Chicago to Panamá y Más Allá - A Staged Trip Through Latin America

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Parcero, Nov 21, 2011.

  1. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    824
    Location:
    Chicago physically, Colombia en mi mente.
    Note to self (and other ADV riders): Don’t attempt to bring moto parts into Argentina. In this case, new tires.

    The airline had no issue whatsoever with accepting two nicely-packaged new tires as checked luggage. I arrived in Buenos Aires, picked up my luggage, passed migración, and after being waved through aduanas an officer stops me and asks me to come with him. He explained that it isn’t legal for individuals to “import” auto or moto parts. I explained that they are for my personal use on my moto, which should have been obvious since I was carrying a helmet, a tank bag, and a duffle full of riding gear. The guy wouldn’t have it, and after 13+ hours in the air and a very late arrival, I wasn’t up to a debate. Let me just pay the fine, I said. Well, that of course can’t be done on the spot and because of the late hour, I would have to come back when the office is open tomorrow. OK, cool. “How much will the fine be?” When he told me he equivalent of about US$300, I told him to jam it. I can buy a new set of tires in BsAs and would rather give my money to a private enterprise rather than any government. Keep ‘em, I said, and left for my hotel.

    I stayed in the Palermo neighborhood, close to where my bike is stored. I got up early, walked over to the garage, and found the bike exactly as I left it, just turned around by my friend to give it the appearance of being used once in a while.

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    As luck would have it, the closet moto shop was one of the BMW dealerships in the city, and was just a mile away. I arrived at Cordasco Motohaus BMW, and Cesar in the service department got me set up and promised the bike back by 3 PM. That was perfect and would give me almost a full day to explore more of the city on foot.

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    Buenos Aires is a spectacularly beautiful city, with a rich culture and history. Because it was settled mostly by Italians and other Europeans, and looks and feels more like Europe than Latin America. In addition to the numerous modern skyscrapers, there are thousands of older buildings designed in the style of classic European architecture. Depending on where in the city you are, it might feel and appear like you’re in Paris, London, or Rome.

    My hotel in Palermo.
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    On my way Comuna 14 in Palermo, one of my favorite areas in the city, I walked through the Botanical Garden near Plaza Italia. There is a wide variety of plant species from all over the world in its various gardens.

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    After the garden, I headed over to Comuna 14 in Palermo, one of my favorites here. It has a great vibe and lots of excellent restaurants and shops.

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    Lunch at La Hormiga! ¡Que rico!
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    Am I in Milan?
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    Lots of interesting little motos on the streets.
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    A little coffee break.
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    After lunch it was back to pick up the bike. All washed, with a brand new set of Continental Anakee 3s. Not as aggressive as I would have liked, but great tires and it’s all pavement from here for the next 5,000 miles of my trip anyway.

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    I rode (carefully) back to park the moto, and then walked back to the hotel to shower up and organize my things so that I can get an early start for Uruguay in the morning.

    Finished that up in short order and headed to Puerto Maduro.

    The Women’s Bridge - La Puente de Las Mujeres
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    The old customs house.
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    Evita’s husband.
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    Looks like a stroll through a European city.
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    The Pink House, or La Casa Rosada. The president’s residence.
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    Puerto Maduro at night.
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    I was up bright and early on Saturday to grab the Moto and pack it up for the trip.
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    Then off to the Buquebus ferry for the 90-or-so minute voyage to Uruguay.
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    The loading area.
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    This thing is huge.
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    The bike’s all tied down and secure.
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    The border crossing was thus far simple. Stamped out of Argentina and into Uruguay at the migración kiosks right in the Buquebus terminal. After that, I went back down to he loading area where the moto was parked. I handed the customs officer my Argentina TVIP and that was that. He said that I would get a new one when I re-enter he country. As for the process for foreign vehicles on the Uruguay side, I’ll know soon enough.
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    Ciao, Argentina! Steaming toward Colonia, Uruguay across the Río de la Plata.
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  2. CanuckCharlie

    CanuckCharlie Been here awhile

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    42.326437N -83.263877W
    What a beautiful city but I'm guess the prices reflect Europe too?

    It's too bad about the tires but obstacles is what makes it an adventure.

    Thanks for the update...I will be following along from the northern hemisphere. :thumb
    Nateman and Parcero like this.
  3. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Chicago physically, Colombia en mi mente.
    I would say that is like any other capital city anywhere in the world. You could spend a fortune on food and lodging if you’re so inclined, and it would be top notch. But there are many, many very good and reasonably-priced restaurants and hotels, motels, and hostels, that wouldn’t disappoint at all.

