Travelin' Light - Riding 2up through the Americas

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by csustewy, May 5, 2011.

  1. KungPaoDog

    KungPaoDog Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    542
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    Colorado
    Mike- I browse Advrider almost daily and I can't believe I just now stumbled on your ride report. I'm glad to see that you are living such a great adventure with Jill. Keep up the posts, it just makes me want to leave the corporate life behind all that much more. Best wishes.

    -Jake with the beard from Complete & Total Disarray :evil
  2. Throttlemeister

    Throttlemeister Long timer

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    Nice to see the update. I should be along in a few months I suspect and I will be sure and try to look you two up.

    John back in Venezuela / Colombia areas by Friday morning.
  3. csustewy

    csustewy Motojero

    Joined:
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    back in Denver
    JAKE! It's good to hear from you, my friend! I have a feeling "Complete & Total Disarray" may explain what your weekday routine looks like, but I hope that you are having more fun outside of that. (And honestly hope that you are having some fun while there, too - after all, that's a pretty good group of people.)

    It looks like you are still riding that flying brick. Has the weather in CO been cooperating for you to get out and ride lately?

    Jill and I will be back stateside eventually. Hope to catch up with you over a beer then. Until then, I'm glad I know how to reach you again.

    All my best,
    Mike
  4. csustewy

    csustewy Motojero

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    Hey John - glad you are making it back to this continent! We have a hammock with your name on it in Nieuw Aurora, if you are interested in checking out village life in Saramacca. PM on its way with more details...
  5. KungPaoDog

    KungPaoDog Been here awhile

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    Apr 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
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    Colorado
    The Brick is good except for needing clutch work:cry

    Work is good, too. Good people, good place, the usual work BS that's easy to ignore in an otherwise cool place.

    If you guys do ever come back the first round is one me!:freaky
  6. csustewy

    csustewy Motojero

    Joined:
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    It's time for us to take another break from our blog updates, and get back to our Tutu routine. In the meantime, Jill will be keeping the kids in line:

    [​IMG]

    We are excited that a good friend of ours is coming to visit in April, and we are starting to think about our route south in June. I know it's still a few months out, but we do have a whole continent to consider...
  7. csustewy

    csustewy Motojero

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    I never really got around to finalizing the list of what tools and spares we are carrying, so here's the most recent version FWIW:



    Tools


    Honda XL600V standard toolkit

    • 17 and 24 mm closed wrenches with extension
    • 14/17 and 10/12 open crescents
    • #2, #3 (phillips), and 1/4" screwdrivers with T-handle
    • spark plug socket (necessary for this engine)
    • flat nose pliers
    • zip ties (not standard issue, but almost)
    Right ABS tube:
    • Open crescents: 13/15, 12/14, 10/11, 7/9, 6/8
    • 3/8" drive flex handle
      • 12, 14 mm sockets (12 pt)
      • 17, 19, 22 mm sockets (6 pt)
      • 3/8" to 1/4" adaptor
    • 1/4" mini ratchet
      • 8, 10, 12, 13, 14 mm sockets (6 pt)
      • #2 phillips
      • 4, 5, 6 mm hex bits
      • 2" extension
    Left ABS tube:
    • 8.5", 11" tire irons
    • 16" compound curved iron
    • mini (5") channel locks
    Engine Guard bags:
    • multimeter
    • 12V test light
    • jumper wire
    • Blackburn mammoth 2-stage bike pump (~300 strokes to air up front, thankfully haven't had to air up rear yet...)
    • valve core remover
    • tire patch kit
    • panty hose (not what you're thinking. These are for a pre-filter. I swear.)
    • chain breaker and chain press
    • a few assorted small metric fasteners
    • metal tie straps
    • JB weld
    • 20' section of 3/16" rope
    • 2 - 12 ft cam straps
    • 3 - 1-2' sections of double sided velcro tape
    • Gorilla tape
    Spares


    • 2 CDI modules
    • clutch cable and lever
    • clip-style 525 chain master link
    • front tube (and sometimes rear tube)
    • 2 - 30 amp relays (after Venezuela experience...)
    • headlight and taillight bulbs
    • fuses
    • wheel bearings
    • fork oil/dust seals
    • internal fuel filter and petcock rebuild kit
    • 1 L engine oil (used to lube chain also)

    While we're at it, following are some brief comments and thoughts about how our riding gear and luggage selection has been treating us:



    Luggage

    GIVI trunk
    Fantastic. Tougher than I thought (it's bounced off some rocks while attached to the bike...). Fits a ton. Lockable.


