Coffee to Mate - Seattle 3 Ride South America

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by MissOrganized, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. huzar

    huzar Pastor of Muppets

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,285
    Location:
    Bellevue, WA
    DirtyPoodle and MissOrganized,

    I find myself contemplating a similar trip -- I would appreciate you sharing your crate plans, as well as anything else you can tell me about using Air Canada for shipping. I'd be shipping my TE610 to Bogota or Lima in the next few weeks, so I would appreciate any other prep info you can share out :ear
    #21
  2. rcroese

    rcroese Haarlem Globetrotter

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2009
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    GR Michigan
    Congratulations on your well-planned trip and I wish you "buen viaje" to a couple of my favorite countries. I used to live in Temuco, Chile and my wife is from Córdoba, Argentina. You will be in a couple of well-organized counties, with good roads and other tourism infrastucture. Camping is defininately an option in Chile and Argentina, but the campings are generally outside of town and the life of the Latino culture, in terms of hotels, restaurants and other fun places are generally in the center of town. When it rains and camping is less comfortable, the campings usually have inexpensive cabins as well.

    You will do well to stick fairly close to the speed limit (around 100 km/h), as the police use speed guns and step out in the road to stop you. Police in Chile are called carabineros (nickname Paco(s) and they are courteous, polite and will throw you in jail if you even try to bribe them. In Argentina, the Policía Federal is a bit more flexible in that respect.

    Try to get off the Panamericana when you have a chance, especially on the Pacific coast below Concepción, and other circle tours in the southern lakes district of Chile. Rather than going from Osorno directly to Bariloche, Argentina, you may want to go to Puerto Montt and make a circle around Lago Llanquihue and (hopefully) see the Osorno volcano from all sides. Another nice side trip would be to Villarrica, Pucón, Lican Ray, Collipulli, etc.

    Parts of Ruta 40 in Patagonia are now paved, but the wind is still a big factor. I hope you plan to go back into Chile at Esquel/Trevelin/Futaleufu and ride the carretera Austral (Southern highway), formerly known as carretera Pinochet. This area is a micro-climate with citrus trees and begonia-type vegetation along the road (expect rain). You can stay overnight in Puyuhuapi, a lovely German settlement on the shores of the Pacific inland waters. Then you go back into Argentina at Coihayque and on to Ruta 40. In the Patagonia heart land you want to stay at an Estancia (Ranch), rather than camping, because of the wind, cold and lack of infrastructure.

    I will stop here with me comments and advice, but please feel free to ask questions at any point of your trip, I know the Southern Cone quite well. One final point - expect to pay a reciprocity visa fee of about US$150.00 at the Santiago airport on arrival. They staple a stamped receipt into your passport and the fee is good for 10 years or the remaining life of your passport. I know this is a lot of money, but Chileans have to pay a similar amount to obtain a US visa.

    Finally, you mentioned communication with the US. I always use Skype for calling landlines and cell phones in the US from anywhere in the world, for which I pay an annual fee of (I believe) $50 to Skype and the calls are free.

    Enjoy your trip!!
    #22
  3. MissOrganized

    MissOrganized Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2012
    Oddometer:
    27
    Location:
    Live in Seattle, riding in Chile and Argentina
    Thank you so much for the tips. I greatly appreciate it and will take note of it all. I hope you are following our Ride Report and please feel encouraged to pipe-up with more suggestions as we go. We leave in 48 hours!
    #23
  4. MissOrganized

    MissOrganized Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2012
    Oddometer:
    27
    Location:
    Live in Seattle, riding in Chile and Argentina
    #24
  5. Lion BR

    Lion BR I'd rather be riding

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2005
    Oddometer:
    4,421
    Location:
    Oregon
    #25
  6. MissOrganized

    MissOrganized Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2012
    Oddometer:
    27
    Location:
    Live in Seattle, riding in Chile and Argentina
    #26
  7. Lion BR

    Lion BR I'd rather be riding

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2005
    Oddometer:
    4,421
    Location:
    Oregon
    #27
  8. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2010
    Oddometer:
    6,128
    Location:
    Passing ADV Stalkers in California
    I hope they don't knick you too bad in Santiago at Aduana. They are famous for this, as I'm sure you read over on Horizon's Unlimited when you did your research. Can be tough getting bikes "Free", usually lots of "hidden" fees at every step ... everyone wants their cut.

