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Old 01-29-2013, 07:09 PM   #91
rockymountainoyster OP
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BiciMapas

Someone asked about BiciMapas. I have this data base loaded on my Garmin Montana 650t. It is far more detailed than the Garmin NT North America data base. I A B compared them one afternoon by alternately turning them on and off. I was amazed at the detail that disappeared when I turned off the BiciMapas. They have just issued an update that I will download as soon as I get to a PC with Garmin Mapsource and enough bandwidth to download this large file. No doubt that it is not perfect, none of these things are, but this one seems pretty good so far.
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:14 PM   #92
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockymountainoyster View Post
Someone asked about BiciMapas. I have this data base loaded on my Garmin Montana 650t. It is far more detailed than the Garmin NT North America data base. I A B compared them one afternoon by alternately turning them on and off. I was amazed at the detail that disappeared when I turned off the BiciMapas. They have just issued an update that I will download as soon as I get to a PC with Garmin Mapsource and enough bandwidth to download this large file. No doubt that it is not perfect, none of these things are, but this one seems pretty good so far.
+1 here, as well.
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Old 02-06-2013, 06:13 PM   #93
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La Serena, Chile

I have a lot of 'splaining to do. I have been in and out of La Serena about five times now and finally found the beach! It is great, especially if you like urban beaches (Honolulu, Venice/Santa Monica, Ocean Beach, CA, Ocean City, MD in the summer, all of your personal favorites in so many places)

I have been at a lot of beaches, desert, mountains, hot springs, geysers, and endless kilometers of highway in the last couple of weeks. I have a so so internet connection now and want to try to update a bit. I have to reach back to the final day of the Dakar Rally to really catch you up. Especially those of you who like motorcycles. I was at the checkpoint about half way through the last day of the Dakar. Spent a lot of hours there waiting for first riders to come in. I totally sauteed myself in the Chilean son. Only got to see a couple of the cars roll in and none of the big trucks. It was cool anyway but a long day in the hot sun. Can only imagine what the riders go through. There were some pretty tired dudes rolling through on that last day. Two grueling weeks in the desert. The posture of many of the riders showed the deep fatigue. I would not be there for the final closing and it was not necessary. I learned so much from the riders who came by, barely able to lift a gloved hand off of the left handlebar to acknowledge the adulation of the enthusiastic throng. These riders had left enthusiasm somewhere out on the vast Atacama that I have just traversed and were just tired to the bone.











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rockymountainoyster screwed with this post 02-06-2013 at 06:22 PM Reason: Duplicate image.
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Old 02-07-2013, 05:16 PM   #94
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Vicuña, Chile



The local brew. Good stuff and they make a good stout too.



Solar de Las Madariaga - Courtyard



Solar de las Madariaga



The simple birthplace of Chilean poet and Nobel Laureate Gabriela Mistral (1945-the year I was born) It is interesting how greatness often emerges from humble beginnings.



Birthplace of Gabriela Mistral.



Casa de Las Madariaga
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Old 02-07-2013, 08:15 PM   #95
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[The posture of many of the riders showed the deep fatigue. I would not be there for the final closing and it was not necessary. I learned so much from the riders who came by, barely able to lift a gloved hand off of the left handlebar to acknowledge the adulation of the enthusiastic throng. These riders had left enthusiasm somewhere out on the vast Atacama that I have just traversed and were just tired to the bone.]

David, I want to hear more about the Dakar when we get together. Last year, Ned Suesse, a Colorado rider that participated and then gave a presentation at Wolfman Luggage in Longmont (among other places), spoke of the great expense for even observers. I would love to see the activity at the end of a stage, if it was affordable. Jim
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Old 02-12-2013, 06:38 AM   #96
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Dakar Rally