    Nelson Rigg saddle bags CL-850
    35 Liters per side. Big enough to hold a small backpack of clothes, couple books, and shoes.


    Pros: easily fixable, can be tied on.
    Cons: NOT good in rain. The raincovers collect puddles in the bottoms that soak into the bags and drench the contents. Sideloading feature is not fun to access when on the bike. Only lock is a zipper luggage lock (which is enough of a deterrent in most cases).


    Wolfman expandable tankbag
    Sweet. Huge. Almost too big, but without the detachable side pockets I don't honk or run the starter nearly as often during slow maneuvers.


    ABS tool tubes
    Fit a roll of wrenches on one side, tire irons on the other. Good spot for the weight, and nice to not have to pack/unpack tools to access anything else. The lids are not watertight when sealed by hand without sealant or Teflon tape. Not a big deal, just have to air them out after big rains.


    <STRIKE>El cheapo engine guard bags</STRIKE> (see below)
    Wal-Mart purchased ATV tank bags. You get what you pay for. The velcro attachment points pulled out on first fall. But maybe any bag would´ve done that...


    Moose Racing ATV engine guard bags
    These are the new replacements for "el cheapos". Still a good deal, and seem a bit better constructed. Time will tell...


    Riding Gear


    MIKE:


    Olympia Bushmaster mesh jacket
    Good blend of protection, padding, and breathability. Better for cool climates because of heavy mesh and the insulated waterproof liner. Glad that it's not black. Like the longer length. Still not convinced about the weird safari belt, but it adds pocket space.


    Next time would stay with a similar, non-black mesh jacket. I would look for separate liners though - one for warmth, one waterproof. Nah, scratch that. After another big rain storm today, I would look for nice lightweight mesh riding gear and make sure to have enough space for a rainsuit (which is admittedly tough 2-up with camping gear, but there´s a way, I´m sure). Having everything in your pockets completely soak through everytime it rains is just downright silly.


    Olympia Airglide II mesh pants
    Cut well for taller, skinnier types. Sturdy pants. Waterproof liner works pretty well, but leaks a bit on the side zips, especially in tropical downpours. I would buy these again.


    TCX Infinity boots
    Awesome. Waterproof but somehow not too hot. Worst part is if not wearing pant liner, and puddles splash into the tops of boots, then the boot stay wet for days. Comfortable for riding and walking. Holding up well.


    JILL:


    First Gear Kiliminjaro jacket
    Fantastic jacket for cool weather riding. Good protection, an excess of pockets, and a really nice softshell liner that actually looks nice around town.


    Joe Rocket Honda Racing mesh jacket
    This jacket replaced the Kili once we hit the desert heat in Arizona. Super lightweight mesh, still has decent armor (not in the back), and doesn't have a nice liner. Although the liner is waterproof, so the jacket works well in rain. Overall not the same quality as the Kiliminjaro, but the fact that it breaths so well makes all the difference.


    Olympia Airglide II mesh pants
    Same as Mike.

    Gaerne Women's Black Rose boots
    Waterproof and comfortable. Jill's happy.

    .
  8. noplacelikehome

    noplacelikehome Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2011
    Oddometer:
    26
    Location:
    Europe
    Man, do I love Suriname and my second home town Paramaribo!!!

    Great pics, tnx. Brings back memories.
  9. csustewy

    csustewy Motojero

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
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    back in Denver
    noplacelikehome - glad you enjoyed seeing some of those photos. Throttlemeister will be traveling through soon, too, so be sure to catch his RR.

