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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Lostmike, Nov 6, 2018.
Megstar & Mike, congrats on your wedding !
As for the excursion down to Antarctica, I have actually ridden a motorcycle on Antarctica....a DR650...that one of the workers at Camp McMurdo had.
Are you going to try to get a "cruise" boat , or get a "cargo ship" out of Argentina to go down ? Most of the "cargo ships" have cabins for about 10 guests, and cost a lot less money than the fancier cruise ships.
I have also done the ride UP...from Tierra del Fuego/Ushuaia...to Deadhose/Prudhoe Bay, Alaska.....but only 4 times, as each was a return trip ride on a roundtrip from home, to Alaska, down to Argentina, and back home.....
SO......if you want any info, tips, etc, let me know.
The 'skeeters are worse in Alaska than they are in the upper Yukon, or Northwest Territories. I was within 10 miles of TUK (Tuktoyaktuk) this past June, and I can tell you that nary a single mosquito dared approach me as I stood next to my bike...for 11 hours....that was stuck in the greasy clay mud in the last 12 miles going to TUK.
I hate 'skeeters as much as the next person, and I can tell you from experience.....99% of all mosquitoes live in ALASKA, and only 1% lives in the shared land of the Yukon and NWT.
Just sold my place in Dunedin, NZ, this past April.....so tell Megstar she is lucky to have hooked one of them Kiwi's...mate....'cause she wouldn't want to take this ride with an aussie bloke.
Hola folks! Lovely to be here. Since we last checked in we arrived in Santiago and have had a great time! We found a food and wine festival and journeyed up to Cerro San Cristobal. All awesome and we met some lovely people. After this we made the mammoth effort of collecting the bike - I'll admit we may have underestimated the challenge of picking up a bike in another country with limited language skills. Thanks go to Pablo our friend from the hotel and Andres our awesome driver (and our bestie google translate). After many tense moments we collected her and it was a beautiful moment - I nearly shed a tear!
Mike did an awesome job putting her back together with a front tyre, connecting the battery and many other mechanical feats! I mostly meandered around smiling, nodding and saying the occasional 'hola' to the hordes of people watching us put her back together.
Lots of smiling, cheers and laughs when she started after several attempts due to being a bit grumpy regarding the lack of fuel :)
Congratulations on getting married, a trip like this will certainly test it, LOL.
I live in Alice Springs too working for the government.
I'll be sure to follow your travels, stay safe.
Santiago to San Fabian – The shakedown
Hola. It’s been a whirlwind. I’m writing this report from a little town called San Fab which is up near the border of Argentina. We had a great few days in Santi and the decided to head to Valparaiso. Everything was looking good but Murphy’s law got us and as we were about leave I noticed oil dripping down from the skid plate. I checked the level and she was low. I was fairly sure she had lost it while she was taking a nap when I was putting the front wheel on, but I decided I had to drop the skid plate check the sump bolts. To make things more complicated I had put a reusable oil filter on just before we left and I was worried that maybe the O ring wasn’t seated properly or was damaged. So that was a fun mission in the bottom level of a grimy airless badly lit underground carpark. Which was even more fun on zero sleep due to an extended case of Jet Lag. However everything turned out good and we went on a mission, found some more oil from a fairly new Honda shop that had about 6 new AT of various models in the lot. They even cut me down a water bottle to use as an oil filler so I didn’t need to drop the crash bars. Happy days. We left town about three hours later than we planned, luckily just in time to hit rush hour traffic. We negotiated our way through the craziness then cruised down the highway to Valparaiso. The only thing to report was the deafening blast from the exhaust when somehow the cap worked its way loose and it blew all the packing out. What gave it away was when the note turned from a low rumble, to a cross between a pit bike with no pipes and a drag bike wide open depending on how far the throttle was twisted.
What a cool little city. So cool that when we got there we decided to rehydrate. Unfortunately, we met a few locals at the bar and things got a bit out of hand. Fun night but getting up the next morning wasn’t. We did a big walking mission around the city and I repacked the exhaust and fixed the exhaust cap. Early to bed and then up earlyish (9am) the next day for brekkie and the drive down the coast which was pretty speccy and then inland to Santa Cruz. Found a little shop and bought the essentials. (Wine ham bread cheese) Earlyish night.
