South America by Geezer

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

  1. GaryWild

    GaryWild Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    10
    Location:
    Vernon, BC, Canada
    Weclome home Rex
    Gary
  2. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
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    1,110
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    I'm really glad you enjoyed it - I sure had a lot of fun. That comment wasn't referencing anything that dramatic.

    Sorry to be so tardy finishing the last couple entries. I'll get it finished up in the next couple of days.
  3. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

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    Thanks Gary.

    I'll be in to see you and your crew shortly and let you guys mess with my head. :D
  4. SS in Vzla.

    SS in Vzla. Totally Normal? I'm not!

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,230
    Location:
    Sugar Land, TX
    WOW :clap
    What a nice rr, read it all in (almost) one sitting... Very entertaining writing style!

    Should be a must read for those people complaining about the "bad" food in Latin America... this shows you just have to be open to trying different things and not only stick to the chain brands you are used to at home (which IMO suck big-time even in the US) , after all, the different/new food is a big part of the trip to a different place!

    Sorry you missed some of the greatest scenery in Latin America (Bolivia and Southern Chile/Argentina), but I'm guessing you'll be back :evil

    Looking forward to reading the end of your trip.
  5. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
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    Hey SS, thanks for joining in and thanks for the kind words.

    One of the areas I missed was Northern Colombia and I was thinking about taking a quick little side trip into Venezuela - maybe next time for my "see the places I missed trip"

    Still in food withdrawal . . .
  6. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
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    Planed to stay in Buenos Aires for 9 days for the Easter interrupted bike shipping process. Supposed to be a pretty nice city so, could be a lot worse place to cool my heals for 9 days.

    Didn't want to do a lot of traveling with the bike as it was way over due for an oil change, change of air filter and the front tire has the wear bars worn off. I have a new one waiting for me in Sacramento where I plan to pick up the maintenance supplies also.

    In my enthusiasm to secure this plan I booked a room for 9 days (some hotels were fully booked for a couple of days on the Easter weekend) and agreed to leave my bike at Dakar as their storage was a lot cheaper than the hotels.

    Here is what I regretted:

    1) The city was a little quieter than I expected. Argentina’s 6 day holiday for Easter is a full blown holiday. All government, banks and most business’ are closed. With the exception of a few tourists wandering around, the downtown is pretty quiet. Most restaurants and the odd corner store were open so fortunately, coffee, food and booze were not a problem. Walking around, a bit of people watching and reading some books pretty well filled my day. Would have been ok with a bit of travel and some new sights in the middle.

    2) This money exchange thing is more serious than I anticipated. Not having US$ when I came into Argentina cost me something in excess of $1000 extra. Yup, you read that right. I needed $1800 to ship my bike and probably spent $1200 while in BsAs . . . most of my Pesos were obtained from my bank through bank machines. After all the fees and the huge spread resulted in roughly 4.7 pesos per $ (official rate 5.3). With the few US$ I had, I was getting 8 to the $ from the black market money changers for smaller amounts and would likely get a bit more with a big wad of cash.

    What was my option? Some of the other travelers headed up to Uruguay for a few days. Could have had Javier at Dakar throw a used tire on the front and would have been able to enjoy a different country, maybe some different scenery and get all the US$ I wanted. Grrrr!

    Having said that, it wasn't that bad and Buenos Aires is a beautiful city. The European influence is obvious with European names being more prevalent and above all, a healthy contribution to the local gene pool. Generally, taller, slimer, more blond and red hair, light colored eyes. In most areas of Latin America, I felt like a giant but as soon as I came out of the mountains in Argentina, it started to feel like I'm back to my average sized self

    Staying at the Gran Hotel Buenos Aires located just a block off the main park in the MicroCentro area of BsAs. My room looks through the Military Museum to the park.

    The downtown area is going through a major renovation with most of the one way streets being reduced to one lane for traffic and adding very wide sidewalks for pedestrian. A couple of major streets are designated pedestrian only and have the street mall atmosphere. In the meantime, it seemed everywhere you turned the streets are like this in front of my hotel


    [​IMG]


    Sunday night I woke an number of times with some very loud thunder, wind and heavy rain. It was loud and frequent. Lots of radio towers on surrounding tall buildings which I assume were attracting the lightning. Went down to breakfast the next morning and eventually realized everybody in the dining room is watching the news. Something about some flooding. Hmmm . . . seems that parts of Buenos Aires are flooded. Wow! Apparently 6" of rain last night.

    Get back to my room to find some detail on the internet and it looks like the flooding is in the north west part of the city. Uh oh . . . Dakar is in the north west part of the city. Call Sandra on her cell phone and she tells me they have a foot of water in their house. Almost hated to ask how the shop fared. Javier is going over to check it out. Hmmm, shall I start drinking now?

    Turns out the shop and by extension my bike were fine. :clap

    Here is some of the city I saw walking around and from a tour around the city on this decapitated double decker.