    -Mike
  10. csustewy

    csustewy Motojero

    Joined:
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    Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably not as cool or as cuddly as sloths. That’s right, sloths. A friend of ours is working for a small NGO here in Paramaribo that rescues exotic animals, particularly sloths and anteaters. Apparently many people get sloths for pets, then realize they don’t want them anymore (I think this is a usual trend for exotic animals as pets), so this NGO helps take care of the sloths and find them new homes. But for now, these guys spend a lot of time in the bathroom. Even while the employees are in the bathroom too. I guess it’s a good timer – if you haven’t finished up by the time the sloth gets to you, it’s time to wrap things up.

    [​IMG]
    (3 toed sloth hanging out in the bathroom. These little guys have clamp-like grips. Once they get a hold of you or anything else, it can take a couple of people to get them to release.)

    [​IMG]
    (Mike and friends)

    [​IMG]
    (sloth crawling at you...slowly. There was 1 female and 3 males locked up together. The female was the first to escape when the bathroom door was open, and tried her best to stay away from those other guys. Poor girl.)

    [​IMG]
    (sloths will apparently even hang off of each other)

    The anteaters were also really cool to see. But they live in separate cages and may not appreciate it if you use the bathroom in there.

    [​IMG]
    (a medium sized anteater)

    [​IMG]
    (feeding time)

    [​IMG]
    (splayed anteater

    [​IMG]
    (that tongue is good for anteatin'!)

    And despite what you may think, the anteaters were not fed a massive cup feel of ants at each meal. Instead, they get a vegetarian grog that they seem to enjoy all the same.

    [​IMG]
    (get it!)
  11. csustewy

    csustewy Motojero

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
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    back in Denver
    Mike took advantage of a trip back to the states (Feb/Mar 2012) to grab a few maintenance items and spares for the TA. Routine maintenance was due, but it was also a perfect time to try to straighten out the front end again (thanks to that mutt in Guatemala and low side in Venezuela). I couldn&#8217;t easily track down used bars in good shape, so I sprung for some Renthal aluminum bars to replace the badly bent originals.

    Pulling the entire front end apart and reassembling still left a bit of a twist to the handlebars, probably less than 1/4 - 1/2" difference in height of the grips. It seems like the top triple clamp is somehow twisted, but only affecting the right handlebar clamp &#8211; I can easily lift off/slide on the top triple clamp with both forks in place. That suggests that the forks, bottom clamp and steering stem are all in good alignment. So I bridged the rubber mounts on the handlebar clamps with big ol' metric washers, and shimmed the right side handlebar clamp a touch to bring the bars into alignment. It feels right on the road, and seems a helluva lot easier than trying to flex that top clamp straight. More to follow if the situation changes&#8230;

    New steering head bearings were installed!!! This was much needed. The old races were badly worn and had a bad dent just off center line. Ahhhh, steering is sooo smooth now!

    [​IMG]
    (And a quick poll: how many of you have used a machete while changing out steering head bearings? In this case, making a drift out of a screwdriver.)

    [​IMG]
    (cheap tool - all thread and washers - to push the outer races into place)

    It was already time for a new air filter, this one was installed with a sexy new feature: pantyhose. Some friends of ours, Daan and Mirjam, told us about their successful use of the pantyhose prefilter on their Africa Twins which they are riding around the world. If it&#8217;s good enough for the AT, why not for the TA? And by simply replacing the pantyhose prefilter regularly, the air filter life should be extended substantially.

    The forks got fresh fluid. I brought back new oil/dust seals, but the old ones aren&#8217;t seeping, so the new ones will be spares until needed. New wheel bearings. And some other wiring updates (manual radiator fan switch installed) and inspections.


    After a 30km test ride, the TA is up and ready to roll! Now we just have some gear to sort through&#8230; After a 6 month hiatus, it's almost like we're starting all over again. Almost.
  12. Throttlemeister

    Throttlemeister Long timer

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    Location:
    Okie near Muskogee
    Nice to see some good repairs going on, I hear there's an Englishman also in town (Paramaribo0 on a BMW xchallenge with radiator fan trouble and I'll be damned if I didn't run into a little radiator trouble of my own due to a faulty thermostat best I can tell.

