From Italy helping children around the world on motorcycle

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by romafras, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. romafras

    romafras world traveler

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    Not really. Matteo's bike being a carburated bike did have some minor ones. It was a bit more difficult for him to start the bike at these elevations. Max altitude we reached was 16200 feet ASL.
  2. romafras

    romafras world traveler

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    The main attraction of Peru’ such as Machu Picchu and lake Titicaca will be visited later in our journey. The first part of our Peru’ will be an authentic surprise for us.

    Following an itinerary that is far from being the main one, such as the Pan-American, we discover trails and secondary roads surrounded by typical tropical environment with faunas and high humidity. Our path often follows big Amazonian rivers with red waters such as the RIO HUALLAGA.

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    The itinerary we choose, later will take us to riding through the highlands, where the environment drastically changes due to the high altitude. We ride through Andean villages along dusty roads full of holes but we both feel very exited and enthusiastic. We start to breathe the air from the Andes. We meet women dressed in their colorful typical costumes, the alpacas are all over eating grass freely and we feel we are traveling through a place where time has stopped.

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    The days riding are getting longer due to the conditions of the roads. We ride from 2800mt to 4200mt above sea level all the time through breathtaking canyons such as the one of the Rio Mantaro. Because of the sunset we are riding in what looks a perfect set for a western movie full of red rocks and dry plants.

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    We would be lying if we would say that it all went without some troubles along the way. For example, when Matteo was trying to fix a screw onto my bike he cut himself with a knife forcing him to go to the emergency and have five stitches applied to his left hand.

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    Or when my KTM, after a terrible trail started to loose power. We were at about 100 KM from the next populated town and the noises that came from the engine were not reassuring at all. It turned out to be a problem with the valves. I thought my trip was going to end there, but thanks to a mechanic called Rocky It was sort of fixed in the next town and thanks to that we were allowed to continue our journey to the Sacred Valley with final destination Cusco. The gateway to the magnificent Cordillera Vilcanota.

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  3. Olivo

    Olivo Adventurer

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    Grandi.... e basta! Mi sono fatto tutto il giro dall' inizio alla fine per vedere fino dove arrivava il Dommy. Sembra sia ancora in perfetta forma:clap. Ne sono fiero! Anch'io ne ho uno, purtroppo e' parcheggiato in garage in Italia mentre io vivo in Canada, ogni anno ci faccio un po di chilometri ma ci vorrebbe proprio un giro come questo per dargli una smossa. Buon proseguimento e grazie per farci partecipi di questa bellissima avventura.
  4. romafras

    romafras world traveler

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    Grazie per le tue gentili parole. The old Honda Dominator is doing better than my new KTM 690. Ihad some problems with my valves and camshaft. Nothing serious but very unpleasent to be stuck in the middle of nowhere. Where do you live in Canada? You are one of the luky ones. Italy right now is a difficult place to be. Big Crisis. Thanks for keeping following us.
  5. Olivo

    Olivo Adventurer

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    Toronto Canada
    I live in Toronto. Yes, I guess I am a bit lucky on the "money side" but still life in Canada is different then life in Italy. Too many memories, family, friends and places I wont forget. I hope things will move in the right way for Italy and not only, the whole world needs to reorganize and give dignity to all of us.
    Ride safe and keep us updated.
  6. romafras

    romafras world traveler

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    Arriving at 3400 meters above sea level of Cusco, means to be in the centre of the Inca sacred heart, where all the Rio Urubamba valley submerge you with special feeling.

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    The main attraction of the area is of course Machu Picchu.

    We spend the full day visiting this special place departing at 4.00 AM from Cusco. At first we take a bus to Urubamba and then a train to Aguascaliente where we are picked up with a minibus that will finally take us to Machu Picchu. The arrival is very emotional even after 5 hour trip.

    We both read a lot of information about Machu Picchu but the excitement is still very high.

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    The Inca architectural design and the setting in which Machu Picchu is located is incredible. Here when you are able to isolate yourself from the mass of tourist visiting this place you can really breathe something mystical. Truly a different energy. Here the natural elements seems to melt in a mysticism in which the secret belongs and always will to the Incas.

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    After visiting Cusco and Machu Picchu, we take a beautiful road that will take us to Puno. The road finally allows us to keep a steady pace. It reaches altitudes of 4300 meters above sea level. The pass we cross is called Abra La Raya, where we meet some locals that sell products made with Alpaca wool. Feeling the altitude it&#8217;s here that we are trying for the first time to chew coca leafs. A common practice to alleviate the altitude distress.