The Dakar Rally appears to be a very strictly controlled and moderated commercial enterprise. They have lots of sponsorship and evidently good cooperation from law enforcement here in Chile. The place where I went to view a checkpoint a little over half way through the final stage was Limache. The riders came through there on what amounts to a county road after exiting the freeway. This was not an organized and authorized viewing point and there was no "action" to see, just riders trickling in over a number of hours, sometimes singles, sometimes in groups, motos before 4 wheelers and then finally the cars and trucks. I only saw a couple of the cars after being there for about 6 or 7 hours. Interesting to see some of the bikes and riders but ultimately a gigantic bore. I am not a huge spectator. The crowd was huge and it grew from early in the day through the afternoon. They were very enthusiastic as the riders entered and left to finish the stage in a less accessible area. There were two "check in" areas. On the right was the area for motos and 4 wheelers. On the left was the area for the cars and trucks. Access to these areas was very strictly controlled. If you did not have a pass you didn't get in "just to have a look". The police presence was huge and they were very chill... no pressure or heavy handedness, just polite no and please move. We were not even allowed to stand around the entrance to the check in area. My best vantage point was near the freeway ramps where the riders and drivers entered and exited. It was very hard to get any information about times and locations outside of what the rally posted on its website. This place was not even on the website as an official "viewing point". I only learned about it from a Chilean friend. None of the people around us seemed to know much of anything (generally true in Chile, no one seems to know much, especially about how you get from here to there). We did find a guy who was getting info on his cell phone in real time. He was a real "fan" There were a lot of real "fans" some knowledgable some just out for the party. The way people mobbed the riders would never be allowed at any "mosport" event I have been to in fifty or more years of attending such events. The fun in this was in seeing and being with the enthusiastic crowd. As i said previously the riders didn't seem to have much left. A few of them were clearly pissed off and rode aggressively off the road and around the crowd. Most of them accepted the adulation with a degree of exhausted grace.
I have found that Chile is damn expensive... this is especially true when you get into the resort and more remote areas. Lodging is expensive, food is expensive, gasoline is expensive. A lot of places are booked and sometimes you have to search a bit to find something that is less than you wanted for more than you wanted to pay. It is summer vacation here and the lodging and restaurant operators hose everybody just like they do at resorts at home. There is not a lot of English spoken here in Chile and it is a bit harder to navigate around than in Mexico for example. I do speak a bit of Spanish and am traveling with a Chilean friend, which has its own complications.
The Atacama to the north of where I am in Viña del Mar is quite a challenge in terms of distance, places to stay, availability of fuel and water. There are really long distances in a few places between gas stops. I don't have my GPS with me. Did not bring it because I don't have a SA data base loaded. I have been using the road atlas booklet that is produced by and available at the Copec gas stations. It is called Chiletur Copec, La Guia Para Conocer Chile.
For those of you who want more information about the Dakar you can go to their website. They seem to keep a pretty tight rein on things. Jim Hyde of RawHyde adventures was down here with a bunch of his guys last year. I don't know if they were here this year. He would be a great source of information on the Dakar. Check out his website.

The Dakar has a well oiled ORGANIZACION
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Old 02-13-2013, 06:40 AM   #97
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[QUOTE=rockymountainoyster;20706921]The Dakar Rally appears to be a very strictly controlled and moderated commercial enterprise.]


David, Thanks for the Dakar background. It filled in a lot of blanks for me. I can relate to being "not a huge spectator." My dream would be to camp out in one of the overnight setups that serve as the end of one stage as well as the beginning of the next. But as Neduro shared, it's prohibitively expensive. Your other comments on language and cost differences in Chile vs. Mexico are also good to know.
Enjoy your time in Chile as it continues. Jim
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:09 PM   #98
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Vina del Mar, Chile

I am finishing up the last few days of my side trip to Chile in Vina del Mar. I will back track to some of the other locations as I get some time. Too bad I can't write and post on the nearly nine hour overnight flight. I think I have mentioned that in my trip from Santiago to Antofagasta and then over to San Pedro de Atacama and back to Antofagasta and down to Vina del Mar that I have covered a lot of incredibly beautiful territory. I have put about 4500 kms on a rental car in just under three weeks. I have looked at a lot of hotel rooms and stayed in a number too. The biggest surprise for me in Chile was the cost of everything. I think I have been averaging more than $150/night on hotels. Sometimes more. Meals are priced about like the US if you want to eat in a decent place. You can find bargains but the quality suffers. One of the cheapest meals I have had here was just down the street at the Marine Reserve Club (Club de Infantes de Marina En Reserva, on Calle Valparaiso) 3000 CP ($6.37) for a lunch of chicken, salad, soup and a beer. That is a deal! The place I am staying the next couple of nights is about $81/night, the two nights before was $85. This seems to be the going rate for the little hotels in the older buildings. They are great place to stay, most have off street parking, and you can walk everywhere you want to go. There are great buildings and museums here, the beach is beautiful, the water a bit cold, and the girl watching is pretty spectacular though the lady I am with takes great exception to my ogling. It is kind of an issue..

If you come here look for a place to stay in the area south of the river (estero) and west of or on Avenida Von Schroeders there are a number of decent reasonable places around there. When you go north of the river there are some nice places in the $200/night range and then there are the expensive places like the Ankara, O'Higgins, Hotel del Mar (which has a slot stuffed casino, roulette, blackjack, the whole nine yards)

You can find all kinds of "affordable" places but a nice lunch or dinner for two is going to cost 50 bucks. A really nice dinner with a great Chilean wine will rival the price of that dinner in any US resort town. (I live in one).

Vina seems pretty pedestrian and moto friendly. It is easy to get around, it is laid out on a grid and the streets are named logically... first north or south or east (oriente) west (poniente) though there are person and place named streets. I highly recommend a couple of days in Vina if you are traveling through in the Austral summer. It is nine pm, the temperature is delightful and I am sitting on the patio writing in the twilight.































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Old 02-14-2013, 06:26 PM   #99
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nice fotos
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Old 02-14-2013, 06:49 PM   #100
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Fotos

Thanks TC. Hope to take a few around your place but probably not this trip. But who knows, things change.

