South America by Geezer

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by RexBuck, Oct 14, 2012.

  1. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

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    Interior BC, Canada
    I'm thinking Mrs RB has some other plans for next winter . . . that may not involve a motorcycle. I'm thinking if I brought something like that up again, I'd probably be subjecting myself to some elder abuse. :fight
  2. GSAGiuseppe

    GSAGiuseppe Lewis&Clark Tracker

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    Interior of BC
    Stevo aren't forums great? They are like 1-900 numbers. You can pretend to be anything you want to be.
  3. Sunday Rider

    Sunday Rider Adventurer Wanabe

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    Well RB you gotta keep the Mrs. happy or you are done. I guess having her drop by for a couple of weeks during your trips isn't cutting it any more. You have a few months to make yourself unappealing to travel with, so Mrs RB will gladly get rid of you for your winter ride somewhere warm.:lol3
  4. pceire32

    pceire32 Irish

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    Have been lurking with you all the way. Thank you for a great report and photos. Ride safe.
  5. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

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    Don't know what you are talking about . . . I saw it on the internet, so it must be true. :deal

    However, you'll have to fill me in about 1-900 numbers :ear
  6. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

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    LOL, yah, I think you are right. The problem is I think I already have the unappealing part down pretty good. She's been hinting about hiring a pool boy to help around the house when I go away . . . and we don't even have a pool. Do you think I should be concerned?
  7. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

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    Well thanks for coming along. Glad you enjoyed it.

    Not quite done yet.
  8. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

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    Not sure what to expect today but I’m trying to get a couple more days of hills before I hit the flatland to Buenos Aires.
    Initially out of Salta went through some pretty farm land. First time I’ve seen tobacco grown. Lots of it.


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    Drying tobacco


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    Finally started heading into the hills – really pretty sand formations. Argentina is quite civilized in a lot of ways but one thing I am really enjoying is having turnouts to stop and take pics and even some lookouts.



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    These hills had a real red tint to them which is apparently caused by iron oxidizing.



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    Came across this huge crack in the rock. Decided not to play kid and scramble up the 20' high rock face to get around the corner.



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    Was stopped at this lookout and saw a guy pull up on a 1200 GS. He was checking my bike over. Spoke English so we could have more than the usual basic conversation. Alejandro was a really nice guy. Wants to do some travelling himself. Rides with a group from Salta. Says he has a new 800GS also. Gave me his card and told me to call him if I have any problems in Argentina. Cool!


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    I really enjoyed the scenery coming through these hills. Reminded me of a lot of riding in the US. Great roads and unique scenery. Kind of like Utah I thought.


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    Stopped in Cafayate for a bite. Had the biggest chicken breast I’d ever seen. It must have come off of this guy. Real tasty too.


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    This area was one of the Argentinian wine regions. The usual nice winery buildings surrounded by vinyards. Reminded me of a mini-Napa


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    You can see how dry this area is. The soil was very sandy and looks like the cacti are competing with this new planting of grapes


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    Arrived in Tafí del Valle and found my hotel, Vergen del Valle. Parked the bike in a stairwell – have parking but not too secure just off the street.
    Needed some cash and another adapter as the plugs here won’t accept the adapter I bought a couple of days ago. Owner of the hotel takes me to the hardware store and we have to stand in line for about 20 minutes while the one clerk valiantly tries to get 18 bolts (all the same) for one guy in front of us. Suspect this job may be a bit over his head. Only adapter they had went from the V shaped pattern to the double pin pattern I got the other day. This is getting ridiculous. Good thing they use a lot of cement construction as I’m sure to burn this place down otherwise.


    [​IMG]


    Needed cash also. Everybody kept sending me to this one spot but couldn’t find a machine. Turns out it was removed. Finally find the bank (right in front of me – of course) and it wouldn’t give me any loot. Tried a bunch of times with a couple different cards. No dice. Finally tried one last time about an hour later and Eureka! Loot! Now I could pay for my room and have dinner.


    Speaking of dinner, I know you folks are getting tired of food pics and I seem to be posting more recently, but this steak was spectacular!


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    And they cooked it right also :clap



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  9. lakota

    lakota Geeser

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,459
    Location:
    Annapolis MD
    [quote Speaking of dinner, I know you folks are getting tired of food pics and I seem to be posting more recently, but this steak was spectacular! Quote]

    can never have too many food porn pics:D


  10. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF more off than on

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    11,013
    Location:
    The Shenandoah valley of Virginia
    :jack Good one Steve!