    I'm still in the process of getting that direction and should be crossing into Guyana in the next couple of weeks. I still would like to hike Roraima but don't yet know if that will happen yet. Angel Falls was amazing!


    Hope our paths cross somewhere along the way:freaky

    John in Cuidad Bolivar, Venezuela broke down for the moment myself but in a nice spot so it's not so bad:wink:
  13. csustewy

    csustewy Motojero

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  14. csustewy

    csustewy Motojero

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    back in Denver
    We have made it from Paramaribo across to Belém, Brazil. The ride was great - we lucked out that the road was not muddy from Oiapoque across to Macapá. Tomorrow morning towards Manaus. We´ll see what shape those roads are in....
  15. csustewy

    csustewy Motojero

    Joined:
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    back in Denver
    It was exhilarating to get back on the bike in Paramaribo! Leaving that city felt almost the same as leaving Denver over a year ago, especially after the hiatus. Traveling towards places unkown was a sensation that we had become accustomed to during our previous months on the road - making headway becomes a bit of a daily routine (...on some levels, thankfully we're not talking about too much monotony here...). But starting to roll again brought back some of that tingling anticipation of not knowing what we'll run across next. That sensation is why we´re all here.

    Before leaving Suriname, we took one short trip back to Drepada, the site where Jill spent her original 2 years of Peace Corps service. It was a good chance to say goodbye to a couple of her friends from there, and to join some of them for a few too many Parbos in Brokopondo. It was quite the send off.

    [​IMG]
    (that way to Brokopondo)

    The following morning we went to Albina to handle the customs forms for export of the motorcycle. Even though just 5 years ago the road used to be a reasonable stretch of pavement, somehow "working on" the road has caused morse code-like segments of paved sections followed by rough dirt sections (short-short-long-short-short-long-short-long) with not much warning at the transitions. Ahhh, right back into South American riding!

    [​IMG]
    (on the way to Albina)

    Mike was a little bit worried about the customs paperwork for the motorcycle, as we have a hefty deposit (US$800) that we need to get back. Staying in Suriname for 6 months complicated the motorcycle import, requiring us to fill out more official import documents than the usual 30-day stamp at the border. It also required us to put that deposit down. And it also gave Mike the chance to run around Paramaribo for days on end to sort it all out - which was fine, at least it gave him something to do. Another errand that took a few days to figure out was getting permission to drive from the National Police. (For those who may pass through Suriname, don´t worry about that, I think it's only required if you stay in country for more than 14 days or something like that.)

    But once we got to Albina, we found the ferry dock right away and were able to get all of our forms stamped, signed, and processed in just a few minutes. It was the fastest border crossing yet, aside from the 2 hour wait for the ferry. While it seemed like the officer knew exactly what he was doing, the true test will be whether our deposit is released in the next couple of weeks. Fingers are crossed...

    [​IMG]
    (customs in Albina, Suriname)
  16. csustewy

    csustewy Motojero

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    551
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    back in Denver
    The ferry from Albina to St Laurent du Maroni was super easy. It´s scheduled to run a few times everyday (only once around 2:30pm on Sundays, usually last boat is around 5pm) and has all the customs and immigration offices right there. There are also private boats that dock right at the ferry landing, so if you were impatient and felt like bargaining (and lifting a motorcycle into a boat) you can cross whenever you'd like.

    [​IMG]
    (ferry to French Guiana. They only charged us for the moto at 15 Euro, making Jill and me free (should have been 4 Euros each). This was the first taste of French Guiana prices)

    At immigration in St Laurent, we were stamped in by a national policeman named Phillippe who has a big KTM 950 Adventure bike and has traveled all over South America. He even hosts some travelers that come through. He was really nice. Mostly because he let us through with our questionable insurance document (the only French word that I understood when he spoke with his colleague was "photoshop"). But also because he shared a lot of information about camping in the area and what to expect in Brazil. That, and he complemented the TA, which always helps. He liked the growling exhaust note best.


