ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Riding > Ride reports
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 03-21-2011, 10:41 AM   #871
Jammin OP
Living on a DR
 
Jammin's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2006
Location: New Delhi - new 'home' for post RTW
Oddometer: 1,535
Bolivia II, Part 7: The Lagunas Route | Thermales and Geysers

December 23 - 24, 2010

From Laguna Colorado, the southern third of the Lagunas Route takes you through some active geysers and hot springs before exiting at Laguna Verde and into Chile.


Setting off from Laguna Colorado.


A vicuña strolling by in its homeland. Good thing it has no natural predators, cause there's nowhere to hide.


A pebbly track. I made sure to put a few psi back in the tires after the deep sand north of Laguna Colorado to avoid any punctures.


A crack in the earth's crust forming a small canyon, which was a departure from the usual landforms in this area.


The kobby Kenda K257D did well in this terrain, aired down to spread the load and soften the ride.


The route joined up with a better-graded highway that was maintained by a Chilean company extracting boric acid nearby.


Besides all the fun and games of a nice off-road adventure, there was the business of crossing an international border towards the southern end of the ride. The Bolivian customs office is off the route and requires a small detour near the geysers.


An out-of-place huge metal structure in this desolate land, welcoming you from the Bolivian customs, which was a few kilometers to the right with the route and the geysers straight ahead.


A street sign in the middle of the desert. Apacheta is where the customs office is.


The highest customs office in the world at 5,020 m (16,470 ft). No one was in, but I waited for around twenty minutes in the freezing cold and nothing moved, so I continued without properly checking out the bike from Bolivia. I don't plan to return for a long, long time, so it's ok.


Reaching the highest point of the route near the customs office of 5,049 m (16,566 ft). I didn't get any headaches along the whole route, so either the coca leaves or the altitude sickness pills worked, or maybe both.


A panorama, coming back from the customs office at Apacheta. Laguna Colorado is to the left (north) with the geysers to the right.
Click here to see the high resolution version.


Geyser Sol de Manaña.


A wide angle view of the discoloration to the rocks from the hot scalding steam and sulphuric acid bursting up from the hot magma under this geologically active place.


Fumaroles, fountains of hot mud.


It was entertaining to see the different shapes captured in the mud as the liquefied surface bubbled and burst up.


I liked how open this whole area is with no restrictions anywhere, so you can get as close as you like to the steaming cavities. Of course, if something bad happened, you're on your own.


From the geysers, the route was very sandy back to the main piste and I lost momentum on an incline and had to ride the clutch quite heavily to make it over the top and from here on, the clutch would slowly lose its effectiveness. However, I didn't have to change it out for another 2,000 kms (1,250 mi).


A wide angle view as I got closer to the destination for tonight...


...the hot springs at Salar de Chalviri.


I got to the Polques Agua Thermales in the late afternoon and after setting up camp next to the guest house...


...I soaked my aching body in the comfortably warm waters of these hot springs.


It was quite cold above the water as elevation was at 4,418 m (14,495 ft), but just fine if you stayed submerged.


The winds were quite fierce and created waves on the surface.


As I lay perfectly still in the waters, these guanacos slowly strode by, only glancing up upon hearing the shutter of the SLR.


I sat there for about two hours through sunset and observed some flamingoes along with various other wildlife that came by. I know you're not supposed to stay more than 20 minutes at a stretch in a hot tub, but I kept hydrating and my head was cooled down by the chill winds, so all was good.


A perfect end to an epic adventure. Tomorrow would be the final day on the Lagunas Route and it's worth all the praise that's levied on it. Come here to see all the natural beauty and test yourself by riding your own vehicle. It's a grueling but rewarding journey.


The next morning, hordes of Land Cruisers turned up for a sunrise dip in the hot springs, so I suggest the end of the day for peace and quiet.


The hot springs are fresh water (which flow into the already salty lagoons) and I filled up my water bottles from a nearby spring. Don't take water from the hot tub!


From Polques, the route passes through a valley called the Desierto de Dali and the coloring of the mountains sort of resembles one of his paintings.


And I think these rocks in the sand are supposed to resemble his trademark forms, but I was too far away to see.


The route was still sandy and corrugated but much better maintained than further north.


It's sandy, but over a hard surface that was recently graded.


A panorama capturing the landscape dotted with volcanoes and mountains.
Click here to see the high resolution version.


And finally, the last jewel in this desert, Laguna Verde (green lagoon).


The guard at the southern gate offered to take my picture as must be customary for overlanders successfully making it across the Ruta de la Joyas Alto Andinas.


From there, it was a short climb up to the Bolivian immigration post at the border, which was quite high at 4,500 m (14,765 ft). I didn't tell them about the customs office being closed yesterday, because they probably would have made me go back. I think they're going to open a new customs office near Laguna Verde.


