Virginia to Ushuaia on Dirt Bikes

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by chip8150, Nov 12, 2017.

  1. chip8150

    chip8150 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2013
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    Mountains of Colorado
    Pisco to Cusco

    We woke up this early this morning in the Kamila Hostel in Cusco and are to be picked up around 7:30am for the long trek to Machu Picchu. The process involves a 5 hour bus ride from Cusco to a small town near Aguascalientes - then a 2 hour walk or 20 minute train ride from there to actually get to Aguascalientes. I think we will spring for the extra $12US to take the train. There are no roads allowing vehicles to Aguascalientes only a train to get there and out from either side of town. Then we spend the night at a hostel in Aguascalientes and take a short early morning shuttle ride and arrive at Machu Picchu around 6am. We will tour the site all morning, then depart on the train, transfer to another bus and arrive back in Cusco around 6 or 7pm on Friday. I'm told the hassle is totally worth it. I'm hoping this is true because as I type this update, we are 5.5 hours into the first bus ride and only half-way to our destination. A massive landslide has completely blocked the mountain road and we have been sitting and waiting with a hundreds of others for over 2 hours for road crews to arrive and clear the slide. Oh well, what can you do. I just hope we can make it to our destination tonight and get to see Machu Picchu tomorrow. It would be a crusher to have to turn around and return to Cusco at this point. Our bikes and gear are stored at Kamila Hostel where we plan to stay on Friday night upon our return.

    Flashing back to Tuesday morning we left Pisco for Nazca early to hopefully get a look at the lines from some vantage point. I've been told the only good way to view the Nazca lines is from an airplane and we probable won't take the time or expense to do that. About a few kilometers outside Pisco we came upon the Dakar stage start for Pisco. The was actually the REAL start of the race as the racers ride down from Lima (official start) on the roads in a ceremonial parade down to Pisco. This is mostly for the viewing public to get to see the vehicles and racers as the actual stages are off road and inaccessible to most everyone that doesn't have the vehicle and and/or huevos to get there. Many of the Peru stages are in the sandy dunes of the desert and especially nasty. As we ride up to the starting arch to snap a few pics I of course dumped my bike in the deep sand. One of these days I will work on my sand skills on an unloaded bike - until then the sand continues to baffle me on how to ride it successfully.

    We arrived to the Nazca site around 11am and soon found the only accessible high ground was a small rise costing 2 Soles (about .60US for access). We paid and hiked up but you could not make out any shapes - just barely see the lines streaking across the desert. Oh well, guess pictures on the internet from above will have to suffice - we can at least say we were there. We grabbed a quick lunch in Nazca and started heading east towards Cusco - at least a two day ride.

    After several days on the coast and desert we were welcoming the change in terrain to mountains - many 15,000 foot passes were ahead of us on the way to Cusco. We quickly experienced a big temperature drop and noticed storm clouds building in the massive mountains ahead. Shortly after gearing up and climbing to 13,000ft. it began to rain, then sleet, then to snow slushing up a couple of inches on the road. We were careful to stay in the truck tire tracks to avoid the slippery slush. The 550k ride that day turned out to be one of the more miserable of the trip - rain and snow with temps in the low 30's makes for some tough conditions on a motorcycle. We rode the last 2 hours in the rain and dark as there were no towns with anywhere to stay until reaching Chuqimbambilla just after 8pm. Soaked to the bone and exhausted we changed into dry clothes and ventured out into the rain to find some food. Turns out Dick from Holland was also there as he had sent Ken a text earlier that he noticed shortly after we arrived. We had originally met Dick on the road while riding through Colombia. We met up that evening and arranged to ride the remaining 300k to Cusco together the next day. My body was a wreck after the 10+ hours on the bike and I collapsed to bed and easily fell asleep that night.

    Wednesday morning we met up with Dick and started the ride to Cusco. Fortunately the morning started out partly sunny and dry after raining almost until sunrise. The ride started along a large rain swollen raging river and slowly started climbing back up in elevation. We had dropped to about 10,000ft. by the end of Tuesday's ride and slowly climbed back up to 13,500 - and then the rain came again. Luckily not as hard or as cold as the day before and only lasting a couple of hours. By the time we stopped for lunch the sun had come back out and we were mostly air dried from riding. We got into Cusco just in time for rush hour and it was nasty. It took about 1.5 hours from the edge of the city to arrive in old town where Dick had booked a room at the Kamila Hostel. Luckily for Ken and I they still had rooms available so we decided to stay there as well.

    Old Cusco is one of the most interesting cities we have experienced on the trip. Very old with of character - I'll have to research the history of Cusco at some point as I really know nothing about it. After changing out of riding gear and getting info from Kamila's owner on Machu Picchu tours we set off into the city in search of the Rocoto Relleno - suggested by my friend Maday who had lived and worked in Lima for two years. After much walking and inquiries, we found the elusive Relleno - and at a very good restaurant that. We had the Relleno' as appetizers and enjoyed wood fired pizzas as the main course - Yum. Food in Peru has been good - I can't get enough of the Rocoto sauce!!!