We smashed down Ruta 5 for a while then got sick of it and hit some back roads which where fantastic. Narrow, deep gravel, mountains, fields, rivers. Loved it. San Fab turns out be a funny little place up against the mountains. I tried to order dinner and ended up with a bowl of chips and a piece of cake. As well as a shot of cherry liquor. Meal of champions I say. We then located cerveza and headed home. I gave the bike a check over and noticed that the windscreen bracket had broken (for the second time. I had it welded in Auz, but the other side had snapped this time) I employed the classic cable tie repair. I say its temporary but if it does the job then I can’t be assed removing the whole front cowl and getting it welded again. (Thanks Honda for the world’s worst design. Its right up there with battery box, and those Fu**** rubber windscreen nuts.
We’ve got a big blast down Ruta 5 tomorrow, which I’m dreading but it’s worth it to get to the Conguillio National Park which looks pretty special. We’ve booked a couple of days there and not sure where to after that. Ill bang some photos up when we get into wifi. In the meantime I’ll keep drinking this beer. Cheers all.
P.S Haven't been divorced yet. (Miracles do happen)
Hi Mike and Megsy. Congrats on your wedding and your marriage surviving the first South American adventures. Loving reading the blog so keep them coming. Can't wait for the pics. Ride safe and have fun!
Thanks very much. Its been tough but I'm soldiering through it. :) Hope everythings going well in DWN
Well we are still in pretty spotty wifi, and Meg is procrastinating at writing the next update. Here's a couple of pics in the meantime. Watch this space!
The BMW crew in the Klim gear is an awesome Canadian Father daughter team doing a 4 month run from Tuk to Ushuia fundraising for childrens hospitals. More details to come and ill chuck their website link up if anyone wants to donate
Hi gang! My turn again J
After the highlights of chips, cake and cherry liquor in San Fabian we headed further south. After stopping for fuel we met some new friends Bruce and Holly at the gas station. Here’s the link to their website: http://www.motorcycleformiracles.com. They are fundraising for a great cause!
It was really lovely to meet them and they were so friendly and cheery! We did a bit of riding together along Ruta 5 before we said goodbye and headed to Curacutin and Conguillio National Park. After a mammoth lunch which also did us for dinner we jumped back on the bike to head to Llaima Camp, just near Conguillio National Park. As soon as we arrived we knew it was going to be awesome, little wooden huts right in the forest, short walk to the river on one side and the view point for the Llaima Volcano on the other side. Upon advice we did the one day Sierra Nevada walk in the national park the next day – it was absolutely stunning! We walked through the forest, came out of the tree line and walked through snow to reach the epic view point! We had an amazing day for it and the views across the lake to the volcanoes were amazing, couldn’t rate this walk highly enough!
After heading back to camp we met with the owner Chris at Llaima Camp who put us in touch with some mechanics in Curacutin who could look at the exhaust. So we dropped her off in the morning and then made our way to Laguna Negra – an amazing lake just outside Conguillio National Park – luckily we had a very friendly perro (dog) to assist us to find our way back to the road!
We were then on the road again after a fantastic couple of days in the national park. We drove past some incredible lakes on our way out of the park – the water was so crystal clear you couldn’t believe your eyes! Upon good advice we took the scenic route from Conguillio to Pucon. What an amazing drive this turned out to be – we started by heading round the massive Lake Colico and after getting slightly waylaid by Garmin we found a friendly local who put us in the right direction to continue. This gravel road was difficult but the views were absolutely phenomenal – past lakes, waterfalls, through forests, closing your eyes for blind corners, past people on horses, huge canyons with cascading water – it was a feast for the eyes!
Pucon was great, lots to do but one night was enough for us. We then rode mainly on Ruta 5 to Puerto Varas. A very cute little town on a huge lake with volcanoes in the background. Lots of planning for the next part of the trip which is exciting – hang on for the next instalment!