    Another example is Bogotá, Colombia. You could have lunch or dinner in Zona T for a price that would make midtown Manhattan look cheap. But you could walk a few blocks away and have an equally fantastic meal for around ten of fifteen bucks U.S.
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  4. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    824
    Location:
    Chicago physically, Colombia en mi mente.
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    Uruguay was the easiest country so far to ride into. I followed the line of Argentinian-plated cars exiting the ferry terminal parking lot and they all just passed right by the uniformed military officer at the gate. I figured I’d stop to ask about if and where I would have to stop to get a TVIP. The guy says, “You don’t have to do anything,” then asked to take a picture with my bike. No red tape here.

    It’s official now - Uruguay flag sticker bought and attached.
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    I spent a little time riding around the very small town of Sacramento del Colonia, the historic area of Colonia. It’s a beautifully preserved historical site with many good places to eat, enjoy a coffee, or just relax.

    It was fun to ride through the old cobblestone streets.
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    Stopped for a quick cup of coffee at the local Freddo before heading off to Montevideo.
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    A loaded-up bike always draws some attention, especially when it has plates from many thousand of miles away.
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    It’s always a good conversation starter, and I met several bikers in Colonial from Brazil that gave me some good advice for that part of my trip.

    I gassed up and headed for Montevideo, a short trip of about 120 miles. Uruguay’s main roads are as good or better than in the U.S. the topography was rather flat but with some rolling hills. The vast stretches of farmland reminded me of the Midwest.

    I spotted the “Montevideo” sign and it looked like a good place to stop for a picture or two and have lunch.

    The Atlantic coastline in Montevideo.
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    While parking my bike, three other riders on big bikes pulled in. They were from Brasília, Brazil, and were on their way home from a long trip across Brazil, Argentina, and Chile, and Uruguay.

    We all hit it off at once and sat down for lunch. Alejandre, Ricardo, and Takao are part of a bike club called Liberdade Estradeira Motoclube and gave me a couple of stickers for my bike—I always love stickers! One is their club patch and another was made to commemorate their current trip. Cool idea!

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    After a pretty long lunch by bike trip standards, we took some photos and then we all decided to ride to Punta del Este together. They already had rooms booked there, and I decided that staying there was a better idea than trying to make Chui, Brazil, and riding a bit after dark. I booked a room in their hotel—on the spot with Expedia’s mobil app in about 45 seconds. I ❤️ the Internet, and the camaraderie of the ADV community.

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    Speaking of apps, I am relying almost solely on my iPhone and various nav apps on this trip. Didn’t even bring the “real” GPS. I have paper maps but only of Argentina and part of Paraguay. Having cell service almost everywhere I can use Google Maps, and if that fails, Maps.me works on the phone’s GPS, and blows Garmin clean away. Just had to preload the maps, which come to think of it I had to do with Garmin anyway.

    About an hour later we rolled into the very cool coastal city of Punta del Este just before dark, and arrives at our hotel. Punta del Este is a beautiful high-end coastal town. Nice hotels, condos, restaurants, but not too crowded at this time of the year. It would be fun to check this place out in summer. The locals are all bundled up, some even in down jackets, but it’s in the mid 60s which is still no-jacket weather for a Chicago guy like me.

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    The guys from Brazil are going to stay two nights. Me, I’m going to enjoy a good dinner with them and get an early start tomorrow for the trip to Brazil.
  5. Nateman

    Nateman Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2011
    Oddometer:
    29
    Location:
    Terre Haute, Indiana
    Nice update. Typing and riding? ;)
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  6. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
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    824
    Location:
    Chicago physically, Colombia en mi mente.
    I don’t have any idea how that got posted.
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  7. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    824
    Location:
    Chicago physically, Colombia en mi mente.
    Had a great dinner and conversation with the guys from Brazil on my last night in Uruguay. We ate at the Classic in Maldonado, which was in fact a classic Uruguayan parilla. They served up some great grilled meat. While waiting for the taxi back to the hotel, a neighborhood dog was enjoying the sights and smells of the food from the window. Too bad for him he can only look.

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    I got an early start today, skipping the rather late breakfast at the hotel, opting to grab coffee and a light breakfast when I stopped for gas a little later. Illy coffee at a gas station, and very good baked-on-site pastries.

