Deaf Rider's solo journey exploring Americas

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by WhicheverAnyWayCan, Jul 14, 2016.

  1. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

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    In Bolivia, not all main roads are paved..


    I get to check out Salar de Uyuni.. it was awesome just getting lost for a while after visiting the famous status.


    I left Uyuni with plan to travel to border of Ollague so I can enter Chile. I assumed the road would be good for most part then last 50-75km to be rough.. well, I was wrong. It started with bad road out of Uyuni.. the road is paved but it obviously have not been maintained for 100 years! Literally! There were a lot of potholes and "washboard" on the paved section.. then come gravel with deep washboard you could really feel moto shaking badly even at 20MPH. There was deep sand and it damaged the chain guard of my moto. Then there was riding through the different salt flat.. before there was a deep gravel with deep washboard.. I was so friggin glad when I found the border of Bolivia to check out.. Immigration wanted 15Bol to stamp me out, which is bullshit but because the hour is 8:30am-12:30pm and 2pm-6pm. He stamped me out at 1pm so I didn't mind.. I was just happy to get out of Bolivia!!





    I went over to turn in my moto permit and there was a couple from Europe waiting on their moto permit. I asked if they had water and they gave me 2 liter bottle so I gave them 10Bol. There is no money changer at this border so might as well give money away for something with value. I drank it all up then I gave them some information and where to buy gas although I did not pass through that village. They told me road in Chile is very good.

    AHH PAVEMENT!!!!


    I rode the last 150 miles to Calama at 50MPH or less trying to conserve fuel because the last time I fill up the tank was in Uyuni. The wind really pick up so that add to the challenge, however the scenery was pleasant.. The last 50 miles, fuel light came on but I was able to roll into gas station with no problem.

    Using Virb:


    I checked into La Macia hostal and the owner used to do lot of traveling himself he understood how to accommodate travelers.. very friendly.

    Hand of Desert between my traveling of Calama -> Copiapo.


    I arrived to Hostal Casa Mattel in Santiago. What I left out was that the temperature light came on when I was entering Bolivia from Peru and I would find my radiator almost empty. It was yet another water pump failure. :( I have been topping radiator few times with coolant so here at Hostal Casa Matte, I performed another surgery on the moto.. but this time it took almost the whole house to do that.. well, half of us worked on the moto and other half watched and drank some beer. :lol3 Sorry no photo but few took pics.. I'll have to ask for it.

    In the process of finishing up, I broke the piece that hold the clutch cable and shift the gear. Oh boy! Called BMW of Santiago and they said 15 days to import.. $50usd. Yikes! The couple had just finished their trip and was going to send their F650GS & F650GS Dakar back to Munich Germany where they live so I said "You could always feel sorry for me and give me the piece off your bike since your trip has ended LOL!". I guess it worked because Adrian was kind enough to give me the piece and wished me a good trip. He said he work for BMW. Cool! And on the day that he and his wife was leaving, he told me he called BMW of Munich and they had part in stock. All good!

    I'm leaving Santiago for Pucon in the morning, and plan to camp at Motocamp Chile. Things should start to get interesting with many beautiful places to visit in southern Chile/Argentina and I expect to be in Ushuaia within 2 weeks from now.. I'm near to making my dream coming true.. Prudhoe Bay to Ushuaia!!!!
    Trip Hammer, roadcapDen and Parcero like this.
  2. Throttlemeister

    Throttlemeister Long timer

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    Go man Go
  3. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

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    Totally awesome trip!
  4. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

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    Motocamp de Chile

    Christian, the owner of Motocamp de Chile, is an architect who travel around the world crossing 135 countries before founding this motorcycle campground here in Pucon Chile. The facility has pretty much everything adventure bikers could ask for! Hostal (20.000 pesos) or camping (9.000 pesos). Hot shower with good pressure! Bathroom (both shower and bathroom for men & women). Full bar with ninja motor as keg machine. Professional kitchen that you can use to cook your own meal or let them cook for you for 10.000 pesos including appetizer, main dish, and dessert with choice of beverage (beer or Chilean wine or soda). Breakfast is included in hostal or camping price. There is also a huge BBQ cooking pit to grill your own food and a nice fire pits. Christian is very aware and familiar with all the information such as where to get motorcycle insurance for Argentina, where to get Argentina pesos since the border nearby doesn't really have way for you to change money. He knows all the information about the national park and ferries to take to wherever you want to go. He can also recommend many local routes nearby or long routes heading south. Beside all that, there are many places to visit near the campground. Volcano site, many hot springs, hiking trail, kayaking, etc. Pucon is excellent small tourist village with European style buildings and street, and there are many selections of coffee store, restaurants, etc. with menu in spanish and english.

