South America and Beyond on Another Minimalist Adventure

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by JDowns, Nov 3, 2015.

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  1. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

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    YEEEEEHAAAAW, been waiting for this JD, safe travels.
    Your apprentice Junyah is doing you proud.
    #41
  2. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    [​IMG]

    I can help out a bit. That's Nadia and Marc (GSABest) from El Güero y su Morenita en Latino America!

    [​IMG]

    Yes, René and Liliane from The Motorcycle Chronicles of Jackie & Valentino... The Southern Episode

    We had such a great time! Thanks for organizing the party, John! So glad to hear that you are continuing your trip, we'll follow you online! Buen viaje!
    #42
  3. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi roadcapDen,

    Glad to have you along. I hope to catch back up with the Sundance Keed somewhere in South America. Junyah's a great guy and I certainly enjoyed having him spend time in Texas when I was working at Veriest1's ranch out in the Lone Star hinterlands. He's an ace mechanic and who doesn't need a friend like that when you're riding a beat up girl's bike down long lonely highways?

    Your ADVpal,
    Señor Booch Caseedy
    #43
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  4. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hi Gene,

    Thanks for the names. My last ride report is so long that I get lost looking for things like that.

    I'm not leaving for a week and this thing is already 3 pages long in less than a day. It's going to be fun to see what happens. Lower expectations are the key to happiness when traveling the world, but it is really hard to do when you're about ready to blast off on another adventure.

    Give my best to Neda. You two are aces in my book.

    Your ADVpal,
    Tio Juan
    #44
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  5. cjeter

    cjeter Adventurer

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    Woooohoooooo!!!!!! Looking forward to this trip/report. You sir have given me hope that I can go far on the small bike I have.
    #45
  6. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    HI cjeter,

    It's people like you that this ride report was made for. You have a KLR250 which is an excellent 3rd world travel bike. You obviously have the desire. You just need some money and a chunk of time and you too will be heading out from DFW to points on the horizon.

    Good to have you along amigo.

    Your rich uncle,
    Tio Juan
    (rich in spirit or I'd loan you the money to head out tomorrow)
    #46
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  7. SkizzMan

    SkizzMan aka SkiddMark ;^)

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    Counting down from 1425 days until I'm out there riding on my SS check.

    Good to see you back at it, John.
    #47
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  8. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hey Scott,

    I'm so glad I got a chance to stop by for a visit in Texas last week and catch up on what y'all are up to these days. It will be interesting to see what the new year brings. In the meantime I look forward to keeping you and Lois entertained this winter. I'll be back in Texas when I run out of money. Who knows when that will be? Certainly not me.

    Your ADVpal,
    Lonestar John
    #48
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  9. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hey JD,

    I'm glad to be here. Time flies. You'll be retired and riding before you know it.
    Your Texas sentence is a lot longer than mine was amigo. Haha.

    Buena suerte,
    Tio Juan
    #49
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  10. MatatuPuncher

    MatatuPuncher Adventurer

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    In! Glad to see another JDowns report. Best writer here in my opinion.
    #50
  11. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Hey MatatuPuncher,

    Long time no see. Welcome to the class reunion and thanks for the kind words.

    Cheers,
    John
    #51
  12. tonymarchman

    tonymarchman Been here awhile

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    It is great to have you back. I have been following the "keed" since he hit Texas. You two are an inspiration for all of us that ride girl's bikes. I really need to head south again before I get too old.
    Toothless Tony in Tennessee
    #52
  13. LE Trainer

    LE Trainer Bad Buddhist

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    A mere 590 days for me. John, you are an inspiration. I'll be following in your wheel tracks sometime in late '17, probably on an xt250. I have bigger bikes but that little one just makes so much more sense for that trip. Bien Viaje, amigo!
    #53
  14. Flirtin w/Disaster

    Flirtin w/Disaster Been here awhile

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    Glad to see you back on the move. Looking forward to the reports. Thanks for the mail. My kids saw the letter and got a kick out of the big red jail inmate stamp. Safe travels to you.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    #54
  15. OdyBandit

    OdyBandit Been here awhile

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    Great to see you back John. After being without a bike for twenty years I bought a Super Sherpa after reading your report. Thanks for sharing all your past and future adventures with us. And I don't think its a girls bike, most of the Harley riders even wave back at me!
    #55
  16. SavannahCapt

    SavannahCapt Long timer

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    Congratulations on getting back in the saddle! I'm really happy for you...........and us. I didn't check your blog for 2 days and look at this, a new ADV thread and page 3 already.
    #56
  17. top_dog

    top_dog ADVrider wannabe

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    I do not livein any big or famous city buti live near. If you're going to pass near São Paulo, i live 100miles after and have a bed or tentspace.

    REally enjoying your RR that isn't even started :D
    #57
  18. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    While I’m waiting to actually get to South America and officially start sending back pictures and stories of the roads less traveled next week, I’d like to go over a few practical tips that are left out of most peoples travel stories. Things that are good to know before you even get to South America.