A school bus that didn't make it. Finishing off a strange and wonderful journey through this kaleidoscope of experiences that are waiting for anyone willing to swim in the sand of southwestern Bolivia.


Good-bye Bolivia, it's been a good time. Many travelers told me it was the highlight of their trip and I understand why now. I guess it's going to be hard to be impressed by the landscape after Bolivia, put Patagonia's calling...


Hello, Chile. It's about 50 kms to San Pedro de Atacama for Chilean border formalities and after another 7 kms of well-graded piste, you arrive on...


Pavement! I aired up the tires back to 32 psi in the front and 38 in the rear (it took a really long time at this high altitude). I was so pleased with myself for not having dropped the bike even once across the whole Lagunas Route. That surely boosted my confidence in my off-road riding ability. Good practice for Africa...


It's all the way down from up here. The paved road is coming from Paso de Jama, but if you enter Chile from Bolivia, you are required to head down to San Pedro to visit Chilean customs and immigration. I don't know if you're allowed to head straight to Argentina.


The road drops down constantly into the valley below where the Salar de Atacama is. You drop 2,100 m (6,890 ft) in 50 kms (31 mi) down to 2,500 m (8,200 ft). One of the Land Cruiser drivers told me he likes to turn off the engine and just coast all the way down.


Arriving at San Pedro de Atacama and that concludes the journey across the Lagunas Route.

__________________
J A Y on a 98 Suzuki DR650SE (sanDRina)

Trip Website: JamminGlobal.com
Current Ride Report: Global South | Past Trips: CDR '09, Alaska '08, Mexico '07 | YouTube Videos
Jammin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2011, 12:38 PM   #872
ini88
Gnarly Adventurer
 
ini88's Avatar
 
Joined: Aug 2009
Location: New York, NY
Oddometer: 147
Epic! Man I sit here in my office in New York and I'm just blown away by these images and the loneliness in which you are riding. Must feel weird to be out there all by yourself, yet have all of us around the world experiencing what you are doing. Keep it up!

Donating some cash now. Buy some gas or a nice dinner. :)
__________________
2011 KTM 690 Enduro R
2006 KTM 640 Adventure - Stolen :(
ini88 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2011, 03:29 PM   #873
SS in Vzla.
Totally Normal? I'm not!
 
Joined: Dec 2006
Location: Banana Republic of Black Gold
Oddometer: 1,178
That was a killer update Jay,
Simply AWSOME!
Thanks for taking the time to do such detailed posts
__________________
SS. '98 BMW F650 / '06 WR250F / '07 KTM 990 Adv
Caracas, Venezuela
SS in Vzla. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2011, 05:17 PM   #874
Adv Grifter
on the road o'dreams
 
Adv Grifter's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Passing ADV Stalkers in California
Oddometer: 6,128
Thanks for the great update Jay! Nice going riding the sand and rock. Not so easy on a fully loaded beast! Slow and steady wins the race ... and doesn't break any bones!

What do you think your load weighs? Boxes, racks, soft bags,
tool tubes, et al ?? What does it add up too, mas o menos?

Hey, I tried the T-shirt order again and this time went through without a hitch! (they were doing some credit card promotion last time ... I think that messed things up. It's gone now) All good. South of France and the Pyrenees are fantastic! Enjoy! Paris is expensive but worth it!
Adv Grifter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2011, 03:18 AM   #875
Jammin OP
Living on a DR
 
Jammin's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2006
Location: New Delhi - new 'home' for post RTW
Oddometer: 1,535
Thanks for the comments, guys. Good to know it's not falling on deaf ears :)
Quote:
Originally Posted by ini88 View Post
Epic! Man I sit here in my office in New York and I'm just blown away by these images and the loneliness in which you are riding. Must feel weird to be out there all by yourself, yet have all of us around the world experiencing what you are doing. Keep it up!

Donating some cash now. Buy some gas or a nice dinner. :)
Thanks a bunch for the donation!
Instead of loneliness, I like to say solitude For sure, when it gets really tough, I know I have to keep going cause now so many people are cheering me on When there's nothing in the mind on an empty road, some of your comments come drifting back and put a smile on my face.

Here comes more solitude with Ruta 40 and Patagonia...

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS in Vzla. View Post
That was a killer update Jay,
Simply AWSOME!
Thanks for taking the time to do such detailed posts
Sure thing. Trying to keep the story flowing and providing info for other travelers. Looks like you had a nice time with Vinny.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adv Grifter View Post
Thanks for the great update Jay! Nice going riding the sand and rock. Not so easy on a fully loaded beast! Slow and steady wins the race ... and doesn't break any bones!

What do you think your load weighs? Boxes, racks, soft bags,
tool tubes, et al ?? What does it add up too, mas o menos?