    So as I finish this update the heavy equipment has arrived and they are attempting to remove the debris from the giant land/rock slide. Hopefully we will make our intended destination of Aguascalientes tonight - however late that may be.


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    Nazca lines...didn't see much.

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    Riding along the river.

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    More river...getting greener now!

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    Back up over 13,000ft just before dropping into Cusco.

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    Landslide blocking the road on the way to Machu Picchu.

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    Main square Old Town Cusco.
    SmilinJoe, tatt2mike and ONandOFF like this.
  2. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF more off than on

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  3. KShow

    KShow Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Where to begin, probably most of you on Facebook are aware that the day didn't quite go as planned, and the night just slightly worse. So I'll pick up where Chip left off, we were sitting in a van, on the wrong side of a landslide somewhere high in the Andes. A couple pieces of equipment had been brought in an were starting to clear the huge amount of rock and dirt blocking the road in front of us. From a distance it looked to be about a 950 Cat sized loader, pretty decent size machine. Fog and rain kept rolling through the area, and all you could hear was a diesel engine, and rocks rolling down the hillside below. After a few hours, the road was clear, and then the real chaos began, Peruvians are some of the worst, most impatient drivers Ive seen in all my travels, easily on par with South Koreans. I'm not stereotyping, this is all from personal experience. One lane was opened first, and the cars, trucks and vans started making their way through. There was a very long line, due to the road being closed for 7 hours or more, there are no easy ways around in this area. Finally we were able to continue heading down the mountain, and made it to a restaurant for our lunch/dinner stop. From there it was 3 more hours to our destination. Many of you know how much I enjoy riding motorcycle through twisty mountain roads, but you should also know how much I HATE being a passenger in a crowded van traversing those same types of roads. Add to that the overly loud Spanish music, limited airflow, and obnoxiously loud young passengers, lets just say I wasn't my usual cheerful self. Just sit back, close my eyes, and think of better times, knowing that this to shall pass.

    So you can probably imagine how happy I was to be dropped off in the darkness around 10:30pm just before the rain started to fall, with our only instructions being a rough hand gesture towards some train tracks saying "camino dos hours" Walk two hours??? The trip we were sold arrived at this location at around 2pm, with the option of a 20 minute train ride along the river, to a town with hot spring where we could soak and relax our evening away before a good nights sleep and a morning bus ride up to Machu Picchu for our guided tour, pure tourist style. Now, lets snap back to reality, I realize the landslide would be called "an act of God" and beyond the control of the tour operators. (do people not realize that good things are "acts of God" as well?) But after spending 14 hours in a van with 19 other people, and being dumped out into the darkness at the end of the road and told to walk the last 2 hours to your destination, its hard to see the silver lining of the clouds, which just happened to arrive shortly after we started walking and begin to dump their wet cargo on the 50plus miserable soulss trudging up the railroad tracks lit by few people who though far enough ahead to bring flashlights. Luckily our new friend Dick was one of those people. I was equipped with great rain hiking gear, a cotton t shirt, and a down jacket. Things started looking up when I found a perfectly intact plastic bag that I could put my jacket into to keep it dry. As the air cooled, we just kept walking faster, building enough body heat to keep warm as the rain increased. You just get to the point where you accept your fate, walk two hours, which turned out to be about 7 miles. My opinion is that any walking distance over 30 minutes needs to be given in distance, not time. Because I'm pretty sure our 2 hour walk, took less time than many of the other's 2 hour walk, and we all ended up at the same destination.

    Once we arrived in Aguascalientes after midnight, soaking wet, we realized we had never been told the name of our hotel that was booked and paid for. We spent the next hour trying to reach the tour company to find some information, finally we were given the name of the hotel. The next challenge was to find it, Which we soon did, with the help of a cop. We woke up the front desk of the hostel and were showed to our room, the three of us walked in and stripped down to our skivvies, hanging up all our clothes to dry, which they didn't, and crawling into our twin sized beds, still wet. We woke up at 6am to a knock on the door, it was our guide, he needed our passports to buy our entry tickets into Machu Picchu, he asked when we wanted to go, and since we could still hear the rain pouring outside, we said later, much later, and went back to bed. I later walked out to the balcony, in my underwear and a down jacket, and saw the front desk guy. Asked him if he could throw some stuff in the dryer for us, he said yes, so I went back, to the room and grabbed all of our wet gear and handed it to him. About 45 minutes later, all our clothing was delivered back to us, warm and dry. We got dressed and headed out to the bus station to buy our tickets. Our passports had been returned with our entry tickets, which was good, because they were to be used heavily today. Present passport to buy bus ticket, walk across street, present passport and newly purchased but ticket to get on bus, arrive at main gates after 30 minutes bus ride up incredible switchback road with awesome views, present passport and entry ticket to get through main gates, then walk out into Machu Picchu. I don't think anyone hasn't seen pictures of this place, and its still breathtaking as you round the last corner on the path and it all comes into view. We followed our tour guide and learned quite a bit about the place, pretty amazing. We took pictures, and then rode the bus back down the mountain to catch the train back to Cuzco. We changed our ticket back to Cuzco for an earlier train ride so it wouldn't be dark on the way out, a different train than the one we missed the day before. This one was a 2 hour ride in the opposite direction, that ended with a 2 hour van ride, but thankfully not through the mountains this time. Arriving back at Hotel Kamilla we found our bikes were still there and untouched, our laundry was clean, and there were hot showers to be had. After cleaning up, it was off into the rainy night again in search of dinner in the downtown area, then back to our nice warm beds for a well deserved good nights sleep.