    It might have been a good idea to get your Chilean friend involved earlier ... before handing over money in USA ... to guarantee what fees at the Chile end would be or might be demanded. Ah well ... :eek1

    That's a lot of money to invest for the 6 week trip. And you still have to get them home! Renting ain't cheap either ... but there are some cheaper options.
    Chile has several good rental outfits renting F650 BMW's, Transalps and I think even XR250's or XR400's (or something like that).

    Much as I love my own DR650 ... no way I'd pay $2000 to get it to Chile. Also, if you were to stay only in Argentina, then you could have maybe bought or rented a bike by contacting Javier at Dakar motors. Many travelers pass through ... many are selling or renting. CHEAP! KLR's, DR's,
    BMW's. If you stay in Argentina, then this is possible. Argentina is a HUGE country ... and the North is more interesting than the South!

    Anyway ... as a DR650 fan I'll be following along. All the best and hope you can get on the road quickly and without too much red tape and cash.
    Hope you get a chance to explore the Southern Lake District in and around
    Puerto Mont and San Martin De Los Andes.
    Take your time, enjoy ... and ride safe!
    #28
  9. rcroese

    rcroese Haarlem Globetrotter

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2009
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    GR Michigan
    Ah, yes, renting vs, shipping your own bike, that is a good question. I would say that for a 6-week event it may be a break-even or you would be slightly ahead by shipping your own bike. There is really only one viable rental/tour agency in Chile - Motoaventura. Their main office is located in Osorno, but they now also have an office in Santiago. Their bikes are $150/day on average, plus insurance, plus a hefty deposit up front. The advantage of renting is that the owner would try to provide you with repairs, bike replacement or send a mechanic with parts to your location, if reasonably reachable. Another advantage is that they prepare the border crossing papers for you and many of the bikes are already registered at the Argentine and Chilean borders. I have both toured and rented from Motoaventura. Their (BMW) bikes are good, but they have become quite costly over the years.

    Another viable option is to rent a motorcycle in Cuzco or Arequipa, Peru. Their rentals are about half the cost that I mentioned above, but you need to add a couple of weeks, at least, to make to trip to TDF from southern Peru.

    But there are other issues besides pure cost. On a rented bike you always have to be very careful about tip-overs, scratches, broken (or rattled off) mirrors (at $100 a pop), and all of these little things come out of the deductible, while the insurance basically takes over in case of theft (which never happens), a total loss or major damage.

    In addition, there is also something to be said for riding you own bike, being on your own seat and having your own familiar luggage (I put up with some panniers on a rented bike one time that must have transported dead fish, and the smell permeated my clothes for the entire trip). Also, you know how to repair and maintain your own bike better than a rented bike.

    If I were going to make a 6-week trip, I would definitely ship it. Anything less than a month might be a different matter. But better yet, when shipping your bike to South America, leave it there for three years or so and make multiple trips to see more of that most magnificent continent. I have made about 10 motorcycle trips in the Andes, from top to bottom and left to right, and if I go another 10 times I will still not see all of it.
    #29
  10. Marine By Choice

    Marine By Choice Sergeant 0311

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2012
    Oddometer:
    199
    Location:
    Winlock, Washington
    Hoping you great weather, no delays and fond memories. Be safe.
    #30
  11. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2010
    Oddometer:
    6,128
    Location:
    Passing ADV Stalkers in California
    You've really hit on something there! :thumb LEAVE THE BLOODY bike there ... if you can arrange it legally. They say if you eat the Calafate Berry, you will return over and over. I know I did! So much to see.

    You're correct about the 6 week break even point vs. rental. That's why I suggested an inquiry at Dakar Motors. All kinds of desperate riders trying to sell off bikes there ... and elsewhere in S. America. Some will rent.
    About the time their fly out date approaches ... they become very flexible on price. :D

    I did what you suggested when touring Europe. Three trips in 5 years.
    I bought a really nice used bike in the UK, rode around the EU for 6 weeks. Stored it at a friends in France (free). Returned two more times for two more major 6 week tours. Not one issue. Sold the bike back in the UK ... for 800 UKP less than I paid.
    #31
  12. MissOrganized

    MissOrganized Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2012
    Oddometer:
    27
    Location:
    Live in Seattle, riding in Chile and Argentina
    I think that everyone who contemplates or actually takes a trip like this will do a ton of research and makes their choices based on their needs, desires and dream adventure. We considered all sorts of options and chose our plans thoughtfully according to our specific needs and desires. I'm convinced there's no right way to do a trip like this. The right way is the one that allows the trip taker to enjoy it the most and make the best memories.