    Weblink: Motocamp de Chile


    Entrance/Exit


    This is the site Christian would like to take pic with adventure bikers when they leave in the morning. It's near the entrance/exit.


    Hostal:


    Shower


    Camping area


    Hallway with bathroom on right, kitchen entrance far left and bar at end on right


    Map for guest


    Professional kitchen for you to cook your food or let them?


    Full bar:


    BBQ pit to grill your food


    Fire Pit
    https://wkheathjr.smugmug.com/South-America-Loop/i-tw3QbKW/A


    I planned on one night stay but end up with 3 nights. Christian convinced me to take a 4 days/3nights ferry with shared cabin, breakfast/lunch/dinner included for $450 plus about $140 for my moto.. it would save me about 1,950km on the road and I would see many beautiful places including some glaciers and whales along the ride. Ferry is from Puento Montff to Puento Natales and Puento Natales is a day ride to Ushuaia. I am taking ferry that will leave 4pm on December 29th and arrive at the port Jan 1. The reason for taking this ferry is due to bad landfill that took 5 lives and 15 missing that some area is impassable. Two bikers, a couple from Colorado, is taking 3 different ferries because they have some plan to see some places with wife doing the climbing. They left this morning because the first ferry is further south from Puento Montff.

    Anyway, I am leaving tomorrow heading to San Carlos de Bariloche because couple of Austria bikers I met at Hostal Casa Matte in Santiago told me it is really beautiful there. They actually tried to tell me to forget Ushuaia and just go there then back.. My heart is set for Ushuaia! :-) At hostal of San Carlos de Bariloche, overlanders are gathering for a Christmas BBQ so I reserved a bed and plan to celebrate Christmas with other travelers there before heading out on the 26th to Puento Montff.
    Trip Hammer and KLRalph like this.
  5. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

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    On the downtime, I am trying to sample on some of many Chilean wines.. the good thing about buying small bottles is that it is few USD and if I find something I like, I'm buying 750ml bottle and bringing it back to the states with me. (I'm gonna dump all winter stuff once I'm back to warm area so there will be room for souvenirs.)

    Abenteuerfahrer and roadcapDen like this.
  6. hdclassic4466

    hdclassic4466 hdclassic4466

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    Enjoyed your ride report a lot. I’ve had a BMW GS too, but am a Harley guy by heart (and I do wear safety gear). You have had to overcome a lot of adversity with your bike! Safe travels and hope you have a Merry Christmas.
    WhicheverAnyWayCan likes this.
  7. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

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    Leaving Pucon for San Carlos de Bariloche, the road was speculating I enjoyed my 5 hours ride. Border crossing into Argentina was so easy but they asked me where I was staying and the address, which was a bit surprisingly but it was a good thing I already reserved a spot at the hostal so I had name of hostal and the address.

    Farewell to Christian (my camera fogged up so sorry for crappy photo)


    Volcano Villaarrica (yes that was steam from the volcano)






    One of few single lane bridges


    Overlander Christmas party on Dec 24th (FYI, they celebrate Christmas on the 24th down here!)


    At the party, one of rider came and we talked a bit. His name is Richard Luck and he rides a KTM 690. He was born in England but grew up in S Africa before living in USA for more than 20 years. Nice guy!

    Hike up to the top and nice view from here:


    On 27th, I left Bariloche heading for Puerto Montt where I reserved at hostal Casa Perla because on iOverlander, there was a feedback from other rider about good price and secured motorcycle parking. I rode and when I got to a long line of car I assumed it was probably due to road construction or cleaning the rock slide or something. I thought that the border was about 20 miles away so as a biker, I pass all these car in the line and I saw many people walking about.. then I saw Richard Luck's bike with Colorado plate but I passed it.. As I get near the end of the line, I see the border kiosk and I realized it was a line waiting for border crossing so I cut line. I got off my moto and approached Richard who was talking with few people near the kiosk. Richard explained to me that they let 20 cars at the time and it would be about 20 minutes then he sprint quickly to his moto. I look to my left and see that they were starting to move the line so I took my time getting my helmet and glove on signing cars behind me to pass me. When I am ready, I get on my moto and proceed into the line. Red car behind me tried to bully me by getting too close to me hoping to force me off but there was no way he would success because I am near the kiosk and he is to my right so he yield. When it was my turn, the passenger of red car ran up to the border officer and said something then pointed at me. The border officer didn't pay him any mind and asked me for my plate number so I pulled up a little more for him to read my plate and write it down on the paper then gave me the paper. It was windy so I wisely pulled over to put paper in the pocket and when red car passed me, the passenger gave me the flipping bird. I laughed and shake my head then I followed him. Apparently red car was the last car and I was right behind him. Other border officer instructed cars to pull over to the shoulder about 100-150ft from the building and I was following the red car getting to the shoulder but the officer waved me and told me to go directly to the building. All this unfolding while driver and passenger of red car watched then when I passed red car, I proceed to return the flipping bird and went straight to the building. When I got into the line and somehow looked behind me and well there was that passenger who gave me the flipping bird and he looked straight up without giving me anything.. I laughed and moved on.

    Richard was able to catch up and we both end up entering Chile together. Then Richard told me he was going to Osorno to get tire changed and I thought about it for a minute then I asked him how long would it takes to get to Osorno? He said 1 hour. I checked and it is 1 hour from Osorno to Puerto Montt and it was 11:30am when we cleared Chile border. I thought it was doable to get tires changed in Osorno and be in Puerto Montff by nighttime so I told Richard I am going with him.

    As it turned out the place was BMW Aventura and they wanted $17 just to change rear tire (I was carrying spare rear tire) but $240 for front tire. OUCHIE! I decided to just go ahead and get it done with! I'd feel much better with new tires on my moto and not worry about it for the remaining of my traveling.



    I have mixed review of BMW Aventura. The mechanic appears not to be really knowledge with my F650GS I literally had to tell him what to do this and that until he got annoyed and told me I was not supposed to be back here and made me leave. When he finished with my moto and rolled it up front, I made him correct his mistakes in the parking lot it took him and other mechanic 20 minutes to correct their mistake.. and PSI was too low 20 front, 30 rear. I don't think I can recommend the place but it is too bad because the front people were so friendly, free coffee & cookie/cake, good WIFI speed and excellent inventory of riding gears/gloves. Mixed review here.

    I rode on and it took me 1 hour to get to Puerto Montt.. it rained a little when I got there.
    roadcapDen likes this.
  8. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

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    There was a big landslide that put monkey gear in my plan to explore few places in southern Chile.. and recommended by Christian- owner of Motocamp, he suggested me to consider taking 4 days 3 nights ferry ride from Puerto Montt to Puerto Natales. It is $450 with sharing cabin and meal included plus $140 for motorcycle. I booked the cabin online but had to call in to reserve spot for motorcycle and pay for it at the office at Puerto Montt, which is why I chosen to spend 2 nights at Puerto Montt so I can pay for the motorcycle and walk around Puerto Montt a little. http://www.navimag.com

    After I paid for motorcycle spot, I went to ATM and withdrew Chile Pesos then went to Casa de Cambio to exchange into Argentina Pesos. First, this is cheaper way to get most of Argentina Pesos because it cost $5-6 USD to use ATM in Chile vs $10-12 to use ATM in Argentina. I did it in Pucon and again here in Puerto Montt. Why? There was article in the newspaper while I was in Bariloche that in January, Gas station all over Argentina will not be accepting credit card as part of boycott against Visa trying to reduce the transaction fee of using the credit card machine. I was worried it would be a problem for me to buy gas with credit card I had to stock up more Argentina pesos just to be prepare.

    Ferry ride was very interesting. First, we ride through many islands before we ride out open to the ocean. The ride in the ocean was rough the ferry was rocking up and down, left and right. 3/4 of passengers were sick from motion sickness most of them spent their time in the cabin. When I had dinner, only few people ate. We saw whale but because ferry was rocking, it was hard to get a good pic of whale in distance. By nighttime, ferry was back into the channels and settle down it was smooth sailing from that point on. When we got near Puerto Natales, we approached the most narrow spot of 70 meter it was a little tricky sailing around it.

    While I was in the bridge, 2nd mate was talking about how in the wintertime there are a lot of icebergs it is difficult to navigate around but still carry on. He showed me the picture from his cellular and it was cool to see these pics.

    They were loading many semi trailers into the ferry on the day I boarded. I boarded at 11am and the ferry didn't leave until 4pm.


