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 12-21-2012, 09:23 AM   #301
MCTravler
#351
 
MCTravler's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: North Idaho, USA
Oddometer: 16
Let me know if you want to sell

Hi, Just made this connection through the Radioman's thread, myself and possibly one other of our crew have been looking for a bike(s) to ride back North, we are working on a project in the Lima area and could be here until March.
Let me know if your are thinking of selling as an option.
MCTravler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-22-2012, 06:14 AM   #302
csustewy OP
Motojero
 
csustewy's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: back in Denver
Oddometer: 536
Quote:
Originally Posted by MCTravler View Post
Hi, Just made this connection through the Radioman's thread, myself and possibly one other of our crew have been looking for a bike(s) to ride back North, we are working on a project in the Lima area and could be here until March.
Let me know if your are thinking of selling as an option.
Hey MCTravler! To be honest, after making the thought of selling more serious by publishing it here, I am not sure that we will can part with our trusty Transalp. Neither one of us is excited about selling, so we are now looking for ways to keep her. I expect that by Feb we will have to have a rough plan figured out, so I will be back in touch if we are definitely looking for a buyer.

Aside from that, your plan to ride north from Peru sounds fantastic! What's your timeline for the trip?
__________________
Travelin' Light ride report - 2 up on an ´89 Transalp through the Americas
.
Motojeros blog
csustewy is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-25-2012, 08:13 PM   #303
MCTravler
#351
 
MCTravler's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2011
Location: North Idaho, USA
Oddometer: 16
Timeline? I don´t need no stinking timeline

Thanks for the reply, There are a lot more roads still to be ridden, I had the last few days off for Christmas, rented a 4 wheel unit and headed for the hills, visited some of the towns above 3,000 meters, awesome. I could spend a lot time cruising around here. I always write my plans in the sand below the high water mark that way they are never there to have to follow.

Safe Travels.
MCTravler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2013, 02:45 PM   #304
csustewy OP
Motojero
 
csustewy's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: back in Denver
Oddometer: 536
Hacia el mar

Getting to Cochabamba was something we were looking forward to because we would be in one place for about a month to volunteer with Mano a Mano. Upon arrival, we were very pleasantly surprised to learn that we would be staying in a sweet apartment downtown, thanks to the organization.


(view from our balcony of the Cristo)

Cochabamba ended up being a very comfortable city. With a population of about 700,000, it is big, but still seems pretty small. We had access to great food, bars, markets, etc, and since it is Bolivia, everything was very affordable. Jill went to Spanish school at Volunteer Bolivia, which was great because it was only a couple of blocks from our house and she really liked both her teachers. We also hung out with a couple of American couchsurfers who had been in Cochabamba for a longer period of time, who showed us some cool places in town.

Probably the best thing about being in Cochabamba, though, was that we got to unpack and settle into one place for a whole month. Traveling every day does take its toll, and we were both happy to be able to do normal things for awhile. And some moto maintenance, of course. This was a chance to get new fork oil in, new front brake pads (those re-glued asbestos pads from Lima were downright scary), and a new air filter (most excited about this one). I also took the chance to carve out the paper element from the old filter so we can have a foam filter, adding washability which will help a ton, as finding this specific air filter is a challenge!

Mike's modified air filter.
(A hot plate was used to heat the epoxy which made scraping it out much easier)

At the end of our stay, our friend Dana (who we stayed with for 3 weeks in Panama) arrived with the founder of Mano a Mano, Segundo, and several donors from the US. We were able to go with the group to several communities that Mano a Mano has worked in. The first day, Mike went with the group to see a reservoir and irrigation project.






(They also got to see how chicha is made.)


(And a delicious meal made by the community - fresh cheese, the ubiquitous papas, and "chicharrones" del pollo. I always that chicharrones were gross fried pig parts, but these chicken pieces - that actually included meat - were some of the tastiest chicken pieces I've ever had.)

The second day Jill went to a community about two hours away that is in the middle of building a clinic. The community is very small and isolated and the clinic will service people from up to a 4 hour walk away that have no other access to medical help. This was an unexpected visit for the community, but when we arrived, members were busy working away on the clinic.