    Here's to great adventure, fun, and memories!

    Sent from my RM-820_nam_att_100 using Board Express
    #32
  13. nivs

    nivs Rocket Surgeon

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2012
    Oddometer:
    47
    Location:
    Bakken Basin
    Well, this is gonna be one hell of a 24 hour + adventure.<?xml:namespace prefix = "o" ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    I’m writing this from the first leg of our flight. We are halfway from Seattle to Dallas/Fort Worth. We left the house at 7 o’clock this morning. We watched our 5 #50 boxes loaded onto this plane, so if all continues to go well, we will be hauling #250 of boxes to our hotel. I’ll probably be up for 28 or 29 hours at that point, so I am sure to be sharp as a tack and pleasant.<o:p></o:p>
    We will need to get some sleep. Tuesday morning we will need to get our crated bikes through customs, uncrate, reconnect the batteries (that means removing and reinstalling the racks), reattach the handlebars and controls, attach the luggage, repack the luggage and fuel our empty bikes.<o:p></o:p>
    I told Miss O and Poodle that I am not going to be able to relax until all of that is done, the key is in the ignition and the bikes only need to be pointed south.<o:p></o:p>
    Nobody said this was going to be easy. It is exciting, though.<o:p></o:p>
    #33
  14. nivs

    nivs Rocket Surgeon

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2012
    Oddometer:
    47
    Location:
    Bakken Basin
    All went well. I wrote the above post around 2 a.m. last night while flying over the equator. We landed around 9:30 this morning. First order of duty was to pay $160 reciprocity fee to the Chilean government. Next we went through police screening (long line but half a minute being inspected). Then we headed toward customs. All five of our boxes were loaded on free carts and waiting for us. It took only a few minutes to send the boxes and our carry-ons through the scanners and we were free. MissO negotiated a $40 fare for the three of us and our luggage to be transported to our hotel in a nice touristy area about 20 miles away. <?xml:namespace prefix = "o" ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    We checked into the hotel, unloaded the boxes and went sightseeing on foot. Santiago is beautiful this time of year. It must be high 70’s and sunny here.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Everybody drives like Steve McQueen around here. There is a huge amount of traffic, but it is always moving fast. Turn signals are not required, there is no safe stopping distance required, and if there are speed limits posted, they are un-obeyed. Pedestrians have adapted and walk aggressively. Crazy. Lots of small cc displacement air-cooled bikes running around the city. Oh yeah, lane splitting is an option, but will probably be limited with our paniers. <o:p></o:p>
    #34
  15. nivs

    nivs Rocket Surgeon

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2012
    Oddometer:
    47
    Location:
    Bakken Basin
    I'll post some pictures tonight.
    #35
  16. waterboybueche

    waterboybueche Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    47
    Location:
    Mesa,AZ
    Stay safe and have fun. Post lots of pics for us who are "bikeless" and cold this time of year!!!

    Blessings,
    Mike
    #36
  17. LuvinLife

    LuvinLife n00b

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1
    Safe travels, my friends! Take lots of pictures.
    #37
  18. rcroese

    rcroese Haarlem Globetrotter

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2009
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    GR Michigan
    Javier at Dakar Motors is not too keen on buying and selling bikes, but you are right, his place is ofter frequented by people wanting to make a deal. Of course, the requirement of having to be an Argentine resident to be able to title a bike makes things a bit challenging, but in Argentina things are arrange-able, let's say.

    I met an Australian guy in the Cañón del Pato (Peru) on a Ural with side car, which he had picked up in Tierra del Fuego from a bloke who had driven it down from Alaska. Somehow they transferred ownership, and so the machine goes back and forth. The side car was quite a sight, with Japanese/Peruvian girl friend in it and a stack of used 19-inch tires tied to the back. 19-inch tires are very hard to get in South America, so he was picking up used tires wherever he could.
    #38
  19. Lion BR

    Lion BR I'd rather be riding

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2005
    Oddometer:
    4,421
    Location:
    Oregon
    Hope all is good.
    But the most important question is: have you drank the mate yet?
    #39
  20. Comrade Art

    Comrade Art Working stiff

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2006
    Oddometer:
    620
    Location:
    Oregon
    Hopefully the bikes will clear customs just as easy as your boxes :clap
    #40