    So to sum it all up. Not every day is picture perfect, and when you're faced with a night hike your unprepared for things can look a bit sour. But when you accept your fate and start putting one foot in front of the other, you start to see some good things. A plastic bag to keep your down jacket dry for later, a warm bed, putting on clothes fresh from the dryer, real coffee, and the clincher was a perfect day at Machu Picchu, rain on the way up, rain on the way down, and sunshine while we were there. They told us it has been socked in with fog all week. So it all started with a landslide, and ended up with big smiles, and a fresh check mark on each of our bucket lists. So, "act of God" yep, it was, all of it. And I thanked him for it.

    Now for pictures
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    Somewhere in the Andes

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    Do I really have to caption this one?
  4. chip8150

    chip8150 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2013
    Oddometer:
    53
    Location:
    Mountains of Colorado
    Cusco to Puno

    Sadly tonight is our last night in Peru as we will be crossing into Bolivia tomorrow mid-day. Southern Peru has been amazing with certainly our trip to Machu Picchu being one of the highlights. The mountains, valleys, small towns and historic cities have blown me away. The Ceviche, Rocoto Chile and Pisco Sours enjoyed throughout have been brilliant. my only regret is not sampling the Guinea Pig - a Peruvian delicacy.

    Today we got a fairly late start from Cusco as we needed to catch up on some much needed sleep. The past couple of days off the bikes have been been a bit exhausting - with the Machu Picchu logistical adventure and all. Even for a Saturday the Cusco traffic was a bit thick leaving the city. Riding in Peru had turned out to be one of the toughest countries of the trip - Peruvians are super nice people until they get behind the wheel of a car. The ride outside Cusco took us along a river valley at 14,000 ft. elevation - passing between 19,000+ ft. snow capped mountains. The mountains in Peru are crazy. We did get lucky and didn't get rained on today - a first in about a week straight of getting wet at least once daily. The last city before Puno obviously got some heavy rain earlier. The mud covered and heavily potholed streets (actually mostly dirt) covered us and the bikes with muck - probably the most destroyed city streets we have have encountered so far.

    Speaking of destroyed, I have been hit with a rash of failures in the past week. My riding boots have started leaking - a lot, two charging power cords have completely died, my Sena bluetooth communication/music/camera has crapped out and my headlight on my bike stopped working. The miles are starting to take a toll on everything.

    We ended up covering the 380k in about 6 hours and arrived in Puno around 5pm. Neither of us could get any data so we rode around a bit looking for a place to stay by just riding up and checking for availability - but it was lack of parking that kept us looking. Seems this town has only street parking - which we like to avoid. Finally we found a hotel that let us park in the lobby - score! An added bonus was the hotel's location a block from the main square with all the restaurants, bars and shops. We found a nice restaurant (too nice for us), enjoyed a good meal and were back to the hotel by 9pm. Tomorrow Bolivia!

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    Enjoying a final Pilsen with Dick from Holland. Safe travels buddy!

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    Final meal in Cusco at the Rat.

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    Puno town square with a rainbow.

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    Lobby parking.
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  5. dano619

    dano619 Been here awhile

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    Great update and pics.......thank you!!
  6. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF more off than on

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    Nice. I see now; I get confused because the time you post and content don't match. For example this one posted this morning talks of a late start today. I remembered you also have a blog site, so I went looking there and i see you marked this post as occurring Saturday. I wish you guys would carry those labels to here. Enjoying the updates and imagining how the ride must be. I don't have to tell you but remember to play it safe!
  7. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

    Joined:
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    Southern Louisiana or Southern England or ...
    Keep on keeping on guys - and writing about it. Envy is a sin.

    RE cuy (guinea pig), you haven't missed much IMO but if you're determined, it's available in Bolivia too (pretty much throughout S. America - I've seen it in Ecuador.)
  8. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF more off than on

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    Agreed, i was thinking the same about eating cuy. I finally broke down and gave one a go. They don't taste bad, but I believe one would need to develop a taste for them over a period of time to enjoy them the way people do. A lot of bone picking is involved. They're quite big in Ecuador, particularly in the Sierra. You see there many grilling on rotisserie racks along sidewalks in many towns. Our kids had guinea pigs as pets growing up so you can imagine some of the reactions on both sides.
    Kyler likes this.
  9. chip8150

    chip8150 Adventurer

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    Mountains of Colorado
    Good point on recording the day we are writing about as we get a bit behind sometimes. We will start adding this like on the blog.
  10. KShow