(Installation of the windows, which Mano a Mano makes themselves.)


(Workers outside their almost completed clinic.)

It was really nice to go on the trips with Mano a Mano to the communities. Seeing the areas in which they work and the reach that they have was truly amazing. Mano a Mano is accomplishing a lot in Bolivia and are doing it in a very sustainable way by having the communities completely involved in the process.

All around Bolivia you see promotions for their navy, rather strange for a landlocked country. Chile took away Bolivia's coastline around 1900 and the Bolivian's still hold a grudge. In fact, there is a national holiday every year where all Bolivian's face to the west in silence. While the dispute keeps going, it doesn't seem that Bolivia will have much of a chance in this one...


("Bolivia - towards the ocean")

We had a great time hanging out with Dana and one of the donors, Greg, in the evenings. Here is Dana's blog about her time spent in Bolivia.



And in our usual style, we also appreciated some of the street art on our block.


__________________
Travelin' Light ride report - 2 up on an ´89 Transalp through the Americas
.
Motojeros blog
csustewy is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2013, 05:30 PM   #305
ping
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Mar 2008
Oddometer: 184
Interesting. You may want to put in an external fuel filter.
ping is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-2013, 05:34 AM   #306
csustewy OP
Motojero
 
csustewy's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: back in Denver
Oddometer: 536
Quote:
Originally Posted by ping View Post
Interesting. You may want to put in an external fuel filter.
Thanks for the comment, ping. Some other TA riders on this forum happened to suggest the same back when we were in Central America. The good news - finally installed! I look forward to reduced carb cleanings...
__________________
Travelin' Light ride report - 2 up on an ´89 Transalp through the Americas
.
Motojeros blog
csustewy is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-2013, 08:20 AM   #307
Hotmamaandme
Wishing I was riding RTW
 
Hotmamaandme's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2006
Location: Gardnerville NV
Oddometer: 2,635
Glad you did the Uni foam on the stock filter housing that's the best option IMHO. I too did that air filter and external fuel filter. Carry on
__________________
My screen name is kind of long. I am the "ME" part, my name is Cory.

Jimmy Lewis quote: "Those KLRs are full of potential. Just takes a rider..."
Hotmamaandme is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2013, 10:19 AM   #308
csustewy OP
Motojero
 
csustewy's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: back in Denver
Oddometer: 536
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hotmamaandme View Post
Glad you did the Uni foam on the stock filter housing that's the best option IMHO. I too did that air filter and external fuel filter. Carry on
Now that they're done I wonder why I didn't get to those mods sooner (...but then I remember how good at procrastinating I am). It'll be nice to be able to wash the air filter - and I actually made 2 foam elements for faster swapping with less drying time - and not have to wash the carb as much.
__________________
Travelin' Light ride report - 2 up on an ´89 Transalp through the Americas
.
Motojeros blog
csustewy is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2013, 10:20 AM   #309
csustewy OP
Motojero
 
csustewy's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: back in Denver
Oddometer: 536
Ruta del Che

From Cochabamba, we knew we had about two weeks to make it to Santiago to meet up with Mike's parents. Instead of backtracking towards Sucre or Oruro, we decided to take the Ruta del Che, to Vallegrande, la Higuera, and then across the border into Argentina. It is called the Ruta del Che as it follows Che Guevara's path as he attempted a revolution in Bolivia, leading to his capture by the Bolivian military, with CIA help, and assassination shortly thereafter. Jill had read several books about Che (and even Mike read one or two of them) and we were both interested in seeing the region where Che spent his final days. If you are interested, there are lots of books out there about Che and the Cuban Revolution. Some good ones are
Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life, The Motorcycle Diaries, Bolivian Diaries, and Chasing Che: A Motorcycle Journey in Search of the Guevara Legend

Although the road we took is one of the only major ones from Cochabamba to Santa Cruz, two of the largest cities in Bolivia, it was unpaved for a majority of the way. It was a really nice ride, except for the fact that the front tire got a flat early on. Mike now has more practice on changing flats, since this was the second flat in almost as many days in Bolivia.