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    I am loving the new Michelin Anakee 3s. I haven’t had a set of tires this street-oriented (even though Michelin markets them for on- and off-road use) for quite some time on the GS, and the bike felt extra smooth and responsive. Quiet, too. The front TKC-80 was noisy, and the front Heidenau K60 had a high-pitched and very annoying whine. The Anakees sure felt grippy on wet pavement. Will definitely want something way more aggressive on the way back when I hit Bolivia and Peru but by that time the Anakee 3s should be toast.

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    On my way to the border on Ruta 9, near the Saint Teresa National Park in Uruguay, the road suddenly turned into an aircraft runway, complete with threshold and designation markings, even huge turnaround aprons at both ends. Never saw that before. Checked it out on Google Earth and it looks to be over a mile long.

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    I arrived at the Uruguay/ Brazil border early, at the twin cities of Chuy, Uruguay and Chui, Brazil. It’s one of those ghost town type borders. At least that’s what it appeared like today, being a Sunday. I passed a building marked aduanas, with a weigh station across the road marked “heavy vehicles and busses only.” The office on my side of the road was closed and only the bathrooms were open. So, I continued on.

    Here’s the very unassuming border marker.

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    Again, no obvious migración or aduanas offices or police or anything. I drove farther into Brazil and stopped at a gas station and asked where stop for passport control. The attendant told me to continue one kilometer down the road.

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    Then I saw the building. I got stamped in and got my TVIP for the bike in short order from the very friendly agents, and then had to go back to Uruguay to stamp out. Turns out they process car and moto travelers out of the trucks only side. Uruguay stamped me out in two seconds and didn’t notice or care that I already had an entry stamp from Brazil. They are easy to deal with.

    The roads were good so far in Brazil, mostly flat farmland with some small towns interspersed between long stretches of road. Like in Uruguay, motos ride the toll roads for free in Brazil. Only difference is Uruguay has a moto lane to the right of the toll booths and motos can blow through without stopping, like in Colombia. In Brazil, you have to stop at an attended lane and the attendant opens the toll gate.

    Saw hundreds of bigger bikes on the route, and saw this stickered-up water station at a gas stop. Seems to be a popular stop for moto riders.

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    Arrived at the hotel in Porto Alegre and got the bike unpacked mere minutes before a monsoon-like rain started. What luck! Another early start tomorrow—gonna see how close I can get to Ciudad del Este, Paraguay.
    CanuckCharlie likes this.
  8. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    824
    Location:
    Chicago physically, Colombia en mi mente.
    My second day in Brazil got off to a later start than I had planned. I was up a 5:30 and had the bike packed by 6. I was suited up and ready to go, but decided to have a quick breakfast at the hotel rather than on the road as is my custom. After breakfast, as soon as I got on the bike and was firing up maps.me, I received a FaceTime call from my daughter who’s in France on an exchange trip. I was happy that I delayed my start, and enjoyed being further delayed hearing about the adventures of a 14-year old in Paris. Another reason to love technology.

    Packed up and ready to go in front of the Ritter Hotel in Porto Alegre, Brazil, where I left the bike parked for the night.
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    The plan for the day was to ride from Porto Alegre, Brazil to Cuidad del Este, Paraguay, cutting through the northeastern tip of Argentina. This looked like it would save lots of miles, but with the additional border crossings, I wasn’t sure if I would be saving any time.

    The weather was great and the roads quickly turned to almost non-stop twisties through rolling hills and low mountains. Again, I was happy to have slapped on the Anakee 3s.

    Amber waves of (Brazilian) grain.
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    I didn’t do much in the way of previewing the route today. Just sort of plugged in my destination and went along for the ride. Maps.me was taking me on some off road shortcuts. The first one basically cut off a very long curved section of highway by taking me down what looked like a deeply-rutted farm road, classic Brazilian red dirt. It didn’t save any time, but was a fun couple of miles.

    There were a couple more of these shortcuts, some pretty rough since the way the do dirt roads down here is to lay down a bunch of half brick-size chunks of granite and fill that in with a mixture of red dirt. I had been hearing a rattle going over some larger bumps and thought it was something bouncing in one of my panniers.

