The Grand Tour. South America in 100 days.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by muf722, Nov 14, 2017.

  1. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    I would have loved that. But both timing and route is off. I did pick up a 2018 Dakar sticker while in Uyuni. After Uyuni they go more direct south into Argentina.
  2. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    I have Mendoza as a kind of appendix in my plans. If, for some reason, I arrive in Valparaiso with time to spare, I would extend my route up around Mendoza. For now I will have to settle for some nice Mendoza wine.

    I'm in the proces of changing my route to Ruta 0 in Argentina before going back to Brazil.
  3. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Happy going along, I hear a noise and soon after, a red warning on the dashboard. Low tire pressure after a puncture. Great with a warning, so you can come to a stop before the low pressure cause an accident. Its very hot, so I loose the heavy jacket and find my hat for some sun protection.

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    I have never had to fix a puncture myself, but I do bring a plug set. I use one CO2 cartridge to locate the hole and mark it with the tool. Then I mess up inserting the plug, leaving only half the material intended. The air from a second CO2 cartridge get me 0,3 bar. Very far from the 2,9 bar I want, so I better start pumping long and hard with my little hand pump.

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    A french couple spot me on the side of the road and stop to offer help. They have a compressor. Talk about luck when you need it. I didn´t pump a single stroke myself, and soon had the pressure up. It seems to hold the pressure and I´m happy enough with my plug to continue. We exchange business cards/stickers and are on the road again. The bad plug did leak a little. I lost 0,5 bar per day. Since that is within safe limits, I accept the hassle of adding some air once a day, and I will have new tires in a few days.

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    I arrive at the border at 1400. Almost an hour later than expected due to the puncture. Trying to exit my bike on the bolivian side, I soon give up waiting in the line standing outside in the hot sun. I then try my luck at immigrations. The line is long and slow but mostly in shade, so I get my stamp after 2 hours.
    Back at customs, the line is almost gone. They ask for my TIP and the copy I never made at the Peru border, but they finally offer to make the copy inside the office themselves. And they want to make an inspection. It takes an hour.
    On the Brazil side you don´t need a TIP, but an electronic declaration must be made beforehand. I made mine the last night in Bolivia and got a print of it, as they will not let you use a computer at the border. The only mistake that I made was to list the same border point as both entry and exit. There is one hour time difference going over the border, and the brazil immigration closes at 1700. I do not make it, and they tell me to come back tomorrow.
    At the overnight hotel I meet these two guys from Rio, both riding BMW R1200 GSA LC. One proudly wearing his Tierra del Fuego T-shirt. They invite me for dinner. Previously done a Ushuaia tour, they are heading for the Atacama desert in Chile. They convince me to do my service on my bike in Rio at the dealer. This is where they service their bikes.
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  4. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    The next day at the border. I´m in the line to enter Brazil. And the Rio guys, are in the exit line. I get my stamp at 1100 and check out at 1200. So 20 hours at the border in total. Already here I can se my arrival in Rio on the 30th slipping away.

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    Lunch at a roadside buffet restaurant.

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    28 December
    Nice riding day. I reach Campo Grande and decide to ride 4 days instead of 3 days to Rio. Its not a race.

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    29 December.
    Road surface is mostly good. I hit 120 km of poor tarmac with lots of potholes. The Rio riders warned me.
    Some rain today. A lot of fast toll roads to Bauru.. Excellent hotel with great value for money. 700km today.


    30 December. No pictures today. 5 hours of rain. I go back to the mountains and spend the night in Itajuba. Also nice. So I avoid Sao Paolo.
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  5. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Approaching Rio de Janeiro 31 December 2017. Short riding day to arrive at 1400. I googled where to stay while in Rio, and came up with Ipanema. Copacabana being too touristy. The prices in Ipanema made me chose the next neighborhood over, Leblon. Its the same beach as Ipanema and should be nice. I found a hostel but didn´t book since my arrival date could change, and so it did. Now everything is unavailable this close to new years, and I panic a bit. Next neighborhood out from center is Vidigal and I book a hostel for 4 days. I take a private room, not the dorm, but it is pricey.

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    Entering Vidigal, and this does not compare to Leblon which I just passed. Its slummy. Narrow streets with strange smells and garbage everywhere. The streets are very steep.

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    I´m in the hostel on the left after the third car wreck. The room is OK. Private bathroom. The room key is labeled "suite".

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    Entrance Vidigal. Its possible to climb the hill in the background. I´ll do that in a couple of days.
  6. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    First real look at the Atlantic ocean and a beach where I will go tomorrow.