    KShow Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2007
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    647
    Location:
    Shenandoah Valley, VA
    KS- Sunday

    We started this one out in Puno, about two hours north of the Bolivian border. Our original plan was to cross the border, and then head on through Bolivia, but it wasn't quite that simple, it usually never is. After arriving at the border, we were greeted by very long line to stamp out of Peru, It took almost an hour to complete that step, cancelling the temporary import of the bikes took quite a bit less. The immigration agent that did my passport said something about a visa for Bolivia, so when I got back outside I told Chip about it. We weren't aware we needed on for any of these countries, but a quick search said we did. It was one of those times where we might have benefitted from a slight bit of planning ahead. You can get a visa at the border, but as we later found out, you can't get all the items you need to have for the visa, especially on Sunday when most shops are closed in the tiny border town. The list is,, besides passport you need, vaccination card, bank statement, hotel reservation, plane or bus ticket out of the country, passport photo, and a signed visa application, and all of it has to be in a special manila folder, plus present it all with $160 in crisp US bills. We were able to get most items by printing them out at a internet café, that happened to be filled with Peruvian teenagers playing computer games and making lots of noise. We were able to get everything we needed, except the passport photos, and visa application form, and the folder. Key pieces. After much time spent walking around the border area, we determined there was no place to get a photo, and many times walking back and forth across the bride in "no mans land" asking Bolivia where to get things didn't help. You have to find the elusive form, and print it out. You'd think they would have them at the border, but nope. After a couple hours of this, our patience was getting tested.

    We decided to head back into Peru and go over to Chile, and decided that we would have better luck getting all required items an crossing into Bolivia at another border. Sounds like a good plan, except when we went back to Peru to get stamped in, the immigration agent wouldn't do it. No exit stamp from Bolivia, no entry stamp into Peru he said. I told him that we couldn't get into Bolivia, he said, not my problem, Bolivia problem. Then he made the hand washing motion and pointed us to the door. So back outside we went, crossing back over to Bolivia and trying again to get the items we needed to enter there, again with no luck. So there we were, stuck between two countries, with neither one letting us in. Not a good feeling. A couple more fruitless hours went by as we tried to reenter the world, somehow. Even debating making a run for it. Finally we made one last attempt to get back into Peru, Chip ended up going to a different window in the corner, while I ended up in the window next to the jerk agent. The woman looked at my passport, and was ready to stamp it when the jerk spotted me and started waving his hands and telling the woman not to stamp it. Meanwhile, Chip had just gotten his passport stamped back into Peru, and was heading out the door when jerk saw him and yelled to the agent that stamped it, obviously a bit angry. By then, it was too late, he was officially back in Peru. Jerk took my passport from the woman and chewed her out, then chewed out the guy who stamped Chips passport. He shook my passport at him, then pointed to Chip walking out the door. Good agent was saying its not a problem, and then jerk agent handed him my passport angrily, said some words to him that I won't repeat (mainly because my Spanish has not risen to that level). As good agent looked at my passport, jerk again made the hand washing movements and threw his hands in the air and stomped away. Good agent looked at me, gave a little smile, which I gladly returned, then he scanned my passport into the computer, grabbed the stamp, and made one of my favorite sounds. The loud whack of an official entry stamp.

    Out the door I went, with a huge sense of relief. I was no longer going to have to live on a bridge, perusing a career as a money changer, or washing windows. We went back into the Aduana to get te paperwork for our bikes again, the two ladies in there were very nice and helpful, defiantly a big change from jerk in immagration. By that time, we had decided that we were just going to skip Bolivia all together. It was that bad of an experience. Now I'm sure many people are going to say we were making a bad decision to skip a country like that, but heres how we see it. First, one of the Dakar stages in Bolivia had been cancelled do to bad weather. A friend of Joseph was there and said that he wished he would have skipped it, our friend Dick was there and was in a bad crash caused by an pedestrian running out into the street and hitting his bike sending him down the road at 40mph with his bike on top of him. And finally, the $160 dollars and stupid process of getting a visa was the icing on the cake. So we may be missing a couple things we wanted to see, but you would have to spend years travelling here to see everything. Last time we ignored people and signs telling us not to go into a country, we ended up standing along the side of the road in Kazakhstan, trying to convince the police not to impound our bikes, then eventually paying them $100 a piece and being escorted out of the country. So we have learned something from our past experiences, do a little more planning sometimes, and also know when to take a hint (or several).