    It seemed to go away once I got on the tarmac. Then I caught a glimpse of my right pannier lid with the dry bag mounted to its top in my mirror, at about a 90-degree angle from normal. I was even sure how it managed to hang on, and when I slowed to pull off the road, it finally fell off as soon as I went over the edge of the road and onto the gravel. Luckily, it wasn’t damaged, and since the cause of the problem was a lock cylinder that had rattled loose and fallen out, I wasn’t able to lock it on. I always keep a few extra “Gotcha Straps” from Best-Rest Products. I cinched up a longer one around the whole pannier. Problem solved.

    Lock malfunction, and solution.
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    Where my lid fell off.
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    My moto loves Petrobras gasoline.
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    I don’t know whether or not the Korean manufacturer is trying to make it sound like a Japanese name, but to me “Kasinski” just sounds Polish.
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    I crossed back into Argentina at the Dionísio Cerqueira, BR / Bernardo de Irigoyen, AR crossing. It had a Central American border crossing feeling. Dumpy little towns on both sides of the border, very small actual border control station, and migration and customs offices blocks away from the border and hard to find. I arrived at the crossing, having inadvertently passed everything on the Brazil side. The officers in the Argentina migration office directed me to the Brazil offices. Migration was a simple stamp out. I don’t think they get many foreign vehicles through that border because the aduanas agent had to make a few phone calls to figure out how to cancel my TVIP.

    Back on the Argentinian side, I asked for a new TVIP and the guy asks, “for what?” I said to show a cop if I get pulled over. He says, “well we don’t do those anymore. You just have 90 days from the date of your passport stamp.” Really?? “Yes, your president signed a new agreement.” I went away not feeling very confident, but I came to learn that in that part of the world, the “Triple Border” area, Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay are pretty relaxed if your cross-border travels will be local and short.

    Almost immediately after I left the border, maps.me was taking me down some more dirt road shortcuts. The first two were a couple of miles each. The third was a 12-miler through neighborhoods and then farmland.

    maps.me must be set to ADV mode!
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    When I made the last left on that route section, what a surprise! A barge water crossing! Cool!

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    A father and his daughters liked the bike.
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    Let’s take some real photos, girls!
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    Here’s the spot!
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    As the day wore on, I got to a fairly high-speed road that was taking me quickly toward the Brazilian border, near Puerto Iguazú. Suddenly, the pavement ends and I’m on an access road inside Parque Nacional Iguazú. Red dirt, granite chunks, mud puddles, and downed trees. Perfect, especially since darkness was fast approaching.

    I was into about seven miles of the 23-mile road and decided not to double back. I wasn’t even sure what was at the end. I had been to that park before, but not on that road. I hoped that the road led to one of the parks train stations or hotel grounds, and then I’m home free. The road was killing me. 20 mph was the max in the rough sections, 30 in the smoother areas. While I was getting around all of the down trees, I was worried that at some point, the entire road might be blocked. The road was getting smoother toward the end, mud muddier, too. At about a mile from the end, a long, deep mud puddle covered almost the entire road. Now way could I risk dumping the bike in that. With no one else around, I didn’t want to risk it. I decided to try to walk the bike around the slippery left side. I walked the bike while finessing the clutch, trying to keep the bike moving forward, not digging the back tire in, and keeping it upright. It took a good ten minutes, but it worked. I got back on, and was relieved to find pavement. In about seven miles I came across a strip of motels. I chose one, and was showered and in bed within minutes.

    The very last bit of the access road.
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    Dead.
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  9. CanuckCharlie

    CanuckCharlie Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 9, 2014
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    42.326437N -83.263877W
    Riding on dirt with street tires in the dark in a foreign country...my hat off to you sir!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  10. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    824
    Location:
    Chicago physically, Colombia en mi mente.
    Hats off to Continental—those Anakee 3s performed very well. They really did feel pretty grippy. Maybe there is some truth to Conti’s claim that they’re a true dual sport tire.

    As for the riding after dark part, I take no pride in that. But sometimes it’s either that or sleeping in the woods without a tent or sleeping bag.
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  11. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    824
    Location:
    Chicago physically, Colombia en mi mente.
    I was outta the Carmen Hotel before six AM. Even though I had visited Iguazú Falls in 2016 on a family trip, I figured since I was right there and it’s so spectacular (and it was so early), I would try to get to the old Sheraton Hotel (now a Melia) since I knew where the good trails were to access some great views of the falls without spending the whole day. After a ten-minute drive, I arrived at the park entrance. Nobody in the booths—I drove right in. Passed the train station, and got to the old Sheraton Hotel, which now has a Melia sign. Looked like it was closed for remodeling. I parked the bike behind the old historic Iguazu hotel and headed for the lower trailhead.

