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Old 08-24-2013, 08:33 PM   #1
Boomer84 OP
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fuel range for Latin America

The rumor mill has been going around about fuel in Latin America and specifically Bolivia's plateau. I've heard wild stories about no gas for 400 miles out having a minimum 400 mile range before even attempting it.

Could someone update me on the reality? Everything I can see on my GPS indicates that this is just not true but some advice from people who've fine it would be great. basically, what's the longest you went without seeing a gas station off some kind?

Cheers
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Old 08-24-2013, 11:05 PM   #2
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250 miles or less. I carried an extra 10 liters from Uyuni onward (south to Ushuaia, north to home), used it only twice: once due to Patagonian headwinds plus reluctance to sit in a queue in one town before discovering the gasolinera was closed in the next, once while crossing Paseo de San Francisco after declining to purchase gas at the border. In both cases, I knew I'd be fine with the extra gas I was carrying, so didn't bother buying more when available.

400 mile range might be necessary if you were either really unlucky, determined to press your luck (by passing up fuel when available) or dedicated to getting well and truly off the beaten track for extended periods. And even then....

Mark

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Old 08-25-2013, 07:48 AM   #3
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+1 on Markharf's comments.

But I had to write something as a fellow 2-up Transalper!!

We carried extra gas across the Transamazonica and BR-319 (a lot then - we had 40 L!!), through Bolivia and all points further south. In general, we had a 4 liter gas can tied on to each front engine guard and would have a couple liters in each one as extra reserve, and that was more than enough. When we knew we'd be away from fuel, we'd fill those cans up, and sometimes carry an extra 2 liter bottle (either a soft drink or rinsed oil container to make it free and disposable) to put in the tank right away. Between Argentina's fuel shortages, long distances, strong winds, and letting some gas leak out the tops of the bottles (what's our bike doing on her side again?!?), we never ran out. And besides, fuel bottles can be used in Bolivia to keep from paying the tourist prices for gas.

EDIT: For reference, we have the stock 18 L fuel tank on our XL600V. At 17 km/L fuel consumption (~40 mpg), our tank gives us a calculated 190 mile range (real world seems to vary between that and 20% less depending on conditions). With 4 liters extra fuel (2 L each in front), we can cover around 230 miles. With 8 liters extra, ~275 miles. YMMV. Literally.

I look forward to following along your trip! And hope that your countershaft repair gives you many more worry free kilometers of Transalp riding.

Cheers,
Mike
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Old 08-25-2013, 08:34 AM   #4
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400 miles with no gas options is rare in SA and if you find yourself in that situation in SA you made some bad decisions or are so remote you're going to be prepared for the distance.

I only have 250ish mile range on my gas guzzling SE and I had no problems, I spent a lot of time up in the mountains off the Pan Am and only ran out of gas once due to misjudging the distance and the effect of altitude on my carbs. The other time I ran out of gas was due to a pinched reserve light wire so that was self inflicted.

When you get in the remote areas you'll need to get comfortable with finding barrel gas, usually the village tienda or sometimes it'll be a family who has the gas at their home.
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Old 08-25-2013, 02:17 PM   #5
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It's been a while- about 5 years- since I was down there, but my $.02 might still be relevant.

In Central America, in Panama, once you get past David, on your way to Panama City, if you miss the last gas station it might be a while before you get to the next. More than one rider has run out there.

In Colombia on my way from Bogota towards Cali I was having fun with the passing and passing on the mountains and my fuel economy went from 40ish to 25ish. I missed a town with fuel and ended up on fumes before I found gas again.

Depending on how you go to Cuzco, you might find yourself in remote areas where gas isn't plentiful. 180 miles goes by awful fast.

Once you get into Patagonia where the wind gets horrible the fuel economy can suffer by 50%. For an awful long way, maybe four days, I had the kind of headwind and sidewind that had me hanging off to find the quiet spot behind the windscreen, the quiet spot actually being kind of next-to the wind screen and not behind it. The worst fuel economy I got was around 22 mpg. Which made my 11 gallons kind of handy.

It's not unusual for towns to have electrical problems or fuel delivery problems so you might have fuel in one town, and no fuel in the next.

Once you get to Tierra del Fuego there might not be any rules about fuel.

If you're always careful, and if you're never in a hurry, then 200 miles is plenty of range.
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Old 08-29-2013, 04:01 PM   #6
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Ditto for what everyone else said. It wasn't an issue for my stock KLR.