    We got back on our bikes, set course for the coast and the Chilean border. Looking forward to warmer weather, and lower altitude. Its a bit hard to sleep at 13,000 Ft when your breathing hard, and your heart is thumping away in your chest trying to get oxygen into your body. We'd been in the high altitude and cold rainy weather for too long. It was time for a change. We didn't have much time, or gas, but we managed to make it to the town of Marcocruz, a tiny village in the mountains, with a couple streets, and an old gas station. It wasn't too much daylight left, and we had already ridden through one storm where I'm pretty sure I felt the heat from a lightning strike on the side of my face. After gassing up and asking the old man for a hotel, he pointed into the tiny town. We found the guest house, and were given a single room with two beds and a bathroom for $8. The floor was spongy, the bed was tilted, and bathroom had no TP. After parking the bikes in the hallway, we went into our unheated room, changed clothes and wen back out into the village to find dinner. The first restaurant we walked into had about 10 people there eating, but the "waiter" came over to us and said were closed, and ushered us out into the street. There was one other restaurant in the dark town, so we went there, again there were people eating, and again we were told they were closed. So. 0 for 2, once again we had struck out at the game of Gringo Bingo. Found a tiny store that was still open, so I bought a can of tuna, some crackers, cookies, and a roll of toilet paper for the room. Walking back to our room, we decided that there have been better days and started researching the Chilean border requirements on slow phone internet. If you want to pull your hair out, try researching border crossing information, the web is full of conflicting information. So after a long fruitless day, a meager dinner was had, and we decided to get some sleep and hope for a better tomorrow, in Chile.
    ONandOFF likes this.
  11. chip8150

    chip8150 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2013
    Oddometer:
    53
    Location:
    Mountains of Colorado
    Monday/Tuesday - Into Chile

    Trying to sleep at 13,000+ ft. and 40 degree temps with no heat with a head cold is no fun. I didn't get much sleep last night and feel like a cough is coming on as well. The room was very basic but I guess what can one expect for an $8 room with two beds? At least the beds came equipped with the typical Peruvian 25 pound blankets. We got out of shanty town around 8am and continued southwest for the Peru/Chile border knowing we still had the Andes range to climb over once again. Last time over brought us 15,000 ft. elevations, rain, sleet, snow and extremely cold temps so we had the gear ready in case we encountered the same again. The day started overcast and cool but did not look like a threat of rain - yet. As we headed west through the eastern highlands of the Andes between 19,000+ ft. snow capped peaks, rain clouds began to build and I had visions of freezing my ass off again. Luckily as we started to climb back over 15,000+ ft. they started to break up and it seemed we would miss the precipitation. The views were stunning as we kept going up and up and up, then finally started defending the other side. The paved road was fairly new but very narrow. Luckily there were very few vehicles besides us and no trucks as the narrow roads and switchbacks would be impossible for them to navigate.

    Slowly the landscape began to change back to dessert and dunes as it was outside Lima and Pisco before we headed east over a week ago. The warm air was welcomed as we had spent the better of the past week plus mostly wet and cold. As we passed through Tacna we knew the border was close. We had hoped to gas up before hand, but ended up passing the last station before realizing it was the last before getting into Chile. The Peru/Chile border at Tacna/Arica was quite convenient as they have a combined border station for both countries. Usually you have to pass through the first country, ride through a bit of "no mans land" and then pass into the next - filling out the necessary paperwork and getting stamped at each countries station. Here at both immigration and customs the Peru guy/gal sits at a window next to the Chile guy/gal and they just hand you off. Very convenient - listen up Central America! The whole process took about 2 hours mainly due to our having to translate the forms from Spanish. You would think we would have this down. Although most ask some of the same basic info, each country seems to ask for different additional info that requires new words to translate. Once through the border we got on Booking.com (our go to travel site for places to stay) to find a hostel in Arica. Chile is definitely going to be more expensive - think Costa Rica. We found and booked a hostel for about $55, rode the 25k to Arica and discovered upon arrival they did not have a room. The previous guests in our double twin decided to stay another night. Luckily the guy running the hostel made a call and got us another around the corner. It had been a long day with the border crossing and we lost two hours with the time change coming into Chile. The good part is it now gets dark around 8:30pm instead of 6:30pm. Much better time/light relationship for camping!

    We got a super late start Tuesday morning (I'll blame it on the time change) and didn't hit the road until almost 11:30am. Today would be mostly running down the Chilean Pacific coastline. The ride and views didn't disappoint as once again the as in Ecuador and Peru the desert meets the sea for a dramatic transition. We stopped for a late lunch around 3pm at a small beachside shanty town and were pleasantly surprised at what we found. A small restaurant/antique museum right on the roadside serving the most delicious ensalada de pulp con patatas (octopus salad with warm potatoes). Loving the fresh seafood by the seashore!!! We searched for a hostel on Booking in our destination of Tocopilla - a small beachside town. When we arrive we had covered over 550k - a big day for our small bikes! The ride down the rugged desert coastline was fairly straight and easy except for the high winds and gusts trying to rip the helmet off your head. My neck is still sore!

    We found a small restaurant (is one table w/ two chair small?) a block from the hostel and enjoyed carne y tocino con queso sandwiches (beef, bacon and cheese) and headed back to the hostel. We had heard from the innkeeper that he was expecting 3 more motorcycles that evening and they had arrived while we were at dinner. They were Brazilians riding through Bolivia, Chile and Ecuador for a monthlong holiday. Really cool guys - we ended up staying up until 1am sharing pictures and stories from our travels. The fun part was they spoke Portuguese so we struggled with Spanish as the connecting language to converse in. Pretty funny but it worked!

