bad, ha? So, this is how it looks like on the map. Instead of 3000 km to Sao Paolo, we have more than 3500 to… well, basically back to starting point.
We find the way out of Buenos Aires very easy using the GPS that Daniel borrowed us and we head North-West and so is the rain.
The route we were supposed to take, Ruta 14, had a bad reputation because of the corrupted police who have a passion for pulling over foreign motorcyclists. There is even a dedicated multiple pages thread on HUBB where people tell stories about km 341 where the is a “special” police station.
We were prepared for the worst. We even had a phone number of a local motorcyclist who offered to help if we were to be stopped. He even gave us useful advice on how to approach them and stuff like that. The rain and the prospected meeting didn´t make today´s ride very relaxing.
And here we are, reaching the famous kilometer and as we already read about it, a policeman comes out of the building walking towards the road, towards us. We were riding below the speed limit but we were pretty stressed about this check point as we knew it´s not up to us, we don´t have to do something wrong to get pulled over. He was heading towards us but we notice something in his right hand, oh, he was talking on the phone. His other hand remain down, didn´t signal us to stop. We are relieved and thank God to have kept the policeman busy, to have given him better things to do than stop us. Andreea takes a peak (with her camera) to the police station where probably we would have been invited. No, thank you!
We managed to get rid of the police but the rain kept following us. And we had no idea what it had prepared for us. Less than two minutes we found ourselves caught in a grey cloud. It gets really dark although it is only 2 pm. Emergency stop to put on the rain suit.
We stopped on time as shortly after we could barely see anything from the rain. We decide to stop at a gas station, the first sheltered place we could find. We were soaked so we decided to wait for the rain to stop before we start again. It didn´t stop for good but it wasn´t that bad we could still see the traces it left behind: flooded crops, sometimes even the road was full of red water (the color of the land in these parts).
It´s clear that we have nothing else to do but keep going hoping to get out of the cloud. We keep riding towards Iguazu and after a few hours the rain stops and we manage to see a vague blue hope in the distance.
As the sky gets clearer we get traffic partners. Same as in Chile, they all have helmets. Even the “extra passenger”.
Although there was plenty of rain, people were still thirsty. Some had to carry some “holy water” with them?!??
And since they had the “holy water” to take care of their head and mind they used the helmet as elbow protection. Oh well, at least everyone is happy! Some with their bottle, other with football and others with… maté plantations.
We get closer to Iguazu and the sun gets ready for bed, good time to enjoy the peace and quiet of the forest.

Hoping to catch the sunset over the waterfall we go straight to nation park but we discover that it is closed after 6 pm so we cannot get in today. Back to the city then, 18 km ride in the night and the traditional search of a place to sleep.
We go to bed thinking about what we are about to see the next day. Iguazu Falls, second largest (volumetric) waterfall in the world is so close that we can hear it from here. Actually Iguazu it is not that close and what we hear is the rain that caught us again and now was having a party on our roof. See you tomorrow!
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