Travelin' Light - Riding 2up through the Americas

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

  1. csustewy

    csustewy Motojero

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    550
    Location:
    back in Denver
    We have crossed into the Southern Hemisphere!!

    We have also seen the Amazon River!!!!

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    (some big river)

    Here's the story:

    Macapá turned out to be a pleasant city and was the gateway for those 2 major milestones. The hotel that we had read about in someone else’s report, Hotel America Novo Mondo, served us well at 45 Rs a night (no rooms left at 40 Rs, their cheapest rate for a double, single rate is 20) with secure parking, free chilled drinking water, A/C, and a hearty breakfast of coffee, juice, bread, ham and cheese. The best part is that breakfast is served on a huge lazy susan on a big round table seating 12 (strangers, usually). The lazy susan battles that break out can be hysterically entertaining and make you want to linger around the breakfast table a little longer than usual.

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    (room at the Hotel America Novo Mondo)

    Beyond that, the hotel is located very well for exploring Macapa.

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    (Jill keeping her balance at the middle of the world)

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    (Mike as NorthandSouth Man!)

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    (pretty darn close - Monumento do Marco Zero, Macapá)

    We used the trip to the Equator monument as an excuse to go to the port in Santana and confirm a boat to Belem. We had already stopped in at the Secretary of Tourism office in Macapá to ask questions about the boats and the receptionist was kind enough to call a trusted travel agent to discuss options in the upcoming 2 days. We were then supposed to call to confirm our reservation, but a Spanish-Portuguese conversation on the phone did not sound like a challenge that Mike was up to, so off to Santana we went, with a little slip of paper in hand showing the tourist agency, contact name, and address. That apparently wasn’t enough.

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    (view of the Oliveira, at left, from the dock in Santana)

    Those ferry salesmen at the docks in Santana are ferocious. I asked to speak with Marcio, who had been very helpful on the mutliple phone calls from the Tourism office. Everyone claimed that they didn’t know of him or his agency; one claimed that Marcio was his brother and that he could help me. I kept insisting on finding the agency, but finally went down to the dock with one of the salesmen to talk with the boat captain that was leaving the next day. While we had thought that the Oliveira was an option, that captain wanted nothing to do with transporting a motorcycle. He didn’t want anything to do with it the first time a salesman went with me to ask. And he definitely wasn’t interested the second time that I showed up with a different salesman (who promised me it would be fine). This salesman led me back to his office where we started talking prices for the Almirante del Mar, leaving Wednesday at 4pm.

    That’s when Marcio found me. He came into the office, showed me his identification, and I was much happier to work with him than any of those other salesmen. He got us all set up on the Almirante del Mar at what seems to be pretty reasonable prices for the 24-40 hour ferry to Belem. If you are traveling through, get in touch with Marcio! He seemed to have the best rates - 100 Rs per person for hammock space (130 Rs through boat company day of departure) and 200 Rs for the bike.
    Marcio's contact info:
    Agencia de viagens Pará Turismo
    9137-5633 / 8803-9894 / 8141-8982
    office located next to the dock entrance, 1 building south on the same side as dock​
    Back in Macapá we had a full day to explore.

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    (Jill looking forward to her Brazilian complete)

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    (public library - home of free internet around the world. And books. I guess some libraries still have books too.)

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    (weird flying/crawling things are everywhere)

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    (some animals seem a little friendlier)

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    (the trapiche, or pier, at the renovated waterfront)

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    (a section of the waterfront restaurants. There were also many stands set up selling fresh coconut water for 5 Rs. Vodka or rum was available for another 2.50 Rs. A lot of vodka or rum.)

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    (fishies)

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    (Casa do Artesao had some really nice craft souvenirs. I hate to say it, but the quality far surpasses what's available in Suriname and the prices were still great)

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    (while most of the city was pleasant for walking, this street following the wastewater canal was not so much)


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    (Fortaleza de São José de Macapá)

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  2. csustewy

    csustewy Motojero

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    550
    Location:
    back in Denver
    We arrived in Santana a few hours before our scheduled 4pm departure, we even got there before the boat did.

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    (waiting to be loaded onto the Almirante del Mar)

    The tickets we bought from Marcio a couple of days ago needed to be traded in to the actual boat company for our boarding documents. When the guy at the counter saw the bike, he balked at the 200Rs we had paid, stating that a bike like ours should be 600Rs. I started arguing against that real quick, but the helper from Marcio's company and 2 of the young women taking tickets told me not to worry. the helper then went down to talk to the captain. He got it worked out so the bike was considered 1 m of freight, costing 200Rs, as agreed. Then we just kept waiting for our chance to load.

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    (...closer...)

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    (after 1-2 hours of pulling cargo out from every nook and cranny on that boat, we finally rolled the TA right onto the deck, squeezing her past the water fountain, and lashed her to a poll on the aft deck. 3 other Honda 125/250's made the journey too. Thankfully, we didn't have to try to get the bike down into the cargo hold. That would not be fun, but some others have had to do it. We'll see what happens on future boats...)

    In the meantime, we had already loaded all of our luggage and tied up our hammock to claim space. Since this boat was a "short" one - it only takes about 28 hours to go directly across the mouth of the Amazon - we decided to just get hammock space instead of a private cabin to store all of our stuff. And surprisingly, when it's not on the bike (and we're not wearing the bulky riding gear) we have a ton of stuff.

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    (Jill getting comfy in our hammock. While we do have a double hammock, it does not provide for the best night's sleep when there are actually 2 people in it)

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    (leaving Santana)

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    (sunset over Santana/Macapa)

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    (sunrise over the Amazon from our hammock)

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    (there were a lot of small houses along the banks, all with dugout canoes paddling towards our boat...)

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    (...some passengers throw care packages of food and clothes to the families along the way...)

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    (...going for the pick up)

    We arrived in Belem in the evening, around 8 or 9pm. Our boat docked beside another river boat, meaning that we had to pass through it to get onto land. That was fine for us with the luggage, but a nightmare for the bike. The closer boat sat really low in the water, so the ramp up to the dock was fairly steep. Worse yet, it came too close to the ceiling of the lower deck for the TA to pass through. So we rearranged the huge plank a bit and gave it a shot. It was unsettling. I was on a separate walkway to the left, pushing on the handlebars while trying not to push the walkway sideways. We had to dip the motorcycle low to each side to get the mirrors through. And the guy in the back was not pushing up that incline like he should have been so it came down to whatever I could do on the bars (which was not enough from that angle) and a boat hand pulling the forks from the front. That guy most certainly saved the day.

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    (what you can't see here is how much fun Mike and 3 other Brazilians are having while unloading the TA)

    We tried to get out of the dock neighborhood but meandered our way through some seedy streets until we found a major avenue. Then we were on our way to Jill's family's place. Us, and a few thousand of our closest friends apparently. Traffic was intense. Buses were all over the place, swerving quicker and more violently than most we've seen. Tons of small motos, taxis with no headlights, you name it. And it was dark and rainy. Even though we try to avoid it, we still get stuck traveling at some inopportune times. At least we didn't have far to go. Even so, the 14 km took us almost 2 hours. Part of that was getting lost, but not much. And once we did arrive at where we thought we were supposed to go, there was some confusion because we were staying with Jill's uncle at a different address. But the confusion settled out after a bit of time and we were happy to be in Belem with family.
  3. csustewy

    csustewy Motojero

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    550
    Location:
    back in Denver
    Since we were in northern Brazil anyway, we definitely wanted to make it over to Belem. Jill’s great uncle was a missionary there for a long time and when Jill was young he brought several Brazilians to America with him. One, Mada, ended up marrying Jill's uncle John and has been a big part of our family ever since. They have two kids and Mada has lived in Missouri for the past 25 years or so. All of Mada’s family, including her mother and 5 siblings, still live in the Belem area. Jill visited Mada’s family in 2006. She remembers having a really good time there, going site seeing every day, drinking lots of beers on the beach, and eating lots of good food.

    While Jill’s strongest memories from her first trip were going on fun excursions with her cousin and a neighbor that spoke good English, the family’s strongest memories of her were that she didn’t understand anything. Which is true. She did not understand any Portuguese or Spanish when she was there, which is kind of important when communicating in Brazil. Fortunately this time Jill’s Spanish was a little better and Mike was able to communicate pretty well with the family.

