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Old 04-05-2012, 10:38 AM   #106
troyfromtexas OP
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The Adventure Begins... Puerto Montt and NAVIMAG'ing


I returned to Puerto Montt.

I visited the artisan market.

Where they produce various types of woven objects of wool...

And these wooden mates (mugs) for drinking yerba mate.

The artisan market was near the seafood market

Where they had various types of shellfish...

Sea urchins...

And packaged smoked salmon. I bought a package.

There were a number of friendly dogs hanging around ready to pick up scraps.

But I wasn't in Puerto Montt to shop or eat seafood.

I was there to NAVIMAG!

While these people were waiting to board the NAVIMAG

I was boarding with Emi into the cargo deck.

I met some fellow adventure motorcyclists while boarding the NAVIMAG. Jordan and Sandra are from Canada and riding around South America on BMW F650s... and NAVIMAGing.

We set sail.
See Video
It was smooth sailing.

There were a number of people on board that I'd met in the previous week while staying at different hostels... Grant (USA) Eva (Germany) and Joyeeta (USA)

To pass time we played cards, mostly spades. Thomas (Holland), Eva (Germany), Joyeeta (USA) and Monique (Holland).

Settlers of Catan...

The dice version...

and Bingo.

We would eat this this cafeteria.

We'd pass time in this lounge.

We traveled through channels and fjords.

The captain kept us on course from the bridge.

It was cloudy for much of the trip.

But even from inside the scenery was pretty cool.

And once once in a while the skies opened up.

To reveal some of the surrounding mountains and fjords.

Our little ferry was dwarfed by the immensity of our surroundings.

A highlight of the trip was when we passed by this glacier.

Before I knew it, we had reached Puerto Natales and it was time to deboard.

For the full story visit NAVIMAGing
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Old 04-05-2012, 10:44 AM   #107
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The Adventure Begins... The Final Stretch


From Puerto Natales I rode to Punta Arenas.

See Video
The road to Punta Arenas was asphalt, smooth and scenic, but a bit windy.

See Video
I came across this Colombian Adventure Scooter rider who was riding from Colombia to Ushuaia on a Yamaha 125 Scooter.

From Punta Arenas I took a 2 hour ferry ride to the town of Provenir. It was late, so I found an hotel and stayed the night in Provenir.
See Video
From Provenir to San Sebastion, the road was dirt and gravel and through the rain.

In San Sebastian I passed through the Argentinian border post.

The border agent incorrectly stamped my temporary driver permit with an exit stamp instead of an entry stamp. Luckily I caught the error and she corrected it.

I passed through the town of Rio Grande and I knew that I was close.

The scenery changed from desert to coast to forrest.

I was getting close and I knew the end of the road was approaching.

I took a break at this scenic overlook to take it all in.

The overlook had a nice view of a lake and the Girabaldi Pass.

And then I arrived in Ushuaia.
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Old 04-05-2012, 10:49 AM   #108
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The Adventure Begins... Ushuaia...The End Of The World


Well... I made it. An ordinary guy... on an extraordinary adventure. The adventure began in Texas.

Texas a la Tierra... Austin, Texas, USA to Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina... The End of the World...El Fin Del Mundo.

About 13,000 miles (20,000 km) over 5 months.

My trusty girl Emi along for the ride.

Through sun, heat, clouds, cold, wind and rain.

Over asphalt, gravel, dirt and sand... land, air and sea.

Great people, places and adventures along the way.

Time to jump for joy!

There is not much more for me to do...

...other than to head south.
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Old 04-05-2012, 10:50 AM   #109
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Quote:
Originally Posted by troyfromtexas View Post
The NAVIMAG ferry was not leaving for 3 days. I decided to check around Puerto Montt for some motorcycle maintenance.

Turns out there was a Suzuki dealer and workshop in Puerto Montt. I took Emi in for an oil change, filter change, lube and valve timing.

I've never done a valve timing, but I watched the mechanic as he did the work. Seems pretty simple. I'll have to try it some day.

I also asked the mechanic to add a carb drainage tube and adjust the idle a little. Emi had been running a little rough. He did it and showed me how to do it. Now I know.

I didn't feel like staying in Puerto Montt for three days, so I decided to visit a town just north called Puerto Varas.
Great up date and pics Troy! S. Chile and Arg. are fantastic! I hope to see it again some day! (I was all over the area in the 70's)

You are not checking "valve timing", but rather valve clearance. Timing is taken care of via your ECU/CDI box. All electronic. This is a job you really should learn to do yourself. It is super easy. Just make sure you learn where the TDC marks are and that you are on the compression stroke. Once you have done it once it's easy. You only need feeler gauges and something to remove inspection covers.

