Across Americas - Discovering the New World on a motorcycle

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by AnjinSan, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. SS in Vzla.

    SS in Vzla. Totally Normal? I'm not!

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    Very nice to see you guys got to Machu Picchu!

    About the chain, well... 18.000 kms for a bike loaded 2up+luggage is not really bad, keep in mind that even though you are traveling on paved roads, they are not the best of roads, with lots of potholes some intermittent sections of dirt, mud washed on the asphalt due to rains, water crossings and others that will shorten the chain's life considerably when compared to riding on paved road in first world countries ... That does not mean it does not suck to have a problem with it... I'm sure you will not have a breakdown if you ride to Perito Moreno, as long as the "tight spot" has the correct slack and you refrain from heavy acceleration you can probably still get out a couple hundred kms (maybe a couple thousand even?)... If it gets too loose, you can always cut a couple of links from it to make it last a little longer... Ask around in El Calafate, it is a relatively "large" town and there should be bike mechanics that can help.... Also, I'm not current with prices in Argentina as the last time I was there was 6 years ago, but I think bike parts would be cheaper in Argentina than Chile so ask before you cross the border.
    Good luck, I'm sure you'll solve the problem and get back on the road soon enough.

    Keep having fun.

    Drum bun!
  2. Dracula

    Dracula Deus ex machina

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    +1
    :wave
  3. zg1286

    zg1286 Been here awhile

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    Excellent Ride report
    Depending on the year of the Airstream, I may have helped build it. I worked there for several years
  4. AnjinSan

    AnjinSan Been here awhile

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    Hola amigos,

    the news are not so good, but the bright side is that they are not so bad neither. So after 2 days I still haven't been able to find a replacement for the chain and sprockets.

    I have the option to buy it from US but a friend from Argentina told me that it might be very complicated to take out from customs the package... as there are huge delays...

    Then the shop from Punta Arenas initially responded that they don't have them in stock but can order and would be there in 48 hours. I've said OK, that sounds good, and asked how much would it cost and... no answer since then :)

    So today, after 2 days of ineffective internet, we decided to go for Rio Gallegos and go directly to the moto shop there. Eh, 330 km in incredible winds later... we arrive in Rio Gallegos only to find everything closed as there is a grande feria :clap

    But still, the good news is that we are here, we are alright after the amazing winds and still tomorrow we have a chance to find the shop open and... how knows, maybe they will have what we need.

    The other good news is that now, after I've adjusted the chain, it doesn't make the awful sound anymore. But still... the front sprocket is quite worn and shark fin style.

    So our dilema, if they don't have it in stock and we need to wait x days for them to come, should we try to get to Ushuia and back in the mean time (~1100 km round trip). Otherwise... there is nothing much in Rio Gallegos (especially without moto...)
  5. AnjinSan

    AnjinSan Been here awhile

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    Well, the only thing the store had was a DID non O-Ring chain

    http://www.motorcycle-superstore.com/14/71/969/5560/ITEM/DID-525-Standard-Roller-Chain.aspx

    So I am not sure how good this is but it was the only thing inhouse. I hope it will get us to Ushuaia and back towards Buenos Aires where I hope I will find another chain if needed.

    Front sprocket they had is a "Super Sprox" which I never used before but I hope it will be good and well, not really in a position to be picky :(

    This afternoon I will change them and then tomorrow we roll again I hope :)
  6. rtwpaul

    rtwpaul out riding...

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  7. richsuz

    richsuz Adventurer

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    I have used a couple of this chains and they will wear fast! Had to adjust every 400-500 miles due to stretching. Find another. ate up my sprockets as well. This was on my XS650. needed to replace at 5000 miles. Never bought them again.
  8. Dracula

    Dracula Deus ex machina

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    Hey Alex,

    As you say can't afford to be picky. The non oring or xring chains will wear much faster as nothing retains the grease in the rollers, also dust/mud can make it's way there acting as abrasive.(hence you will have to do chain maintenance more often) I know space is usually an issue, but I'd save the old sprocket just in case and perhaps buy few extra clip type master links to have. What about take the new parts with you, running the set you have till they are all used up and change then. And when installing the new parts, error on the side of looser chain adjustment rather than tighter. Just a few thoughts.

    Best of luck!
  9. bisbonian

    bisbonian Long timer

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    And non-oring chains like a nice thick oil for lube instead of a dry spray lube. Something like gear oil will make the cheap chain happier at the expense of making a mess as it flings the lube all over.