    As I'm blogging this morning (Wednesday) I reflect on the long list of equipment failures/maintenance issues I have experience on this trip. Let's see what it looks like on paper...

    Clutch replaced
    Shift drum bolt worked loose and re-tightened
    Kill switch short causing complete electrical failure
    Ignition switch short causing compete electoral failure
    Carb jetting and needle adjustments (at least 6)
    Carb o-ring replacements
    Melted accessory plug
    Another melted accessory plug
    Headlight failure
    Broken speedo cable
    Chain adjustments (at least 4 - my chain is so stretched I'm on the second to last setting)
    Wheel bearings replaced (front and back)
    Brake pads replaced (front)
    Forma waterproof riding boots (last rainfall I poured 8oz. of water out of each boot)
    Sena 10C intercom/camera - com/music works intermittently, camera failed completely
    Kyocera phone - USB charging plug won't stay connected for charging
    Micro USB plugs - two have failed
    Micro USB/iPhone/GoPro three way combo USB charger - failed
    That is all.

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    In the eastern highlands at 14,500ft.

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    Topping out at over 15,500 going over the pass.

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    Antique muséum/restaurant on the Chilean coast.

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    Outside the restaurant.

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    Our new friends from Brazil
  12. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF more off than on

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    "Now I'm sure many people are going to say we were making a bad decision to skip a country like that"

    Maybe, but don't count me among them. I think you made the right decision. Personally, I wouldn't bother with Bolivia on a bet.



    "besides passport you need, vaccination card, bank statement, hotel reservation, plane or bus ticket out of the country, passport photo, and a signed visa application, and all of it has to be in a special manila folder, plus present it all with $160 in crisp US bills."

    Imagine if the US were so strict. Also, those criteria don't apply to folks of all nationalities. Some pass through the way we are allowed into most Latino countries.

    Heads up, Argentina will require a visa if you're going all the way to Ushuaia. In which case you might want to get online at your earliest convenience to get that lined up.



    "try researching border crossing information, the web is full of conflicting information."

    Thank God for trip reports on advrider!



    " Let's see what it looks like on paper...
    "

    It looks rough on paper. Let's hope that's the extent of it.

    Vaya con Dios.
    AT Blizzard likes this.
  13. KShow

    KShow Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2007
    Oddometer:
    647
    Location:
    Shenandoah Valley, VA
    Not a whole lot to write about today, but I'll give it a shot anyways. We woke up this morning in Patillo Chile, earlier than usual, were trying to adjust to the 2 hour time change we got when we crossed the border. Breakfast was the standard fare for the area, instant coffee, bread, sliced cheese and sandwich meats. It actually works out pretty good for us, don't need to eat a whole lot when all your going to do all day is hold onto a set of handlebars. The three Brazilian bikers were loading up their bikes before breakfast, and we all posed for group photos before they headed off into the unknown. Unknown because they told us, in Portuguese. We spent most of the morning catching up the blog while we had the chance, and a comfortable couch to work from. Eventually we loaded and headed out to the local gas station for our bikes diet of gas and oil. Petroleum products down here are not cheap, a tank of gas and a quart of oil set us back about $30 US each. For as nice as the roads are here, its sure going to throw off the daily budget. There are plenty of street dogs here that love to chase my motorcycle, and Ive had to result to the boot and throttle to prevent them from tying to take me out.

    We rode down along the coast for a while on a narrow strip of land between the ocean, and where the mountains sweep steeply up to almost 3000ft. Passing through one of the last towns we would see for a while, we gassed up again, and hunted down some Wd-40 for our chains. We've used several other kinds of motorcycle specific chain lubes, and I haven't seen much difference for our situation, other than price. Lider is the WalMart of South America and as I watched the bikes, Chip went inside for wd, and a new headlight bulb to replace the led one that burned out already.

    With freshly lubes chains and full tanks of gas, we rolled on down the coast. After a while the road turned inland, and we climbed up and out into the desert. The Atacama desert is the driest non-polar desert in the world, and it is empty. Sand, rocks, and mountains are pretty much the only thing there besides the road and power line. There is one thing there that stands out, a giant hand sculpture that stands 36ft tall. Mano del Desierto is its name, and it was placed there as a monument to the emptiness of the land. Kinda cool, since Ive seen pictures of it before, we did the photo thing as well before taking off on down the road. The Atacama desert it famous for its wind, and we got to experience it first hand. One section of wind basically took away my top two gears for a bit, just not enough power to push through it at the speeds we wanted. Oh well, duck down and hang on and just hope it doesn't last too long. We made it to the next gas station ok, Chip had switched to reserve a few miles before, and was just a bit worried about being able to make it. So the third fill up of the day, top off the oil and head the last 100 miles to the beach where we hoped to camp.