    We ended up staying in Belem for about three days. Most of our time was spent hanging out with the family. On one of the days, Katrina’s father in law took us for a tour of the city. We checked out a large piece of downtown, including the renovated docks, Estacao dos Docas

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    (at the docks)

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    (downtown Belem seen from the docks)

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    (these docks are still used)

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    (there are a ton of churches in Belem. This happens to be a nice big one)

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    (street view in Belem)

    And we spent some time walking at the mangrove of the egrets (Mangal das Garcas)

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    (we think these may be egrets)

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    (we are pretty sure these are not egrets)

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    (this one is showing off its legs)

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    (a rare blue macaw)

    And Katrina’s new house on the beach in Outeiro would be an ideal place to spend weekends. That's why they spend most of their weekends there.

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    (mostly open air)

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    (and an incredible view)

    The local feira provided us a chance to do some shopping - replacement jeans for Jill and replacement sandals for Mike.

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    (apparently this is a necessary sign in these fitting rooms)

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    (back in our neighborhood in Belem)

    We really had a good time in Belem and are very thankful to Mada’s mom, sister Katrina, and brother David and his family for taking such good care of us. They welcomed us into their houses, fed us extremely well, and were incredibly kind to us.

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    (Us, Juliana, Leila, and David in Belem)

    We also enjoyed hanging out with David’s neighbors, who showed up at just the right moment for a bus ride, welcomed us into their house, showed us lots of good pictures, and offered us an impromptu flute concert

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    (Rocha, Gabriel, Ezequiel, Christina and us)

    Strangely, it took us longer to leave the gas station down the street than it did for us to say goodbye to our hosts. Things just kept popping up. First we asked for some old oil containers to be able to carry extra gas. The attendant gave us 2 out of the 3 that he keeps in the trunk of his car. Then people kept coming up to talk to us. Some locals. One guy who moved from Rio, driving to Belem on his 125. And a couple who were gassing up their BMW caught up with us right as we were leaving. It turns out he edits a Moto Adventure magazine in Sao Paolo. They were nice and offered us any help if we were to need it while in Brazil. This Brazilian hospitality is incredible, even from strangers!

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    (Us with the moto adventurers from Sao Paolo)
  4. csustewy

    csustewy Motojero

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    550
    Location:
    back in Denver
    Leaving Belem we were on our way to Marabá, destination Manaus (eventually).

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    (tons of random churches, not just in Belem, but outside of it, too)

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    (a common roadside view)

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    (outside of Jurunda, just north of Marabá. We stayed in a pousada there for one night, covering the last 100 km to Maraba the next day)


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    (on the road to Marabá, there were a few of these encampments, which were extremely impoverished. These may have even been set up by the government, but that´s just a guess based on some flags and one sign that we saw.)

    Marabá is a decent size town with a hotel district surrounding the bus terminal. The hotels range in quality from rather nice to supremely crappy, but all seemed to be priced about the same at around 40-50 Rs, so we went with a decent option with the nicest staff.

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    The first night in town, Mike managed to kick a paving stone while walking in the street. His big toe (link to picture HERE) was hurting bad enough that jamming it into a boot did not sound pleasant, so we got to enjoy a few more days in Marabá.

    One of the nights, we met up with Marcel through Couchsurfing. He picked us up for dinner and drinks with some friends. Little did we know that the dinner he invited us to was supposed to be a date. He insisted it was fine, but I'm not so sure the girl agrees. Aside from that little bit of awkwardness, the pizza was fantastic! We tried shrimp and "Jambú", which is a green vegetable, with almost a cooked spinach consistency, that numbs your mouth. It was strange but quite good.

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    (the pizza restaurant we ate at was nice. It happened to be located up some stairs at the back of a big supermarket. Even so, it had a live band playing some good music (similar sound to Jack Johnson) and formal waitstaff. Most importantly, the pizza was delicious.)


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    (after dinner we joined Marcel for some drinks with friends. We didn't leave the following day, either. I'm not sure if it was entirely the toe's fault that day...)

    After that one last day of rest, we were ready to set out across the Transamazónica.

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    (first sign for the Transamazónica highway, BR230)
  5. csustewy

    csustewy Motojero

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    550
    Location:
    back in Denver
    Day 1 - Marabá to Novo Repartamiento


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    The first day was dusty and heavily trafficked by vehicles at the extremes of size - big, heavy trucks and small, nimble bikes. we were caught in the dust in between.

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    (all of the small towns along the way felt safe. However, while the unloaded bike was parked out front of this hotel in Novo Repartamiento we came outside to find a mototaxista unscrewing the cap of our (empty) tool tube. I called him out on it in front of a few of his buddies, but of course he kept saying that he didn't understand a word I said. I know that me yelling in Spanish wasn't going to get each word across to him, but i'm pretty sure he got the point. Him and his buddies went back to sit down and we tried to figure out how to get the bike parked safely out back. Nothing else happened, so it was really no big deal, but it still left a bad taste in our mouth for this otherwise quiet little town.)
    Day 2 - Novo Repartamiento to Altamira


    This was another dusty day of driving, that to our surprise included random bursts of asphalt. Whether dirt or paved, the road was in decent shape.

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    The ferry took us across the Rio Xingu, which has been in the news a lot lately as it is going to be blocked by the Belo Monte dam, a huge hydroelectic project that began planning stages in 1975. It has come under fire lately because of the massive environmental damage that will be caused - some accounts place the environmental damage from equivalent energy production by fuel-burning generators as less - as well as the social implications. It is estimated that a few thousand indigenous people would be displaced by the reservoir. Many indigenous groups have been protesting the dam construction, particularly now in the week befoe the Rio+20 conference. It will be interesting to see how the government handles this.

    The road was paved from the Rio Xingu to town, and even 35km west of town, too. That dam construction is bringing about changes. And having other impacts as well. Altamira turned out to be expensive. We asked in all the hotels we could find and the cheapest room was 100 Rs. Finally we found some crappy dormitorios near the bus terminal that were 30Rs per person, 50 Rs for shared bed. Parking was safe and we met some nice people there, one of which we had dinner with at Beto's burger stand across the street.

    Also, this was the first time when someone admiring the Tansalp asked why we would take such a heavy bike on this trip. The usual conversation is the oppositie of that - "oh, with that big of a bike, you will be at (next town) in 2 hours." Then, 5 hours later we get there. (I can't imagine what kind of time estimates someone riding a 1200gs would get.)

    Day 3 - Altamira to Placas

    On this stretch there was basically small towns every 50-100 km. Most of the road was in good shape and traffic was definitely lighter on this side of Altamira.

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    We chose to stay in Placas, which was a nice little town that had everything we needed. It was full of some really nice people too.

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    (hotel in Placas. 40 Rs for a good room with air, private bath, and breakfast. The owners were really nice and sat around drinking mate most of the day, which is a plus in our book)

    Day 4 - Placas to Santarem

    Our plan was to keep driving to Manaus, but we took a detour to Santarem to get new tires. Santarem was also going to be a place to take a rest day or two after a few long days of riding.

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    (the 3 most common sights along this stretch - fazendas (cattle ranches), borracherias (tire repair shops), and pool tables. The smallest, most run down looking bars in the middle of nowhere all manage to have a pool table on their porch.)

    Another common sight was bridges. This area of the world obviously has a lot of water in it, some in big rivers, others smaller creeks.

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    (all of the bridges were in decent shape, most having clearly been rebuilt sometime recently)

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    (some bridges may be even nicer in the future)

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    The road was paved going into Santarem, after about 45km of dirt. It seems like there may be more asphalt soon, as the dirt is being worked by man and machine in camoflauge.

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  6. csustewy

    csustewy Motojero

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    550
    Location:
    back in Denver
    Immediately upon entering Santarém, we happened across a large moto shop that turned out to be fantastic in getting us set up with some new rubber. That afternoon they didn't have the tires at the store, but they were willing to get them in by closing (6pm) or have them first thing in the morning. Since it was already 4, we decided to find a hotel, unpack, and get showered, putting the tires off until the next morning. Asking about a hotel led the manager to send an employee out on his own moto to lead us to some hotels. The first one was expensive (80 Rs) and the guy didn't have any problem showing us another. The next one seemed fine at 60, and we really didn't want to drag this poor guy through our cheapskate search pattern, so we took it. Turns out the part of town with the hotel lost power that night, so no A/C after all. Not even a fan without power. Hot.

    The next morning the tires were waiting for us at the shop. They were both Rinaldi tires which caused some hesitation since I don't know the brand, but the guys behind the counter understood the concern, knew what we were looking for, and seemed honest in their approval of this tire. Not only were the shop guys helpful, but they were super curious about us and our trip. One of them, Dariosan, had even taken the time to research Colorado, showing me pictures from the internet of our flag, seal, sports team logos, mountains, mines, towns, etc. It was cool. Eventually, we had the neighboring borracheria throw the new rubber on (8 Rs total), went back to the hotel to pack up (and ask for a discount for an extremely uncomfortable night at a reasonably high rate) and head out to Alter do Chao for a relaxing day on the beach.