Buenas noches all x
A few more
Merry Christmas all. Sorry it’s a bit late but we have been in the untamed wilds of Patagonia. (We were actually staying in a beautiful little lodge but it didn’t have wifi) Well a few things have transpired since Puerto Varas, On Sat the 29th we rode down to the ferry it was beautiful day and while we were waiting for it to arrive a Spanish German couple on a big beemer turned up, Hans and Maar of Hans59 on Facebook. He has done a lot of endure riding around the world and was having his first long two up tour with us wife. We were joined by a Brazilian guy on his dads Bike that he had inherited. One of the conditions was that he completed the ride that his dad always wanted to do before he passed, so he was in the process of doing that and having a great time. We sunk a few beers and enjoyed the cruise along the coast. Once we landed we rode together in a huge cloud of dust being kicked up by cars all the way to Chaiten. Visibility was nil and it was a bit of a hairy ride. We all found accommodation and had a few beers at the local restaurant. They had a craft beer that was produced locally that was probably one of the worst beers I have ever drunk. Worse than my brother’s homebrew. And that’s saying something. Me and meg picked a bit of a dud Hospedja with a tiny room covered in mould. One of pillows seemed to be full of marbles and the other had no stuffing but was covered in weird orange fur. Not the best night sleep in the world.
We met the gang again in the morning and rode together towards puhuyapi for a while until they stopped to talk to a group of riders on BMW’s and what looked like an old Tenere. We kept going through and took a detour to Futaleufu. What an awesome little town, we stayed at a backpackers there (Bad choice it was bloody noisy even by hostel standards, had no curtains and the stingiest breakfast in the world plus wasn't that cheap) However the kayak trip down the river the next day was absolutely epic, had a blast. After the kayak we kitted up and headed towards Puyuhapi.
Everything was going great, beautiful roads, amazing views, sunshine. It was so good I decided to stop at a viewpoint to take a photo, it was on the right-hand side of the road going uphill, and came just after a big sweeping right hander. I kinda saw it at the last minute and made a snap decision to stop there for some food and some photos. There were a few issued with this. A. It happened to be the only unsealed viewpoint. B. I was probably going a little fast coming into it. C. The person who designed it also must have had a summer job building gravel traps for Formula 1 racetracks. The gravel must have been about a foot deep. Literally. D. ABS brakes laugh at you when you try and slow down on above mentioned gravel.
I came out of the corner slowed down to about 30kph and nosed into the pull in. The front wheel buried itself until the bashplate bellied out, this was amusing because we were still going fairly quick and the bike had decided it was going wherever the hell it wanted as fast as it wanted. The gravel got a bit shallower so instead of sliding to a stop on the skidplate it bounced and slid sideways, I tried to kick her sideways buy was pretty much a passenger at this point. As we were slowing down I dabbed a foot to try and kick it up and away from the kerb on the far-right side of the park, This worked to a point until my boot got trapped between the bike and kerb. Luckily we still had enough momentum to twist my boot and knee around giving me a really amusing knee strain. (Fingers crossed it’s not a tear) and then tip the bike over because I couldn’t hold it up with my collapsing leg.
After a few choice words I managed to pick the bike up while balanced on one leg. (Meg pretty much picked it up) Just after we got it picked up, a car pulled in and got bogged in the gravel trying to park. They managed to skid out backwards, coming pretty close to knocking the bike over again. After a few deep breaths and some painkillers we continued the ride. The leg was pretty sore but as it was a nice sealed road and a sunny afternoon I wasn’t too worried about getting through the next 70ks till our accommodation. Just no rear brake. No big deal.
At that point it started pissing down. And then the seal ran out and road turned into a potholed muddy mess. It was a blow few men could have handled. Including me haha. Well despite all that, the views (what we could see) where spectacular. We finally made it and immediately commenced rehab (of the alcoholic variety) and had a fund Christmas eve dinner with the other guest there. I felt like a bit of a sook limping around, because there was a lady there who ran ultra marathons and just finished a 150km race which she had won. Christmas day I laid up and elevated the leg while drinking beer to try and get some of the swelling down, and then today managed to limp into Coyahique. Came across a car crash on the way that had just happened, looked like a local had run of the road on a hairpin trying to avoid a camper van coming the other way in the middle of the road. No one was seriously injured and the ambulance was on the way so we carried on.
