Buenos Aires to Quito (via Brazil, Venezuela, and Colombia)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by AdventureGoddess, Mar 31, 2008.

  1. AdventureGoddess

    AdventureGoddess Amateur Badassery

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Oddometer:
    123
    Location:
    Los Angeles, Motorcycle Hell
    The setup: a 2006 Honda 200 XL, two kayak dry bags, and an astonishing amount of bungee cords.

    The goal: Leave Buenos Aires, travel beachside through Brazil, quickly pass through Venezuela, spend time in Colombia, and finish in Ecuador (where my bike is registered).

    Pack List
    Toiletries (sunscreen, bug repellent, toothpaste, shampoo, hand cream)
    Pack towel
    Well-thought out medicine kit
    Keen sandals
    2 regular bras, 2 sport bras
    10 pair underwear
    2 pair socks, 1 pair liner socks
    Bikini
    1 long sleeve shirts (cotton and moisture-wicking)
    2 pair pants (cargo and jeans)
    4 tees, 1 tank top
    Denim skirt
    Long underwear

    Tourmaster WP Solution boots
    Cortech jacket
    Bohn underarmor adventure pants
    North Face cargo pants
    Helly Hansen Waterproof pants
    Mountain Hardwear Waterproof jacket
    Mountain Hardwear Fleece jacket
    Shift Gloves
    Helmet (wired for sound)
    Bandana/Scarf/Balaclava (for the occasional bee in my bonnet)
    Gardening glove/rubber glove combo (100% waterproof)

    Canon G7 Digital Camera (3 batteries), 6.32 GB memory
    Helmet Camera
    Laptop
    2GB thumb drive
    Headlamp
    Ipod
    Unlocked cell phone

    Nalgene water bottle
    Water Purification Tablets
    Backpack
    Brazil guidebook
    Maps (Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela)
    Cargo Net
    Zip ties
    Duct tape
    Electrical Tape
    Rear/front tubes
    Basic socket set
    Silicon chain lubricant

    [​IMG]


    Leaving the moto house at Dakar in BsAs was tough, but well worth it for a taste of the open road. We headed for Puerto Iguazu with stopovers in Santa Fe, Paso de Los Libres, and Posadas. My travelling companions make excellent company: an aspiring Kansas City doctor on a 1994 R100 GS BMW and a Liverpool bike mechanic on a 2003 XT600E Yamaha. I am barely keeping up with the alcohol consumption and the late nights. I´d be happier in Pto Iguazu if we could buy better beer but because of the `envase´ (return), you need glass to buy glass. Without it, you drink Bud <gasp>.

    Goodbye to Javier and Dakar Motos in Buenos Aires and my current moto companions...

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    The farming strikes we ran into in Argentina killed three hours of one day of travelling. The drive has been mostly asphalt roads and an occasional toll, until we set out to bypass the strike by using a dirt road. Found it. Although I hate dirt, it was very compressed by trucks and the occasional rain. My offroad riding wasn't too shabby, until I made the rookie move of stopping for a moment, putting my foot down only to find that the green material underfoot was 6-inches lower than the road and over I went. A thousand shards of Rayban glass were waiting for me in my case later. Doh! Met a former Angeleno on a Dakar BMW who lives outside Pto. Iguazu. His neighbor reportedly raises Jaguars.
    <img"><img"><img">
    <img">Pto Iguazu is the best place for the Brazilian visa. Takes three hours when it isnt Easter Week. ****REVISED 5-26-08: Pto. Iguazu is NOT the place to get your visa (anywhere else in SA or your home country) since it's only for half the time (US - 90 days) for the same price and you have to pay every 30 days (2 x $40) to extend it.

    Found nice cabins to rent, beer to drink, and managed to cook our last Argentina parilla. It´s only $130 here for the visa, $260 in Los Angeles. Yikes. Get passport pages at foreign consulates. I wasted $60 on mine in Los Angeles, but Sean managed to get some free in two hours in BsAs.