    While our seasonal timing is perfect for riding this stretch, we are still close enough to rainy season that the beach at Alter do chao was literally non-existent.

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    In fact, there is an island that you can usually walk across to in the afternoons, or take a short boat taxi ride to, but because of all the water we did not have a chance to.

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    Even without the beach, Alter do Chao was a good full day of rest. And a good chance to fix a front flat. With the patch in place and the tire bead seated correctly (thanks to a quick stop at the ever-present borraceria to overcome my hand pump deficiencies) we moved back towards Santarém with 3 goals: talk to the hotel manager about that discount (they told us to come back), get money from an ATM before leaving the big city, and talk to the moto shop about a tread block that had aleady torn off the front tire.

    At the hotel, we got 10Rs back. The guy wasn't happy about it, but we still feel that even 50 Rs is a lot to pay for a very dark room with no ventilation, so we got over it pretty quick. Pulling out onto the street it was obvious that the front tire was flat again. Since we were only 3 blocks from the sister shop of where we bought the tire, now was as good a time as any to go talk to them about that defect.

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    Without a hassle, the shop took the tire back and offered me the choice of a direct replacement or an upgrade to a Metzeler for the difference in cost. I decided to upgrade, which made this a very expensive front tire (250 Rs), but the cost seemed worth it. If you are in need of any moto help in Santarém, check out this shop:

    Mega Motos
    Av. Curua-Una, 2430 - COHAB
    (93) 3522-8888
    GPS - S 02deg 26.585min W 54deg 42.217min

    or, the sister shop:

    Moto Sport
    Av. Borges Leal, 3557 Caranazal
    (93) 3523-5396 / 3522-4737

    After a stop at a bank and a food stand that gave us a chance to let the downpour mostly pass, we were backtracking towards Ruropolis. It had rained just enough to make the dirt very slick, and we realized just how difficult these roads would be in the rainy season. Fortunately for us, the rain had not reached a majority of the road, so we only had to deal with the muddy conditions for a few kilometers.
  7. csustewy

    csustewy Motojero

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    550
    Location:
    back in Denver
    Day 5 (not including 3 day Santarém detour) - Ruropolis to Parque Nacional do Amazónia

    Staying in Ruropolis was actually one of our favorite nights along this route. The small town had a nice feel to it; we received a warm welcome from everyone we met, including a kiss on the boob for Jill from the local crazy woman. That night we walked down to the main plaza and got to watch some court soccer while we ate a good burger from a stand (which even took credit cards!). On the way back to the hotel, we saw a group of high school aged kids who set up their own dance in the park. The sense of community reminded us of the midwest a little bit.

    The road was in pretty good shape and we got to Itaituba, the next town 145 kms away, pretty quickly.

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    (that early morning fog was back, which was horrible for visability, but good for keeping the heat away...at least until a little later in the morning)

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    (Along the entire route, there have been fazendas, or cattle ranches, when there is little else. This stretch was no exception, we were definitely still in cattle county.)

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    (We had to take another ferry to get into Itaituba. A couple of the boats at port with us were transporting their precious cattle across the river and onto trucks for slaughter.)

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    (Itaituba did not impress us too much, but it definitely was a large-ish town where you would be able to find anything you need.)

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    (We only needed the town for some lunch, gas and water, which we were able to get all in one place.)

    We knew that the next town, Jacaréacanga, was about 400 kms away, and we didn't really know what to expect. We traveled along the Tapajos River for awhile.

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    And then we hit signs for the Amazon National Park.

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    Then the sky got much, much darker

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    And we got rained on for awhile

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    Which was the last thing we wanted after seeing how slick the road can get. Luckily for us, after getting some heavy rain it let up some, so the road conditions did not change too much.

    By this point, it was getting to be later in the afternoon, and since we were still in the National Park, for the first time on this stretch, there were no fazendas to be found. We were lucky enough to find a pull off where it looked like constuction crews had parked their trucks. It was even off the road several hundred feet and hidden pretty well. So, stealth camping in the Amazon National Park it was. We tried not to worry too much about the huge animal track we saw on the path leading to our camping spot.

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    And the spot was great, except for the fact that within minutes of getting there and getting our gear off, we were swarmed by what must have been sweat bees, because they loved our gear, especially Mike's. Fortunately, they didn't sting. The stinging was left for these other vicious gnat-like blood suckers that especially liked Jill.

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    It was pretty darn hot in the tent at first, but the night ended up being pretty nice, with our only disturbance being calls from howler monkeys - closer than I have ever heard - that carried on though most of the early morning.
  8. csustewy

    csustewy Motojero

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    550
    Location:
    back in Denver
    Day 6 - Parque Nacional do Amazónia to Jacaréacanga

    After a long travel day and no shower, we were hoping to get to the next town, Jacaré, in order to clean up a little bit. But, it was about 300 kms from where we camped, and with our average rate of about an hour and a half to cover 50 kms (30 miles) on the Transamazónica, we were looking at another long day. The stretch from Itaituba to Jacaré turned out to be the best maintained and quickest moving section for us.

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    (While we were in the Amazon National Park, the forest was much more lush than we had seen yet.)

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    (Once we were out of the park, burned trees and cattle land made their appearance again.)

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    (Although we didn't see a whole lot of traffic, when we did it was generally moving way too fast and none of the trucks wanted to budge an inch off the one track road, so we had to make sure to get over for them. We didn't really enjoy this game of chicken, but we did have to play. This truck looks like it lost it's game of chicken with the bridge.)

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    (This section was much more secluded than what we had seen, but there were still services, including a hotel and restaurant with gas at 170 kms from Itaituba, this restaurant where we ate lunch, which also had gas, that was 250 kms from town, and another gas station at 270 kms. Our stop had a little bit of eveything you could need, including an air strip where an airplane landed to drop off someone. We saw another air strip on this stretch as well. Not sure what these planes are transporting, but we would guess that a majority of them are not very legal.)

    We managed to get to Jacaré in the late afternoon - the turnoff is a little tricky to see, so be sure to be on the lookout for it (although it looked like they were starting to work on that turn, so it may be easier to spot in the future). Surpisingly, the first two hotels we tried were full, so we went into the center of town and found something, although a little more expensive (at 50 Rs) than we expected from a small town in the middle on nowhere. The town is pretty small, with a lot more indigenous people than we had seen in other towns. Overall, we enjoyed the town, but went to bed pretty early to try to recover a bit.


    Day 7 - Jacaréacanga to Apui

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    (Not too far from Jacaré, we officially entered into the state of Amazonas)

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    (the cows took some time out of their busy day to check us out)

    [​IMG]

    (Around lunchtime we had another ferry crossing. The ferry was across the river, but we didn't have to wait long for them to come pick us up)

    [​IMG]

    (luckily there was a restaurant waiting for us across the river)

    [​IMG]

    (there was also a town of about 300 people)

    We arrived in Apui with enough time to walk around town a bit.

    [​IMG]

    (these trash cans were all over town and made of old tires. We thought they were pretty cool.)

    [​IMG]

    (we were happy to eat here, although we had burgers instead of a hot dog)

    [​IMG]

    (our hotel was a good deal at 28 R for an air conditioned room with a bathroom, that was also right across the street from the bus station)
  9. csustewy

    csustewy Motojero

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    550
    Location:
    back in Denver
    Day 8 - Apui to Km 180

    Our goal for the day was to travel the 220 kms to the next town known as Km 180, because it is 180 kms from Humaita. Road conditions got a bit worse as it seemed like either maintenance had not made it this far yet after rainy season, or maybe it is just less maintained than the other stretches that we had seen on the Transamazónica.

    [​IMG]

    (this was the worst bridge we crossed on the Transamazonica. Not only was there a plank to walk, but the road leading to the plank was in pretty bad shape too.)

    [​IMG]

    (thoughout our trip, the rivers were stunning)

    [​IMG]

    (another ferry crossing, conveniently at lunch again)

    [​IMG]

    (this butterfly stopped in to land on our helmets several times before taking off)

    [​IMG]

    (after crossing the river we stopped in at this place for lunch. It was a weird lunch for us. We will just say it reminded us a little of Deliverance. We were glad we weren't staying there for the night. Plus, the blood sucking gnats were there with a vengence.)

    [​IMG]

    (the road was pretty washed out in sections)

    [​IMG]

    (we finally got to Km 180. Our biggest difficulty was finding a hotel that didn't cost 80 R. We finally found this one for 30 R. There were a lot of locals hanging out there, with lots of interest in the bike.)