    At least with a pool boy she won't be running off with him.
  11. Sunday Rider

    Sunday Rider Adventurer Wanabe

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,269
    Location:
    North of T.Ho., Ontario
    Great pictures once more RB. Have to agree sure looks like Utah and Napa Valley in the same day. Nice pic of the bike too, and the food pictures are excellent, gives an idea of the local cuisine.:clap
  12. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,110
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Good, because if I post a picture of food, it was something I usually liked. The only thing better than looking at food porn is eating it . . .
  13. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,110
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    The Argentinian salads confused me at first. They would bring this huge bowl of salad, usually with one or two spoons in it. I'd pull it up, grab my fork and chow down, noticing a few sideways "stupid gringo" looks. :rolleyes I finally figured out you are supposed to dish the salad over to your plate and eat off of there. Who knew?

    That is actually a half bottle of wine which many restaurants sell instead of wine by the glass. Man, if that was a whole bottle, there is a high probability I'd either embarrass myself or get thrown in the clink or both.
  14. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,110
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Left Tafi and was immediately treated to a great bunch of twisties and switchbacks all the way down to the valley floor. A lot of fun. Not many pics as too many trees. Looks like they gave up cutting into the mountainside in a lot of places and just built cantilevered bridges hanging on the mountainside to accommodate the road.


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    Had an idea to do a couple of back roads on the way to Catamarca since this will be my last day of riding something other than flatland.


    Went up one road to that would eventually connect to a route that looked interesting. It quickly turned to dirt which was ok but I could see it was going to go over some fairly substantial snow covered mountains before coming to the route I wanted. I’m thinking I’m not in the mood for a bunch of mud filled switchbacks and thought there might be a more direct connector further south. In this picture, it looks like two layers of clouds but the top layer are actually snow covered mountains which I was heading for.


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    So, went back down the highway and just headed out on one of the side roads which after 20 km of ok dirt, connected with the good dirt road I wanted. Was nice and peaceful out there.


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    Got into Catamarca – kind of a quiet town but, I guess it is Sunday.



    Big demonstration in the Plaza.


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    [​IMG]


    Pretty peaceful except when I was eating dinner when all of a sudden there was a lot of noise and lots of people running around. A bunch of fully geared up riot police appeared with police cars madly dashing in all directions. A few minutes later it was quiet again. Must have been the shortest riot on record. No pics of the melee though
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  15. XRman

    XRman Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2006
    Oddometer:
    5,924
    Location:
    SW Victoria Oz
    Hi Rexbuck,

    I am only up to post#104 but I am really enjoying your RR. So there is life after retirement!

    I will have to have a look at the Aussie's RR too.

    I was wondering how your Spanish language skills are coping. Did you ever attend a Spanish class in Mexico?

    I have just returned to Oz after 3 weeks in California. ( I have visited the Okanagan a few times too) . Your adventure is making me think about a South American rid ein the future.
  16. AdvPrima

    AdvPrima Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2013
    Oddometer:
    10
    Am in ! :clap
  17. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,110
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Hey XRman, welcome - glad you are enjoying this. As an aside, and since you obviously like dirty bikes :D, you may want to look up fellow inmate Ulysis' Ride Report - he did the trip on an XR650, is a cool guy and had a great adventure.

    Spanish - I struggle with English and found Spanish no easier. I actually had a Spanish teacher and did a couple of hours of classes by Skype each week before I left. I did another couple of 3 hour classes in San Pedro in Guatemala. With all this I was able ask basic questions and understand basic answers. I could have a simple conversation if the other person had some patience. The more Spanish you know, the richer your trip will be.

    Good luck on your future trip. My only suggestion is to not put it off too long - I didn't meet anyone who wished they had waited before starting their trip.
  18. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,110
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Welcome AdvPrima
  19. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,110
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    We are on the home stretch now. I need to be at Dakar Motos on the morning of the 27<sup>th</sup> so, the plan is to ride to the town of San Pedro on the outskirts of Buenos Aires spending a night in the farm town of Arroyito along the way.

    Long, straight, flat roads. Pretty mundane but it was enjoyable riding.