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    Ipanema beach. I walk there, but eventually take a bus to Copacabana where the action is going to take place tonight.

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    First a refreshment. Coconut with a straw.

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    Copacabana beach. Its still early. The 5 cruise ships makes it easy to find the center of the show.
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  7. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    The rumour is that 2-3 million people will gather on the beach and 25 tons of fireworks will go up.

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    After dinner, its time for some drinks. Popup bars mix whatever you like.

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    Happy 2018

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    Great show lasts almost 30min, and its the most impressive fireworks I´ve ever seen. Bigger than the one at Sydney Harbour Bridge.
    Don T likes this.
  8. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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  9. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Early morning Jan 01. Amazingly I catch a taxi after walking only 30 min away from the beach. During the ride, I spot a taxi in one of the drainage canals. My cab driver takes a similar picture and goes online to share with his colleagues. Then he almost crash the taxi against a rock wall, making erratic inputs to the steering wheel. As all other cab rides to Vidigal, he drops me at the entrance and the bottom of the hill. To avoid the steep hill and narrow streets they say. But really they dare not enter.

    During the day ,I learn some facts about the neighborhood I´m in. After a midday swim at the beach, I take a detour through the maze of narrow walkways trying to find a route back to the hostel. I pass a young man holding a large assault rifle. Made of plastic I think. A Christmas present?. At the next corner more guys and more guns. I realize that the guns are real and these guys are gangsters. I feel a chill, try not to make eye contact, and continue deeper in the maze. After passing another 6-7 riflemen, i finally get back to the normal streets and find the hostel. I have a talk with the owner of the hostel. A young pilot student with most of his few hours from Denton, Texas, not far from where I got my Air Force wings 30years ago. So he speaks English and explains that we are in a farvela (slum) ruled by drug trading bandits. The police patrol some areas, the gangsters the others. They normally do not mix. The police were boosted during the Olympics, but now money is dwindling and the gangsters are gaining territory again.

    The rest of the day was spend updating this RR. All food stalls are closed in Vidigal, so I find an open restaurant at the Sheraton on the beach.

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    2 Jan. Stores are open again and I ride to the BMW dealer for a service. They never answered any of my phone calls or emails. My tires have now done 12.000km. They are Mitas E07 Dakar. A 50/50 tire with great wear properties. I rode an older version on one of my Africa tours. They are terrible the first 500km and sing on some road surfaces, but I like them a lot, and will fit them again. I think you could ride a further 2-3000km on the rear.

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    The front is in excellent condition. I now regret to have changed it. I ask for a standard service plus airfilter, new tires ( I give them a list of preferred alternatives) a new spare headlamp, and a spare liter of oil. I can pick the bike up the next day.

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    From my afternoon hike to the top of the hill. A similar farvela like Vidigal, just on the other side of the mountain.
    Mossy87, roadcapDen, Don T and 4 others like this.
  10. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

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    Did you happen to see the girl from Ipanema? I hear that she is tall and tan and young and lovely, and that when she walks she’s like a samba.
    muf722 and Charmin like this.
  11. Charmin

    Charmin Been here awhile

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    :raabia

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  12. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Thanks for the song. I have listened to that song a number of times on the route, but in an Amy Winehouse version with my bluetooth headset. One cannot stop appriciating the south american beauties underway. I especialy think of the girl selling me insurance in Colombia, and one in Ecuador in the park. The string bikini is still widely used on the Rio beaches I can report.
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  13. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Birds of prey soar the hill.

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    The view from the top. Ipanema on the right. Lake Rodrigo, The horse racetrack and Cristo Redentor on the hill to the left.

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    I did fly the drone, but everything was out of focus.

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    Cristo Redentor or The Christ Redeemer on the next hill. Too far to fly the drone. I will go there tomorrow.
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  14. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    I fell in a tourist trap today. First I paid a mototaxi 50R$ to take me from Vidigal to the statue. Well, he let me off at the bottom of the hill. Then you can take a train up the hill. I was warned about a 2 hour waiting line for the train and more waiting at the top. A solution was to take a special mototaxi up the hill and let him arrange a fasttrack up to the statue. That is what I understood being told in brasiliian. So I paid 140R$ to the guy everything inkl. The mototaxi is the fastest way up, but when we reach the parking lot, where you need a van ride inkl in the ticket price, he directs me to a ticket vendor asking for another 100 R$ for that ticket. Now I say stop. The 140 R$ is only for the mototaxi ride? Yes. OK I have been cheated. The entrance ticket is only 42R$ and there is a line. A lady offers to help, saying she is a guide and can buy tickets at a special booth. I opt for that and she immediately ask for a tip. I let her keep the 10 R$ I overpayed for the ticket, and I can tell she´s not happy. I also instruct my mototaxi driver to pick me up at 1300 for a return ride down the hill, but I fear the worst.