    Just outside of Chanaral I stopped and waited for Chip, who had stopped earlier to put the liner in his jacket, it had cooled off quite a bit up there. I put in my liner as well while I waited. We stopped in town and grabbed some water, then went to see if we could find a suitable campsite. No such luck as the beach was very rocky, and we had pushed the limit of daylight, arriving just after sunset, I guess we should start before 11:30am next time if we want to make big miles and find a place to camp, We covered just under 600 kilometers today, not bad for small bikes on a late start. With camping crossed off the list, we came back into town and found a place for the night. Nothing fancy, but they are remodeling it, we just got here too soon to enjoy it.
    [​IMG]
    Sunset overlooking the ocean


    [​IMG]
    Hand of the Desert, talk to it

    [​IMG]
    Racing the sunset to the beach
  14. KShow

    KShow Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2007
    Oddometer:
    647
    Location:
    Shenandoah Valley, VA
    Actually, checking the Argentina site, private US citizens are exempt from visas for either 30 or 90 day stays. But that proves how hard it is to find the information that is constantly changing.

    When we did our last trip, we got visas for Kazakhstan before we left the US. By the time we got to the border of Kazakhstan, the visa requirements had been lifted.
  15. ONandOFF

    ONandOFF more off than on

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    17,292
    Location:
    The Shenandoah valley of Virginia
    Good you checked. The ride reports I've followed in recent years had people getting visas for Argentina ahead of time and paying $160, same price as Bolivia..
    Purportedly some retaliation for the u.s. charging them that amount for visas... :dunno

    Also, might want to research money exchanging practices there...
  16. tatt2mike

    tatt2mike Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2016
    Oddometer:
    225
    Aloha Mr. Hand!
  17. FishHunt

    FishHunt slow poking...

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,449
    Location:
    Randolph N.C.
    This is why motos were invented. Thanks for sharing your ride.

    <>< Fish
  18. chip8150

    chip8150 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2013
    Oddometer:
    53
    Location:
    Mountains of Colorado
    First Camp & Santiago - Thursday, Friday, Saturday

    I slept until 9:00am again this Thursday morning - the time change has really screwed up my internal clock for some reason. Upon looking at my phone I see a Facebook message from Mauricio Bolivar - we had worked together in Vail about 15 years ago. I knew he was back in Chile but didn't know exactly where. Well turns out he is in the town of Copiapo, about 2 hours south of where we were. I quickly sent him a message back that we would be there around lunchtime and hoped we could meet up to say hello. He sent me back the address of the hotel he manages and we were off to meet up with him. We arrived to his ibis Hotel around 1pm and were promptly greeted by a smiling Mauricio. The main thing I remember about Mauricio is that he is always happy and smiling. A super great guy and it was awesome to catch up with him over lunch. Being the gracious host that he is, he also offered us comp stays at ibis Hotel properties along our route south! Thanks Mauricio!!!

    After a two hour lunch and some tips from Mauricio on travel itinerary in Southern Chile we were off on the bikes again. My chain has been continually stretching over the past couple of weeks and only has one adjustment left to go before the final setting. I'm going to need a new chain soon. My clutch has also been slipping so need to replace the clutch plates at some point as well. We stopped for gas on the way to our way to La Serena where we finally hoped to set up camp on the beach. While airing up the tires a guy rolls up on a big BMW 1200GSA and turns out he is an American from North Dakota on a two year RTW trip. The big BMW is made for a guy like Andy - he is 6'6" tall! We decided to ride together for a bit as he was headed the same way as us. He really has to be easy on the throttle not to blow by our little 350's! We arrived at the outskirts of La Serena where we started looking for the campground the Mauricio suggested but we couldn't find it. The knew the beaches in Chile are pretty much open to public use so we just rode out and set up camp on a small dune. We found a small restaurant just up the beach from camp so ended up eating there and sharing stories with Andy from North Dakota. It was good to finally be camping on this trip. Now that it doesn't get dark until 9pm it is perfect for camping!

    We woke up Friday morning to a bit of a drizzle (again around 9am) so packed up quickly and hit the road. Mauricio had sent me a text that Sebastian, who also worked with us in Vail, was in Santiago and had insisted that we stay with him. He owns a sort of hybrid long term hostel in the city catering to university students. We needed to cover 475k quickly as he as leaving for the coast to visit family for the weekend that afternoon. After tightening my chain to the last adjustment setting (still super loose), we were off. The road from La Serena to Santiago is pretty much all 4 lane interstate so we were able to make good time at around 100k per hour - pretty much my max speed unless I have a tailwind and downhill due to my clutch slipping in 5th and 6th gears. I had sent Sebastian a note to see if he could recommend a motorcycle shop where I could buy a chain. Not a problem he says. We arrived to the edge of Santiago around 4:00pm expecting heavy traffic but it surprisingly wasn't bad at all. We found Sebastian's place easily and he led us to a lot where we could park the bikes. We then all went in a cab to the "Moto District" of town where all the shops were. In Central and South America stores of the same type are clustered all in the same area. You want auto parts go the the "Auto District", shoes the "Shoe District", etc. Pretty convenient. I bought a chain and we headed back to Sebastian's. It's too bad Sebastian had plans for the weekend as I would have been fun to hang out and have a tour guide for Santiago - in fact that is exactly what Sebastian did in a previous life so he is an expert! Thanks so much for the hospitality Sebastian and allowing us to stay in your home - we really appreciate it! After saying goodbye to Sebastian we headed out to find some dinner (and beer). It wasn't too difficult as just around the corner from his place is a bunch of neighborhood bars and restaurants. We ended up staying out until almost 2am, again sharing stories from the road with Andy. He has quite an adventure thus far also!