    The only moto in the moto parking area in Iguazú National Park.
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    The trail was marked closed. I checked the next entrance and again, closed. I didn’t know if they were simply not open yet, or were closed due to storm damage. Evidently, there was a massive storm in the area a couple of days before that accounted for all the downed trees in the park, and also knocked out internet service many hotels. I could see some trees fallen over the second trail, so I opted for a quick exit and back to the original plan.

    Damn. Trails closed.
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    The plan was Paraguay. Had the necessary visa, did some research on what to see, and I was less than 20 miles away. I was, however, a little apprehensive.

    The clerk at the hotel’s reception desk told me some horror stories about corrupt cops there. They pull you over for some made-up offense and then shake you down for money. It happened to him and many friends, he said. I figured maybe they’re still holding a grudge against Argentinians for what they did to them in The Paraguayan War in the lat 1800s. Paraguay was truly crushed by the Triple Alliance of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay, loosing about half of its territory as 70 percent of its adult male population.

    When I got to the Argentina/Brazil border, the aduanas officer asked me where I’m going. He explained that if I am just hanging around Foz de Iguaçu, they wouldn’t issue a TVIP. If I was going farther into Brazil, they would issue one. I told him I was just passing through to go to Paraguay. The guy looks shocked and asks, “For what?” We’ll, I’ve never been there, I have a visa, and want to check out the Jesuit Ruins on the way to Encarnacion, where I plan to cross over again into Argentina over the Friendship Bridge.

    He tells me a bunch of stories about corruption, bandits, and terrorists. Now I’m getting worried. So I take off sans TVIP, see a sign for the “Triple Border Marker,” and think ok, I’ll check that out, grab breakfast, and head back to Argentina. At a red light, I suddenly realize, as my teenage daughter would say, that “I must be tweakin’.” In other words, I’m freaking out over nothing, and letting other people put fear in me. Screw that! And then I thought—I was supposed to already have been killed or kidnapped in El Salvador and a few other countries, and I’m still here. So time for a U-turn!

    I headed for the bridge. Crazy, Central American-style crossing. Cars, motos, pedestrians, buses, just no animals. I cross over and park the bike to look for migración. Maybe I was still tweakin’, but even the migration officer seemed puzzled by why I was there.

    Next stop was aduanas for a TVIP if if was even necessary. The aduanas office was a 10x10 building in the middle of everything. Some guy in street clothes and no uniform asks for my passport. I ask him who he was and he said aduanas. He must have realized that I didn’t believe him so he opens the door and greets the other officer, and I was in uniform. Then the guy in the soccer jacket opens a drawer and pulls out a tablet of TVIP forms. I was in business! And-no insurance required.

    As it turned out, the two officers were very interested in my trip and seemed intrigued that an American tourist was there. They later said that they really don’t get many, especially on motos. Most Americans enter by plane through the Asunción.

    Bike parked just inside Paraguay.
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    With my passport stamped and TVIP in hand, I’m off to Encarnacion.

    Traffic in Ciudad del Este was horrible.
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    I was still wary of corrupt cops so I planned on obeying traffic laws to the letter. This journey might be called “Paraguay at 49 Miles Per Hour.”

    Gas station “breakfast” in Paraguay.
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    Always need the flag shot!
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    Topography was pretty flat, and full-on agricultural as in southern neighboring Brazil.
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    Road quality was really impressive, much different than I expected.
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    I did see quite a few cops with radar guns, but never had an issue. I got to Santa Evita and saw a sign for BMW Motorcycles.

    Sandro didn’t exactly have a full inventory of BMW motos. As a matter of fact, he had none.
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    When you’re on the road solo, this is fine dining. I would say that the gas stations in Paraguay were the best of the four countries Invisited on this trip. Clean, actually kind of luxurious bathrooms, great food, and very friendly service. Based on the conversations I had with the locals, they’re not used to tourists, at least not in this part of the country and from the U.S.A. to boot.
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    I did a little research on Paraguay before I left Chicago and one of the things I wanted to see was one or more of the Jesuit ruins sites along the Ruta Jesuitica, or Jesuit Trail. Shortly before Encarnacion, I stopped to visit the Ruins of Jesús de Tavarangue, an uncompleted Jesuit mission that dates to 1760. It was never completed because the Jesuits were expelled by the Spaniards by 1767.