    [​IMG]


    (Km 180 was another nice little small town on the Transamazonica)

    Day 9 - Km 180 to Humaita

    We were starting to get pretty exhausted from our long days of traveling this dirty beast, so we were looking forward to a shorter day to get us to Humaita, which is a larger town, where we would rest for a couple of days before deciding if we would drive to Manaus, or catch a boat. Despite having a shorter distance to cover, we still had a long day because the road was by far in the worst condition we saw on the Transamazónica. It was 180 kms of bumps.

    [​IMG]

    (but we did get another glimpse of the Amazon River)

    [​IMG]

    (lots of truck tracks in the road)

    [​IMG]

    (this stretch also had a lot of fazendas and other property for sale)


    [​IMG]

    (lots and lots of bumps)

    [​IMG]

    (one more ferry to cross to get into the town of Humaita)

    [​IMG]

    (We were hoping for a comfortable, cheap spot to rest for a couple of days. We found it with this pousada. It was close to downtown, and large enough for us to spread out and enjoy our time. We had a much needed break, mainly watching a lot of the Wire, and eating lots of Brazilian completes.)

    After 2 full days of rest, we were ready to attempt to make it to Manaus. The road, BR-319, is supposed to be even less maintained, more secluded with less services and harder to travel than the Transamazónica, but it seemed like a lot of vehicles are doing the trip right now, so we thought we would give it a shot.

    [​IMG]

    (to prepare for the trip to Manaus, we brought 4 days worth of food, an extra 24 liters of gas, and 8 liters of water and a water filter. We were as ready as we were going to be.)

    Less than 20 kms outside of town, the bike stopped running. We flagged down two trucks coming from Manaus. They were nice enough to give us a lift, free of charge
  10. SS in Vzla.

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

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,217
    Location:
    Banana Republic of Black Gold
    Thanks for the detailed posts...
    They will be very useful as I plan to ride the same route sometime next year.

    How come you are going to Manaus? Aren't you continuing your trip south?
  11. csustewy

    csustewy Motojero

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    550
    Location:
    back in Denver
    Glad you found those posts useful! I know you are already aware, SS, but for anyone who stumbles across this thread - the conditions can vary dramatically on BR319, even in dry season. We met some Germans who rode into Manaus just 3 days behind us and had deep mud for long stretches. I will do my best to get a link to some of their pics, too (they are posting on the HUBB).

    And yes, we do plan to keep going south... but first, west...ish. I want to get back to a small community in northern Peru and now is going to be my best chance for a long while. In fact, we ended up bailing on the boat idea and now sit in Santa Elena de Uairen excited to see a bit more of Venezuela! I don´t expect we will make it all the way up to Caracas, but if we venture that far north, I will definitely give you a shout, SS. Our thought is to enjoy some hikes in la Gran Sabana, and then head west to the area around Mèrida. It`s all still taking shape, though...
  12. SS in Vzla.

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

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,217
    Location:
    Banana Republic of Black Gold
    Great!
    Let me know if you need any route advice or help with anything.

    PS... Crashing or warping your head's bike is forbidden, as I'll be out of the country until August 11th :lol3
  13. csustewy

    csustewy Motojero

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    550
    Location:
    back in Denver
    Ha! You helped out John so much lately, very commendable. We'll do our best to get ourselves and our bike out of Venezuela in one piece (and without additional metal installed). Enjoy your travel.
  14. csustewy

    csustewy Motojero

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    550
    Location:
    back in Denver
    False Start #1 (the real one)

    When the TA stopped running just 20 km outside of Humaitá, the first assumption was an open circuit in the ignition wiring, like we had seen before. It wasn't. Turns out the ignition fuse was blown, so in went a spare. Figuring the fault was either in the connector from the Run/Stop switch (as in Costa Rica) or the Run/Stop switch itself, Mike checked those for continuity and all seemed good. Turning the ignition to On immediately blew the fuse again. Do'h. A complete (yet not thorough) search did not turn up the little baggie of spare fuses. With 1 more spare at hand, and after more revision of the wiring, we tried once more. Do'h! It's a frustrating sight to see your last spare fuse (that you can get your hands on...there were more...just hiding...) burn up before your eyes. Time to find more fuses. And more importantly, find the ground in the ignition wiring.

    Thankfully the next 2 vehicles that passed us coming from Manaus towards Humaitá were a couple of caravaning pick ups, who gave us and the TA a lift. They were great. They dropped us at the Honda moto dealership and wouldn't even let us buy them lunch for their efforts.

    [​IMG]
    (2 pick ups drove straight through the night from Manaus, taking around 27 hours to cover the 600 kms. We slowed them down a bit)

    The Honda shop techs were happy to lend space, tools, advice, and info - like where to find fuses. The place they mentioned didn't have any fuses, but the owner had Mike jump on the back of his little 150 and took him across town to get a few. Brazilians are fantastic.

    [​IMG]
    (at Canopus Honda. The first nights we stayed in Humaitá we didn't even venture across town to the "other" main street where the shop was located. It opened up a whole new world for our additional few days.)

    The electrical ground turned out to be within an aftermarket CDI controlling spark for the front cylinder. Whenever it was plugged in, the ignition fuse would fry immediately. After a complete check of the ignition wiring, cleaning of the Run/Stop switch contacts (couldn't hurt), and CDI swap, Mike took the bike for a test ride and all seemed good. As it was late afternoon by this point, Jill had already checked back into our trusty old pousada. Mike loaded the TA back up with all of our gear and started over to the pousada. On the way, she dropped to one cylinder, characteristic of a CDI failure. Turns out the extra juice brought on by the shorted aftermaket CDI toasted the good OEM one, too. Now we put in our last spare CDI (which are now only Honda OEM parts, given how the aftermarket units tend to fail with a little too much gusto) and waited until the morning for a longer test drive close to town.

    False start #2 (test drive FAIL)

    On our longer test drive, the TA still had an obvious miss just off idle. There were few items left in the ignition system to be inspected - the 4 ignition coils, spark plug leads and caps, and the pulse generator coils. All 4 caps showed spark with the good CDI units in, but they were easy enough to check. One ignition coil and lead showed intermittant failure between the primary and secondary coils. The pulse generator coils are assumed to be fine as they would be unlikely to fail (and are a hassle to check). So a replacement ignition coil was found. But as it was Saturday, that turned out to be a bit of a hassle.

    A bigger hassle yet was that we didn't find a magnetic pick up tool. Why would we want one of those, you ask? Because in the process of pulling the ignition coil, Mike managed to drop the nut into the front spark plug hole. Dumb. We found a piece of magnet from a cheap flashlight, but it was too big. And the nut was out of reach of anybody's grip. But with just a little less height, we thought we could get it. So we pulled the valve cover. Turns out it was a good time for a coolant change, too, as the cover didn't want to make it past a solid coolant tube connected to the front cylinder.

    Sunday's chores turned out to be finding fresh coolant and fishing a nut out of the front spark plug hole. This may be my favorite use of Gorilla tape yet. Jill was able to move the nut to a relatively accessible location then stick it to her Gorilla finger. Success!

    [​IMG]
    (Jill's Gorilla (tape) finger showing off its catch)

    Buttoned her back up and test drive again. But still a miss just off idle. Now to the fuel system...

    False start #3 (why did we load the bike for this one?)

    At this point, Mike was set on getting the bike running right before heading out on our drive through such a desolate stretch. So he pulled the carbs to check the pilot jets. One was completely clogged. Replacing them was not possible in Humaitá, so we did the best we could to soak them in carb cleaner. After plenty of soaking and spraying, the jet was improved, but still not perfect. As good as we can do, though. Talking to the shop where we bought the cleaner, they mentioned that the gas in that area is notoriously bad, causing similar symptoms (low RPM miss, especially noticeable when engine cold). Combine that with a clogged pilot jet and that would definitely explain the miss.

    [​IMG]

    The good news is that the miss was lessed substantially by the carb cleaning. But sadly still present. At this point, we had done what we could. It was far past time to get on past Humaitá (a week was more than enough time to rest, as was our original plan).

    For real this time...
  15. csustewy

    csustewy Motojero

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    550
    Location:
    back in Denver
    Variable.  That word alone describes the conditions we found on BR-319 connecting Humaitá (and Porto Velho) to Manaus.  It's a road that was once paved, back in the early seventies when the military government was promoting occupation of the Amazon rainforest, but now exists in various stages of deterioration.  And it truly covers the full span of detoriaration, from still pristine asphalt to barely passable bridges, mud, and potholes.