    Good luck my friend.
  10. AnjinSan

    AnjinSan Been here awhile

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    Well, I needed a break from all the logistic problems so yesterday I've sorted some pictures for the RR.

    I hope we will solve the remaining of our issues as quickly as possible. Until then, I hope you will enjoy the story :)


    Last echos from Peru: 7 – 10 January 2013
    We are out of Machu Picchu but we cannot really say that we really left yet as there is still a long way to “backtrack”. First we need to get back to the motorcycle. We took the train to get to Aguas Calientes but… we “went for a walk” on the way back following the train rails.
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    Light at the end of the tunnel? For us it was just the beginning of an 18 kilometers walk.
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    Gunnar was waiting for us patiently. While in Santa Teresa, before leaving for Aguas Calientes (Machu Pichhu), we were thinking to spend one night there before going back to Santa Maria and Cusco. But we saw the dark clouds approaching and decided to leave as soon as possible and take advantage of the (still) dry dirt road. So we pack everything quickly, inform our host that we will not spend the night there (and she was very understanding), and off we go.
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    It`s the same road I took 2 days ago but somehow it looks different this time, and not only because the backdrop is ow on the right side.
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    Unfortunately it starts raining before reaching the asphalt in Santa Maria so we have to ride through the rain on the last portion of gravel. We notice we are running low on gas so we ask where we can find gas that has at least 90 octanes (the two gas stations we see on the road have only 84 octane gas). We were told to go to the “shop”. And they were not joking. The only 90 octane gas in the area came in barrels.
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    I tried to look relaxed when the man came to me with the gas bucket. I don`t know if it worked or not.
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    We now have enough gas to continue our ride and decide not to go to Cusco anymore but head to Puno, a city close to Titicaca Lake and Bolivian border. Before getting there we still have to cross the same mountain pass again hoping we will be able to see more than the first time. Apparently the we will have clouds and rain this time as well.
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    But the sun fought on our side and as we got to the top, the sky seemed to clear more and more. Until…
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    All of you riding a motorcycle know the feeling. Now there is more than just the lines of the road, now I can see through the clouds. It`s not just cold and wet but sun, clearing sky and dry gear. While riding the motorcycle, sun coming out after the rain is a true blessing. The state of mind changes completely.
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    And there it is, we am not just riding for a destination. We forget that we need to get somewhere today, and just enjoying the ride. And when you are just riding for pleasure you can stop as many times as you want. So we stop in the mountain pass.
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    Crossing on the other side of the mountain we discover new places and sights. There is even a small village we didn’t see because of the clouds when we first came here and we even see the road winding down.
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    As we reach Puno we realize that our time in Peru is coming to an end. But we still have to make a very important decision: we go to Bolivia or head towards the ocean and go straight to Chile? We need visa for Bolivia. And we don’t really feel ready for it. But if we go straight to Chile we won’t get to see Salar de Uyuni and other special things that Bolivia has to offer. If we choose to go to Bolivia we have a good chance to remain in cold and wet as Bolivia is situated at high altitude also. Even getting to Puno, we were just behind a very serious rain storm, leaving hail marks behind it. [​IMG]
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    On the other hand, although Bolivia is the only country in Latin America that require a visa for Romanians, ironically we still feel attracted by it. So we give in and decide to go there. We have to dare. We will probably be out of our comfort zone here (and not just the thermic one), maybe more than in other countries, but we have to be optimistic.
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    OK, so we’ve decided to go, that means that first there is a trip to the Bolivian consulate in Puno in store for us. We are surprised to discover that it is not hard at all: a pile of documents- copies of different documents, our itinerary in Bolivia, hotel reservations (???), proof of yellow fever vaccination, passport format photos- and we have the new visa on our passports.
    We were getting ready to say “goodbye” to Peru and we were thinking about our experiences here. So here are our thoughts about Peru. Before crossing to Peru we used to read other bikers’ stories and experiences which were not very pleasant at times and so, based on their stories we were expecting:
    - aggressive drivers not paying attention to motorcyclists: indeed they are, but it’s not because they have something against motorcyclists, it’s the way they drive, that’s all they know. I think in Peru you get the driving license if you pass the “impulsive honking” test and “driving as close as you can to the car/ motorcycle on your left/ right/ front”. You have to acknowledge their way of driving and not take it personally. It’s hard not to take it personally, I know, when they get you off the road… but that’s something else.
    [​IMG]
    - corrupted policemen asking for bribe: we didn’t meet any. The only policeman that stopped us on the way back from Machu Picchu did it because he wanted to know more about the motorcycle. We knew we didn’t do anything illegal so we stopped without worrying about it and so it was, he asked us a few pointless questions (how much does the moto costs, what’s the maximum speed), managing to get Andreea, who was wet and freezing, pretty angry – “this guy doesn’t have anything better to do?”- and then he let us go.
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    - rude people who see you as a walking dollar: if you go to touristy place you might end up being treated this way. It’s harder to find relaxed and welcoming people in Peru( Columbia seems so far away) who help you without asking for something in return, but it’s not impossible. Puquio was one of those places. And then we have to remember that the people are so different from country to country, having so diverse backgrounds and history that brought them to the way they are now in the present. So it is better not to judge their approach of handling “tourists” as it is not always a matter of choice but a matter of survival.
    [​IMG]
    - double or triple prices just because you are a tourist: yes we did have them, maybe more than in other countries. For example, I think since Guatemala we haven’t had a “on the fly” price change of a meager water bottle just due to the way we were dressed or Spanish we spoke. Well, in Peru I got a straight blow when, telling a lady from a store that I know the water price is a “special” one just for me she didn’t even denied: “I can tell by the way you are dressed that you have a lot of money”. Yeah, what can I say? I can only smile and leave the store politely , convincing myself not to judge all Peruvians by particular behavior and making a note to self that if I were to work in the tourism industry, I would treat everyone equally. And we did meet in all the countries we visited wonderful people, honest people, who saw us as human beings and not just an opportunity. And Peru was no exception. One just has to be patient and really want to get to know them.
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    But apart from all these points from previous experiences we read about – and I can say there weren’t so bad for us (or we didn’t take them too personally), Peru was an extraordinary experience and we are grateful for having the chance to visit it on our way South! Thank you and goodbye!
    [​IMG]
    Wondering how Bolivia will be like?
    Route map for this story:

    <small>View Larger Map</small>
  11. Turkeycreek

    Turkeycreek Gringo Viejo

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    ...that you were so well dressed when you were here Alex or I would have charged you more money too.:lol3

    Good luck with the new parts. Use lots of grease like bisbonian suggests but clean it frequently, especially if you go through a lot of sand and gravel. Use WD-40 or kerosene (lamp fuel) to clean the chain before you re-grease it and it will last ok but with more frequent adjustments.

    When I was young, we didn't use O-rings chains. We used to take the chain off and put it in a bucket of used motor oil and heat it over a a camping stove until it was warm. What a mess that was.

    Abrazos!
  12. AnjinSan

    AnjinSan Been here awhile

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    Ahaha Tom! That made our day!! :rofl Well in your "defence", we were quite dirty when we showed up at your door :D

    As for the chain... I will lube it more often and check the tension regularly. Also, as the binding link is a "clip" stile (not a rivet) I am quite nervos about that too. So I will try not to go faster than 90 km/h (oh we will have some long days in Patagonia :p). Unfortunately I will not be able to avoid dirt as we will have ~240 km of ripio in Tierra del Fuego down and up from Ushuaia. Will see how that goes.

    Best regards from Chile (again :p)
  13. Turkeycreek

    Turkeycreek Gringo Viejo

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    I have seen people wrap a piece of wire around the master link. Not sure how the wire is placed but I think it on top of the clip between the posts and cinched up tight in the middle like a bow-tie. Someone correct me on this, please. Also look at the clip and notice if it has a slight curve along the length. The concave side should go against the chain to put some tension on it to keep it in place.

    If something goes wrong, the clip will come off well before the link comes out and since you will be inspecting the chain at every gas stop, you will likely see a problem before it comes out. Try to get extra clips in case.