(Mike changing the front flat.)

Gas was not abundant, so we filled up at this spot. The woman running the shop was very nice, but very shy about having her picture taken, so we only got the shop. Gas has been an issue for foreigners in Bolivia. At most gas stations, they make foreigners pay about three times what nationals do. This originally started because there was a gas shortage several years ago. One way around this is to park the bike away from the pumps and fill up gas canisters. Another way is to purchase gas from individuals instead of gas stations. Usually gas from these shops is about double the price for locals at the station. The risk is that you get gas cut with something else.



Our first stop on the Che route was Vallegrande, where Che's body was helicoptered and displayed after he was killed. Vallegrande is one of the larger towns in the area, which is why he was brought there. It seems to function quite well as a town without the need for Che tourism. We went to the Che museum, located on the town square. It is worth a look and doesn't cost much. Then we went to the still functioning hospital where Che was taken. He was put out back in the hospital laundry in a wash basin. There are no signs at the hospital to show you where to go, so you just kind of walk through the hospital grounds to the back.


(Outside the hospital)


(The laundry where Che was displayed.)


(The new Che memorial built on the hospital grounds.)

There is also a site just outside of town where a mass grave was found containing several guerrillas bodies, including Che's. You had to hire a guide to take you to the site because it is locked, so we decided not to go. Instead, we headed over to la Higuera, where Che was taken when he was captured. The route was beautiful and you really got a sense of how secluded and isolated the area was that Che tried to lead his revolution in. It made a lot of sense why it didn't work out. No one knew of him nor cared to help him, unlike in Cuba where the revolution was won through peasant support. People in this part of Bolivia were very cut off from the rest of the world and had no interest in getting involved in a revolution. Daily life for the guerrillas was very difficult in this region because it is pure jungle with little to no outside resources.


(Random butterfly outside the gas station)


(Road signs mark the way to La Higuera.)



La Higuera is a very, very small town in the middle of nowhere. The town seems very dependent on Che tourism, as the only things in town are hostels, a restaurant and a couple small shops. And of course, the school building where Che was taken when captured and then murdered in. The school is now a museum with much of the same information that is in the museum at Vallegrande. The older woman who runs the museum and the tienda in town took care of Che when he was alive and is the only person still in town who was there when Che was.


(School/museum in la Higuera)


(The clothes Che was captured in.)


(Che statues and other Che related objects outnumber people in la Higuera.)

We camped at probably the nicest hostel in town, named Posada (formerly Casa) de la Telegrafista, this site was mentioned by Che in his Bolivian Diary as the only phone in town that was used by the guerrillas.

__________________
Travelin' Light ride report - 2 up on an ´89 Transalp through the Americas
.
Motojeros blog
csustewy is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-09-2013, 05:34 AM   #310
csustewy OP
Motojero
 
csustewy's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: back in Denver
Oddometer: 536
Bribing our way out of Bolivia

While we were lucky to miss most of the rain/mud season in Bolivia, we did have the chance to sample some of the fun it can offer while passing through a construction zone (ahhhh...South American construction zones....) near Monteagudo. Even before making it to the mud, we were challenged by the staggeringly high number of staggeringly drunk drivers on the staggeringly narrow canyon roads. One was going incredibly slow when we caught him, raced to catch up to us after we passed, tailgated for awhile until Mike pulled over to let him pass, then blocked our forward progress with his vehicle to insist that we join him for a drink, which he of course had in ample supply in his car. After refusing, and refusing his offer to drink beer at the bar up ahead, he still wouldn't let us separate ourselves on the road, always insuring that we stayed right in his dust cloud. Suh-WEET! Shortly after witnessing him run over a small pig - which absolutely devastated the farmer, who sadly witnessed the event, too - he stumbled out of his car (to vomit?) and we finally were able to pull away from him. We didn't take any breaks that afternoon to keep our distance. But now back to the more fun part of our ride...