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/NXtrbM1Uu3Bwsf9zYtqjd9MTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="640" src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-ZGUIp2c1OvY/UAHgcRzsLVI/AAAAAAAAAZk/Av8L8dpIYQc/s640/P1000996.JPG" width="480" /></a>
    (leaving Humaitá, this sign still barely shows 640 km to Manaus)

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/Cu7q5M4S7BxJzmnBk2ddhNMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="640" src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-mre5yRtlxGw/UAHglunCy4I/AAAAAAAAAZk/NiDOAwC1API/s640/P1000997.JPG" width="480" /></a>
    (jungle has taken over some of the pavement)

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/BlGCyZlCRzM4mTLSAYyGn9MTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="480" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-DXEIWU9knSE/UBVBbY0-vxI/AAAAAAAAAk0/EjxwphsmUB8/s640/P1010001.JPG" width="640" /></a>
    (evidence of what kind of mud can be expected during rainy season, some tracks we passsed were 1 meter deep)

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/iMjNja-wXnIaGdplzWmghtMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="480" src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-VsFGjromEH4/UBVBvQzLJEI/AAAAAAAAAk0/sFArzuvl_Y4/s640/P1010004.JPG" width="640" /></a>
    (dirt to pavement)

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/_JRyIz1UtjwxUo5uhbHNCtMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="480" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/--7l84i135zc/UAHhcXPODXI/AAAAAAAAAZk/N8OVM-0Aclc/s640/P1010005.JPG" width="640" /></a>
    (there were some fazendas and homes for the first 100 km, with a small town at exactly 100 km outside of Humaitá)

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/xLQrC5-uog-70hj_sDRDctMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="480" src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-r3vQxE2nikk/UAHhqf0zIYI/AAAAAAAAAZk/T-WAZqoJGgc/s640/P1010008.JPG" width="640" /></a>
    (we met a group of 4 riders from Manaus, members of Almas Livres MC, who showed classic Brazilian hospitality by offering us a place to stay outside of Manaus)

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/HMBDLHqjCsu9GQF-8o0Vw9MTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="480" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-FWOcvHTlLAA/UBVC-bCqoqI/AAAAAAAAAk0/oygB_rtJ4dA/s640/P1010010.JPG" width="640" /></a>
    (lots of views like this)

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/cW82ie7pB6Xt9o-wXKL8HtMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="480" src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/--rI147bLVtU/UAHiHKQ4wtI/AAAAAAAAAZk/uxOes8CbOqM/s640/P1010011.JPG" width="640" /></a>
    (and lots of bridges...120 of 'em, in fact. &nbsp;Well, there were 2 more that we chose to skirt around so they don't count. &nbsp;This one has some good arrows to point you over it in case there was any question)

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/oxra3GuAWgX4g-qJ73En2tMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="480" src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-fJ-TxuIRvO8/UBVELotTn6I/AAAAAAAAAk0/oYHqouZ2lws/s640/P1010014.JPG" width="640" /></a>
    (beautiful weather. &nbsp;But hot. &nbsp;Really hot.)

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/yXXiS2ouGFtKANv3RvYkBNMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="480" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-RzAQFL3AXhE/UBVEmYVBRcI/AAAAAAAAAk0/0IqtSDY0wHY/s640/P1010016.JPG" width="640" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/Tfpqwy_oEmr0bL2VSxGsv9MTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="640" src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-7DFUrfu4SIA/UAHi0SJ0lxI/AAAAAAAAAZk/UuQIPqonyyM/s640/P1010017.JPG" width="480" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/8vZ40-WOEM6mdwsSQCZtkNMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="640" src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-zoXNThtoxtA/UAHjfkp35cI/AAAAAAAAAZk/PTb2ri10SH0/s640/P1010026.JPG" width="480" /></a>
    (we camped in the Embratel repeater tower enclosures, which occur every 35-40 kms. &nbsp;Some were locked, most had the fence torn open beside the gate, but this first gate was unlocked so we even had covered parking. &nbsp;Every one we talked to told us to camp on the towers to avoid "once" attacks. &nbsp;It is some kind of jungle cat, but we have no idea what exactly that translates to. &nbsp;'Jungle cat' is close enough. &nbsp;Aside from that reason, the road itself is about the only clear spot to pitch a tent other than these enclosures)

    <b><u><span style="font-size: large;">Day 2</span></u></b>

    The second day was a greater challenge than the first. &nbsp;The road conditions got worse, but we were still lucky enough to be on this stretch after something like 20 days without rain. &nbsp;Even so, there were some muddy sections.

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/bopV7L3PGDBO65lfIHwVqNMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="480" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-Z9LN86T5AfA/UAHj-VEhWlI/AAAAAAAAAZk/QmyD-ClYDpk/s640/P1010028.JPG" width="640" /></a>
    (there was always some path through. &nbsp;Whether Mike chose correctly or not was less certain)

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/SZfV662C8xvx9bH_68ZCU9MTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-JPXaXzo_uZA/UBVHC6L4hVI/AAAAAAAAAk0/H8Pm9Yl2-Wk/s640/P1010029.JPG" height="640" width="480" /></a>
    (another bridge, still in decent shape, as long as you don't want to put a foot down where there's a hole...)

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/ePiHKd1PxW1dMSFuHHePQ9MTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="480" src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-RC6yWD6RD2E/UAHkbRFTuQI/AAAAAAAAAZk/rZmnqtB0BXQ/s640/P1010030.JPG" width="640" /></a>
    (nice pavement...here?!?!?)

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/o7W66se3SXEabF5m_DwpqNMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="640" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-ZziVbiJFOlU/UAHktwov8rI/AAAAAAAAAZk/nj13QzGAbqI/s640/P1010031.JPG" width="480" /></a>
    (...it didn't last long)

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/lm3REW2DuYQAIp8Vwtai8NMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="480" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-jvkU7eG9-Nc/UAHk9j_dHVI/AAAAAAAAAZk/tlq43GlnvXo/s640/P1010032.JPG" width="640" /></a>
    (Jill was nice to get off and scout many of these sections, which helped Mike pick the best line, and also helped keep the bike a little bit lighter. &nbsp;But we still had a 400+ pound machine plus luggage, 23 extra liters of fuel, 8 liters of water, and a few days worth of food. &nbsp;It was a good test of Mike's novice dual sporting abilities. &nbsp;Especially since we really didn't want to dump any of that extra fuel.)

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/HkaIN70f6kgHt3GWtHwxM9MTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-o2U8dZAwCbk/UBVItLuRE5I/AAAAAAAAAk0/fQU_mCpTPFs/s640/P1010033.JPG" height="480" width="640" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/dz4lZc6zO8aGbaSzkurcJ9MTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="640" src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-ZRGFYj6iW2o/UAHlrhxC9uI/AAAAAAAAAZk/G9CEWIqBK4o/s640/P1010035.JPG" width="480" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/LUywq3vIxG8QvFIgFk4OadMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="480" src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-gL8queFYjSU/UAHn6ybVBkI/AAAAAAAAAcg/x5LhOphzgYc/s640/P1010036.JPG" width="640" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/2AFwlkaHaoHfmA3yHWfHAdMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="640" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-DV0xOTt0LSg/UAHno3gjv2I/AAAAAAAAAcg/oiog6Pg77fs/s640/P1010037.JPG" width="480" /></a>
    (this stretch was an eroded upslope with a big step at the top, so the TA got fully unloaded to give Mike all the advantages he could get. &nbsp;It helped.)

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/wvkO6NFplD1285Wbjea9J9MTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="640" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-akjhEy_2UQk/UAHn2CTaudI/AAAAAAAAAcg/Mmtl-tZwldU/s640/P1010038.JPG" width="480" /></a>
    (mud holes)

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/63U9Nn8Gt1SUEecRJ2ncq9MTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="640" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-m_xanWRX1cg/UAHoJOC-CiI/AAAAAAAAAcg/mKKBX1S04wk/s640/P1010040.JPG" width="480" /></a>
    (a nice bridge over a flowing river. &nbsp;A good stop for some more water. &nbsp;Surprisingly, a lot of the other creeks we crossed did not look very tasty, if they even looked deep enough to dip a jug into)

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/i5N5qL9eOTeKP486GEqbp9MTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-gbQCZ6TPvTI/UAHoZ1hHKfI/AAAAAAAAAcg/DaJUR5k5rH0/s640/P1010042.JPG" height="480" width="640" /></a>
    (the butterflies liked this spot, too. &nbsp;And the bees. &nbsp;There were a ton of bees)

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/oy0nabPl74Al_mZLGi6u_9MTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="480" src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-KiqqSBmAqYs/UAHojmmDVlI/AAAAAAAAAcg/dr-8Z3IZhCY/s640/P1010044.JPG" width="640" /></a>
    (there's a tree in the road)