    Saturday morning Andy was off the the BMW dealership for some parts and Ken and I went in search of a lavanderia to get some clothes washed. I'm down to just a couple of things that don't smell completely disgusting, so it is much needed. Google said there was on 0.7 miles away so we set off on foot to find it and hope it was open. It was so we dropped off the sacks and were told to return at 6pm to pick-up. We then walked back, grabbed the tools and my new chain, had some lunch and went to work replacing the chain on my bike. We were planning replace the clutch plates with the newer ones I have been carrying since Mexico, but the lot closes at 2pm so we would only have about an hour - and I don't think the lot owners would appreciated us dumping oil in there lot. They have a little hut right there so would definitely see the mess. We decided to save the clutch plates for another day. The chain replacement took about 45 minutes and we headed back to Sebastian's to relax and enjoy the day off the bikes. Sunday we will out towards the Lake District of Chile which is some of the most beautiful parts of the country. If all goes as planned we will be in Argentina on Tuesday. Mauricio has us set up with hotels the next two nights but we may decide to camp as the lake area has campgrounds everywhere.

    Big thanks again to Mauricio and Sebastian for their generous hospitality. You guys are the best!!!


    [​IMG]
    Wrenching on my bike - again!

    [​IMG]
    Ditch camping on the beach.

    [​IMG]
    Sebastian's block in Santiago.

    [​IMG]
    Mauricio!
  19. KShow

    KShow Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2007
    Oddometer:
    647
    Location:
    Shenandoah Valley, VA
    Non spicy Chile

    KS-Monday

    Title pretty much says it all. Things have been a bit bland lately. We left Santiago on Sunday morning, with pretty much no traffic as we rolled out of the city. Morning gas/oil stop and we headed on down the Pan American Highway 5. Our goal for the day was Concepcion where we had been setup with a free hotel room/s by our good friend Maruico Thanks Again, it was awesome! The ride down was a little over 500k, but since the road here is exactly like the interstate highway back home, it was no problem to make it into town on time.

    After checking into our separate rooms, and enjoying an awesome high flow shower, we decided to walk across the road o find dinner at the mall. Yep, you heard me right, we actually went to the mall on purpose. Mainly because there was supposed to be a TGI Fridays there, and we've been having a hankering for familiar food from home. This was not to be the case, after wandering around the mall, even looking at maps, it was not to be found. So we settled for Pizza Hut pizza, and a whopper from Burger King at the mall food court. When we left, we were no longer hungry so I guess it was mission accomplished.

    This morning we loaded up and headed out to the gas station,, add gas, add oil, twist throttle, pay toll, add gas, add oil, twist throttle, repeat. The views were almost exactly like riding through southern Virginia, same road, gas stations, etc. Only differences were the toll booths that I think are way too close together, and gas prices are in pesos but much higher than home. A gallon of gas here is running around $4.50+ a gallon, and oil is about $7 a quart. With the miles we've been running, were almost burning through our predicted daily budget, just on petroleum products alone! Add in food and a place to stay, lets just say were offsetting the cheaper days we had up north. We've got to get out of this country.

    Which leads us up to tonight, camped out in a city campground in Osorno , sitting at a picnic table. Just finished a dinner of tuna/rice for me, and ramen/sausage for Chip. Living the luxurious life out here on the road. Tomorrow we hope to cross into Argentina, and we mean hope. Insurance is required there, and we have not been able to find solid information on where to get it. We spent this morning checking 5 different insurance companies with no luck. Been helped out with a couple online places, but they're only for residents of Chile. Information on this stuff is hard to find, if you don't believe me, sit with one other person and using your cell phones set on super slow, try to find a place to buy insurance for motorcycle travelers in Argentina. So tomorrow we will check as many places as we dare here in town before heading into the mountains towards the border. There are/may be places to buy insurance about 40 miles inside Argentina, if they will sell it to us, and the border guards let us through. Again, there are other people who do this, but crossing different borders, coming from different countries, and so on. I haven't even bothered checking my insurance company back home, since their coverage ended as soon as we crossed out of Texas. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

    So that's is, pretty boring. Only interesting things I saw today were several vehicles with sitting on the axle with wheels missing. A tractor trailer with duals pulled off that might have fell off the jack, a car with a wheel off, sitting on the hub with no jack, and a tractor pulling a discbine with a wheel gone, again sitting on the axle. Mush be a lugnut thief on the loose down here. So, there you have it, just another couple boring days on the road, taking that little blue dot on Google maps, and trying to push it as far south as we can. Maybe we'll have a better story next time, but for now, I'm going to crawl in my tent and see what tomorrow brings.
  20. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    Oddometer:
    8,098
    Location:
    Southern Louisiana or Southern England or ...
    Interesting! No breakdowns, smooth roads, good hotels, safe food and it's bland.