    Started off with desert for awhile then eventually turned into some fairly large scale farming. Notice the nests on each telephone pole. Some sort of hawk. Sometimes 3 or 4 nests on one pole - went on for hundreds of miles.



    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    (I don't know what the deal is with the color in some of these pics but if it looks weird, it wasn't)

    Kind of like the mid-west – lots of corn, sorghum, beans and peas. Few other crops thrown in. Most of the corn was very short – mature at 4 feet or less. I’m guessing this is grain corn – probably for something “useful” like making Ethanol.



    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]



    Lots of fairly large elevators. Didn’t see any cattle being fed or for that matter, any other livestock. Maybe closer to Buenos Aires?


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    A pretty steady stream of these trucks hauling grain to and from elevators


    [​IMG]


    I found it interesting that almost all highway trucks were single axle tractors, many times with an extra axle on the trailer. This is a gasoline tanker



    [​IMG]


    Tried to stay on secondary roads as they have virtually no traffic. Turned onto one road and it was dried, rutted mud mess. WTF? If it’s going to be like this for the next 80 km, I’ll go find the highway. Turned out to last only 7 or 8 km to the next little town then beautiful country 2 laner from there. Straight but no traffic. :clap

    First night stay in Arroyito, a typical farm town. Has a large manufacturing plant making candies and cookies. Stopped at on big hotel but it seemed to be closed down. Found Hotel Americana which had an attached garage and was quite suitable.


    Some different things I've discovered in Argentina:

    Virtually every hotel uses skeleton keys - even those that were fairly new buildings.


    [​IMG]


    Every hotel room had a bidet . . . I guess this shows the European influence. I don't really get these gadgets and they just seem to take up a lot of space in these sometimes cramped bathrooms



    [​IMG]



    We are all used to Pizza Delivery and have run across a number of other hot food delivery services. Here they have ice cream delivery. I'm thinkin that's going to be one drippy cone by the time Jose gets to my house with his three wheeler.



    [​IMG]


    On the second day I started to notice some pretty dark clouds on the horizon. Could see the edge of the storm running parallel with the highway and thought I might miss it. Nope, gave it to me full bore.

    Rain, then rain mixed with hail and lightning striking all over the place. Usually three at a time – less than half mile away. I am ok with rain and I’m ok with hail but together they suck! I put my helmet visor down for the hail and up for the rain. With both, I have to have it down to protect against the hail on my tender face but the moisture from the rain gets it fogged up quickly. So I’m riding along with the visor up and my hand over my lower face to block the hail – thought I was riding the Harley again. :ricky Couldn’t pull over as I couldn’t see the side of the road.

    Second night stayed in San Pedro at the Hotel San Pedro. Nice hotel and really nice folks running it. Last road food pic


    [​IMG]


    The next morning I have a short ride into the outskirts of Buenos Aires to the Dakar Motors shop to meet with Sandra and Javier for the first step of the “four day” shipping process. They are the go-to people in Buenos Aires to ship motorcycles in addition to having a thriving moto repair shop.



    [​IMG]


    The shipping process from Buenos Aires seems to be somewhat cumbersome but it works so I’ll roll with it. The first day is to allow Sandra and Javier to review all the documents, set up the schedule and get a reservation set up with the shipping company at the airport. The bike is delivered to the airport on the second day, paid for on the third day and the fourth day is to resolve any issues that may arise that would require the owner to deal with in Buenos Aires.

    So, the fly in the ointment for me is Easter. That is the major holiday in Latin America and in Argentina it is a 6 day affair. All government offices, banks and most businesses are shut down for 6 fricking days!
    The first day after Easter is Apr 3 and if I start the process then, I won’t be leaving town until the 11<sup>th</sup> or 12<sup>th</sup> (there are already a bunch of reservations in place for the first part of the week) which gets me home much later than I wanted.

    So, if I want to get home around when I wanted, I start the process the day before the holidays, March 27 and cool my heals in BsAs for 9 days before flying out. While in BsAs, I also decided to leave my bike at Dakar for storage as they were substantially cheaper than hotel parking downtown. As it turned out, this part I would later wish I did a little differently.
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  20. Sunday Rider

    Sunday Rider Adventurer Wanabe

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,269
    Location:
    North of T.Ho., Ontario
    " As it turned out, this part I would later wish I did a little differently."

    I am starting to get withdrawals already about this trip ending.....and then you keep us hanging with that last line.

    Very cruel......:evil