Same goes with the carb. I would learn to pull it off and clean it ... or at least rotate it round and remove float bowl. Rough running is more likely the Fuel-Air Pilot screw ... or a clogged filter.

Have you checked the little filter that sits in the metal fuel inlet tube that goes into carb? It's a tiny white filter. (on the road I carry a spare)

Did you buy the extended fuel screw? If not, then access is tricky. But fine tuning this screw can smooth running, especially at high altitude. Do it HOT ... then set your Idle last. Turn in fuel screw (clockwise) until idle becomes rough ... then back it out no more than 1/4 turn or until idle smooths. IN is lean (better fuel economy) ... OUT is rich, smoother idle but use of more fuel. A slightly rough idle is preferable to using too much fuel.

Not only should clean your fuel filters but also the filters inside you fuel tank attached to your petcock. To do this, flush the fuel tank. First drain fuel. (set aside) Remove petcock carefully. Use a tooth brush and solvent and gently scrub the filter and flush out Petcock. (Petcock and filter are one piece) Now add back in a bit of fuel to tank (petcock still out), slosh around and drain. Check what comes out if you can. Any crap in there?

This is basic on the road maintenance. I hope the mechanics you intrust your Emi to are good. Being mechanical, I'm nervous letting others fiddle.
But there are some amazing mechanics down there too. Continued good luck and safe travels!!


Your petcock may look different than this one ... this is IMS one. Note screen. The fuel tube goes UP into your tank and filter screens out crap. Should be clean.

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Originally Posted by troyfromtexas View Post


Adv Grifter screwed with this post 04-05-2012 at 10:57 AM
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Old 04-05-2012, 10:53 AM   #110
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The Adventure Begins... When The Road Ends

Ushuaia is known as el fin del mundo (the end of the world). It is the largest city in this isolated part of the world. However, there is actually a smaller town that is 20km further south of Ushuaia called Lapataia. I traveled to Lapataia and sought out the actual end of the road.

This is the end of the road, the marker, Emi and me. Okay, it is official. I hit the end of the road.

The signs says, "Here ends route No. 3"

Here is the view at the end of the road.

And a little beyond.
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Old 04-05-2012, 03:10 PM   #111
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Great up date and pics Troy! S. Chile and Arg. are fantastic! I hope to see it again some day! (I was all over the area in the 70's)

You are not checking "valve timing", but rather valve clearance. Timing is taken care of via your ECU/CDI box. All electronic. This is a job you really should learn to do yourself. It is super easy. Just make sure you learn where the TDC marks are and that you are on the compression stroke. Once you have done it once it's easy. You only need feeler gauges and something to remove inspection covers.

Same goes with the carb. I would learn to pull it off and clean it ... or at least rotate it round and remove float bowl. Rough running is more likely the Fuel-Air Pilot screw ... or a clogged filter.
Grifter, Thanks for the tips. I've adjusted the Fuel-Air-Pilot screw a bit. She seems to be running better now. I installed a fuel filter between my petcock and carb at the beginning of my trip. Seems to be clean, but I may change it soon. I'm carrying an extra.
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Old 04-07-2012, 07:51 AM   #112
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The Adventure Begins... Big Adventure Motorcycle Comparison - BMW R1200GS vs. KTM 990

See the Video

I thought that some of you might enjoy this adventure motorcycle comparison test: BMW R1200GS vs. KTM 990 Adventure vs. Yamaha Super Tenere. How the big boys stack up against each other side by side.
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Old 04-09-2012, 09:02 AM   #113
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The Adventure Begins... Antarctica


Antarctica...The South Pole...The White Continent...The Seventh Continent...Terra Australis.

While I was in Santiago, Chile I met some travelers that had just returned from Antarctica. They shared with me that in Ushuaia it was possible to book last minute trips to Antarctica at a pretty steep discount. It peaked my interest. I researched it a little bit and found it to be true. But, there was a catch. The arctic exploration season is short, generally lasting about 4 months from late November to early March. I was told the last voyages typically leave the first week of March. I would have to rush.

And so I rushed through Southern Chile riding at a pretty rapid pace. I traveled most days and only stopped for short excursions. I jumped on a ferry which helped me cover quite a bit of ground/sea in a short amount of time.

I arrived in Ushuaia on March 7th

I booked a voyage to Antarctica on March 8th

The ship set sail on March 9th

For the full story visit Antarctica
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Old 04-09-2012, 11:45 AM   #114
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Congratulations on pulling off the Antarctic trip. I've heard about these last minute discounted opportunities before from other riders. Can you tell us what the trip actually cost you? How many days? Is it common to be able to do this? When you come on as a discounted fare, do you get the same cabin/service/meals as Full Fare passengers?