    This spot was on my short list of things to do in Paraguay, right after Getting Out Alive.
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    The entrance to to Tavarangué.
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    The long walkway from the entrance to the mission church.
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    Amazing Moorish-inspired architecture.
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    Inside the mission church.
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    Views of the subtropical agricultural landscape from every window.
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    Everything is well-preserved.
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    Foundation layouts for residences.
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    The scale of this place is amazing.
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    Housing for the indigenous.
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    After having a docent explain the history of Tavarangue, I had the whole place to myself. Unlike something comparable in the USA or Europe, nothing is roped off—you can go where you want, and reach out and touch the exhibit, despite it being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I walked right up into the old tower.
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    The Jesuits really picked a beautiful spot to build a settlement.
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    I figured this was a good spot to apply the Paraguay flag sticker to the bike.
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    A typical home in the village.
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    The local church in Trinity.
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    A monument on the town square.
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    Grass doesn’t grow on a busy street, and these streets are not busy.
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    Local farmers working their land.
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    I drove past one farmer plowing his field with a plow pulled by two ox. I wish I got a photo of that. But there were many other, larger, farms with new, modern, farm machinery like you would see anywhere in the world.

    It was a full day in Paraguay and I have to say I’m glad I went and would recommend it. It has its own beauty and definitely has a unique feel, very different from other countries in LatAm. I would love to check out more of the country, and might have an opportunity when I hit Bolivia in a few more months.

    Crossing El Puente de la Amistad, or “The Friendship Bridge” between Encarnacion, Paraguay, and Posadas, Argentina, and sharing it with cars, motos, pedestrians, everything.
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    Luckily, I noticed that the other motos were using the oncoming traffic lane to bypass the long line of cars trying to get into Argentina. Playing chicken with cars seemed a much better alternative to waiting hour in the line, so I did the same.

    Only to end up in another long line of motos.
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    It stretched far behind me, too.
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    Lasted a good hour, but at least there was bread for sale.
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    It saved me!
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    Just 230 miles for the day, but three border crossings and lots of hours on the bike did me in.

    My humble home for the night back in Santo Tomé, Corrientes Province, Argentina. The a Hotel Las Cabañas.
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    Good dinner, too!
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    I haven’t had this many different types of currency in my pocket since bonzai-ing through Central America in 2011. Feels good to have bills marked 100,000 of anything in my pocket, regardless of their low value!
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  12. CanuckCharlie

    CanuckCharlie Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 9, 2014
    Oddometer:
    264
    Location:
    42.326437N -83.263877W
    Thanks for taking us through Uruguay and Paraguay. It's not often I get to see these countries on S. A. ride reports.

    Have a safety journey north!
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  13. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    824
    Location:
    Chicago physically, Colombia en mi mente.

    I think Paraguay is off the path of most inmates riding through South America, although anyone who ends up at Iguazú (which should be on everyone’s list) is right there. Even when they go through Bolivia, most seem to exit to the south to Argentina or Chile. Uruguay would seem much easier to include since many riders head to Buenos Aires after Ushuaia to ship bikes out, and it’s an easy ride or ferry trip to get there.

    Other thing on Paraguay: the advance visa requirement is likely another hinderance. If you fly into Asunción, you can get a visa at the airport. Not so at land borders, although I have heard that it might be possible to gain entry over land depending on which border and which immigration officer you get.
    Nateman and CanuckCharlie like this.
  14. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    824
    Location:
    Chicago physically, Colombia en mi mente.
    I woke up early and had a friendly stray dog to keep me company while I packed up the bike.

    I didn’t know the cabana came with a watchdog.
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    Sorry, buddy, I don’t have room for you.
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    I was rolling at 6 AM with 522 miles to get to Buenos Aires which seemed like a lot, but the owner of the Cabanas told me that after the first 100 kilometers or so Ruta 14 becomes a fast modern highway. It sure did, with two lanes in either direction (no slow downs from slow-moving trucks) and a speed limit of 120 kph, or about 75 mph. I pushed it to 80, which seems like my bike’s sweet spot. I was racking up the miles quickly, enjoying the great riding weather, and keeping the gas stops short. There were lots of police and other check points, but they weren’t speed traps and bikers were just waved right on through. Ruta 14 is a toll road, although bikes ride for free and in many toll plazas, have their own lane to the right of everything else.