Hey, I tried the T-shirt order again and this time went through without a hitch! (they were doing some credit card promotion last time ... I think that messed things up. It's gone now) All good. South of France and the Pyrenees are fantastic! Enjoy! Paris is expensive but worth it!
Yup, on this loaded bike, I'm the turtle, slow and steady, get to the finish (where ever that is). Would love to ride these roads in the future on an ultra-light high-powered bike

When I shipped everything I had on the bike back from Alaska, it weighed 150 lbs for the panniers, top box and everything inside. I'm carrying more tools and spares now, so maybe another 30 lbs and with the tires, that's probably another 20 lbs(?). So yeah, close to 200 lbs of gear. Uggh, but hey, it's all I got and it's my home now. But, I weigh around 150 lbs, so that allows me to carry a bit more weight I'm so pleased that the rear shock has not failed yet.

Cool, thanks for getting a t-shirt
Yeah, nice to spend time in these big cities when I'm waiting on paperwork. It sure is a beautiful city but quite cold still. Brr. I hope some of the passes in the Pyrenees open up when I get there.
__________________
J A Y on a 98 Suzuki DR650SE (sanDRina)

Trip Website: JamminGlobal.com
Current Ride Report: Global South | Past Trips: CDR '09, Alaska '08, Mexico '07 | YouTube Videos
Jammin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2011, 04:48 AM   #876
Jammin OP
Living on a DR
 
Jammin's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2006
Location: New Delhi - new 'home' for post RTW
Oddometer: 1,535
Chile: San Pedro de Atacama

December 24 - 27, 2010

Chile is the country that lies west of the Andes below Peru. The Andes are quite close to the Pacific and this gives the trademark geography of Chile being a thin and long country with climates spanning the whole gamut from extreme deserts in the north to ice sheets in the south.

Being the most stable and prosperous region in Latin America, it's also the most expensive to travel through and that forced me to traverse most of the Andes on the Argentine side. Producing one third of the world's copper needs and with known reserves for 200 more years, not much is going to unsurp their steady development.

I spent a few days in northern Chile, before crossing over into Argentina and would cross back in southern Patagonia. Keeping the theme going of the Lagunas Route in southwestern Bolivia, the small hamlet of San Pedro de Atacama has its share of strange landscapes and wonders of salt.


Checking into customs at San Pedro de Atacama, which is not on the border. There are numerous ways to enter Chile from Bolivia and also a few from northern Argentina and surprisingly for a country of their wealth, instead of having individual border posts, they all request traffic to pass through San Pedro. Along with me was a family of Brazilian bikers and a few other traveling cars checking in from Brazil.


Acting very much like the US and the EU, Chile is very strict about what can be brought into the country, as opposed to most other Latin American countries. As long as you comply and don't bring in things that could spread diseases, everything is fine. The quarantine inspector made me dispose of some uneaten dried prunes.


As I was wandering around town, looking for a place to stay, Tonny (on the KTM) waived me into Takha Takha, which happened to have a great group of travelers staying at the time.


The Chilean Peso with USD $1 = CP461, but roughly, that 20,000 peso note is about US$40. All ATMs in Chile charge about US$5 per withdrawal.


San Pedro de Atacama was a small village dominated by adobe construction, but tourism has taken over in the last few years, so it's hard to tell what's authentic. This cowboy wandering the streets looks like the real deal.


The main church in town.


Many streets are pedestrian-only, which makes it a pleasant place to stroll.


Today was December 24th, Christmas Eve, and a bunch of travelers I met camping at Takha Takha had decided to put together a simple fiesta.


That's Tonny in the center, whom I had met earlier in Bolivia. He's a dentist and owns a motorcycle tour and rental shop in Bogotá and is on a two month bike trip around South America. Andres on the left is a Chilean biker, currently living in San Pedro and guides motorcycle tours into the surrounding desert. He's on a Honda Africa Twin. Good company for telling tall stories.


Everyone contributed something to the dinner.


It was a fun evening with two couples traveling in motor homes from southern Brazil, a Colombian biker, a Chilean biker, and a German bicyclist.


Nina, here, is traveling around South America on a bicycle and is an elementary school teacher back in Germany. She offered to cook up some spaghetti for dinner and to everyone's surprise, even had Christmas presents for everyone. She bought these Kinder egg-shaped chocolates that have a small toy in them and it was funny how everyone reacted to their playful gifts.


Camile, beaming with a cheerful Brazilian smile about her gift, in contrast to Tonny's reaction, who's manhood was threatened by his purple toy with flamboyant ears.


Dani, Camile's husband (they're from Porto Alegre and turned out to be friends of Reginaldo in Curitiba, who seems to be connected to everyone), was lost in the instructions manual on how to assemble something on his toy. It's funny how a playful mood can put you back to your childhood so easily. No help from Tonny.