I did two tours at Palmer Station, Ant. in the late 70's. A Winter Over (13 months) and a Summer season (5 months) also worked in Ushuaia.
Friends ask me about these boat tours and expect me to know all about it. I don't, and don't have current info on this. I do know some tours are very pricey but if you can snag a last minute berth it's not too bad. True?

Did you do all this online and email? I believe there are now several companies touring the Antarctic peninsula in Summer. Any idea how many are in operation?

When I was there only two companies operated. Linblad Explorer and some German company whose name escapes me. Back then, the US program, USARP, allowed tourist boats to stop and visit Palmer station and visit local Penguin rookeries on nearby islands. No longer.
They found the visits a distraction to getting Science done and disruptive to studies being undertaken on near-by islands. So you won't be visiting Palmer.

I've been to all the Chilean and Argentine stations and spent time at several British stations further South and spent time at the Falklands and South Orkney Islands as well.

I got to fly around in Twin Otter Aircraft with both the Argentine Air Force and BAS (British Antarctic Survey). Also visited Russian and Polish stations (by boat) Both were well into fishing out the Krill ... which apparently they've done as there has been a huge die off of Adele Penguins in the last 10 years.

The Chilean and Argentines are doing no real science there and are using the area simply to "stake a claim" and exploit tourism or any other way to make the Antarctic profitable. They even bring pregnant women over to have children to help lay claim to the land. All BS of course.

As you know, Chile, Argentina and the UK claim overlapping areas. None are valid claims and all go against the Antarctic Treaty. The US disregards them all, as do most in the international community who do actual work in the Antarctic. I spent a year hanging out with the Argentines and Chileans so I know that was all true back then. Now? Who knows, maybe they are doing some actual science?
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Old 04-20-2012, 03:17 AM   #115
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Originally Posted by Adv Grifter View Post
Congratulations on pulling off the Antarctic trip. I've heard about these last minute discounted opportunities before from other riders. Can you tell us what the trip actually cost you? How many days? Is it common to be able to do this? When you come on as a discounted fare, do you get the same cabin/service/meals as Full Fare passengers?

I did two tours at Palmer Station, Ant. in the late 70's. A Winter Over (13 months) and a Summer season (5 months) also worked in Ushuaia.
Friends ask me about these boat tours and expect me to know all about it. I don't, and don't have current info on this. I do know some tours are very pricey but if you can snag a last minute berth it's not too bad. True?

Did you do all this online and email? I believe there are now several companies touring the Antarctic peninsula in Summer. Any idea how many are in operation?
The 12 day excursion cost me $4500. There are 9 day excursions starting at about $3700. These prices are beween 40-50% percent off the standard fare. I had a standard cabin. There are a number of travel agencies booking the tours, but I believe that there are only a few companies actually providing the tours. How many, I don't know. I booked my trip through a local agent that worked through the hotel at which I was staying. One can walk up and down the main street and compare prices. I compared around a bit and all of the agencies seemed to offer the same prices for the same ships. I received all the same accommodation as the other passengers. Is it common? I met other independant travellers that booked last minute trips, but the majority of the passengers had planned their trips out many months or many years in advance. Once a ship fills up it fills up. Some people had to wait a week or more for an opening on a ship and thus had to pay for additional days of accommodation in Ushuaia, which can add up. I wanted to and was able to get on a ship right away. From what I gathered, the ship I was on does not have open space very often, only at the end of the season. Just lucky I suppose. I believe there are fewer openings during the start and peak of the season and more openings at the end of the season. The seas get sketchier at the end of the season. I hope this helps.
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Old 04-20-2012, 07:23 AM   #116
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Great to meet you, Troy!

Hopefully we'll run into you further down the road as we both head North.

Leading us, Cathy and Andrew through Puerto Montt:
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Old 04-20-2012, 10:59 AM   #117
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The seas get sketchier at the end of the season. I hope this helps.
Thanks for the update.
Wow, things are very expensive!

I crossed the Drake passage nine times. Worst crossing was late March, sea state of 9. 60 ft swells. Our little boat never moved ... even at full power was only barely able to maintain position. The crossing took 9 days ... usually, 3 or 4 was normal.

The very best way to see the area is by air. I was lucky to fly with the Argentines and British. Mind blowing from the air. Someday I'll have to digitize all my slides from back then.

Safe travels
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Old 05-08-2012, 10:31 PM   #118
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Great to meet you, Troy!

Hopefully we'll run into you further down the road as we both head North.