(the beautiful views continued)

Until the first crux of the construction zone:


(this car only made it through this patch of the construction zone with the help of some barefoot pushers)


(Mike kept his boots on to make his way through)

Water crossings became more common in the kms that followed:



And then we found a nasty combination of mud and water:


(this car was our first clue that this hole was a bit harrier than others)


(Mike tried to plow through along the edge...)


(but this is as far as the mud let him go.)

That stuff was nasty. Thankfully the guy from the car helped lift and push the back end to free the TA. Once free, Mike was still pushing the bars from beside the back and giving some throttle. But he just couldn't resist playing in the mud, so he super-manned a comical fall with the bike falling towards him on its left side, and Mike falling chest down into the mud with hands still on the bars. The barefoot guy (pretty sure they all lost their shoes in the mud it was that suctioney) again helped out with the bike, but this time seemed less into it for some reason... A tractor from the next house came to pull his car out as we were leaving.




(the river helped us clean up a bit)


(we eventually made it out of the construction zone and back to easy riding dirt. We covered about 20 km in 2.5 hours that morning, but began making better progress later in the day)


(luckily we didn't get stuck near these unhappy characters)


(but there was still some fun-havin' going on)

Once we hit the main highway, we were filling up gas when Mika pulled up next to us on his Africa Twin. He took off on a RTW trip years ago, spending nearly 7 years on that trip, and is currently living in Bolivia. He was making his way to Argentina for a Horizons Unlimited traveler's meeting in Viedma - he last attended the first one 10 years ago. Mika was a great travel partner who knows the region very well and was a lot of fun to hang out with. The first night we found a reasonable hotel in Villamontes, and Mika brought back the first round of beers before we even got our boots off. He's a good man. He even had the patience to wait with us while we sorted out our paperwork at the Yacuiba border between Bolivia and Argentina. I would not recommend that crossing to anyone, and neither would Mika who has used the other options as well. However, I made it even more challenging by unknowingly trying to exit the country on an expired moto permit. D'oh!

I always check our documents well, but somehow managed to screw this one up when entering Bolivia. I asked the customs official for 90 days and he agreed, but the form only gave us 30 days and I didn't catch it. I never even noticed it. So I presented the document to the customs official to close it out. He asked why it was expired and my heart sank. Here we go... At first he said how major an offense this is, that he should confiscate the bike and charge 200% of its value (or something ridiculous) to release it. I told him that seemed excessive, using the tourist visa as an example (fines are ~US$3/day you overstay) and stating that we were around 10 days overdue, so US$20 seemed fair. He kept on shaking me down, giving stories about his manager showing up and how much more $$$ that would be. After an hour of waiting, talking, debating (very politely), pleading, and hoping, I finally persuaded him to throw out a number: US$160. That was nowhere close to the US$20 I had been sticking to. After a few more minutes of pleading (just pleading at this point), he agreed to US$40, with US$10 thrown in for his slimeball helper who mediated and would handle the cash. Ok. US$50 to leave the country on an expired import permit didn't seem that bad. I still can't believe that I was so clueless, but it least it wasn't too painful of a mistake. In total, the crossing took about 3.5 hours. Did I mention Mika was patient?

Another important feature of our day was changing USD into Argentine pesos. Given the crazy inflation happening in Argentina, the discrepancy between what the Argentine government admits (~10%) versus what the rest of the world - and individual Argentines - recognizes (~30%), and the limit the government places on its citizens access to cash, there is now a black market for US dollars. The official rate is somewhere around 4.8 pesos for each dollar. That is what you will get if you use an ATM, credit card, or bank in Argentina to access your USD account. We received 6.55 pesos for each dollar at the border. That's about a 40% improvement over the official rate! Thankfully we knew to expect that so brought enough US dollars to get us through this leg of Argentina.

After a burger in the border town, we made our way down the road to find out how hospitable Argentina is to travelers. Many towns have free municipal campgrounds and many gas stations let you camp for free and have decent bathrooms available.


(Mika with his Africa Twin at our gas station campsite)

The next day Mika took off to cover some distance towards Viedma, and we steered towards Salta. AR9 connecting San Salvador de Jujuy to Salta was a beautiful, twisty, 1.5 lane road through some lush mountains. It was a gorgeous day.