To keep the festivities going, Andres went and got his saxophone and belted out some jazzy tunes to the rhythms of Carlos. Andres comes from a family who performed professionally in a circus and accordingly, he seemed to have an endless bag of tricks (skills), which kept us entertained. He moved up here for a few months and along with casually guiding motorcycle tours, he heads out to impoverished communities on his Africa Twin and performs an act as a clown. He said he carries juggling pins, this saxophone and a host of other props on his bike.


We had some good discussions on jazz and I was trying to provide some support in finding the right notes for one or two songs. I missed playing the Tenor and Alto saxophone from my schooling days. I had to give it up when I came to the US since I couldn't afford the time to practice along in college with engineering. I wish I could travel with a small sax (maybe a saprano), but I'm already overloaded...


The next morning, Tonny was taking off and I was checking out his AirHawk riding cushion.


Later in the afternoon, Andres offered to take us all on a tour of the desert, just as friends. The town of San Pedro lies on the edge of the Salar de Atacama, the second largest salar in the world at 2,300 m (7,550 ft) and not too far from town is Laguna Cejar, a salt lake that's popular for swimming.


Carlos doing the right thing and diving in head first, as you're supposed to do into a salt lake.


Unlike me. I'm no swimmer and jumped in feet first...


...and got a nose full of burning saline solution. It's way more salty than the ocean and really burns if it gets in your eyes or other tender places.


Nina swimming out to a salt bar in the middle.


I realized that slipping into the lagoon was the better method and was soon enjoying the sensation.


Not being a good swimmer and never being able to float properly, I was thoroughly enjoying the buoyancy that heavy salinity provides.


From there, we drove further into the desert to two big openings. Now these are ojos de la sal (eyes of the salt).


The strange thing is how there's fresh (sweet) water in these openings, in the middle of a salt flat.


Nina is a fish and dived into every pool that we came across.


Going in leg-first.


And with a big splash, she washed off all the salt.


The water was too cold to tempt me in, especially considering its unknown depth.


Having a conversation on the Salar de Atacama, under the gaze of Volcan Licancabur on the border with Bolivia. The other Brazilian couple, Gustavo and Maria from the city of Americana, near São Paulo, offered to drive the rest of us for the day in their Ford Ranger truck that they were traveling in. Gustavo is also a biker and has a Yahama Ténéré, but is introducing his wife to road trips.


The last stop on the tour is the large Laguna Tebenquinche, a salty lagoon with beautiful colors merging with the landscape.


The lagoon was interspersed with deposits of salt and deep blue catchments of water.


The salt crystallizing in different layers evidence of the varying levels of the water in the lagoon.


Hmm, I wonder what it tastes like?...


Yup, it's salty, all right.


While waiting for sunset at the lagoon, we spotted the ALMA project on the mountains bordering Argentina. The Atacama Large Millimeter Array is the world's latest radio telescope, part of the Llano de Chajnantor Observatory. The antennas that will make up the array are assembled at the site pictured, which is at 2,900 m (9,515 ft) and then they're carried to their final location, up the mountain to around 5,000 m (16,400 ft). The low humidity of elevation, combined with the dryness of the Atacama (the driest desert on the planet), make this area ideal for observations of the night sky. If I had more time, I would have liked to visit one of the many grand telescopes further down in Chile.


Back to earthly matters, this bird wondered whether these human intruders had some snacks for it.


The setting sun highlighting the contrast between the blue lagoon and the yellow desert with Licancabur in the background.


The fading rays brought out more contrast with distinct bands of lagoon, salt bars, desert and volcano.


Having lunch with Andres the next day of a regionally-traditional soup of choclo (puffed up corn kernels) with meat and potatoes.


After lunch, Andres helped me change out my front tire, back to the more street-oriented Metzeler Tourance that I had swapped out for the Lagunas Route. I'll save the knobby Kenda K257D for the next time I come across extended sand riding.


On my last night there, Gustavo prepared a simple dinner for us and we welcomed another Brazilian traveler, riding an older Yamaha Ténéré. This was a great group of people to spend a few relaxing days with and now I was set to head back into Argentina.


After filling up with a few liters of Chilean petrol, priced at CP688/litre (US$5.65/gal), I checked out at the same customs office in San Pedro and climbed back up the same way I came down. Volcan Licancabur sure is a nice cone-shaped volcano and perhaps its steepest is an indication of how fast it's growing.


Passing by the turn off to Bolivia and the entrance to the Lagunas Route.


It's paved all the way to Paso de Jama and the off-road border crossing is a bit further south at Paso Sico.


One last look at the epic mountains of southwestern Bolivia and the incredible experience I had within those mountains.