    The ride into Brazil was great fun, and we met a Brazilian biker group called Gargulas (Gargoyles). They rode trikes and looked exactly like the Hell´s Angels. Brazil´s landscape has been truly impressive the past few days of riding. Lush green trees covered the countryside with the occasional cow whiff. We escaped the toll road for some paved farm roads which wound through the countryside. The boys left me to enjoy the curves while I topped out at a whopping 100 kmh. The bike´s pretty slow in terms of speed. It is only a 200.

    We managed to ride to Florianapolis in two days from Foz: a 500km day and a long-ass 900km day. Late into the night, we were met with two hours of darkness while I rode with the visor up/down, brights on/off in search of a happy medium. When you have a dim stock light and the blackest black visor, nightriding with logging trucks is real fun. I took off around a dark corner passing a truck, freaked out the guys to some extent, and received a nice lecture at the gas station.

    Brazil is expensive, but based on the luck we´ve had finding an apartment in Floripa not to mention hanging out with the local XT biker group, I think we´re doing well. There is something about three bikers together that is eons more approachable than a solo woman. Sigh. My experiences are better with these guys! Gas is a killer at 2.3BR/liter (1.72BR-1USD) though and with the added alcohols, our fuel economy has nose-dived.

    Anyone travelling in Brazil at the moment, PM me. The plan is to ride the coast through Salvador. More photos, video, etc. to follow.

    Note: I am double-posting to my website (www.ANovelPath.com) where the HTML seems to work better for me. Still need to get the hang of photo posting on this site. Sorry!!!</img"></img"></img"></img"></img"></img"></gasp>
    #1
  2. Zen Slug

    Zen Slug Spineless Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    Oddometer:
    5,949
    Location:
    Near Vana
    go banana slugs!:ricky





    :lurk
    #2
  3. brother dan

    brother dan Lost in my mind

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    Oddometer:
    238
    Location:
    Boise, Ee-da-how
    Love it! Great web site!

    Dan
    #3
  4. R-dubb

    R-dubb Dubbious Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2001
    Oddometer:
    5,303
    Location:
    San Francisco
    The web site is awesome. I'll be lost for a week. Fabulous pics!!! :clap :clap
    #4
  5. AdventureGoddess

    AdventureGoddess Amateur Badassery

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Oddometer:
    123
    Location:
    Los Angeles, Motorcycle Hell
    Thanks guys. I´ll try to keep up. Today we met up with a Canadian couple two-up on a 1980s BMW R-80. We sped off for Morette, an old colonial town near a river, outside of Curitiba. The roads, roadside diners with giant dino, giraffe, and Cristo Redentor replicas, and generally the traffic were awesome; the 5.7 BR toll for motorcyclists, not so much. Had a few honks in favor of bikers and more winding curves above the rainforest-like canopy. The scenery is just breath-taking but dangerous when you´re captivated going around a turn.

    Brazil seems to be the biking country of South America. I had previously thought it was Argentina, but the biker clubs here are numerous and the members generous (Gargulas, Brazil Riders, and XT Riders have all been VERY helpful). I did some basic repairs in Florianapolis and as a rookie, I am stoked to say I changed my oil and adjusted tension on the chain. It´s small stuff in the grand scheme of things but it is the little things keep me happy. I highly recommend Floripa to all who visit Southern Brazil. We stayed at a place called Praia Armaçao at a fully furnished apartment one block off the beach (Pousada Pires) for less than $15pp/night. Caipirinhas are my new favorite beverage :D

    Will post more photos when I get to Sao Paolo. Can anyone PM me on how to post the photos instead of link to them. I wrote the same HTML/script references for my website but this board doesn´t seem to process them the same way [ie., <img src=``>].
    #5
  6. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    60,385
    Fantastic :clap

    let me see if I can help with your image links to see if we can hotlink them to your report.
    #6
  7. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    60,385
    It's really simple, click on Insert Image icon (yellow box with mountains) and just copy and paste the picture URL into it and you're immediately hotlinking your image into your report.