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/TIsf4G8tJWZBIQK6IQPETtMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="480" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-LcdsaCR2wKQ/UAHoxl3tJnI/AAAAAAAAAcg/CQqQfsFiQ8s/s640/P1010045.JPG" width="640" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/F51ByVuXod20F-wigpgo99MTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="480" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-cJxVlGzipqA/UAHpM6bIxmI/AAAAAAAAAcg/jozROVvq40g/s640/P1010049.JPG" width="640" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/X8ECEfaEDwyuXATfWfaWLtMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="480" src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-vYx-Wb5l_yc/UAHpZ3LuzRI/AAAAAAAAAcg/EBMTLElX5ms/s640/P1010050.JPG" width="640" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/G0IMgC-r8rNBNYTDritQfNMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-f1EmHQe9YRk/UAHpn9up86I/AAAAAAAAAcg/8uX2NfvpO8A/s640/P1010051.JPG" height="480" width="640" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/_Lk3tev7r2gLwlWoME_HMtMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-Jl_TKsdiKMI/UAHqDeCVniI/AAAAAAAAAcg/oHeVafGDF8U/s640/P1010053.JPG" height="480" width="640" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/f-IN_lGAUyfH23VbvULDntMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="480" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-2FDo6DNEfzk/UAHqlA4SoUI/AAAAAAAAAcg/menUA01PBMU/s640/P1010055.JPG" width="640" /></a>
    (this bridge was one of the scarier ones. &nbsp;A big truck had just passed us going south before we got to it, so it had to have made it across ok. &nbsp;Especially since it didn't look like the wood had slid on the roadbed recently, i.e., I don't think that truck was what caused this bridge to dip like this. &nbsp;So... we went for it...)

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/IwiEV7REiSaTHxfTOJyVj9MTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="480" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-Asws-FLn-cw/UAHqxEvXlxI/AAAAAAAAAcg/2zLt29Z4d2g/s640/P1010056.JPG" width="640" /></a>
    (...but Jill was wise enough to walk it)

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/vFMO8-3QXy2XFOthBWGwytMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="640" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-ACwIISPO5Uw/UAHrMKiuTQI/AAAAAAAAAcg/flhksz-rnRQ/s640/P1010061.JPG" width="480" /></a>
    (our second night in an Embratel tower enclosure. &nbsp;We arrived about 4, which gave us plenty of time to set up and cook before it got dark. &nbsp;Once it got dark, we were already in the tent when a couple of motos and a truck pulled up to the gate. &nbsp;Turns out they had the key. &nbsp;They worked there. &nbsp;While it was a little awkward meeting them from inside their locked fence, they seemed fine with us camping there. &nbsp;The 5 workers went inside for about 30 min, then took off again, to return at about 4 in the morning for another half hour. &nbsp;Working through the night in the middle of the jungle is one thing, it's a whole other thing driving this road as fast as they do in the pitch black. &nbsp;That puts it all in perspective for me - while this was a challenge for my riding, this is a normal, everyday occurence for some)

    <span style="font-size: large;"><b><u>Day 3</u></b></span>

    While the second day was much more challenging than the first, Day 3 still provided some obstacles to contend with. &nbsp;However, it didn't feel quite as remote as the middle stretch (basically our Day 2), as you start seeing more houses, fazendas and other signs of life as you get closer to Careiro.

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/MXA6BTf4HwmvJSLI5AZERNMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="480" src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-HgpIV8q8-lM/UBWua1-mYCI/AAAAAAAAAm4/4KLEX0gYoxc/s640/P1010064.JPG" width="640" /></a>
    (small segments still had amazingly good asphalt. &nbsp;Completely unexpected, but appreciated breaks)

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/7wnM7a_tFlC3-Y4Th3_0QtMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="640" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-1bdlFSNnUwk/UAHsCmRM_UI/AAAAAAAAAes/iWBKnLvRxfA/s640/P1010066.JPG" width="480" /></a>
    (variability continues...)

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/oZcHDancdtgB2zpdsq3iY9MTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="480" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-vcafQJZ1Yhs/UAHsMRipVqI/AAAAAAAAAes/xBVwbSEmeiU/s640/P1010067.JPG" width="640" /></a>
    (...and continues...)

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/Se32wut2yXTfQbwCcUrIP9MTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="480" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-2yp9Dzd4da4/UBWud7SLV2I/AAAAAAAAAm4/20FJGlJ1ORo/s640/P1010068.JPG" width="640" /></a>
    (this bridge is customizable - you get to construct it to your liking to cross it. &nbsp;Here one of the few vehicles we encountered is a bus from Humaitá)

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/Uqw9AhBLZoVhtsodgyrovtMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-4NWdIubrG9k/UAHsne_MsxI/AAAAAAAAAes/DNglykGo1Xw/s640/P1010071.JPG" height="480" width="640" /></a>
    (this option seemed easier)

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/5Ub_obI1T1UR6znFKaI3INMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-v3qKHWJ6Xdg/UAHshrWNv9I/AAAAAAAAAes/ObcHYiCjMlw/s640/P1010072.JPG" height="640" width="480" /></a>
    (Fresh transalp tracks. &nbsp;Even some of the dry looking spots hid that slippery mud underneath)

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/cxitepK_OWje20eLq31DXtMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="480" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-xnaTVN3vYCk/UAHs0Xp1_-I/AAAAAAAAAes/mVDFwtKkC5g/s640/P1010073.JPG" width="640" /></a>
    (another unexpected stretch of asphalt. &nbsp;This time as wide as a runway)

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/ex2KNXl6Tm7-sDYHhP1Yf9MTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="480" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-fRty_14mNps/UAHtO6V7DAI/AAAAAAAAAes/X01s1IIjK3E/s640/P1010079.JPG" width="640" /></a>
    (it was nice to have a lunch of rice and salchicha (=hot dog) prepared once we hit a villa and ferry at 428 km from Humaitá)

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/yX03q9rMvm5or38YtW2Q8tMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="480" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-GcOEWdqMjBk/UAHtcf0aE6I/AAAAAAAAAes/UZUzQuQ_p7c/s640/P1010080.JPG" width="640" /></a>
    (the ferry used a fixed rope guide to stay on track)

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/sOWJmbvdov23DLXKjguza9MTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="640" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-q0IHy5BlY0E/UBWufIJXZFI/AAAAAAAAAm4/7n6r0uncLac/s640/P1010087.JPG" width="480" /></a>
    (the road was in decent shape for awhile)

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/KuHnHRPR9LqQwTLjfBA5hdMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="480" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-EMcbnQblMsw/UAHuPJt6FxI/AAAAAAAAAes/p_4tOS_26Zo/s640/P1010089.JPG" width="640" /></a>
    (Romina and Emerson are riding south from Guyana to Patagonia, Romina's home. &nbsp;They were super nice and so very casual about the trip. &nbsp;We hope they have enough food and water. &nbsp;EDIT: &nbsp;we heard later that they got a lift from the Embratel workers for some 100 km, which should have helped out)

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/vNc5uepyyMgEBL8wECPPKtMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="640" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-SONZono6AzE/UAH3IXsuRUI/AAAAAAAAAgs/xv7wU_jrfZQ/s640/P1010090.JPG" width="480" /></a>
    (ever changing)

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/tWZVtuTNcn5C-XtQyEfeVNMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="480" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-jKlT6e_6A90/UAH2_rk1oBI/AAAAAAAAAgs/SZ3tOI4RB7g/s640/P1010091.JPG" width="640" /></a>
    (and now to fast packed gravel)

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/Ns10OK8SRHnHSQz9OA3WFNMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-06qMPQQLyws/UAH3Mz0GU6I/AAAAAAAAAgs/1GoVzkIpMi4/s640/P1010092.JPG" height="640" width="480" /></a>
    (still lots of water even without much rain)

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/BPH6ml1ouI3ObFvwLLMI2dMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="480" src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-dPJ2JcHHbBY/UAH3pDl1RAI/AAAAAAAAAgs/P6oVlh8HiZY/s640/P1010094.JPG" width="640" /></a>

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/K0vZAy7duULRYEa_mChdf9MTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="480" src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-J_HAWmgBgCg/UAH4CWnwf2I/AAAAAAAAAgs/VnrwBWDDaW8/s640/P1010098.JPG" width="640" /></a>
    (mostly completed bridge at km 509)

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/GPqmdGq7c3wzSuro9jEa-NMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="480" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-Q7mXO-39Q1k/UAH4QS9JgNI/AAAAAAAAAgs/fmLfbQMJKZs/s640/P1010100.JPG" width="640" /></a>
    (ferry crossing instead)

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/xsRFIVo1PyxS_v6iUC3PINMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="480" src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-XpCX-AEb3No/UAH4d-0HIWI/AAAAAAAAAgs/4zeFHfPwFcI/s640/P1010104.JPG" width="640" /></a>
    (On the way into Careiro, there are lots of houses with barely any space above the water level. &nbsp;And this is without much rain in the past few weeks.)