Leading us, Cathy and Andrew through Puerto Montt:
Cheers, thanks for the photo. I hope to see you down the road. Your blog looks great.
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Old 05-10-2012, 05:39 PM   #119
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The Adventure Begins... Gone Fishing

Sorry, I've been a way for awhile.


While in Patagonia, I decided to do a little fishing.

Click on the links for the full stories.

Parque Nacional Tierra Del Fuego

Rio Ewen

Rio Grande

Rio Maullin

Rio Malleo
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:46 PM   #120
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The Adventure Begins... A Slight Detour of 5 Hours

From the town of Rio Grande I planned to ride across Tierra del Fuego through San Sebastian to a little town call Provenir from which I would take a 2 hour ferry to Puntas Arenas.

The journey started off on asphalt with moderate wind gust of around 20mph. By now any gusts under 50mph are manageable.

When I reached the pampa the wind dropped...but so did the rain.

From San Sebastion it was gravel and dirt and rain. Luckily it was not cold, so I didn't mind it so much. Actually I kind of enjoyed it. There was absolutely no traffic on the road. Except for a patagonia fox, a few guanacos and some nandus. I tried to stop and take photos, but those critters are fast.

Sometimes when I'm riding in these remote areas with no traffic coming or going I get a little nervous. What if I go down? What if I get lost?

But for some reason today all of those negative thoughts did not occupy my mind. I was open to whatever lay ahead. The total ride should have taken about 4 hours. But the rain, animals and some photo taking slowed me down.

As I neared Provenir I checked my watch... 1:55pm. Uh oh... the ferry was leaving at 2:00pm.

I needed to push. I sped through town.

Just as I was pulling up to the ferry loading area...the ferry was raising it's gate and pulling out to sea.

I had missed it by about 2 minutes. Shucks!

My options were not good. The ferry departed once a day. The next ferry would be the next day. There was an alternative route in which I could travel east and north, take a 15 minute ferry, then west and south, basically making a loop around the Strait of Magellan and a bay. The route would take about 5-6 hours.

I was kicking myself for stopping to take photos of those guanacos. I didn't even get a good shot before they ran off.

Not wanting to stay in Provenir and waste daylight I decide to take the alternative route.

I asked for directions from two different people. It's my way of confirming directions. Each person warned me that the first stretch is ripio (gravel). I asked how bad it was. All I got back in response was a facial gesture that I was not entirely sure how to interpret. Ripio can be fun to ride in if it is compacted, but dreadful to ride in if it is loose.

I filled up with gas, then headed off.

The first few miles it was all asphalt. And then came the ripio. I slowed down. At first the road was primarily hard pack dirt with small pieces of gravel the size of peas. Easy to ride on.

Then I came across some larger gravel the size of olives. Still easy to ride on, but the larger pieces of gravel allow the tire to slide around a bit more.

Then came grooves of hard packed dirt with banks of loose gravel. It's fine to ride in the grooves, but to move over one of the banks or to react in an emergency could be tricky.

I relaxed and rode on. Every once in a while I'd come across a grapefruit sized rock in the middle of my groove that I would have to avoid. OK, hop the bank, no problem. But honestly, I was kind of in the zone.
See video
The weather had cleared and the wind was moderate. I was riding and standing and weaving between the obstacles like it was second nature. I was enjoying this.

After about 2:30 hours of pure riding bliss I came upon the Strait of Magellan where I would catch a 15 minute ferry to the other side of the bay. This ferry was still waiting for me.

Since this was a short crossing the ferry crew did not even strap down Emi. I was kind of surprised. I was wondering if they were just playing games with the foreigner, but no, no one came to strap down Emi.



While we were in transit I got off Emi to take this picture. As we crested a wave Emi was rocked and almost fell over. I decided that I should sit on her to hold her steady for the remainder of the crossing.

After crossing the Straight of Magellan I headed west and south along the bay.

I came to an intersection. Staring at me from across the road and up on a plateau was this guanaco. It was all by itself... just standing there... staring at me... after about 2 minutes it left... then I left.

The road was asphalt, but the wind really started to pick up. I leaned into the wind to keep my bike straight. Also, I employed the technique of sticking leg out to act as a sail to capture the wind...I call it the chicken wing technique. It was a pretty uncomfortable ride for 3 hours.

What started out as a nice ride in the dirt during the morning turned into a brutal ride against the wind.


I did see some more guanacos.

And some nandus.

I arrived in Punta Arenas at about 8pm. It was already dark. I found a hostel and found the bed. It had been a long day, but I reached my destination. I was happy.

For the full story visit A Slight Detour
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