    Looking forward to more and thanks for the link to your awesome site :thumb
    #7
  8. AdventureGoddess

    AdventureGoddess Amateur Badassery

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Oddometer:
    123
    Location:
    Los Angeles, Motorcycle Hell
    I am currently in Medellin with WiFi and will be making use of it. I will break it down country by country (Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia) and soon. Sorry about the lag. In the meantime, can anyone recommend a good corner to post a thread on me selling my 200cc Honda in Ecuador? If you like Enduro and don't feel the need for speed...Thanks guys!
    #8
  9. Off the grid

    Off the grid Unsmooth Operator

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2008
    Oddometer:
    12,699
    Location:
    That buzzing in your earhole, NorCal.
    Glad you are enjoying Brazil.

    Can't wait to go back....the people there are some of the best I have ever met.
    #9
  10. Sal Paradise

    Sal Paradise Dharma Bum

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,267
    Location:
    Morongo Valley, CA
    My dream ride! How do like Medillin, I am particularily interested in that city....
    #10
  11. theturtleshead

    theturtleshead Tits on a fish

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Oddometer:
    816
    Location:
    Medellin Colombia ain,t nowhere better
    Most bikes in Ecuador are sold in two places www.mercadolibre.com or www.patiodemotos.com you can also stick it in El Commercio the daily paper.Apart from these there ain,t much more,Let me know when you get into town and the beer will be on me.
    Albert theturtleshead:freaky
    #11
  12. calrider

    calrider I'm Lost Too!!

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2007
    Oddometer:
    696
    Location:
    Calgary, Canada
    Hi There,

    Just finished a few weeks touring around Colombia. You can check out the report (a work in progress) at http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=301156

    Medillin is a beautiful city, isn't it? If you've got a bit of time around the area, head up to Guatape and El Penol. Also some of the beautiful towns in the plateau area aorund Medellin (eg. La Ceja).

    Another place not to miss is the hot spring at Santa Rosa de Cabal. (go to the "original" ones, not the newer ones).

    Oh, and for something a little different, head out to the "shoeless park" in Medellin (Parque Descalzos... i think), and ask about getting a guided tour. I won't tell you any more than that.

    I wish I was back there!
    #12
  13. AdventureGoddess

    AdventureGoddess Amateur Badassery

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Oddometer:
    123
    Location:
    Los Angeles, Motorcycle Hell
    General Comments
    Paved roads in various stages of condition - where there are tolls, the condition improves drastically. Farms roads for example are riddled with potholes and indentations from heavy truck use. BR 101 around Sao Paolo and north is ridiculous with potholes, so be wary.

    Gas is alcohol-ladened and at all times, you should go for the gold and get 'aditivada' or some form of premium gasoline. Your bike will hate you in this country but frequent cleanings and love with help with that.

    Gas stations are prevalent except for north of Boa Vista. Carry a spare if your tank holds 2 gallons.

    Traffic is pretty common since Brazil is one of richer countries of South America, and almost everyone owns a car and/or motorcycle.

    Brazilian motorcycle clubs will stop you on the road, adopt you, and welcome you heartily. Take every opportunity with great pride.

    Route Digest
    Foz do Iguacu to Florianapolis - A short stop in Pato Branco at an executive
    hotel with a breakfast spread to die for, we took farm roads and avoided the expensive tolls toward Curitiba. Met motorcyclists along the way and lots of farm and foresty greenery. Toward Florianapolis, there is a curvy forest road with sparse gas and then city. We stayed in Santa Catarina on Praia do Armacao. Highly recommended.

    Gargulas do Asfalto Group at Border Crossing (Trikes)
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    Gas Stop (Where Comun kills...)
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    XT Moto Club Adoption Party (Beer, meat, mischief)
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    Beachside Posada in Santa Catarina for $15/night each
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    Florianapolis to Morettes - Nice ride, one toll, decent pavement conditions.