(Argentina is known for its horses)

Arriving in Salta we had 2 errands: eat food and get insurance. We were only able to get into Argentina by showing an "insurance" document, but would much rather have insurance (not just the "document") since it's required and all. The food stop was easy - good, cheap pizza. The insurance was a bit tougher as we hit town in the middle of siesta. So we waited until 4pm. But then the little insurance shop opened up and we got coverage good for Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, even Bolivia and Peru for just US$11 per month. We went with ATM seguros (S24 47.536 / W65 25.202) as it was cheaper and with better coverage than the Federacion Patronal (S24 47.214 W65 24.830).

ATM Seguros
Pje. Ruiz de los Llanos 1230 (4400)
Tel: (0387) 422 - 4247
GPS: S24 deg 47.536 min / W65 deg 25.202 min

By this time it was after 5pm and neither one of us was that excited about finding our way out of town and hitting the road again that evening. So we found a hostel that Mika had drawn on a napkin map and stayed the night. Sadly, the skies opened up for the last 15 minutes of our ride, so we arrived soaked. But better at a hostel than camping. And some Argentine moto travelers showed up later, too.

__________________
Travelin' Light ride report - 2 up on an ´89 Transalp through the Americas
.
Motojeros blog
csustewy is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2013, 05:21 AM   #311
jamesm417
Adventurer
 
Joined: Apr 2011
Location: Alaska
Oddometer: 44
Love your story

It makes me realize how much more my TA is capable of.

I'm definitely jealous.
jamesm417 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2013, 06:26 AM   #312
csustewy OP
Motojero
 
csustewy's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: back in Denver
Oddometer: 536
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesm417 View Post
It makes me realize how much more my TA is capable of.

I'm definitely jealous.
Hey jamesm - glad you enjoyed reading our tales, especially since you are a fellow TA owner! These machines are such a great all-arounder. We consider ourselves lucky to be able to take this trip. And we hope to ride Alaska someday too...
__________________
Travelin' Light ride report - 2 up on an ´89 Transalp through the Americas
.
Motojeros blog
csustewy is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2013, 06:28 AM   #313
csustewy OP
Motojero
 
csustewy's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: back in Denver
Oddometer: 536
Losing Dolly

Following the illustrious Ruta 40 south out of Salta took us through some green mountain scenery, rocky mountains of all colors, very red rocky mountains, and arid desert conditions. While we hit some loose ripio (= gravel) for a 40km stretch or so, most of the road was nicely paved.




(first evidence of wine region)




(campsite in Belem. Our chain got thrashed in the muddy adventures of Bolivia, so Mike spent the better part of the afternoon in the Belem gas station trying to free a couple of stuck links. We camped instead of continuing on after. While in the gas station a couple from Buenos Aires chatted with us and invited us to an asado at their place whenever we can make it there.)






(Our site at the municipal campgrounds in San Jose de Jachal. We arrived at ~8pm, set up camp, ate dinner, and had a beer all before the sun went down. We then went to bed around dark, with the campground empty. Around 11pm the place started filling up with groups cooking their asados. Crazy Argentines.)

Leaving Jachal we started heading towards Chile, not seeing a gas station, or much of anything really, for the next 310 kms. It was a beautiful ride, especially with the amazingly good weather we had - strong winds were offset by strong sun.






(at the Argentine side of the Agua Negra border crossing, something like 80 km before the actual limit. Within 10 min we were through migraciones and aduana, but they took our import permit, assuring us that we didn't need it. The Chileans disagreed, however. And the people that passed right behind us had their permit when we saw them in Chile. Inconsistencies are the norm)




(glacier snow near the top of the pass)




(the signs are wire mesh so the wind will pass through. Even so, we passed at least 1 metal sign that had been bent to the ground, presumably by wind)






(the mountains had amazing colors)





And then we finally hit the Chilean side of the crossing, separated by ~150 kms from the Argentina offices.