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    Puno is a town that is located at the beginning of Lake Titicaca. A few days before our arrival, Puno suffered with tremendous winter weather conditions. Many Alpacas died. We were lucky to escape such conditions. The weather we encounter was decent and allowed us to ride along the lake in a pleasant environment. Lake Titicaca is the highest lake in the world. It is at 3800 meters above sea level and its surrounded by the majestic &#8220;Cordillera Real&#8221;.

    Early next morning, we depart with a chilling temperature, following the western shore of the lake admiring an incredible scenery. Direction is the Bolivian Border of Kasani.

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  7. Dr LC8

    Dr LC8 ...soon or later

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    Daja riga'!!!!!:clap:clap:clap:clap

    Ciao

    Nic
  8. romafras

    romafras world traveler

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    Finally after a few month of organizing and a long difficult adventure, the time to meet the children of the Virgen de Fatima has finally arrived. Claudio Calisti from the &#8220;Amici dei Bambini&#8221; came to visit us at our hotel in La Paz, to organize the visit to the orphanage that was planned for the following day. From the start we thank Claudio for all he is doing for the children and his dedication to the cause. Claudio is also congratulating us for the journey we have done so far to help the children.

    On Saturday September 11th, 2013 we arrive to the orphanage with our motorcycles. We are introduced to the all staff that works 24/7 with the children. They take a great time explaining us how the Virgen de Fatima is structured and organized.

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    The centre is home for 120 children from 0 to 6 years old and it is subdivided into five little different colored houses. From the beginning, entering into these little homes, we immediately feel that the energy and the attention to the children is not lacking, thanks to the attention provided to them from the &#8220;Mamacitas&#8221;. The Mamacitas are working staff that live and care for the children 24 hour a day. They often try to have a role of mothers and fathers to these children. Unfortunately these role are hard to replace but truly the Virgen de Fatima is still a salvation for these children. Often these children are abandoned, angry, or even abused from their natural parents. A tragedy in our eyes.

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    During our visit, the children are very curious in our regards. The most common behavior of these children is a clear lack of physical contact. They run toward you with their arm into the air and they all want to be picked up. Often when picked up they even call you papa. this is heartbreaking. This behavior is true to all children that are abandoned from their parents. In Mongolia we remember it was the same and it is a feeling we will never forget. We wish we could take them all home. Of course this is not possible but we are convinced that the little we are doing makes a big difference in this part of the world. Matteo and myself really want to thank all of YOU that made a donation to the cause and helping us making a difference. In speaking with Claudio Calisti it seems that some priorities for the centre are some structural fixes to the buildings. The roofs are to be redone in most of the little houses because it rains inside. Also buying a particular milk that is very expensive, and important for the nutrition of the smaller children is among the priorities pointed out from Claudio. Claudio will provide us a list of priorities to which the funds collected will be allocated.

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    The kids welcomed us by organizing a musical show where we also had the opportunity to stay and play with all of them at once. At this show also some government representatives were present, such as Ms. Cristina which is the director of the SEDEGES ( Servicio Departamental de GestiĆ³n Social ) in La Paz. In the evening we were invited to a couple of television shows with Mrs Cristina. It is important to have as many people know the problems of abandoned children all over the world. According to her there are close to 200.000.000 abandoned children in the world. It is a dramatic number and it is rising.

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    Context

    The poorest state in Latin America

    Bolivia has a surface area of 1,098,581 square kilometres, with a population of roughly 9 million people.

    More than half its population lives on less than one dollar a day. The child death rate is extremely high, because of malnutrition and of difficult health and hygienic conditions.

    Poverty and a scarce availability of resources to be assigned to the welfare state compel thousands of families to abandon their children.

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    The child abandonment emergency

    Child abandonment in this country has dramatic facets: every year, thousands of children are left in institutes: these are dilapidated and overcrowded structures, in which living conditions are only just above the threshold of survival. Virgen de Fatima, thanks to an incredible job done by their staff is not one of them.