    Couchsurfing in St Laurent was a phenomenal success! Our host, Julien, drove into town to lead us back to his place, which is just a few kilometers south of St Laurent. Right away we knew we’d hit it off with Julien and his roommates Bertrand and Nanou. They cooked up a phenomenal pasta carbonara (but of course denied that it was any work at all) that complemented our Heinekens, Parbos (we thought we were done), and ti punch. It was a very warm welcome to French Guiana.

    [​IMG]
    (Nanou, Bertrand, Julien, Jill, and Mike in St Laurent)

    The next day was relaxing. While our hosts offered a few ideas of activities (including the prison that Mike had seen and some waterfalls that sounded okay but would have been a mission to get to) we just relaxed during our day in St Laurent. Until evening time. Then we were engrossed in French culture. Bertrand and Nanou invited us to learn pétanque with them, and a group of 15 or so of their French friends. The game is similar to bocce ball, but played with heavier, lead balls, with the men playing versus the women (note from Jill: the women won). To complete the culture of pétanque, we played with a cup of pastis in hand, which is a traditional anise flavored liquor from Marseilles. C´est le pastis! A superb way to spend an evening outdoors along the Marrowijne river.

    On our way towards Cayenne, we stopped by the beach at Awala to see another area where green and leatherback sea turtles lay eggs. The best time to view turtles is within a couple of hours of high tide, and we were about as far away from that window as you can get. So we didn’t see any turtles. But we did see some evidence.

    [​IMG]
    (broken egg shells on Plage Yalimapo. Unlikely that those were hatched naturally given that it’s still June, but hopefully that’s what happened. Also unlikely that they were poached or else the shell would be gone too. Maybe natural predators?)

    [​IMG]
    (we weren’t the only ones looking down the beach. Unless those cameras are unmonitored Which is a distinct possibility.)

    Further down the very well maintained road (is this still South America?) we found an open cafe in Sinnamary, which was more difficult than we expected. Everything was closed. Even the gas station. This country closes down between 12 and 4 every day. (Confirmation that we are, in fact, still in South America.)

    [​IMG]
    ((empty) street view in Sinnamary)

    Cayenne was a quick stop, where we couchsurfed with our very kind host, Katia. She was great, but Cayenne as a destination, kind of blah. Ever since leaving Paramaribo, Jill’s been saying that French Guiana will be like Suriname but more expensive. I had higher hopes for the road conditions, amenities, all that, but knew that it would be more expensive. It turns out Jill was pretty damn close: we think Cayenne, in general, is equal to Paramaribo plus 25%, but is much more expensive (maybe Paramaribo plus 100%).

    [​IMG]
    (street view in Cayenne)

    [​IMG]
    (old port/pier where we went to see ibis birds)

    [​IMG]
    (ibis flying out to their nests)

    [​IMG]
    (a staple of Cayenne is the street lined with hamburger vendors, open every night, only at night)

    [​IMG]
    (Jill, Katia, and Mike at the vendor we picked to try. We picked well. That madras burger was great, but probably not good enough to get us to plan a trip back to Cayenne…)

    [​IMG]
    (…boxed rum helps, still not enough though.)

    [​IMG]
    (sunrise in Cayenne)
  17. Hotmamaandme

    Hotmamaandme Wishing I was riding RTW

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,725
    Location:
    Gardnerville NV
    This is a great report love the Transalp
  18. csustewy

    csustewy Motojero

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    551
    Location:
    back in Denver
    Hotmamaandme - thanks for the compliment!

    I am also a huge fan of the Transalp, but I am admittedly biased :D
  19. csustewy

    csustewy Motojero

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    back in Denver
    The ride across eastern French Guiana was outstanding! We had an early start, which kept it cool, along with the rolling hills and lifting fog.