    [​IMG]

    Casa Rosada – The Pink House. The President doesn’t live here anymore but does have her offices here. The building is on the site of the original fort built by the Spanish in 1536. The buildings have been added to and replaced a few times in the ensuing years and the current building was constructed in the latter part of the 19<sup>th</sup> century. There are a couple of stories behind the pink color. One is that building was painted pink to placate two warring parties, one represented by red and the other by white so the Prez ordered equal amounts of red and white paint mixed. The other is that cows blood was mixed in the paint to protect against the humidity . . . maybe both are true.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    Behind the Casa Rosada is the Liberatador Building, originally built as the military headquarters in the 1920s. Connected to Casa Rosada by tunnels, at least one President escaped a coup by sneaking to safety in the Liberatador Building.

    [​IMG]


    The National Congress Building (the Capitol)

    [​IMG]


    No Latin American city is complete without a lot of staues and monuments

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    As periodically seen in many Spanish speaking cities, a memorial to a fictitious character . . . Don Quixote

    [​IMG]


    The Obelisk at the center of the city (Notice the picture on the side of the building in the background)

    [​IMG]

    At night


    [​IMG]


    A Memorial to the 650 Argentinians who died in the Malvinas War or the more familiar name for us - the Falklands War. Still a real sore point with Argentinians

    [​IMG]

    To be continued

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  7. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,110
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Some other things catching my eye. I'd hate to have the apartment on the end - don't think there would be a lot of room for entertaining

    [​IMG]

    Have seen a lot of these cool looking trees in South America (Winter has started so, no leaves)

    [​IMG]

    Which have an effective defense against lizards, monkeys and tree climbing kids

    [​IMG]

    And then just some giant trees

    [​IMG]


    A busy street with lots of moto parking

    [​IMG]

    A lot of cars set up for Natural Gas - Natural Gas service stations very busy

    [​IMG]


    Can even find some solitude in the city

    [​IMG]

    It's hilarious watching a show like this with the voices dubbed in Spanish . . . just not the same

    [​IMG]


    Get the odd street performer

    [​IMG]

    One restaurant on a ma[SIZE=4]in corner had a spot for musicians - this guy playing jazzy sax, girl sounding like Diana Kr[SIZE=4]al[/SIZE]l and an old guy [SIZE=4]singing and playing blues guitar. I thought hanging around here was a great excuse for enjoying some wine or beer . . . or both.

    [URL="http://rexbuck.smugmug.com/SouthAmerica/South-America/27118135_NXMBfn#%21i=2479888050&k=rFq4GmX&lb=1&s=A"][IMG]http://rexbuck.smugmug.com/SouthAmerica/South-America/i-rFq4GmX/0/M/IMG_6126-M.jpg[/IMG][/URL]
    [/SIZE][/SIZE]

    Most restaurants were open over the holidays so, no shortage of food. Eating wasn’t particularly cheap here but, some really good chow . . . particularly meat. I am an unabashed meatatarian and I think herbivores would suffer in most of these South American countries, particularly Argentina.

    A really good empanada

    [​IMG]

    Steaks (All outstanding)

    [​IMG]


    Steak and heart of palm salad

    [​IMG]

    Pork

    [​IMG]


    One place had a wood fired barbeque in the window with a bunch of lambs or goats and racks of ribs slowly cooking

    [​IMG]

    A typical bakery

    [​IMG]

    My last night in South America, met up with Cory, Bryce and Dylan for dinner. These guys have all had outstanding adventures.

    [​IMG]
  8. Pete_Tallahassee

    Pete_Tallahassee Out Standing Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2006
    Oddometer:
    176
    Location:
    Tallahassee. FL. USA
    It's been a great adventure. Thanks for taking us along.
  9. Sunday Rider

    Sunday Rider Adventurer Wanabe

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,270
    Location:
    North of T.Ho., Ontario
    Great update and wonderful pictures RB. I was missing my fix.
    Too bad about the exchange rate mess. Should have seen how far Canadian Tire money would have got you:lol3
  10. moto-treks

    moto-treks Back Home

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,836
    Location:
    Spokane Washington
    I finally sat down to catch up on your Ride Report and I see that you're home, welcome back :clap now its time to readjust to N America living :eek1

    I've enjoyed following your trip. You've got a nice way of capturing what's going on :thumb
    If you drop down into the Eastern Washington give me a shout and we can enjoy a few beers :deal
  11. SS in Vzla.

    SS in Vzla. Totally Normal? I'm not!

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,230
    Location:
    Sugar Land, TX
    Let me know and I'll be glad to help with route/lodging/sightseeing suggestions, gps maps, bike needs and/or beer!
  12. ride4fun562

    ride4fun562 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2012
    Oddometer:
    216
    Location:
    CA
    You sir know how to eat.
  13. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,110
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    It was a spectacular adventure for me. Thanks for joining in Pete.
  14. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,110
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Glad you enjoyed it Sunday Rider. A little better planning would have aleviated the exchange problem. But, hindsight is always 20 20. Canadian Tire money would have got me about as far as Canadian money - it's pretty but wouldn't have bought much beer or wine.
  15. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,110
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Thanks for the offer
  16. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,110
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    Thanks Jeff and, it is an adjustment coming back home. Glad you enjoyed my report.