    Just after one of my gas stops, I spotted a sign painted on a piece of plywood that said “Moto Bar - WiFi.” The bar was just a couple hundred meters past the sign, and was called the “La Posta Internacional del Motociclista.” It looked closed but I had to turn around anyway and at least get a picture.

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    Out came Gabriel, the owner, all smiles and eager to tell me everything about his establishment. I came inside and we chatted for half an hour. He has had visitors from around the world and some have left their flags and stickers for him to display in the International Motorcyclist Post.

    It’s located right on Ruta 14 in Concepción del Uruguay, Argentina. It’s an outpost for moto travelers to stop, enjoy some camaraderie, an adult beverage if so inclined, have some food, repair bikes, camp, and just enjoy the local attractions, which include a hot springs right across the highway. If camping’s not part of your plan, their are cabanas across the highway.
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    Gabriel gave me one of his stickers to put on my bike.
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    Ciao, Gabriel! I hope our paths will cross again.
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    As I got closer to Buenos Aires, I passed a toll Plaza and actually had to pay 20 pesos. I guess closer to the city motos don’t get a pass. It was well worth it—the toll road into the city is five lanes in both directions, and the speed limit is 130 kph, or about 81 mph. It was fast-moving but organized traffic. Spotted one guy in a red open-wheeled car flying through traffic. Don’t know if it was an antique racer or a replica, but it sure looked and sounded good. After that a female rider pulled up next to me on a sport bike. Petite and smartly dressed in nice jeans, leather boots, a well-fitted leather jacket and with a stylish little backpack, her long brown hair spilling out of her full-face helmet, she had it all going on. She gave me a thumbs up and a nod before pouring on the throttle and passing me. Didn’t get to see her face behind her silver-tinted visor, but I could smell her perfume as she passed. That right there is the stuff that memories are made of.

    I got back to the Palermo Tower hotel at 4 PM, not bad considering my stop at Gabriel’s Posto, and before rush hour began in Buenos Aires.

    I showered up, changed, and rode the short distance to my parking spot to stash the bike until the next stage.

    Right back where it started, and where it will sit until November when I return to ride to Ushuaia. A little dirtier, another 2,000 mikes on the odometer, and four more stickers to commemorate the journey.
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    I spent my last night in BsAs enjoying some coffee and walking around the Districto Arcos shopping area, and then headed back out into the neighborhood for some dinner.

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    Palermo nightlife.
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    After a week of being a Gas Station Gourmet, I had a taste for sushi.
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    It was a nice way to top off this very enjoyable stage of the trip.
    Nateman, DutchOne and CanuckCharlie like this.
  15. CanuckCharlie

    CanuckCharlie Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 9, 2014
    Oddometer:
    264
    Location:
    42.326437N -83.263877W
    Moving fast as usual! :)


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  16. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,649
    Location:
    Seven Springs NC
    Was it aduana officer or police officer that stopped you.. and thanks for the head up because seems that it is pointless for me to carry a spare tire south to Argentina. I am planning to mount TKC-80 on my motorcycle at Colombia/Ecuador border and was thinking of carrying a spare rear tire until I saw your post.
    Parcero likes this.
  17. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    824
    Location:
    Chicago physically, Colombia en mi mente.
    It was aduanas at the airport in Buenos Aires. I’m assuming it would be the same at a land border, since what I learned is that Argentina has very strict prohibitions on importations on auto and moto parts. I would recommend buying a new tire in Argentina. Or earlier if you burn through that TKC-80 faster.
    WhicheverAnyWayCan likes this.
  18. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    1,649
    Location:
    Seven Springs NC
    Yes, we must assume that it will happen at the land border, too. Thanks for sharing that info! Have a safe trip on this portion.
    Parcero likes this.
  19. maxboxa

    maxboxa Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2010
    Oddometer:
    51
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    this is the gift thread that keeps on giving! looking forward to the Ushuaia leg of the trip next month.
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  20. Nateman

    Nateman Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2011
    Oddometer:
    29
    Location:
    Terre Haute, Indiana
    Looks like it was one of your better stages, bro.

    My bike came with Anakee 3s from the factory and I was going to swap them out for something more aggressive, if not just for looks. I thought I would just sell the take offs to offset the cost of the new tires. I ended up keeping them on, and discovered that I loved them! They might not look as cool as a knobby but they perform great, and as you discovered, they're not bad at all off pavement.
    Parcero likes this.