This was our least favorite crossing of the whole trip. Even considering the expired Bolivian permit, and all of the waiting in Central America. They took our only souvenir - our sheepskin seat cover that we picked up in Peru, washed ourselves, and had grown quite fond of. It still hurts a bit (both the fact that they took it, and the fact that the Corbin saddle is not so comfy). That sheep was like our 3rd companion. But no longer. Chile customs are very particular about what enters their country - no food, plants, etc, and no animal products of any kind are allowed. Had we known I would have stuffed the thing in my moto jacket, sweated through the process, and never claimed it. But enough of my sadness...

We continued down the Elqui Valley towards the coast, passing a ton of vineyards, a well known observatory (apparently with a months-long waiting list to visit), and the tourist town of Vicuña. We were glad to see that they accepted Visa, because there are no ATM's in town, and we had 0 Chilean pesos. So we went on down to La Serena to find an ATM, food, and a place to stay.

Finding an accessible ATM was a surprisingly big challenge, and when we did, it charged us US$6 for the transaction. Yikes! That was the first sign of how expensive Chile is. Next up was our food stop. A small, unassuming cafe sat off the beach a few blocks right next to a hostel. The cafe was on the expensive side (we thought) at ~US$6-8 per entree, but we were starving and ate there anyways. The hostel provided us with some entertainment when they quoted a room rate of US$80. Uhhh..no thanks. We asked around for camping and were told to go along the beach to a casino where we could (oddly) find camping. Well, we found where it used to be. All the cheap looking hotels quoted us US$60 for a room, with camping to be found 45 minutes out of town back up the Elqui valley. Finally, a gas station attendant steered us towards a strip of hotels with rooms at US$40 (total). Perhaps our most expensive night of the trip. But at least it came with breakfast, and had it's own kitchen too.

The next day we found a new chain (at Tonino motors, which is an absolute rip off - costing us US$75 for a DID non O-ring style, after passing up a nice O-ring chain in Argentina for US$50 thinking (1) that we might run out of Argentine pesos on our way to the border and (2) that Argentina was always more expensive for parts...don't believe everything that you hear online...) to replace the one that could just never get freed. At the same time we ran into Mauricio working on his busted speedo on his Africa Twin. He was headed up to Peru to travel, then spend time with family in Argentina. Maybe we'll see him that way...


(Mauricio from Spain with his Africa Twin)

Outside of a Chinese restaurant, a guy pulled up next to us on his Yamaha XT and started chatting. Osvaldo turned out to be one of our best random acquaintance encounter of the entire trip! He offered moto help if needed (he's a mechanic), invited us to his place or to take a moto tour of the area. Since Mike had pulled the carbs to clean them that afternoon, our chance to get to Osvaldo's place was about zero. Instead, he showed up with his girlfriend Carla.



They were extremely nice, fun to talk to, and excited to hear about Bolivia as they are planning their own trip that direction. To top it all off, they asked if we eat meat, went for an errand to return with olives, chips, a variety of meat and wine to boot! As if that wasn't enough, they even brought their own grill and cooked all of the food for us. It was fantastic! They turned our attitude towards Chile right around.



While we didn't get to know them as well, we talked with some parking lot attendants for awhile outside of a Home Center (had to get some good chain lube, especially since not running O-rings anymore...). They were super nice, again picking up our outlook.


(it's been too long for me to remember their names, but they were Peruvians working in Chile.)

We moved on from La Serena, excited to avoid the Panamerican and see some of what the interior of Chile has to offer...
__________________
Travelin' Light ride report - 2 up on an ´89 Transalp through the Americas
.
Motojeros blog
csustewy is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2013, 01:31 PM   #314
csustewy OP
Motojero
 
csustewy's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: back in Denver
Oddometer: 536
Family Time in Santiago

First night out of La Serena took us to Socos "Hot" Springs. It wasn't far from La Serena, but we weren't far from Santiago, either, and we had a couple of days to fill before meeting Mike's parents there. Camping at Socos was expensive (seems to be a trend for Chile...) at almost US$10 per person! It seemed worth it since they had a nice big open air pool next to the entrance. When we came back after setting up our tent, we found out that their hot tubs cost a lot extra (US$7 for half hour), so we just went swimming. In a very cold pool. There was no hot about it. Cold. It was cold. Booooooooo. (At least the guard warned us about "goat-dogs" (when translated literally), since they did attack the trash can where our food packaging went.)