    I have not used a master link in several years but I never had a problem way back when if it was on right.
  14. AnjinSan

    AnjinSan Been here awhile

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    …30! 3rd of February 2013
    I know that the next episode was supposed to be The New World IV.13 and the topic should have been Bolivia, but… let’s make a big jump ahead and talk about the day which just ended.
    A special day? Normally not really. I usually do not make a big case about the 3rd of Februarys in my life. But this time… it was a special day, beautiful and in the same time strange and also very very hard. One of the hardest days from this trip.
    In the morning we wake up in a cold room, with the sound of rain drops outside the window. But, by the time we are out at the bike and loading our stuff, the things already improved: no more rain.
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    A day which normally would have been a very lazy one (at least today from all the days of the year, no?) started this time early and in a rush to catch the ferry, the only ferry of the day leaving from Punta Arenas. But hey, the beauty of it is that this is not just a ferry, for us is THE ferry that will take us to Tierra del Fuego.
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    I still remember when I was working at micadu.ro website almost 1 year ago, I was afraid event to write that we plan to go all the way to Tierra del Fuego. And here we are, just a straight away. We embark with rain again but then, here it is again, the beauty of the day:
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    “And what are you going to be doing today?” asks Andreea. “I do not know exactly. We should be crossing from Chile to Argentina (again), and then… we’ll see where we will sleep for the night.” So I don;t know much about what’s going to happen, but I do know that right now, I am crossing the Magellan Straight. The one that I was reading, beaing a little boy, in Geography lessons. Feels so unbelievable to be here. Fortunately the waters are calm…
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    And we also have company. A very playful one.
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    And this is it, we set foot on Tierra del Fuego. It is happening!
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    “And on which roads are you going to ride today?” Andreea asks. “I don’t know very well that neither” Our GPS is long broken (yet another thing who gave up on us) and our map is just showing some ripio roads to the boarder. Not much details but hey, the beauty of the day again… here is the amazing scenery:
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    While still on the ferry, we were told that 60+ miles/hour winds are expected today. At least, a good portion of the road the wind was from the back. So again, we get to marvel the surroundings.
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    It’s a busy day, but we do have time to stop at the beach as well. You know, the kind of beach that Andreea loves so much. What? no swimming? Let’s blame it on the fact that our bathing suits were not very easily reachable. Hmmm right…
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    It is so cold that even the boats seem to prefer being out of the water.
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    Another nice surprise comes from the border customs. The formalities are super rapid and we find ourselves in no time in Argentina. Southern Argentina.
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    The winds insists on crossing the border with us as well and this time, the road takes us to a different angle. It is bad. It is very bad. I can barely hold the bike and attempting to ride in a straight line is just a joke. It is probably the toughest ride I ever done in my life. But hey, the extreme happiness when you manage to avoid being throned into incoming lane is beyond description. With that, we don’t have any pictures (as Andreea had better things to do… like hold on to me as hard as she could:p) but here is a tree receiving the same treatment from the wind. The picture is very very real:
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    To stop, there is no place. There is no forest, no hill no nothing to at least remotely protect you. The only thing to do is go on until the nearest town which is some 45 miles away. Nice and slow and eyes on the incoming traffic. We reach Rio Grande and find a nice and warm place to sleep in. After such a day, on this day, no tent for us. From inside, the wind seems a beast, howling angry that we’ve escaped. Inside is nice and peaceful.
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    We are in Tierra del Fuego and we’ve passed today through some extraordinary places and… events. But the day is special for other reason: even though we are so far away, your nice thoughts and wishes, still found us here and made me smile. Thank you! Ushuaia is close now…
    [​IMG]
  15. Turkeycreek

    Turkeycreek Gringo Viejo

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    We are smiling too, Alex. We are so glad that you have let us come along.
  16. AnjinSan

    AnjinSan Been here awhile

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    Dear friends, we've made it. End of the road, but for sure we hope not end of the trip! So stick around!

    [​IMG]
  17. Turkeycreek

    Turkeycreek Gringo Viejo

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    I never had any doubts. Way to go. What's next? Africa? Siberia?
  18. AnjinSan

    AnjinSan Been here awhile

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    No Tom, we are more humble than that and will leave Africa and Siberia, at least for now :)

    Soon we will start our trip back home, but, before that, we might have a surprise in store.:ear
  19. Sunday Rider

    Sunday Rider Adventurer Wanabe

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    Well done, great adventure, wonderful and thoughtful writing and fantastic pictures. Thanks for sharing this epic journey. Good luck in the next phase, I can't wait to find out. :clap
  20. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv.

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    Congratulations AnjinSan, what an amazing journey! :clap

    The two of you have accomplished so much, and you have done so with incredible character and grace :gerg

    This ride report should be required reading for anyone contemplating such a trip :deal

    All the Best,