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    The &#8220;Virgen de Fatima&#8221; reception centre welcomes male and female children between 0 and 6 years of age. This institute is a temporary care centre, even though some children do remain there for over 6 years before being transferred to another structure.
    The centre employs a psychologist and two social workers. It also hosts a family clinic, managed by one doctor and six nurses.Ai.Bi.&#8217;s multidisciplinary team , together with the centre&#8217;s staff, checks the social and family status of the children, as well as their medical, psychological, educational and legal needs, providing food, water, health care and study support. Moreover, we check the children&#8217;s legal status, to facilitate the start of the necessary registration procedures in preparation for the issuing of identity documents.

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  9. romafras

    romafras world traveler

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    It is time for us to see a different Bolivia. We depart from an anonymous Capital city of LaPaz,

    enclosed in a basin between huge mountain ranges . We ride south-bound along the Carretera 5 toward Oruro, ( city skeleton ), then to Challapata, where we take the direction of Quillas. That will take us to the northern entrance of the Salar de Uyuini. The road presents itself immediately fascinating in its landscaping. Alpacas and Lamas are grazing on arid soils.

    The terrain we ride on show a strong desalinization due to the continuous drainage of the lakes that were massive here once upon a time.
    The road we ride on allows us to keep a pretty good speed. We are riding on a plateau
    surrounded by high mountain ranges with dry desert vegetation worthy of a
    leg of the famous Paris-Dakar race. That is probably why, that near Salinas Garci Mendoza we met 2 official 4X4 trucks from the organization of the Dakar. They are here to map the 2014 edition that for the first time will be held also in Bolivia after Chile and Argentina.

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    Alpacas & Lamas

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    Paris-Dakar Official organization truck

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    The road we are riding next is made mostly of sand, salt, and rocks. It is the gateway to the Salar de Uyuni. In front of us the volcano Tunupa ( 5400mt ) is showing its majestic predominance.
    The entrance to the Salar will leave us immediately struck dumb for the extraordinary
    environment in which we are. As we continue, we struggle to distinguish the gap between the white expanse of salt and the blue sky. This is due to the fact that the sun light reflects on this immense white platform and it gives us the impression of riding on a cloud.

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  10. romafras

    romafras world traveler

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    For about 160 km we will cross the Salar with an absolute freedom. First paired and close to one another, then separate to the point to discern only a dark dot in the distance. We reach the Isla de Pescado first and the Isla Inca Huasi then. The characteristics of these islands are those to be covered by a multitude of cactus.

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    The transfer from the Salar to the area of the lagoons will be fairly easy but
    from San Cristobal, we ride into a landscape formed initially by
    several streams and all of a sudden an area mostly deserted with only
    Quinoa cultivation. Along the way, we encounter small villages built with
    mud bricks and thatched roofs.

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    Up to Villa Mar the environment will be &#8216; completely deserted with a vague
    similarity to the African savannahs where only a few threads of Alpacas and lonely
    desert foxes give some signs of life !

    From Villa Mar onward, the road condition changed. It takes us to 4700 mt along a really rough bottom
    of stony ground until opening on a lagoon that will leave us speechless. From now on, every turn will find a glimpse of the most beautiful scenery encountered so far. It gives us a feeling of driving inside a National Geographic documentary.

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    Laguna Colorada. The water is coloured in red as the flamingos that live there.

    Due to a very challenging ride, we will arrive exhausted to the shelter of the lagoon late in the evening. We are so exited to be here and we feel extremely fortunate to have made it to this magical place. This is truly a unique area in the world and certainly not an easy one to achieve with our motorcycles.

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    Freezing cold. My sleeping bag is under the covers.

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    Our lodge. Temperature -20C.

    After passing the night with an outside temperatures of -18, the plan is to reach the Chilean border. Sand, stones, ice, and freezing temperatures will be accompanying us for most of the time and will not be enough to erase the smiles and beautiful memories that this region has given us. The altitude on my GPS now shows 16,200 feet above sea level.

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    The boundary of Hito Cajones approaches but there will be &#8216; more time to admire
    Laguna Celeste, Laguna Verde and Laguna Colorada. These roads will remain
    forever in our memory.

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    Here we go now. We have reached this small border crossing between Bolivia and Chile. The small building is surrounded by huge mountains. We are at 4,400mt, icy winds can be felt under our heavy motorcycle gear. The only custom official let us quickly exit Bolivia to take the easy road to San Pedro d&#8217;Atacama in Chile. As we ride downhill we continue to look up and thanks those mountains for the numerous feelings they were able to give us through this segment of our journey.