The next day at Illapel we asked around about a place to stay. The cheap looking places in town were out of our range. A gas station attendant recommended a place on the edge of town, Casa Blanca. The cleaning lady that met us was extremely nice, but told us a room would US$80. Yikes! She called around town and found us a US$60 option, but still. Then she called the owners to see if we could camp on their grounds. No dice. (But instead of telling her/us that on the phone, they made us wait 20 minutes for them to arrive, and then still didn't want to deal with us.) So on to the coast in search of camping...

We eventually found it at Pichidangui, a super sleepy little coastal town. The Camping el Bosque was cheap (US$10 for one night, no charge for second) and literally on the beach - perfect!







Arriving in Santiago was a bit overwhelming, but we were able to find moto district, which made us feel a bit at home. There we picked up some parts (plugs, fuel line and filter, grease), machined out the front sprocket cover to let it breathe/clean easier, and found a nice shop that let Mike change the oil. For anyone interested, moto district can be found on Lira (GPS: S33 deg 27.423 min / W70 deg 38.217 min) and if you are in need of a shop, check out Oscar's place. He had plenty of big Hondas and a KTM in for service and was highly recommended by locals:

JJO Motos
Oscar Villablanca
Copiapo 330
Tele 634 7244 / Cel 08 570 8491
Email oskarvr@msn.com
GPS: S33 deg 27.172 min / W70 deg 38.102 min

Seeing Mike's parents for a bit over a week was great - a much appreciated vacation within our trip. It had been a long time since we've seen any family, and it was really nice of them to make their way all the way to Santiago to visit us. We had a fantastic time. Here are some highlights:


(it was Christmas time in Santiago, and this tree outside the train station was the most decoration we saw...actually quite refreshing compared to countries that display a more commercial side to Christmas. And aside from that, please note that the statues on top of the train station are of the elusive llama-dragon. Yes, llama-dragons.)


(Jill and Mike in Valparaiso)


(Pablo Nerudo's house in Valpo, La Sebastiana. It was interesting to tour and see all the random stuff this acclaimed poet collected. Stories about him were also interesting as he was quite eccentric and very social - a fun combination. We tried to ride the funicular up to his house, but since it was closed got some stair climbing exercise instead.)



Back in Santiago, we tried for some more funicular riding, but it just wasn't meant to be. So we spent a few days walking around different neighborhoods and seeing a couple of museums.




(street art in Bellavista, Santiago)


(the Contemporary Art museum had some interesting exhibits)


(this museum is highly recommended to visit - The Human Rights Museum. It presents a hard story to tell about Chile's past. The candle light room on the 2nd floor facing a huge wall of photographs of the disappeared was especially moving.)


(we ate on the outskirts of the central market, much cheaper than the very center, and still incredibly good. The pastel de jaiba is delectable.)


(I thought it was cool that they had libraries in their subway stops)

We also took a one night trip to the Colchagua wine valley, which was a phenomenal experience. We toured/tasted wines at 3 different wineries that were quite distinct from each other in size, how they operate, and what they are after. Each produce a find product as far as we can tell.


(Lapostolle winery)


(the place is an architectural masterpiece, using gravity to feed the wine through 7 stories of processing)


(this little guy helps out with the process)


(Hands down best lunch, best meal even, that we've had on this trip.)



That afternoon in the town of Santa Cruz there was a little bit of rain, which brought the snails out.



That evening we toured Neyen winery, one of the oldest in the area.




(gnarly old grape vines)




(the tasting is, of course, the best part)

The next day we checked out Viu Manent after missing our scheduled tour at Montes. While Montes would've been interesting to check out (they play Gregorian chants in one of their rooms to provide sound energy for their fermenting wine), they were less than accommodating when we were a few minutes late, especially given that we were the only ones there... So we went on over to Viu Manent where the staff was super friendly and we got a nice tour for a fair price.




(quality control lab. But mostly still done by taste...)