    [​IMG]
    (road east of Cayenne)

    [​IMG]
    (stop in Cacao, a Hmong community, which has a blazing market on the weekends, not so much when we were there. The town was super peaceful, full of friendly people, and nestled in what felt like tropical mountains.)

    [​IMG]
    (the ride to St Georges continued to be fantastic )

    As we pulled into St Georges, we missed the national police building, going instead right to the water where boat drivers had already started vying (that is, yelling) for our business. We went into the customs building where they directed us to the proper place, about 6 blocks behind us. We didn’t have the clearest set of directions to operate from, and not only because our French is non-existent. As we sat at an intersection questioning which way to go, a police car pulled in front of us, we told them we were looking for them, and
    they led us the last block to the national police building. At first we were sad to see a line of people waiting, then we were even sadder to see that they were closed from 12-2 and it was exactly 12:08. Well, I guess 2pm is better than 4pm, like the rest of the country’s businesses. but as we were standing there talking, a lady opened the door and asked if we just needed a stamp. We were let in, stamped out, and on our way in less than 5 minutes. Sweet! The best part about France is that there’s no import docs for the bike, which made this crossing a breeze.

    Back to the boat guys… The one in the street we spoke with asked for 60 euros to cross the river. That’s insane. We hoped to pay 20, expected more like 30 (based off of other travelers amounts paid, the cost of the infrequent ferry, and the going rate of 5 euro per passenger). Let the bartering begin. With me speaking Spanish, the boat driver Portuguese (much better for us than French), we finally agreed on 30. Good. Or so we thought.

    [​IMG]
    (the TA ready to load)

    I assumed, but didn’t establish, that the price would include getting the bike into the boat, then getting her across the river and to the other side. The expectation was to pay more helpers. Aaarrgghhh. 2 of them wanted 10 euros each. Nope. Not gonna happen. After deliberation, us putting our helmets on to go talk to other drivers, and much time, we finally got a total price of 35 euros, all included. More than it should be. But that’s what it was. (This is especially expensive not only because of the short distance across, but also because of the bridge that is built, but impassable. See below for more info)

    [​IMG]
    (Mike likes riding the TA over water)

    After the 5 minute boat ride, we arrived in Brasil! We unloaded (with the kind help of a Brazilian man at the dock who didn’t shake us down for money, but was content with a big ´thank you´ and a handshake) in a small town 5-10km north of Oiapoque, where we needed to get for customs and immigration.

    [​IMG]
    (the tiny town where we unloaded felt immediately more like Latin America than anywhere we’ve been in months)

    [​IMG]
    (bar and shopping all in one)

    [​IMG]
    (on the way to Oiapoque)

    [​IMG]
    (This is not the bridge that we could have used to cross the river…)

    [​IMG]
    (…this is.)

    This completely finished, modern bridge is impassable due to some political dispute. It was completed in 2011, supposed to be opened in 2012, now some say early 2013. But the hold up is political, not technical, so who knows when it will happen.

    First stop in Oiapoque was the National Police which was a breeze. They asked how long we wanted to stay, we said 60 days to give ourselves a comfortable window, they returned with stamps for 90 days. In and out in minutes. (For anyone on this route looking for the National Police building, after turning towards Oiapoque onto
    pavement, you will pass a couple of gas stations and a military building on your left. keep going through town, until you find the national police building on the right side at a corner with a divided boulevard street leading down to the water.)

    [​IMG]
    (street view in Oiapoque)

    From there, we went down to customs (basic directions: take the boulevard street towards the water, follow the 90 degree turn to the right, continue along the water until you see the customs building on your right). This stop took longer, but they took excellent care of us. They didn’t even make me go get extra copies made, but just accepted a couple of crappy copies I happened to have and made whatever others they wanted. They were really nice, and the lady in charge even asked a couple of questions to improve her English (the most important was the subtle difference between “costumes” and “customs” which could actually come in quite handy for someone in her position). (Another note for anyone on this route: ummmm, it’s a one way street along the water in front of customs. Ooops.)