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    Selfie hell. Impossible to fly the drone up here. 38 m tall. From images, I thought the statue was much bigger.

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    I thought of going to Sugarloaf mountain next but these tourist attractions take far more time than expected, so this is it. I prioritize to go fetch my bike in the afternoon.

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    I fly the drone from the lower parking lot a kilometer away. The mountain shades the signal, so when I try to go in front of the statue, I loose signal, and the drone autoreturns. So this is the best I can do from the takeoff position.
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  15. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Digital zoom. I did not want to fly too close.

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    Goodbye Rio.

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    Bike was serviced, washed and ready by afternoon. They drench the bike in an oily substance to make the plastics shine, so the bike smells funny. They couldn´t find any of my preferred tires and fitted the ones they have in stock. Michelin Anakee 3. Great for the road and the wet, but Ruta 40 in Argentina? Here I pump them up to the loaded index.

    An hour earlier, during breakfast, a gunfight broke out in Vidigal. Suddenly a lot of rapid fire shots in the air and returned by several parties. Time to leave Rio. Heck with a Tierra del Fuego T-shirt. I need one that says "I survived 4 days in Rio"

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    I would gladly have continued on the old front.
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  16. Don T

    Don T Bike Addict

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    Good to hear that you made it out of Rio in one piece :-)
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  17. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    From Rio, I follow the slower coast route. It was raining in the morning with a storm forecast overnight, so I delayed departure to stay dry. Overtaking is in general easy, but beware of cones and brick sized bumps.

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    That is unless traffic is light enough to go left of them all.

    Overnight in Caraguatuba. Beach town. I went for a swim.

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    Next day and weather is back to normal. Sunny and hot. Traffic is dead slow on the coast due to the beachgoers and speedbumps. And sometimes the cars will brake hard at the speed traps. I have never seen so many speed cameras as in Brazil. Right from the border on every kind of road and closely spaced. I do not disregard the traps, but do not brake hard to slow to the limit, so either I will have 450 speeding tickets waiting for me at the border or 0, if they ignore foreign plates. Lets hope for the latter.

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    At Santos abeam Sao Paulo, the coast road ends and you need a ferry across.

    9 hours in the sadle today. Ending in the nice city of Curitiba.
  18. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

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    Don’t worry about those Anakee 3s. I had the same fear when they were the only tires available for my bike in Buenos Aires. They handled everything well, from BsAs to Ushuaia, and then north on Ruta 40 over lots of dirt and gravel, although that stage of my trip was probably 80 percent paved. They were an absolute joy on the pavement compared to the previous 5,000 or so miles on TKC-80s. Even in the rain they felt sticky. I don’t know if it’s their profile or composition, or maybe their tread pattern, but they really are good on/off-road tires. I’ll be curious to know what you think of them after the next 5,000 miles.
    muf722 likes this.
  19. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Thank you, thank you and thank you. I have been worried quite a lot, if the Anakee's were going to do the job. I need every bit of grip I can get with my limited skills. And I already had a fall in mud the other day.
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  20. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Brazilian trikes on a lunch stop

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    Most toll roads are free for motorbikes. In Brazil they are not, until some in the south.

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    in the small town of Laranjeiras do Sul. It still surprises me to find so many roads unpaved in build up areas. And I had to walk far to find an open restaurant on a weekend.

    I´m riding to the corner of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. Big rivers meet here, and there is a most famous waterfall. Foz do Iguacu.

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    I couldn´t decide on whether to stay on the brazilian side and the big city of Foz do Iguacu , or take my chances on a late afternoon border crossing on a sunday to Argentina and the smaller town of Puerto Iguazu. Borders is best avoided on a sunday as the B-team is on duty, but the border is listed as easy and drive thru. As I arrive there are lines for cars, taxis and buses. The only one in shade is the bus line, so that´s where I park. The bus line customs officer directs me back to the car lines, but the shade is so nice that I refuse. I get my stamp here and opt not to turn the brazilian self declaration in, since I will go back to Brazil in a couple of days. I hope that safes me from doing it again. I take off, but are called back. The bus customs officer is not happy, and wants me to talk to the officers in the car lines. I didn´t make the temp import to Argentina! We agree to skip it since I´m only here to see the falls and will go back to Brazil. So technically, the bike never left Brazil and did not enter Argentina.
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