(quality control sample)







Once back in Santiago, it was like Christmas. Mike's parents had brought some parts for the TA, a couple of new shirts to replace ours with holes, and they even brought Jill some beef jerky from IA. On top of that, Mike's nieces had made some very nice gifts that were sent along as well:




(ornamented TA)



Mike's dad helped out with some random moto maintenance (adjusted fork oil level, new fuel line and filter, inspect fuel tap, new screws to replace stripped float bowl screws, new speedo drive and cable, new foam air filter). It was nice to have an extra pair of hands and eyes for all of that.

And then before we knew it, it was time to part ways. When Mike's parents flew back to the states, we decided to head directly back to Argentina to take advantage of the traveler friendly environment. Off to Mendoza...
__________________
Travelin' Light ride report - 2 up on an ´89 Transalp through the Americas
.
Motojeros blog
csustewy is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2013, 01:34 PM   #315
csustewy OP
Motojero
 
csustewy's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: back in Denver
Oddometer: 536
Why We Like Argentina

We were excited to get back to Argentina because of the free to cheap camping, extremely friendly people and the always available and always delicious milanesa...

The ride over to Mendoza was relatively uneventful, but we did meet a couple of Canadian guys, Greg and David, who were also heading that way. They had been on the road for about the same amount of time we have, had met on the road and have been traveling together off and on since California. David was selling a house in Buenas Aires, so they had been there several months. They were just finishing up a very rainy trip through southern Chile. We had a good time hanging out with them for a couple days in Mendoza.


(Mike, Greg and David at the border after customs. Jill was reprimanded by an official for taking the picture. Apparently it is illegal to take photos inside the customs building. Customs was pretty painless here, with us having to wait in line for about 20 minutes. It was extremely organized, with both Argentina and Chile processes being done in the same building.)





Mendoza is known for its wine, and there were lots of bodegas (vineyards) surrounding the city. We ended up overindulging on the cheap Mendozan wine, forcing us to stay an extra day or two. Once we got out of town, we headed to San Rafael, a smaller town that also has a lot of grape production. We had been in contact with an English couple, John and Annette, who had done their own South American motorcycle trip about 10 years ago. They bought a farm outside of San Rafael 7 years ago and now make their living growing and selling grapes, walnuts and plums. We got there for Christmas Eve and enjoyed hanging out on the farm for a couple of days. They are a very entertaining couple with lots of stories and knowledge of the area. They were nice enough to share their food with us, and we plan on returning to work for a few weeks on their farm once we have made it to Ushuaia and back.


(John and Annette on the farm)

From there, we headed south, needing to be in Bariloche within a week to meet up with a friend of ours who was coming in from the States.


(There was not much to look at for quite a while heading south on Ruta 40.)


(Then we finally got some decent views of the mountains. About the time we could see the mountains, however, we also started feeling the infamous cold winds that Patagonia is known for.)




(We were frozen but happy to arrive at the municipal campgrounds in Chos Malal. It even had hot water. Chos Malal was a nice little town, from what we saw. In the morning we were looking for some empanadas on the plaza and a municipal worker stopped us, asked us what we were looking for, and then had us follow him on the bike over to a delicious pizza/empanada place.)

The next day we made it to Zapala. The drive was nothing too exciting, but we were again able to find cheap municipal camping just outside of town.




(Probably the highlight of Zapala for us was eating at the truck stop - los Camioneros - just down the road from El Bosque camping. This Milanesa Napolitana (breaded meat with tomatos, cheese and ham on top) was delicious!)

The next day we headed down to San Martin de los Andes, a very touristy small town.




(And the ACA (Argentine Automobile Club) campsite had wifi in the tent!)


(This truck parked a little too close for comfort while we were eating lunch in town before heading out. At least he didn't hit the bike.)

From San Martin, we headed to the 7 Lakes district just north of Bariloche. It was beautiful, but had lots of traffic, as it is vacation time in Argentina and there were lots of people in the area.










(The view from our free campsite on Rio Villarino)
__________________
Travelin' Light ride report - 2 up on an ´89 Transalp through the Americas
.
Motojeros blog
csustewy is online now   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 02:30 PM.


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