The route to the pass steadily climbed back up with the temperatures dropping accordingly.


There were small salars and geologic features of interest, but it was going to be hard to impress after Bolivia.

This was just a short visit to Chile and that too to its extreme north in a small touristy town and I wish I had the means to travel more extensively through Chile, but maybe that's for another time.
__________________
J A Y on a 98 Suzuki DR650SE (sanDRina)

Trip Website: JamminGlobal.com
Current Ride Report: Global South | Past Trips: CDR '09, Alaska '08, Mexico '07 | YouTube Videos
Jammin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2011, 05:50 AM   #877
vinik
slow learner
 
vinik's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2010
Location: Israel, Hertzeliya
Oddometer: 36
subscribed!! overdue!
__________________
"Listen friend, we motorcyclists are big fans of Darwin."
vinik is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2011, 07:33 AM   #878
Drif10
Accredited Jackass
 
Drif10's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2003
Location: Gates of Moscow
Oddometer: 46,044
Good ride.

Looking forward to the remainder.
__________________
I guess your get up and go needs a coffee. - Drif5
Drif10 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2011, 10:10 AM   #879
Jammin OP
Living on a DR
 
Jammin's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2006
Location: New Delhi - new 'home' for post RTW
Oddometer: 1,535
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinik View Post
subscribed!! overdue!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drif10 View Post
Good ride.

Looking forward to the remainder.
Thx guys

A lot more coming as I get caught up...
__________________
J A Y on a 98 Suzuki DR650SE (sanDRina)

Trip Website: JamminGlobal.com
Current Ride Report: Global South | Past Trips: CDR '09, Alaska '08, Mexico '07 | YouTube Videos
Jammin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2011, 10:50 AM   #880
Jammin OP
Living on a DR
 
Jammin's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2006
Location: New Delhi - new 'home' for post RTW
Oddometer: 1,535
Argentina, Part 4: Ruta 40 in the Northwest

December 27 - 28, 2010

Having looped around southern Bolivia, I was now pointed south, heading to Patagonia and Ushuaia, before turning north for Buenos Aires. Argentina is the eight largest country in the world, similar in size to India but with only 40 million people making this one of the least densely populated lands in the world. With a third of the people in the capital and most of the rest in the central industrial belt, there is a lot of open land. The terrain is quite rough, because either it's mountainous in the west or wind-swept by the chilling winds from Patagonia, making this excellent motorcycling country.

I primarily took famed Ruta 40 most of the way down. It's a continuous route heading down the entire spine of the country. In years past, its gravely surface had a gnarly reputation in the motorcycling community, but it's slowly being tamed with asphalt. There's still some adventure to be had in this safe country, where wild camping is easy to do.


Crossing at Paso de Jama from Chile at 4,200 m (13,780 ft).


Blue skies, white clouds and a smiling sun. That sure is an appropriate flag.


My route down Ruta 40 along the western edge of Argentina. Click on it to go to the interactive version in Google Maps.


After the border formalities and filling up the tank with cheaper petrol than in Chile, I headed down to Susques...


...to turn south on Ruta 40. This famous road was gravel all the way to Tierra del Fuego at one point, but slowly over the years, it's being paved over.


But there's still large sections of good dirt riding left on the old 40.


Northwest Argentina is famous for its colored rocks and striking geology.


A wide angle view as the route dipped down across an arroyo.
Click here to see the high resolution version.


The road was covered in loose gravel, but was well-maintained and corrugations were mostly absent.


A mesa-like structure with wind erosion creating its flanks.


The route climbed high, back into altiplano territory as the vegetation suggested.


Crossing a pass at 4,389 m (14,400 ft) and already getting a good taste for Ruta 40 as it passed through the province of Salta.


The distinct colors of the varied minerals showing through as the route descended from the summit.


It was getting late in the day and the colors were more vivid.


Passing under the Viaducto La Polvorilla, which carries the tracks for the Tren a las Nubes (train to the clouds), a tourist attraction that leaves from Salta and climbs up to the Andean plateau up here.


The clarity of the air at this altitude made the landscape 'pop'.


A wide angle view of the valley that we would descend down towards San Antonio.
Click here to see the high resolution version.


Not a clean stitch, but a wide view of the route following a dry river bed.


Finishing the day with a ride through this canyon, that emptied in...


...the small mountain town of San Antonio de las Cobres. I didn't feel ready to camp again since I didn't stock up on supplies in Chile, so...


...I found a cheap room at Hostal del Cielo for P40 ($10), which included breakfast and kitchen access to prepare dinner. There's not much electricity up here, so the hot water is produced with these solar thermal heaters.


I was the only guest of Mario's, who lives in Salta but runs this hotel with his family for travelers up here. sanDRina enjoyed staying indoors as the winds picked up at night and were quite strong, blowing things around on the street.