    [​IMG]
    (customs building in Oiapoque)

    Back on the main road, we were able to find some traditional Brazilian cuisine, which was delicious.

    [​IMG]
    (Casa das Carne = House of Meat. Bife de figado served with rice, beans, noodles, and salad = yum)

    [​IMG]
    (Brazilian food makes everyone happy)

    [​IMG]
    (Our home for the night. A simple little pousada that had a garage for parking, A/C in the room, and free *cold* drinking water. All the little things made the 40Rs worth it)
  20. csustewy

    csustewy Motojero

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    551
    Location:
    back in Denver
    Another early start took us from Oiapoque to Calcoene. This stretch of road is notorious for being mean, muddy, slow-going, nearing impassable. We got lucky that it has been rather dry lately (in June we are at the end of rainy season and it has already slowed).

    [​IMG]
    (Mike is not yet back in the habit of putting in ear plugs every time we start off. But we get to take more breaks because of it)

    [​IMG]
    (around 30 miles of paved road out of Oiapoque before hitting dirt)

    [​IMG]
    (the road was in good shape at the start)

    [​IMG]
    (the sky got a bit darker and brought some rain to make things more interesting)

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    (there were a few sections of deep mud and standing water, but luckily for us, there were only a few and each section was short. With a lot of rain, it's easy to see how those sections would be show stoppers. I imagine Markharf was seeing the worst of it when he came through here a couple years back.)

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    (lots of old wooden bridges in various stages of disrepair. Most did not have this much signage. Most did not have this much wood either - there were some gaping holes down to the creeks below on most. Some of the bridges are in the process of being replaced by concrete versions, but it looks like it will be a long process)

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    (some stretches of road had almost unavoidable potholes, the worst of it not pictured here (because Jill was hanging on tight))

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    (the sun came back out and we had some beautiful views)

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    Not knowing if we would pass much along the road, we were pleasantly surprised to see this restaurant about 60 km before Calcoene. They served us up a Brazilian feast!

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    (they also provided some shade to take care of some chain maintenance. Mud, slider gunk, oil, and a rock had gathered behind the front sprocket cover, causing a nasty racket now, and excessive abuse if left alone. So a good under the cover cleaning, chain check and lube and we were on our way.)

    The road was paved for a stretch after the restaurant, but it was only paved in segments. The dirt segments were graded really well, so they were fast. Except for the last 15-20 km coming into Calcoene. Those were some nasty potholes.

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    (the road work was more obvious closer to Calcoene. Lots of partial bridges and road grading.)

    We arrived at Calcoene in the early afternoon, but decided to stay put. The small, rural town has a nice feel to it. Lots of kids were out flying kites, some gave us funny looks, others wanted to talk. Outside of the pousada where we stayed a young guy on a bicycle was interested in us and our moto. He showed us where to find the pousada owner, and while we were talking to her he found a coke can to jam against his rear wheel so he could make motorcycle noises while he rode.

    Attached to our pousada was a panaficadora who supplied us with all sorts of good bread based snacks – coconut bread, hot dogs wrapped in donut-like dough and served with mayonnaise (which may disgust some of you, but is really quite tasty. You are welcome to just take my word for it), and even normal bread, too. We had a relaxing evening walking around town a bit, planning an early departure to Macapá.

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    (the road to Macapá cut through savannah and was a good high-speed ride)

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    (we lucked out again and found a phenomenal lunch stop by the side of the road. You pay by weight. We each ate 3/4 kg of all sorts of good salads, meats, and beans for 10Rs each (that’s about 1.5 lbs of food for around US$5). The fresh salads with spices and seasonings that we haven’t seen in so long were a hit. And of course, the meat was great, too - we are in Brazil after all.)

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    (mostly, the road was in near perfect shape. Until this ugly set of potholes. It’s hard to make out in the picture, but the only building for miles around happens to be a tire repair shop (borracheria) and bar located directly in front of the worst pot holes. Prime location

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    (there were some tree farms along the way, not sure what they’re for. They do not serve very well as windbreaks.)