    I do get down that way periodically and will give you a holler next time I stop over. By the same token, when you next sneak across the border to the Great White North let me know and we can get together. :beer
  17. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,110
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    :lol3 Yah, there are not a lot of things I don't like. I figure if you're going to eat, you might as well eat well.
  18. RexBuck

    RexBuck Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,110
    Location:
    Interior BC, Canada
    On the 3<sup>rd</sup>, I took the subway then a taxi to Dakar. Thanked Sandra and Javier, grabbed my bike and took the short half hour ride to the airport. Bike is weighed, ride it up on the pallet and it gets strapped down. Fortunately with United, I am able to stow some riding gear (not all airlines allow that) such as my jacket and helmet. Took the windshield off, deflated the tires and twisted the handlebars down to get the mirrors out of the way. Shipping costs are based on weight and volume. Volume is calculated from the highest point of the bike so, moving the mirrors and windshield out of the way can make a big difference in cost.

    Everything is then strapped down.


    [​IMG]


    Then the whole thing is wrapped in plastic.


    [​IMG]


    Shipper takes my documents to the Aduana and the bike is checked out of Argentina. I’m done and catch the employee bus back into town.

    On the 4<sup>th</sup> I went over to the shipper’s office which was only about 4 blocks from my hotel, paid for the shipping and received my Waybill.

    On the 5<sup>th</sup>, I wait to see if there are any problems with the shipping (which there weren’t) and then get ready to head out to the airport for my flight. Of course, my 9 pm flight gets delayed until midnight which screws up my connections to Sacramento. Two different airlines involved and neither wants to issue the new ticket and accept the cost. So I finally do the equivalent of holding my breath and tell them to talk to each other and get it resolved, I’ll stay on hold till it gets done. It got done.

    End up getting into Sacramento 2 hours later than originally scheduled so, the flight delay wasn’t so bad after all.

    Got to spend a few days with my Dad and see my son and daughter in law while waiting for my bike to arrive in San Francisco. It actually arrived there Monday night after leaving BsAs Saturday night which I thought was pretty good for a piece of freight.

    Couldn’t figure out how to get down to San Francisco airport other than a $160 limo ride. Finally found out about MegaBus. Thought I would help out the financially failing Sacramento commuter train and took a $2.50 ride from the station across from my motel to downtown Sacramento where I catch the MegaBus for a $6.50 ride to San Francisco . . . how good is that? My son picks me up and we go to find United Cargo and retrieve the bike.


    Nice clear sky over San Francisco bay


    [​IMG]


    Quick little jaunt over to Customs which was the quietest Customs/Aduana on the whole trip – nobody else there. Bike arrives looking a lot like it did when it left BsAs



    [​IMG]


    We get it unwrapped, put back together and I blast back up to Sacramento.


    Get my maintenance done, new front tire and I’m ready to go.
    Nice ride back home. Seemed to notice the cold more. It was just as cold during many parts of my trip but I got whinier about the cold as I get closer to home.

    Still have to stay at lower altitudes at this time of year as some of the passes have a bit of snow. My route for this time of year is past Clear Lake and through the Redwoods in Northern California. Cut over to Grants pass and hit the freeway to Eugene, then secondary roads up to Portland, across the river and follow Hwy 14 for awhile taking the back road to Goldendale. Then up Hwy 97 to Yakima and backroad to Ellensburg then through Ephrata and on to Omak.

    Then last border crossing and home.



    California Redwoods


    [​IMG]


    Northern California Coast


    [​IMG]



    When I crossed the river from Portland (about sea level) to Hwy 14, the temp dropped down to about 2 deg. I’m thinkin the Satus Pass may be difficult if it stays this cold as it is supposed to rain there. Sure enough, while the temp had climbed to about 8 in Goldendale, lots of snow on the hills and it started snowing with about 700 feet of altitude remaining to get to the top of the pass. Was down to about 1.5 deg and snowing pretty good when, it suddenly stopped and was clear sailing the rest of the way to the top. Weird!

    Again, north of Soap Lake, approaching Chief Joseph Dam, starts snowing with fresh snow on the side of the road. Getting a few tracks on the road when we crested and headed down to the dam out of the snow. The rest of the way was intermittent rain and chilly.
    And, home.

    I’ll do one more post (soon?) with a summary of the trip and some closing comments
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  19. lakota

    lakota Geeser

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,463
    Location:
    Annapolis MD
    Great story. Really enjoyed it. Thanks for taking us along.
  20. OtterChaos

    OtterChaos Guzzi Sud!

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Oddometer:
    968
    Location:
    Grover Beach, Ca
    Loved both your ride reports, I imagine they are the type of trip I will be taking in a couple of years. Different bike but same hotel types etc.. I'll review both reports again and take notes. Thanks