The town is pretty run down, but there's a big military base, which probably keeps it going.


Turning back onto Ruta 40 and capturing the highest marked mile marker that I've seen. This route continues south for another 4,626 kms (2,891 mi) ending near Rio Gallegos.


Twisty, narrow, inclined road with dips and falling rocks - a recipe for an adventure.


Climbing up the narrow, cliff-hugging track through the Abra el Acay protected area.


Things were going smoothly as I slowly gained elevation and enjoyed the remoteness.


This doesn't look good. I came into this sandy switch-back at the wrong angle, lost balance and before I could get my foot down, gravity had won and took sanDRina down.


With the adrenaline pumping, I first turned off the ignition and then both fuel petcocks and quickly tried to lift her back up, but she wouldn't budge.


The first real drop of the bike while off-roading of the whole trip. Not bad. But not good that it happened at 4,816 m (15,800 ft) on a remote road, with no local traffic (since there's an alternative paved route around this section). I didn't pass a single car in the previous hour and none looked like it was coming.


I tried lifting her again using the strength of my back, but no go.


I then rotated her, so that the front tire would be pointing downhill and slightly reducing the force needed to fight against gravity.


I still couldn't lift her and finally realized I had to remove as much weight as I could and emptied the panniers and the spare tires. Yard sale on the 40?


And with a good heave, sanDRina woke up from her nap.


I will survive! If push comes to shove, I know I can pick up the bike by myself, but it's going to take at least an hour to repack everything on the bike.


All set to go again and the nicely graded sand looked like a battle scene. Since I was pointing downhill, I had to back track a bit and attack this corner again with the proper line to put down any doubts.


Looking back at the way I came as Ruta 40 climbed up this pass. My oopsie happened in one of those hairpin turns on the left.


At the summit of the Abra el Acay at 4,970 m (16,300 ft). I was heading to Cachi.


Wide view of the route descending down the other side.


Resembling my favorite roads of northern Peru and Bolivia, Ruta 40 hugged the steep, rocky cliffs of this colorful landscape.


The route was wider than similar roads in the above countries, but...
Click here to see the high resolution version.


...with no guard rails and a loose, sandy, rocky surface, one fall could be the end.


However, thoughts like that don't surface to the front when you're actually there. You just get on with it and keep going forward. Let the GoPro take the pictures.


A hairpin turn and successive others dropping down into the valley.


Going from this side to that side.


Looking back at the summit of Abra el Acay.


And looking forward as the route followed the ever growing Rio Calchaqui.


A syncline in the rocks, where the younger sedimentary layers are surrounded by older ones.


One of numerous small water crossings as the route crossed back and forth from one side of the valley to the other across Rio Calchaqui.


Coming across the first few settlements, which slowly turned into farms.


A wide view of Ruta 40 in the Rio Bravo valley.


Besides the small river, it was dry and the route was sandy in places...


...but generally, the route was in good condition, allowing for some good speeds.


A crumbling wall of a farm set below the colorful mountains of Northwest Argentina.


A big cactus plant, reminding me of the tall saguaro cactus outside Dave's house in Phoenix, Arizona.


A panorama capturing the vivid color palette of this area.
Click here to see the high resolution version.


Esquina Azul (blue corner), how aptly named.


After passing through some farmland, the route became interesting again as it followed atop a canyon.


I didn't see a sign around but I bet these spiky, upturned layers of rock would be called El Spina del Diablo (the devil's spine). I'd love to have some farmland with such striking backdrops.


As I ate some lunch under the shade of this tree, these two young boys came by herding their goats. Argentina has a reputation of being predominantly white, which it is, but not much is heard about Argentina's brown residents, the indigenous people, who have lived here in these mountains for hundreds or even thousands of years.


I watched them as they directed their herd across this flowing stream, lending a helping hand to a young kid (baby goat).


The beautiful ride through this multi-colored canyon made for an enjoyable day on the 40.


Farmlands increased as the terrain flattened out and the route got closer to Cachi.


Passing through the sleepy little town of Cachi, in the middle of a wine renaissance.


I topped up petrol and fresh water and then set out in search for a place to camp for the night.


Passing by a very narrow canyon cut through the rock.


This farm house looked deserted and as I pulled up, an old lady, the caretaker (who was living with her family in a small hut in the back) came up and I asked if I could camp here for the night, which was no problem, since the owners were away in Salta and rarely came here anymore.


I found a nice spot under this tree and the old lady brought me a 5 liter can of water, with which I managed to have a small bath and cook my dinner with.


There was abundant firewood around and she said I could use whatever I wanted. All the camping I had done up to now was mainly to take shelter for the night and no campfires were made as I didn't want to advertise my position. However, Argentina is a safe country with an established camping culture and I could finally make campfires.