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/3HzeyL4kuYVzEeYLDdEtStMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="480" src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-CVkB9mDT9BY/UAH46dV8V7I/AAAAAAAAAgs/dbCzOT5-x7g/s640/P1010106.JPG" width="640" /></a>
    (about 100 km after Careiro is the last ferry into Manaus)

    <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/o8mVD3JVdaKOgVluDRLKN9MTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=embedwebsite"><img height="480" src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-5fDL0irttp4/UAH5GCHL4vI/AAAAAAAAAgs/EYw0Lh8NsEE/s640/P1010109.JPG" width="640" /></a>
    (pulling into Manaus)

    We were both glad that we took this road, and very glad that we didn't have any trouble to contend with (which would have changed the ride into an entirely different adventure), we were glad to have arrived in Manaus.



    Summary

    Km 0 - Humaitá
    Km 100 - small town with food, pousada, gas for sale (privately)
    km 428 - pousada and restaurant at ferry crossing (6 Rs)
    Km 495 - gas for sale (privately)
    Km 509 - ferry (6 Rs) right next to big bridge
    Km 573 - gas, lodging, food all available in Careiro
    Km ~650 - gas
    Km 674 - 45 min ferry (10 Rs) to Manaus
    Km 684 - set personal Transalp record for distance on one fill

    More history - and future - of BR-319

    http://www.oecoamazonia.com/en/news/brazil/105-br-319-rumo-a-realidade
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8314407.stm
  16. SS in Vzla.

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

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,217
    Location:
    Banana Republic of Black Gold
    Very nice update guys.
    Brings back great memories of the BR319. Although it was a lot wetter when I went through it in December 2005.
    How evident is the repair work ? Those articles you linked on your post where from 2009 and 2010. I know of a friend who has traveled the BR319 a couple of times and was there in 2010 and he said that indeed there was some work being done, but at the pace they are going it looks like the whole road won't be ready for at least 10 more years.... From the look of your photos it still looks like a long way for a finished road (the bridges do look better, though)
    Have fun in Venezuela.
    Buen viaje
  17. csustewy

    csustewy Motojero

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    550
    Location:
    back in Denver
    Glad you appreciated the update. We were quite lucky to find the road in such dry conditions. I can only imagine how challenging it could be in the rainy season.

    As you noticed, the bridges are all in good shape, which is probably the most noticeable repair work done throughout this stretch. However, there was a lot of work being done closest to Humaita and Careiro, at either end of the road. They have obviously been grading and were making progress when we passed by. Now when those 2 projects might meet in the middle...that's a good question. We heard rumors that they are going to work hard on improving the road in preparation for the World Cup in 2014. Since Manaus will host some matches, this could improve access. But whether that rumor is true, or even possible, is unknown.
  18. csustewy

    csustewy Motojero

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    550
    Location:
    back in Denver
    Once we got into Manaus, we found a hostel a couple blocks away from the Opera House, Natureba, that was as cheap as we were going to find in the city at 57 R a night. &nbsp;It wasn't necessarily our favorite place, but it was a good location. &nbsp;In Manaus we were trying to book a boat to Peru and replace the chain/sprockets on the bike. &nbsp;We arrived on a Friday afternoon and the town kind of shuts down on the weekend, preventing any errand&nbsp;running,&nbsp;so we explored the city for a couple of days.

    <a href="http://motojeros.smugmug.com/Travel/Motojeros-blog-photos/24444225_JDqWP5#!i=1993989840&amp;k=kVT5LH9&amp;lb=1&amp;s=A" title="Photo &amp; Video Sharing by SmugMug"><img alt="Photo &amp; Video Sharing by SmugMug" src="http://motojeros.smugmug.com/Travel/Motojeros-blog-photos/i-kVT5LH9/0/M/P1010111-M.jpg" title="Photo &amp; Video Sharing by SmugMug" /></a>
    (the plaza in front of the Opera House was very nice)

    <a href="http://motojeros.smugmug.com/Travel/Motojeros-blog-photos/24444225_JDqWP5#!i=1994007182&k=GZvbtkv&lb=1&s=A" title=""><img src="http://motojeros.smugmug.com/Travel/Motojeros-blog-photos/i-GZvbtkv/0/M/P1010115-M.jpg" title="" alt=""></a>

    <a href="http://motojeros.smugmug.com/Travel/Motojeros-blog-photos/24444225_JDqWP5#!i=1993990842&k=qgS6Ddd&lb=1&s=A" title=""><img src="http://motojeros.smugmug.com/Travel/Motojeros-blog-photos/i-qgS6Ddd/0/M/P1010114-M.jpg" title="" alt=""></a>

    <a href="http://motojeros.smugmug.com/Travel/Motojeros-blog-photos/24444225_JDqWP5#!i=1994007552&k=B845F8n&lb=1&s=A" title=""><img src="http://motojeros.smugmug.com/Travel/Motojeros-blog-photos/i-B845F8n/0/M/P1010116-M.jpg" title="" alt=""></a>

    <a href="http://motojeros.smugmug.com/Travel/Motojeros-blog-photos/24444225_JDqWP5#!i=1994007572&k=zG9cV9h&lb=1&s=A" title=""><img src="http://motojeros.smugmug.com/Travel/Motojeros-blog-photos/i-zG9cV9h/0/M/P1010119-M.jpg" title="" alt=""></a>

    <a href="http://motojeros.smugmug.com/Travel/Motojeros-blog-photos/24444225_JDqWP5#!i=1994017544&k=MLqbkpb&lb=1&s=A" title=""><img src="http://motojeros.smugmug.com/Travel/Motojeros-blog-photos/i-MLqbkpb/0/M/P1010122-M.jpg" title="" alt=""></a>

    <a href="http://motojeros.smugmug.com/Travel/Motojeros-blog-photos/24444225_JDqWP5#!i=1994018863&k=Jr3WTp2&lb=1&s=A" title=""><img src="http://motojeros.smugmug.com/Travel/Motojeros-blog-photos/i-Jr3WTp2/0/M/P1010123-M.jpg" title="" alt=""></a>

    <a href="http://motojeros.smugmug.com/Travel/Motojeros-blog-photos/24444225_JDqWP5#!i=1994016593&k=ptr9BQC&lb=1&s=A" title=""><img src="http://motojeros.smugmug.com/Travel/Motojeros-blog-photos/i-ptr9BQC/0/M/P1010121-M.jpg" title="" alt=""></a>
    (every Sunday there is a street fair with food, clothes, and lots of other random stuff)

    <a href="http://motojeros.smugmug.com/Travel/Motojeros-blog-photos/24444225_JDqWP5#!i=1994027031&k=WnrMZ39&lb=1&s=A" title=""><img src="http://motojeros.smugmug.com/Travel/Motojeros-blog-photos/i-WnrMZ39/0/M/P1010125-M.jpg" title="" alt=""></a>

    <a href="http://motojeros.smugmug.com/Travel/Motojeros-blog-photos/24444225_JDqWP5#!i=1994025685&k=zHtrhBn&lb=1&s=A" title=""><img src="http://motojeros.smugmug.com/Travel/Motojeros-blog-photos/i-zHtrhBn/0/M/P1010124-M.jpg" title="" alt=""></a>
    (we went to the port to get information about boats leaving for Peru. &nbsp;But, it was Sunday, so we didn't find out much.)

    The next day we met with a tourist agent to get prices. &nbsp;We were quoted 400 R each for a hammock and 1200 R for the motorcycle. &nbsp;We thought those prices were ridiculous (especially given that we knew hammock space was available at 180 Rs). &nbsp;Then we started thinking about what a hassle (and how expensive) it will be to transport the bike on not only this leg of the boat, but on the additional 2 boats we would have to take to get to a road in Peru (well...actually...3 additional boats, counting the required canoe from Tabatinga to Santa Rosa). &nbsp;We figured we could find a better price somewhere in Manaus, but decided against looking all over town and talking to all the boat captains we could find for something better. &nbsp;Instead we decided to change our plans and drive north, go back through Venezuela, then over to Colombia to head south. &nbsp;That way we will get to see Colombia, which we really wanted to do anyway, and we will not be dependent on a boat for our transportation.