David
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Old 02-14-2013, 06:59 PM   #101
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the girl watching is pretty spectacular though the lady I am with takes great exception to my ogling. It is kind of an issue..
Its really hard to avoid in p rich environments.
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Old 02-15-2013, 04:12 AM   #102
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p rich environments

At my age the field of fire is really large in scope... gets me in constant trouble... 20 somethings, MILFs and very fit 50 something yoginis... damn you got that right Jim!
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Old 03-17-2013, 07:55 AM   #103
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San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, MEX

A lot has happened since my last post. I had not realized how difficult it is to keep up a ride report while actually on the ride. Radioman and the others who do it so well have my deep admiration. Thanks guys for your inspiration too.

I flew to Chile in mid-January and returned here in mid-February. I picked up my bike at my friend Pepe's house and got back on the road on February 18th. Went to Papantla and the El Tajin Ruins and then made my way casually down to Veracruz where I had some great rides and times with ADV Rider Mike Mike (Michael Strah), an affable Canadian, good rider and great photographer. Michael is a great source on riding and riding safely in Mexico and in particular in Veracruz and surrounds. He has lived there for some time now and knows some sweet routes and amazing places that one would not see without local knowledge. He tells a pretty good tale too and can often be found ranting on the Is Mexico Safe thread on this website.

While I was in Veracruz, just before I was going to leave and head for Catemaco and the annual gathering of brujos there, I got word from my lawyer that I had to be in Los Angeles for a divorce trial. Had to scramble to find a flight, and get my gear and bike safely stored for the week that I would have to be gone. Mike Mike to the rescue. He let me store my gear at his place, not only that but he picked it up from the hotel! Stored the bike at MotoPits, the excellent independent moto shop that Mike had introduced me to. Rafael is a great mechanic, got some issues with my bike handled, changed the oil and provided a safe storage place. Had coffee and hung out with Rafael and his friend Juan Pablo the last day I was in Veracruz. JP speaks English, works for United Air Lines (my condolences) so with my improving but still limited Spanish we were having a good time talking over all of the things motorcycle guys having coffee talk over. Yeah, nice round wheels.

I have been laying over/laid up in this little town in the Chiapas Highlands (Altitude 7200 feet) since Tuesday night. I dropped the bike on the way down here from Palenque, really stupid thing, was making a U-turn on my heavily loaded and already top heavy GS, lost focus at a critical point in the turn and down I went. Tweaked my knee pretty badly so have had to stop for a few days. As usual the Mexicans who saw me fall were out of their vehicles in an instant and were helping me get the machine righted and off the road before I could even turn off the key to stop the blaring horn. It was a good thing too. There was no way that my knee would have let me right the bike and move it on my own. I walked it off for more than a few minutes and managed to get back on the road. I rode into some pretty unreasonable weather, cold, wet, foggy, going slowly with flashers on and staying way to the right kind of weather. Fortunately everyone else, even the truckers, was taking it easy too.

I am staying at the Hotel Real Jovel on Avenida Insurgentes #66. It is right next to the OCC Bus Station. It was the first decent looking place I saw as I rode into town and I was not up to looking around a lot. It is quiet and very clean with secure off street parking for the bike and a good deal at 250 pesos/night. It is maybe a half mile or less walk up Insurgentes to the Zocalo. Normally that would not be an issue but it has been a bit of a challenge with the injured knee. Fortunately I put my very lightweight collapsible trekking poles into my kit before I left home. They have been invaluable in getting around.

A "norte" was blowing into town the same day I did and it has been mostly cold and cloudy since my arrival. Yesterday was the first warm sunny day, my knee was feeling better and I got out on the town. Lots of people were out enjoying the sunshine and that went on into the evening. There are several pedestrian streets here that are lined with shops and restaurants. The place is known for amber. There are a lot of tourists, young and old from the US, Europe, South and Central America and Mexico. There is a nice mix or people in the coffee shops and restaurants engaging in lively conversation and enjoying themselves. The place has quite an interesting history that you can read on line or in the Rough Guide book.

There are a lot of indigenous people here. The women wear heavy skirts made from the skin of a black sheep and wear colorful tops. The skirt is held up by a wide handcrafted, often beaded, belt. They are generally selling all kinds of hand made crafts and carrying a baby in a sling on their backs. On the whole they are diminutive people and it is amazing what they carry with them.

Pix to follow. I need to upload a bunch to SmugMug. It is always easier with a good strong internet connection is also connected to a high speed router. That combination is not always available down here.
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Old 03-17-2013, 08:07 AM   #104
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MILFs and very fit 50 something yoginis...
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Old 03-17-2013, 10:42 AM   #105
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Still on the road

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Originally Posted by rockymountainoyster View Post
I have been laying over/laid up in this little town in the Chiapas Highlands (Altitude 7200 feet) since Tuesday night.
David, Sorry to hear about your knee...hope you recover quickly! It seems like years ago since we were in Zacatecus...glad you're still on the road! Any idea when you will be coming through CA? Jim
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