Now, that's an inviting home... to a nomad on a motorcycle.


I got my stove going to cook up some dinner as I didn't want to put my pots on the campfire, since the soot would make a mess of my gear.


Ahhh. It was around 2,100 m (6,890 ft) and with no wind, it was very comfortable in the evening and I could enjoy staying outdoors with minimal clothing, making it very comfortable (compared to the rough conditions on the Lagunas Route). It is times like this, that I most feel like a nomad.


Even with a fall at high-altitude, the feeling of being around a warm fire soothed all ills.
__________________
J A Y on a 98 Suzuki DR650SE (sanDRina)

Trip Website: JamminGlobal.com
Current Ride Report: Global South | Past Trips: CDR '09, Alaska '08, Mexico '07 | YouTube Videos

Jammin screwed with this post 03-22-2011 at 06:14 PM
Jammin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2011, 10:55 AM   #881
Tall Mike
TAT Rookie (planning!)
 
Tall Mike's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2009
Location: Northeast Oregon
Oddometer: 542
Awesome RR!

I'm enjoying your travellog! Beautiful pictures, wonderful culture and cuisine, great people along the way... and a truly EPIC adventure, Thank You for sharing Jay!
__________________
Ride the Earth! (Pavement Optional)

stable: '05 DL1000,'06 DL650, '99 XR600R, '03 640ADV
Tall Mike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2011, 11:51 AM   #882
Robert Ford
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Robert Ford's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Danville VA
Oddometer: 293
What an incredible journey! Thanks for taking the time and doing all the work necessary to take us along!

T-Shirt arrived a couple of weeks ago, too!
Robert Ford is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2011, 01:59 PM   #883
Jammin OP
Living on a DR
 
Jammin's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2006
Location: New Delhi - new 'home' for post RTW
Oddometer: 1,535
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tall Mike View Post
I'm enjoying your travellog! Beautiful pictures, wonderful culture and cuisine, great people along the way... and a truly EPIC adventure, Thank You for sharing Jay!
Thx Mike Glad the story is coming through

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Ford View Post
What an incredible journey! Thanks for taking the time and doing all the work necessary to take us along!

T-Shirt arrived a couple of weeks ago, too!
Thx Robert and hope you enjoy the T
__________________
J A Y on a 98 Suzuki DR650SE (sanDRina)

Trip Website: JamminGlobal.com
Current Ride Report: Global South | Past Trips: CDR '09, Alaska '08, Mexico '07 | YouTube Videos
Jammin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2011, 02:30 PM   #884
Jammin OP
Living on a DR
 
Jammin's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2006
Location: New Delhi - new 'home' for post RTW
Oddometer: 1,535
Argentina, Part 5: Central Ruta 40 | Cachi to Mendoza

December 29, 2010 - January 1, 2011

Getting good vibrations from northwest Argentina (not just from the corrugations), I continued south on Ruta 40 from Cachi across the middle of the country, down to Mendoza, making it there in time for New Years.


From Cachi, Ruta 40 goes through some remote terrain. As there are paved alternatives for the locals, the ride remains a destination.


The route hugs the tight crevasses of the hillsides and dips in and out quite sharply, making for an engaging ride. It gets narrow in places, like passing under this boulder-hewn wall, evident of past flash floods carrying big rocks and boulders down from the eroding Andes.


The little stream up in the mountains of yesterday had now grown into a proper river and Rio Calchaqui was supporting a blanket of green spreading from its banks into these farms.


Between Molinos and Angastaco, geologic forms stand out right by the road.


Heading into the Corte el Canon.


A narrow canyon with spires of rock.


These flat layers have been pushed up and out of the ground by the giant forces constantly at work deep underneath our feet.


Back in Cafayate and I stopped at the same little shack from my trip heading north for a lunch of some emapandas.


The vineyards of Cafayate with the tall Andes to the west.


From Cafayate till the Lake District, Ruta 40 stays out of the high Andes and cuts across the flat lands in its shadows.


It's not all paved, yet, and once in a while the route goes up and over a small ridge with the terrain being generally dry.


This dry land is punctuated by rivers flowing out of the mountains and with the rainy season started in the north, arroyos provided for fun water crossings. This is where you need a riding buddy, to take pictures of you splashing across the stream.


Stopping for the night in the small town of Haulfin. The owner of this hospedaje told me of the various other Ruta 40 travelers that had stopped here over the years. Traversing the length of this road is popular with travelers from around the world.


From here south, Ruta 40 was mostly paved and after a short section of curves through this canyon...


...it's defined by ultra-long stretches with no turns for about 20 - 30 kms (12 - 19 mi) at a time.


With only a few towns here and there, the route was heading south as efficiently as possible.


I yearned to be back riding in the mountains, but knew that that time would come soon.