    Since we would be driving more now, we really wanted to get the final drive replaced in Manaus. &nbsp;We figured it was a big enough city to have the parts we needed. &nbsp;First we got the bike washed, which it badly needed. &nbsp;The owner of the carwash had a friend who owned a motorcycle shop, who met us on his Shadow and took us to a mechanic who dealt with big bikes. &nbsp;He didn't think we needed a new chain at all, even though we had stretched the chain past its adjustment limit and there were some kinks that didn't like to pivot no matter how much grease they got (Brazilians seem to have the attitude of don't fix it if it is still running, something we don't have the liberty to do as we travel through a lot of areas that do not have any access to parts, we try to take advantage where we can). &nbsp;He did call a few shops for us and sent us across town to get them. &nbsp;Our new friend, Beto, who had picked us up at the car wash, came with us to show us where to go. &nbsp;After several stops, we finally found a shop that claimed to have the sprockets and chain we needed.

    While the shop and parts store seemed to have a good selection, even confirming the appropriate parts were in stock over the phone, it was surprisingly difficult for the young parts guys to find a chain and sprockets that would work. &nbsp;The shop let me use their tools and even helped get the 2 sprockets pulled to take into the parts store for comparison. &nbsp;After rejecting countless attempts that the kids brought to the counter, we finally found a set that could work. &nbsp;However, instead of 15 teeth up front and 47 at the wheel, the closest options were 16T and 48T sprockets. &nbsp;Not only that, but some custom machining was requied to get them to fit (the threads of the thru bolts on the rear sprocket caught, so the holes were opened up a touch. &nbsp;The front was a real treat as it took 2 custom shims to space the sprocket the correct distance out from the transmission cover, matching the position of OEM part). &nbsp;After a couple of hours of this finnagling, the biggest hassle was then finding a 525 chain of appropriate length. &nbsp;Those wonderful parts guys had set us up with a 530 chain with only 100 links, not quite a 525 with 118 links. &nbsp;After them doing more of whatever they were doing in the parts aisles, they could not turn up a chain. &nbsp;So they had one delivered, Domino's style. &nbsp;But sadly, not within the half hour. &nbsp;Eventually we got out of there with a new chain and sprockets, all for the price of parts alone (270 Rs). &nbsp;We owe Beto big time for all his help in tracking down those parts, leading us around Manaus, and convincing those parts guys to keep looking.

    <a href="http://motojeros.smugmug.com/Travel/Motojeros-blog-photos/24444225_JDqWP5#!i=1994040168&k=5GZw7v3&lb=1&s=A" title=""><img src="http://motojeros.smugmug.com/Travel/Motojeros-blog-photos/i-5GZw7v3/0/M/P1010127-M.jpg" title="" alt=""></a>

    The next day Mike went back out to get an oil filter for an oil change (not wanting to deal with the parts guys at the previous day's shop any more than necessay). &nbsp;This one should be easy, right? &nbsp;For the most part it was. &nbsp;For the price of the oil filter and 4 new plugs (40 Rs) the oil change was done for free in the shop (imagine that in the states) which is much easier than coming up with a catch container and a way to dispose of the oil. &nbsp;The obstacle today was a random checkpoint set up in downtown Manaus. &nbsp;Soldiers were pointing cars and motos over to the side. &nbsp;As I rolled past, there was another bike next to me, so when the soldiers pointed me over, I just assumed they meant the other guy and kept rolling. &nbsp;That plan (comically?) backfired since we were in downtown traffic and the next light left me idling about 2.5 car lengths in front of the soldiers. &nbsp;One came walking up and told me to go to the side. &nbsp;He asked for documents. &nbsp;I had none. &nbsp;I told him I just left the hostel to get an oil filter and that was all. &nbsp;After a couple of back and forths, he told me that I'd be able to find a filter up ahead no problem and sent me on my way. &nbsp;It may have worked out in my favor that I wasn't stopped in the big group of soldiers. &nbsp;Whatever did it, it worked out the best way possible.

    On Sunday when we went back to our hostel after walking around town, we found another motorcycle traveler trying to get into our hostel. &nbsp;The hostel owner was nowhere to be found, so Mike took Werner looking for another place to stay in the area while Jill met up with his wife, Claudia. &nbsp;They were on two BMW GS bikes (from the same year as our trusty TA) and had also just rode the BR-319, although they got rained on a lot more than we did. &nbsp;They are originally from Germany, and rode Africa and Australia about 5 years ago and are on the road again after living in Australia since then. &nbsp;Their <a href="http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/tstories/longwayhome/">ride report</a> is on the HUBB. &nbsp;While looking for another hostel, the guys ran into two other riders, Helmut from Germany on a KTM 990 and Guillome from Canada on a KLR. &nbsp;Their blogs are <a href="http://allthoseroads.wordpress.com/">here</a> for Helmut and <a href="http://solomonde.blogspot.com/">here</a> for Guillome. &nbsp;The hostel hunt was unsuccessful, so Werner and Claudia ended up camping at our hostel for the night. &nbsp;That evening we all met up for some beers and meat.

    <a href="http://motojeros.smugmug.com/Travel/Motojeros-blog-photos/24444225_JDqWP5#!i=1994034897&k=LvpMdMz&lb=1&s=A" title=""><img src="http://motojeros.smugmug.com/Travel/Motojeros-blog-photos/i-LvpMdMz/0/M/P1010126-M.jpg" title="" alt=""></a>
    (Jill, Helmut, Werner, Claudia, Guillome, and Mike)

    After spending 5 days in Manaus, we were ready to hit the road. &nbsp;We were in very rural areas for most of our time in Brazil and we felt a little out of place in such a large and modern city.

    The 1000 kms to the Venezuelan border were rather uneventful and boring, except for the fact that it was rainy and cold the entire second day that we traveled. &nbsp;We did drive through an indigenous area where stops and photography are not permitted (photo not included).

    <a href="http://motojeros.smugmug.com/Travel/Motojeros-blog-photos/24444225_JDqWP5#!i=1994041850&k=gjfPbMN&lb=1&s=A" title=""><img src="http://motojeros.smugmug.com/Travel/Motojeros-blog-photos/i-gjfPbMN/0/M/P1010134-M.jpg" title="" alt=""></a>
    (outside our pousada/restaurant/moto repair shop/taxi in Novo Paraiso)

    <a href="http://motojeros.smugmug.com/Travel/Motojeros-blog-photos/24444225_JDqWP5#!i=1994980028&k=mLwXPLh&lb=1&s=A" title=""><img src="http://motojeros.smugmug.com/Travel/Motojeros-blog-photos/i-mLwXPLh/0/M/P1010132-M.jpg" title="" alt=""></a>
    (we shared breakfast with their cat, who enjoys bread and butter best)

    <a href="http://motojeros.smugmug.com/Travel/Motojeros-blog-photos/24444225_JDqWP5#!i=1994980019&k=8v7grfn&lb=1&s=A" title=""><img src="http://motojeros.smugmug.com/Travel/Motojeros-blog-photos/i-8v7grfn/0/M/P1010130-M.jpg" title="" alt=""></a>
    (we also crossed back over into the Northern Hemisphere)

    <a href="http://motojeros.smugmug.com/Travel/Motojeros-blog-photos/24444225_JDqWP5#!i=1994042491&k=CG6Tgfj&lb=1&s=A" title=""><img src="http://motojeros.smugmug.com/Travel/Motojeros-blog-photos/i-CG6Tgfj/0/M/P1010135-M.jpg" title="" alt=""></a>
    (this was our view for the majority of our second day)
  19. Throttlemeister

    Throttlemeister Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,918
    Location:
    Okie near Muskogee
    Very nice write up on 319 guys:clap:clap:clap

    That stretch of road from Manaus to Boa Vista was some of the wettest riding I'd done since Colombia, the rains are amazing:eek1

    I was riding in the evening and just past the Equator and got dumped on so bad in the evening hours that I had to find cover and ended up sleeping in an old shithouse to get out of the heavy rains and I was more than thankful for my cover:lol3
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Have fun in Venezuela and I would suggest crossing at Arauca, much nicer simple crossing than Cucuta and really laid back plus it dumps you into Colombia nearer the excellent high country area of El Cocuy National Park which shouldn't be missed imho.

    Keep up the good work:clap
  20. csustewy

    csustewy Motojero

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    550
    Location:
    back in Denver
    Thanks for the accolades! Also, thanks for the tip on the border crossing, but given your style of lodging selection, I find the need to question your travel advice, my friend. (Hey, at least it didn't dump on you in that shithouse!) :rofl

    We considered Arauca, but decided to avoid that area right now. In the past few days there has been a lot of paramilitary activity in the area (6 FARC members arrested, ELN kidnapped 2 and killed 1 oil worker, attack on the police post in El Caracol) combined with clashes in the towns of Fortul and Tame, along with burning vehicles closing the road between those 2 towns. That's a little too much heat for me.

    Not looking forward to waiting in line at Cucuta, but we still hope to see some of Colombia's high country...