However, one good piece of advice if you're in remote areas is to always fill up, even if you don't need to. You never know how far down the road it will be until the next station and like bananaman said, sometimes they don't have electricity or they run out of gas.
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Old 08-30-2013, 09:33 AM   #7
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Bigger tanks are always nicer when hauling the cheap stuff out of Venezuela making it way down the road in Brazil Ecuador too. The bigger the better imho, you don't have to fill it all the way up but damn nice when you want to. I carry 10 galllons and have carried a few more in extra containers.
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Old 08-30-2013, 03:43 PM   #8
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Oliver ya sneaky bugga I didn't know it was you, was gonna tell you about ya own thread!!!

Michael on his F800 GS had no fuel issues whatsoever and I don't think her carried extra either.
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Old 08-31-2013, 11:36 AM   #9
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Plus One to everything offered. 220 to 250 mi. range is generally OK with good planning. But carrying a Gal or two extra would be prudent on the Salar or other remote areas.

Only caveat that can come up are strikes and political upheaval. In Bolivia it can be difficult to buy fuel as a NON Bolivian. Most riders seem to work around this ban ... but I believe it's official policy? Anyone in country NOW to verify/clarify current situation?

Since you're in Guat. now you've had a warm up for Latin America. So you know about local strikes, road blocks and such. What happens is local gas stations run out of fuel ... trucks can't get through to re-fill. Hoarding is also a big issue. Sometimes gas stations close in solidarity with various movements ... or not. And sometimes they just plain run out of fuel. Lots of locals sell fuel ... but generally sold at a premium $.

"Jammin Jay" riding his DR650 through Brazil found an entire area OUT of fuel. The good news, Jay runs a 8 gal. Safari tank ... so was able ride to another area where fuel was available. I think he has over 350 mi. range?

Do you have a ride report here? Or just your Blog?
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Old 09-01-2013, 03:30 PM   #10
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Thanks for the heads up everyone. I'm going to add a few coke bottle holders (pvc tubes onto the bike I'll be able to put an extra 15-20 liters if I need to and in the meantime they can hold water and rain gear etc.

Csustewy, the bikes getting healthier but the long and short of it is I bought spares, took out to a mechanic who decided to screw up everything. I'm working with one of the kiwis to get it all fixed up again.

No ride report sorry, I'm far too lazy to copy and paste but there's a new update on the blog today.
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Old 09-02-2013, 06:47 AM   #11
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Glad to hear that you are finally making forward progress on the bike. Good luck getting it all sorted out.

Hope the situation in Colombia opens up to let you enjoy whatever route you decide to take.
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Old 09-02-2013, 10:32 AM   #12
Dr. Benny
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boomer84 View Post
I'm going to add a few coke bottle holders
Worked for me in rural Bolivia:





Not much out there - just a bunch of horny llamas...

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Old 09-02-2013, 03:08 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Benny View Post

How well did the fuel in the right bottle work?
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Old 09-02-2013, 03:15 PM   #14
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This was a pretty common sight for me in Argentina. As well as the finger wave and "no hay nafta" at countless YPF stations in Entre Rios.



I was very lucky to have over a 300 mile range. Unlike in every other situation in Latin America, motos dont go to the front of the line.



Around 200-250 miles should be good for most things however. When you run out of gas, you have to get creative. Knocking on doors, asking passing motorists if they dont mind selling a few liters of fuel to you, etc. I never had to do that, but I always carried my Baja Credit Card (siphon tube) just in case my only option was to siphon from a vehicle.

But if youre out in the ass end of nowhere like on some of the very less traveled altiplano routes, you better know how much fuel you need and you better have it. There may not be someone coming down that "road" for days, weeks, or ever.......
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Old 09-02-2013, 08:07 PM   #15
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"Baja Credit Card." This is a new term for me and it makes perfect sense.

Ben- putting the fuel in your spare tires was genius. I carried all kinds of stuff in my spares, but luckily my 11 gallon tank gave me more than enough range and I didn't worry about carrying fuel.

However, on account of being anally paranoid-

I carried a siphon tube in my kit. One of those fancy ones with a squeeze bulb. On account of not wanting to suck on a car. When I first started taking flying lessons, one of my instructors was this gorgeous and sexy woman... and when it came to checking the stall horn, she's say, "I don't suck on airplanes." Which got me to thinking about oral sex... Which reminds me of a poll question for you, Vinny- do you remember your first blow job?
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