Prepare for the Dakar!


A billboard in the town of Chilecito proud to host the famous Dakar Rally Race. It was starting in just a few days from Buenos Aires and would pass through here in about a week. The race moved to South America after security threats in northern Africa and is hugely popular among all the gearheads of this continent. The buildup to the race is quite big here and people would come up to me and say, "Vamos al Dakar" (let's go to the Dakar). I could probably enter in the truck category, seeing that I'm carrying my support vehicle with me.


Time not being on my side, I continued on. A road sign indicating 4,000 kms (2,500 mi) to Ushuaia.


From Nonogasta, the route heads over this strikingly red mountain.


The red stands out all the more in contrast to the greens of the valley below with Rio Miranda and the blues of distant mountains.


Even without the striking colors, the valley is quite impressive.


There's a short section of off-road as it goes up and over a small pass.


A wider view of the red canyon.


End of the twisting road as it descended down from the pass.


And back to our regular programming of straight-as-an-arrow empty roads under big, blue skies with white, fluffy clouds.


The excitement picked up as the route gained some relief and became defined by 'badenes', the dipping down and up over the numerous arroyos that are characteristic of this area. In the rainy season, water flows down the hillsides and instead of being collected in one river, the wide slopes allow the water to run where ever it wants and being impractical to build a bridge over every possible arroyo, the road simply drops down into the arroyo.


Near San Jose de Jachal, there's an older route that goes up and over the scenic ridge of La Cienega, compared to the newer Ruta 40 that goes around it.


It's a narrow, paved road, covered in heaps of falling rocks.


And a tunnel ride taking you from the scenic canyon back to the bland landscape on the other side.


I pitched my tent in the municipal campground, just outside the town of San Jose de Jachal. It was free and I think it's mainly a day-use place but I asked some locals if it was all right to camp and got the go ahead. There was a basic bathroom nearby and the trademark Argentine place for an assado. The straight roads made quick work of the big land and I covered 530 kms (330 mi) today.


Having some chocolate oatmeal for breakfast, which was my daily morning food for the past few years in the US, much to the consternation of my colleagues. I'm missing some walnuts, raisins and coconut to make this some truly gourmet oatmeal. Minus the chocolate, this is a good traveling food as it's cheap, easily available all through Latin America, healthy and being a complex carbohydrate, its energy is slowly released over a few hours instead of the sudden release of glucose from simple carbs like those in white bread.


As I left town, I was hailed down by these guys from the local TV station. They had seen me yesterday driving through town and figured I would make a good lifestyle segment to their daily newscast. They interviewed me for about 15 minutes and I told them my story. Being from India always adds a novelty factor and I was complimented on my Spanish. I asked them to send me a copy so that I could proudly show my parents.


It had rained the previous night and knowing this to be arroyo-land, I was expecting some water crossings.


However, the damage was much worse with the muddy water flowing over the road and depositing debris for a stretch of about 20 kms (12 mi). The TV crew were actually on their way down the road to report on the overnight damage done to the 40 with cars skidding off the mud into the ditch. Earth movers were also dispatched to push the errant mud off the tarmac.


This is an arroyo gone bad. Instead of following the rules and flowing under the little bridge, the heavy rain-induced flows swept across this whole area, removing ground from under the train tracks and carrying all that mud onto the road.


And here was the biggest water crossing with water flowing across a flat section of the road. After seeing a Toyota Hilux go through and seeing that it was less than a foot deep, I powered across.


After the excitement of the morning, the route quieted down and it was a relatively quick ride to Mendoza.


I spent New Years Eve with Alejandro and his family in Mendoza, through CouchSurfing. He runs a pharmacy below his house and recently got addicted to traveling by road. He purchased a motor home in Spain and plans to travel for six months through Europe and asked me questions on where he could continue with his travels. I took a few days off, replaced the clutch on sanDRina and prepared for the next leg.
__________________
J A Y on a 98 Suzuki DR650SE (sanDRina)

Trip Website: JamminGlobal.com
Current Ride Report: Global South | Past Trips: CDR '09, Alaska '08, Mexico '07 | YouTube Videos
Jammin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2011, 03:20 PM   #885
HiJincs
Wanna' B Hooligan
 
HiJincs's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2007
Location: Cumming, Jawja
Oddometer: 625
Hello from Atlanta Jay!


I've been reading your RR since the beginning and finally decided to post and tell you how enjoyable your posts and pictures are. Add me to the growing number of followers. T-shirt purchased!
__________________
"I am ill equipped in the philosophies of failure"

When I die, show no pity, send my soul to Juggalo City.
Dig my grave six feet deep and put two Sidi's on my feet.
Put some leather over my chest and tell my family I did my best!
HiJincs is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 08:40 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014