    Sure, beautiful pictures of cathedrals and long vistas of twisty misty mountain roads are fun to look at. But what about changing money on the black market in Argentina? Who writes about that? Not many people. Heck, most people don’t even know what a Blue Dollar is. But it can save you 1000 dollars U.S. if you know what it is when shipping your bike home from Argentina and buying an airline ticket when your trip in South America ends, since Buenos Aires is the go-to place to leave from.

    As an American this looks like a lot of money:

    [​IMG]


    And it is. A thousand bucks will last a long time in Argentina. But here’s the thing. If you go to an ATM in Argentina the machine will spit out Argentine pesos at the official rate which is 9.55 pesos to the dollar as of today. How do I know that? You go to google and type in “dollar to Argentine peso” and it will tell you every day what the official rate is. So you will get 955 pesos for every $100 U.S. if you go to an ATM in Buenos Aires when you step off the plane like I will next week.

    Fine. That seems clear enough. Except that there is an unofficial rate that google doesn’t tell you about unless you look more carefully. It is published daily in the Buenos Aires newspaper and called the Blue Dollar rate. Today it is at 15.55 pesos to the dollar. What that means is that all I have to do is go to the city center to the main square and look for a guy shouting CAMBIO, CAMBIO on the street, or ask around for a money changer (cambio is spanish for change or exchange) and he will give me 15 pesos to the dollar. WOW!!!! And the government turns a blind eye to this practice although they hope most tourists are too paranoid to take advantage of it. But not me. I’ll take 1500 pesos for a c-note over 955 all day long. It makes your money go 50% farther so travel is way more affordable. Effectivo es el rey (cash is king) in Argentina. Tarjeta de credito es no bueno. Credit cards are no good.

    The thing is, you need to bring crisp 100 dollar bills. No tears, no missing corners, in fact no old bills. This is important. Money changers in South America even at banks are EXTREMELY picky about the quality of your bills. And they don’t want 20s or 50s. Sure they will take them, but you get a lower rate for small bills. Who knew? So now I bring crisp 100 dollar bills from home. $1000 for every month I’ll be in Argentina.

    I carry it with my passport in a money belt that I wear around my waist tucked under my pants and never take off (except to launder it or when I shower). It is made by Travel Gear and I got it at REI. So here are the essentials. Passport, cash and moneybelt. Don’t leave home without them. I put the passport in a small baggy so it doesn't get drenched when I do:

    [​IMG]


    I have some Argentine pesos leftover from 2014 when I flew out of Buenos Aires.

    [​IMG]


    750 Argentine pesos. When I left the official rate was 8 pesos and the black market rate was 12 pesos. I knew I was comiing back to continue my journey so figured this would get me to the money changers downtown so I don’t have to get ripped off at the airport ATM like 90% of tourists. At current rates 750 pesos is worth around $50 today as opposed to $62 last year. The Argentine peso is like ice cream. It melts quickly.

    Okay. So lets say you are just reading this ride report as you are heading to Buenos Aires to ship your beloved motorcycle back to Europe. And you only have credit cards and other plastic because lets say you are a prudent and cautious traveler. Let’s face it probably German since they have the long vacations and are not afraid to travel. With very little cash on you. I met people like that over near the Andes that told me you can get a really good exchange rate somewhere between the low bank rate of exchange and the black market rate through a website called xoom.com. It is what most ex-pats living in Argentina who are paid from the U.S. in dollars use. I never used the service, but worth checking out if you need a few thousand dollars changed for shipping expenses and airline tickets.

    Also I noticed that you can get U.S. dollars out of some ATMs in Uruguay which is just across the river from Buenos Aires. Most countries in South America give the same rate at banks and money changers, but Argentina and Venezuela are the exceptions where cash gives you a much better rate than the ATM.

    Oh, a couple more things I just thought of. The Blue Dollar rate in Argentina is better at the end of the month. At the beginning of the month a lot of people sell the dollars they are paid with to get pesos to pay their bills and there is a slightly lower demand for dollars. So if you have a choice, change money later in the month on the black market in Argentina. And if you have a choice, the exchange rate is better in the big cities. The smaller cities over near the Andes and out in the sticks were not as good as say Mendoza or Buenos.

    more later....
    #58
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  19. JDowns

    JDowns Sounds good, let's go!

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    Melhor cachorro,
    Eu não falo português, mas eu posso usar Traduz Google. Estou vindo para o Brasil e terá a certeza de montar a sua casa para uma visita. Apenas PM seu endereço ou GPS e eu vou ter certeza de parar por.

    Seu amigo motocicleta,
    Tio Juan

    Top_dog,
    I don't speak portuguese, but I can use google translate. I am coming to Brazil and will be sure to ride to your home for a visit. Just PM your address or GPS and I will make sure to stop by.

    Your motorcycle friend,
    Tio Juan
    #59
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  20. Tewster2

    Tewster2 Long timer

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    I love the details in your ride reports. I enjoy reading about the details more than looking at photos of trees and buildings. I can see trees in my yard. Many thanks.
    #60
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