    New moto with no plate next to mine:


    Seal resting on the floater






    The narrowest spot




    One of many snow capped mountain along the way
    STBNE likes this.
  9. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

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    Ferry arrived to Puerto Natales on Jan 1 and I booked for a boat ride with Turismo de 21 de Mayo on Jan 2. The boat ride takes you out to check out birds that resembles the penguins, to check out the site that is popular for seals to train young seals to swim and when they are ready to swim on their own the adult seals proceed to mate for new puppies, check out glaciers & walk up close to the other glacier and close it with a lunch at the ranch. Lunch is barbecue lamb with beautiful Chilean wine.

    http://www.turismo21demayo.com

    Yacht style boat:














    Collecting glacier ices for whiskey






    Tomorrow, onward to Tierra Del Fuego and Ushuaia.. After Ushuaia, northbound to Uruguay where I will store motorcycle for a year to recoup some cash and return in January 2019 to come back to southern Chile and ride northbound on Carretera Austral and explore many places starting with Torres del Paine. Explore Chile for a month or two then ship out of Santiago de Chile to USA.
    STBNE and Chris-KH2PM like this.
  10. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

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    Puerto Natales -> Ushuaia

    I started the day from Puerto Natales (Chile) at 6:30am. It would be 479 miles journey from there to the final destination, Ushuaia- the southernmost city in the world. It was raining when I started and I was wearing Tourmaster jacket/pant that had kept me dry when wearing thermal linear interior on occasion raining days including on the Dalton Highway in Alaska. But my Tourmaster gear is weary and has few holes so after first hour, I am already wet. My boot was still dry until the 4th hours then I could feel water dripping down from my leg into boot and the water was building up. It did not help that with cold air, the feet started to get cold. Oh my heating grip stopped working in Peru because the controller went kaboom so the cold wind made my hand wet. A wet and cold hands and feet were not a good combo. I was starting to shivering. First gas stop did not have anything but gas so there was no hot coffee to warm me up. I pressed on and when I arrived to Puerto Delgada where you take the ferry to get over to Tierra Del Fuego (Land of Fire). I was greeted by a friendly face, a French guy I saw on the Navimag ferry the other day and he was kind enough to offer me hot coffee, which I gladly accept. When they loaded the first ferry with all semi trucks and send it off, I went inside the restaurant to get medium size of coffee (Large cup was out). I met few riders from Brazil and we had a nice chat. Two on Harley, one on BMW R1200GS, and 1 on Triump. We exchanged information and they assured me traveling in Brazil is ok, and that I am welcome to their home. One of them will ride to Alaska next year so I promised I would try to hook him & his wife with few friends in the north. We got on the second ferry and once we got to the other side, I rode off. After about 60 miles, I hit muddy gravel road with gazillion of washboard just like between Uyuni & Chile border. It went on like this for 60 miles before the Chile border appear in sign (The reason for gravel is because they are paving the last missing link of pavement road that would get you to Ushuaia so in 2-3 years, there will be no gravel road between the ferry and Ushuaia. Anyway, I went inside the building shivering and dripping, My eyes were red because I had to lift my visor up 1 level so it do not fog up and all the cold air get into my eyes with occasion rain hitting my eyes. People looked at me and felt sorry for me, and I couldn't blame them. When it was my turn to give the passport, my hand was shaking and the guy felt bad for me. Exit was easy just as before and I was given piece of paper that immigration/aduana stamped. Last time I had that paper, I was supposed to give it to the border officer when leaving Chile border building but I didn't see one and rode on to Argentina border building, which was about 10 miles away. Shivering and shaking with water dripping, I stand in line and same people I saw at Chile Border ahead and behind me. The immigration guy had mercy on me so he processed my entry stamp and insisted I pass all the people to get my temporary permit and I was off. Finally I hit the pavement and I rode 80MPH all the way getting to gas station at Rio Grande in just 1 hour. I had 4 coffee there and a couple on BMW R1200GS from Paraguay rolled in. We had a short chat but it was time for me to go because it was almost 6pm and it is 2.5 hours remaing to Ushuaia. Needless to say I was still cold and shivering as I barrel toward Ushuaia but the sceneries started to look more and more beautiful it was a shame I can't stop to take picture because it was still raining. Miserable weather! Well, the last few miles to Ushuaia the road looked dry and I see sun in sight. God, why can't I have that nice weather halfway of the way instead of at the end.. and well when I see two tall towers spelling USHUAIA vertically, it was worth the ride and I was warm on the inside despite shivering.. two big thumbs for my personal accomplishment and I am so proud of myself! It was 9pm when I got to Ushuaia and I found the hotel I had reserved through Booking.com.. it is a little expensive at $75 a night but it was so warm and very comfortable the price is worth rewarding myself after many nights in dorm bunk bed and tent camp. I wanted the room to myself so I can enjoy myself.