    First step's a doozy...don't turn fast in gas stations in Brazil!
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    Forest to coastline...
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    Morettes to Sao Paolo - After Morettes, take the Estrada do Graciosa and it's truly amazing scenery on a hand-tooled road made from rectangular granite(?) slabs. You head from sea level to high forest, while passing waterfalls and an ostrich farm. Near Sao Paolo BR 101 starts to suck, riddled with potholes.

    Blanquita on the Estrada
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    Four motorcyclists walk into the forest...
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    Roadside attractions
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    Greatest invention ever - digital air pressure gauge
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    Sao Paolo to Paraty - The road back to the beaches, once you are there on the coast, is the second breathtaking part of the Brazilian ride. Highly recommended that you have time to stop when you want along this curve-ladened road and visit the small beach towns. Scenic vistas are reminicent of Big Sur. Toque Toque is a town that beckons with a few hostels, restaurants, hammocks, and surfboards. The road into Paraty starts out great and once you reach El Centro, the raised, uneven cobbles in the rain become your worst nightmare. Know where you are going so you can bypass the center if at all possible. I gritted my teeth a few times downtown.

    Ferry Ride
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    Hidden beach off the Highway
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    Blanquita of the Jungle
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    Paraty's El Centro
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    Cobbled roads make my knees knock
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    Paraty to Rio - I took BR 101 and dropped into Rio from the north. Don't take Linha Vermelha or Linha Amarela and you will avoid the favelas. Stay along the coast road and begin scouting accomodations. Big cities are tough to find cheap housing AND garages since it's wall to wall high rise buildings.

    More tropical foresty road
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    Rio to Salvador - I bounced all around BR 101, near the beach, and back inland, staying at roadside pousadas. Highway was hit and miss. Potholes and truck traffic are rampant. I stayed in Barra Barrio of Salvador, plenty of reasonable pousadas with gated parking and great breakfast. North of Salvador, take the Linha Verde (Green Line) which heads to Praia do Forte. Nice beaches, relaxed towns.

    Friendly mechanics in Vila Velha
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    Clear skies and Roadside Pousadas (with doors wide enough for a 200cc)
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    Ferry to Salvador
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    Beautiful Beaches (Linha Verde)
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    Salvador to Belem - Interior roads, BR 101, slept in small towns, not terribly scenic. Belem has plenty of hotel/parking options and I only recommend Belem if you want to avoid the sketchy complicated roads north of Brasilia to Manaus; this option forces you to take the 5-day boat ride. 350 Reais is the price for one bed in a two-bed suite. 200 Reais should be your cargo for the bike, but they want to double it and take your money. Beware.
    Manaus to Border - Gas stops somewhere around the reserve and becomes less constant north of there. Have a spare tank or water bottle just in case your mileage is less than 300km. You cannot stop in the reserve and the reason is the natives. It's not wise, they don't like visitors ;)

    Para Moto Clube Ride to Mosquero Beach
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    Isn't this how every girl dries a bikini?
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    Belem-Manaus Boat Ride

    Suite Bunk
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    Hammocks
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    Reserva North of Boa Vista
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    A Strongarm for a Scooter with a Broken Key
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    The Equator Monument
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    Border crossing is decent and quick into Venezuela. We didn't near import documents for Brazil at all.
    #13
  14. AdventureGoddess

    AdventureGoddess Amateur Badassery

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Oddometer:
    123
    Location:
    Los Angeles, Motorcycle Hell
    Thanks for the support guys!

    Calrider - Too late for the tip...I just noticed your post. Argh.

    Turtleshead - You're on...

    Will be posting Venezuela and tidbits from Colombia soon. If there is something missing, ask for it and I will happily add to the digests.
    #14
  15. AdventureGoddess

    AdventureGoddess Amateur Badassery

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Oddometer:
    123
    Location:
    Los Angeles, Motorcycle Hell
    Border Crossing into Venezuela - Have copies of the passport, driver license, and bike registration/ownership.