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  11. RoninMoto

    RoninMoto Wanderer

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    Hey guys,
    Still following your trip. Looks like you are having a blast in south America. Happy New Year, I hope 2014 is as kickbutt as 2013 was for you!

    Will you get to watch any of the Dakar? Once in a lifetime opportunity.. I hope you get to see some of the action. :deal
  12. Didi66

    Didi66 n00b

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    Italy, mooving from Milan and Lucca
    Gran bel Viaggio ragazzi, Complimenti!

    We have done the same road in 2009 and you are right,those are place that we can never forget.

    Ancora complimenti

    Didi
  13. Dr LC8

    Dr LC8 ...soon or later

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    Manchester...but from Rome!
    :clap

    Nic
  14. cristiano

    cristiano Been here awhile

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    Bellissimo! Great! :clap
  15. romafras

    romafras world traveler

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    Happy new year to you as well. We will try to see part of the Dakar. Once on a life chance to do it. What about you ? what are your plans. ???
  16. RoninMoto

    RoninMoto Wanderer

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    In the mountains?
    I'm in Vietnam on a 110 copy of a honda right now. It is horrible. My ass is so sore because we rode from Hanoi to Ho chi min in about 1 week. :huh

    The KTM is in Cambodia so I'll be reunited with her soon. I'll stay there for a few weeks then work my way down toward Aus. Not sure if I'll do South American after Aus and NZ or return back to the States first. Gotta see how I feel in a few months.
  17. romafras

    romafras world traveler

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    On january 7, 2014 we will start the last segment of South America. Our travels will take us from the city of La Serena in Chile, to the most southern tip of the world. La tierra del Fuego. The plan is to travel along the Carrettera Austral in Chile and then cross into Argentina along the famous ruta 40 all the way to Ushuaia. I visited Ushuaia and other part of Tierra del Fuego back in 1996 and I remember it to be a magical place. Back then, I also remember thinking to myself that I wished I was on my motorcycle. At the time I had an old BMW r 80 GS sitting in my garage in Italy. It&#8217;s hard to believe that 17 years later, I am living my dream of returning to la Tierra del Fuego on my motorcycle. :) .Matteo and myself are very exited about this segment of our journey.

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    After reaching Ushuaia, our plan is to travel north through Patagonia direction Buenos Aires, where the bikes will be shipped to South Africa. What ? What did I just write? South Africa ? OMG! Africa.

    Africa is getting closer in our thoughts. When we started this amazing journey from Italy in 2011, Africa was so far away in our Imagination. We never really believed it. We all run pretty busy lives, but with our determination and most of all, the support from our families, it is coming to be a reality for us. Thanks again to the best wife (Marci) and best girlfriend (Laura) on earth that are making this adventure possible for two crazy dudes such as Matteo and myself.

    Make sure you follow our journey through the last part of South America starting in January 2014.

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  18. romafras

    romafras world traveler

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    Having taking care of all customs related issues, we leave La Serena (Chile) heading toward Argentina. Again we choose to go to Argentina via the most remote route available. According to locals and internet searches, the route we chose, it is a spectacular one that crosses the Elqui valley, also famous for the production of a liquor called &#8220;Pisco&#8221;. A delicious liquor which takes origin from grapes.

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    This road will take us to the highest pass of the Andes. The Pass of Agua Negra ( 4779 meters above sea level). The track is surrounded by a majestic scenery of huge mountains with snow-covered picks. Along the way we only meet a few &#8220;Gauchos&#8221; with their horses. The road requires some technical skills because its steep and has big drop offs.

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    Entering Argentina was quite easy with customs and immigration. From the start we feel immediately welcome. People are extremely friendly. We decide to find a place to stay for the night in the first village we encounter called Rodeo. That same evening their village festivities were starting so we had our first Argentinian &#8221; Asado&#8221; which was to say the list amazing. We are now following the Ruta 40 south and plan to re-enter Chile in a few days to start the Lakes Region and the &#8220;Carretera Austral&#8221;.

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    Eliminated Participant of the Dakar Race

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  19. iz4dja

    iz4dja traveller inside

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    Amazing RR ! I'm impressed of your journey and your photos ! you trasmit strong feelings to me !!! ciao ragazzi state bene e buon viaggio :clap:clap:clap
  20. romafras

    romafras world traveler

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    Thanks for you comment. Still more to come.