    After 34,000 miles from my home in eastern NC to Prudhoe Bay AK to Ushuaia- I had 3 flat rear tires, 2 broken chain links, 2 water pump failures, accident in Colombia that sprained my ankle bad and suspended my trip for 3 months, I have finally made it to the end of the road in South America at the end of Ruta 3 (Route 3). I am possible the only deaf culturally rider to accomplished the Prudhoe Bay, AK, USA to Ushuaia, TDF, Argentina motorcycle ride.



    After visiting the national park, I went to downtown in Ushuaia on Av San Martin and had a nice lunch. After lunch, I tried to look for a rain gear to put over my Tourmaster gear because forecast is saying 60%-80% chance of rain in the next week it would be pointless to wait the weather out so better to have proper equipment and try to get past halfway of Buenos Aires where weather is expected to get better and warmer. After 4 places, I finally found a XXL size rain jacket/pant then at 3rd place where my moto was, the guy told me he found what I was looking for.. anti-fog sprayer for interior side of visor and generic Rain-X stuff for exterior of visor. About $40 but I figured it will be worth the price to keep my visor down and keep my face warm for next 2-3 days riding north. Hopefully the money will be well spent.

    And here is nice scene at the end of Ruta 3 (Spoiler alert!)

  11. jeepman63

    jeepman63 daplumber

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    hey, i have been following you forever, so glad you made it, im so happy for you. this is a goal of a life time that not many of us riders get to accomplish. wishing you all the best on the return trip. :clap:clap:clap
  12. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

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    Congratulations on reaching The End of the World!

    I’m looking forward to continuing to follow along for the rest of your ride.
  13. STBNE

    STBNE el Bendito...

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    Proud to be a Deaf motorcyclist..and not a Biker dude...Would love to meet you..I am in ENC too...Congratulations on an amazing journey!!!:clap:beer
  14. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

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    Thank you! It was a dream coming true for me! :)

    Thank you! I have more planned so I am not done but it will be a year before I can continue my adventure.. possibly 2 up??

    Yes! :-) I'd love to get together when I am back to the state in few months! I'll PM you when I am in the state.
    STBNE likes this.
  15. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

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    There was couple of places that I wanted to visit when I was making my way to Ushuaia but the weather was miserable and I would not be able to use my digital camera so the only thing I wanted to do was just go straight to Ushuaia.

    This morning, when I get ready to ride out of Ushuaia, it was raining and it seems doubtful I would visit one of these places today. About 30 miles out of Ushuaia, the weather started to look promising when rain started to slow down. About 10 miles out of Rio Grande, I never see the rain again and it was blessing! But that is when I would experience the real fury of Patagonia's wind. It was pushing me around and it changes direction real fast it was difficult to ride.

    After I get past the Chile border, that is when you ride through gravel road for about 15 miles but it is different from 2 days ago. There was more loose gravel and it was thick. Turn out there was a grader working that road and it did not help Patagonia wind was pushing me around on a deep thick gravel road it was difficult to negotiate. Thankfully, it was only 15 miles before getting on the pavement.

    And that is when I took a detour. A short 12 miles detour. I just had to check this place out for myself and I am glad I did because it is worth the detour even if the gravel road was horrible. This is definitely one of the highlight of this trip!







  16. RoaringTodd

    RoaringTodd Adventurer

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    Hands Wave in Air. Well done! We need a Deaf ADV Rider gathering when you get back!
    WhicheverAnyWayCan and STBNE like this.
  17. WhicheverAnyWayCan

    WhicheverAnyWayCan Deaf Biker

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    I'd love to do that!! It would be cool to have other deaf rider along.. to be honest sometime I wish I had someone along with me to share some cool moments.. I rode with one for a month and it was nice.. save money in some way too and offer support to him when his moto was having fuel pump issue until he found replacement. So deaf advrider gathering would be awesome and get acquired with others!
  18. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

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    Amazing and worthwhile detour! How close were you able to get to the penguins?