    General Comments
    A lot of people speak English; I was surprised.

    Gas is 25C a gallon; hence there are a lot of cars and motorcycles on the road at all times.

    Signals and posted speed signs are suggestions. Look out for red light runners.

    Potholes are even worse here than Brazil. Expect swiss cheese and never turn your back on the road. Your struts, shocks, and rims will thank you.

    Bring US dollars or foreign currency to trade; expect no ATMs to function for foreigners. One did for a Brit in Ciudad Bolivar.

    Trust motorcyclists, don't trust anyone else. My ATM info was stolen here after my guard went down for all the nice bikers I met.

    Gas stations prevalent.

    Police stops routine in the south (every 30-50km); dismount, show import documents, passport, receive stamp. The End.

    Route Digest
    Border to Santa Elena - Santa Elena is not the hippy town Lonely Planet makes it out to be; it's a sketchy mining town with one upscale hotel for $100+ a night (Anaconda) and one across the way for much much less (Hotel Tropical).

    Santa Elena to Ciudad Bolivar - When miners aren't striking, the scenery and the roads are quite nice. The 200km stretch north of Santa Elena is filled with small stops worth making: viewpoints, waterfalls, Roraima, Angel Falls, etc. More tours to Angel Falls can be booked in Ciudad Bolivar ar the airport.

    Vistas from north of Santa Elena
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    Ciudad Bolivar to San Carlos - Long stretch filled with potholes; good hotel located outside of town by a chicken restaurant.

    Adopted by Orlando and Joseliana of a local biker group
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    Coerced into a biker rally :wink: and met the only other female rider
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    Stayed with Orlando's family outside Puerto Ordaz
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    San Carlos to Border - Long, boring stretch filled with potholes. Missed one and busted a rim. Needed it hand-hammered roadside.

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    Blanquita and I stay at a "Love" Motel
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    Border crossing is relatively painless; pay 46 BF upon exit for stamp into Colombia.
    #15
  16. bosco

    bosco Raybanned

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2005
    Oddometer:
    11,787
    Location:
    Atop the Bakken
    I'm only seeing one 1/2 of that bikini? :evil


    Great Report, BTW. Keep on keeping on. :clap
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    #16
  17. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    60,385
    You're an adventure goddess alright :bow :bow

    Amazing ride.. and great pics.. thanks for the update :thumb

    :lurk :lurk
    #17
  18. AdventureGoddess

    AdventureGoddess Amateur Badassery

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Oddometer:
    123
    Location:
    Los Angeles, Motorcycle Hell
    Bosco, there ARE two pieces. :lol3

    Thanks Gadget Boy. Voyage P.2 is almost complete. Must buy ADV stickers for the Kawa Vulcan to go with the Brazil motorcycle club ones. I am so looking forward to touchdown in Quito. T - 1 or 2 days and counting. Inclement weather notwithstanding.
    #18
  19. jposttx

    jposttx Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2006
    Oddometer:
    179
    Location:
    Gulf Coast of Texas
    Very impressive RR - like the website too.

    Remember when at the beach there is nothing wrong with someone else using your camera :eek1

    Simple way to prove there are 2 pieces to the bikini.

    I must have missed something - where did the Kawa Vulcan come from?

    When you get to a resting spot you should read SV - his evolution as a writer has been awesome to watch. 1 more suggestion - if you do not know Jerry Pournelle he has some great writing going on over at jerrypournelle.com.

    God bless you and keep you safe - but not so safe you can't have fun!
    #19
  20. Saeed

    Saeed Life-long learner

    Joined:
    May 17, 2007
    Oddometer:
    284
    Location:
    UAE Dubai


    I really like the all pic
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    Looking forward to see more pics for this trip
    <o:p>...thanks</o:p>
    </o:p>
    #20