The knee is still pretty tender so I think we will rest up here for another few days and hammer the anti-inflammatories. Hope you all had an awesome Christmas. Salut!
Sorry about the image sizes, managed to stuff up the export options!
I also forgot to report that I have officially drunk the worst beer in my life. This includes a lot of different home-brew beers and a bottle of lion red that had been hiding in the sun in the grass outside my house for several years, that I discovered and attempted to drink. I won't name the brand, or the restaurant so hopefully someone else has the misfortune of drinking it, but it was in a small restaurant in Chaiten. I should have been suspicious with the badly glued home printed labels and the dodgy bottle cap, but being a hardcore adventure rider/beer drinker I carried on. I wish I hadn't. I can't begin to describe the taste but it had fermented, sour, sugary, and yeasty notes, along with several other flavours I couldn't identify. I did manage to finish it, but chickened out and had to chase the last mouthful with some of Megs wine. Luckily i lived to tell the tale and hope one of you get to sample it one day.
I too had some not so good "artisanal brews" down here and here in El Calafate I tried 3 breweries. One is really good. I stop there almost every time I go Shopping. It is on the way. Andi it is not even 10 Walking minutes from our AirBnB. We are still one week here. You should make it by then so we can have a pint or three together there. Get well soon.
Feliz Ano Nuevo!
Feels like ages but it’s only been a few days since we last checked in! We had a quiet couple of nights in Coyhaique eating empanadas, finding restaurants with thousands of small gnomes as decorations and meeting the resident jerky expert. Mike’s knee is still poorly so we look at options for what to do next. Unfortunately we are unable to do any of the stunning walks in Southern Chile due to Mike’s knee and the weather is looking less friendly and more rainy so we decide to cross the border into Argentina and head south to Ushuaia taking it slowly and giving the knee lots of rest along the way. We can then come back up through Chile and catch up on all we missed!
We cross the border from Chile to Argentina at Paso Huemules near Balmacda. This was our first border crossing so we were a little unsure but the whole process was incredibly easy – a brand new building, Chilean customs right next to Argentinian customs, 5 stamps in a row and you get a pass! We hit the open road in Argentina and immediately notice the wind – it is absolutely brutal! Mike did a great job keeping the bike in a straight line through some deep gravel and passing some huge trucks. The scenery in this part of Argentina is so different to Chile, flat, lots of rocks, small shrubs. Really interesting and different. Also have our first llama sighting (very exciting) and passed an armadillo taking a kip on the road. We end up in Perito Moreno for the night, a small town just off the highway.
Next stop is my pick – basically I looked at the map and thought I had the middle point between Perito Moreno and El Calafate but end up choosing a roadhouse and we get there about 1pm and have the whole afternoon to chill. Las Horquetas feels seriously isolated (and we live in Alice Springs!) and is run by a family. We make friends with Lorenzo, a 9 year old who has a small toy koala attached to his shirt, and play Uno and make paper aeroplanes and drink a few Patagonia beers to while away the time. Lorenzo then asks if we would like to drive to the farm with his Dad to take some photos. We head out in the Jeep and drive to an abandoned farmhouse which is a bit creepy as it feels as though the people who lived here left in a rush – suitcases were packed and left on the floor. Miguel, the father, tells us that in 1996 a huge volcano eruption in Chile and 3 bad winters in a row meant that a huge number of sheep farms were abandoned and this was one of them. After Mike assists in getting some wood tied onto the roof, apparently for making furniture, we go to drive back and sink into a quagmire! In the middle of a desert and on a hill no less. Basically the whole chassis of the car is on the ground and despite some attempts there is no way we are getting out. By this point it is about 8.30pm and it gets dark at 10pm and it’s a 7km walk uphill back to the roadhouse. We are still wearing our motorbike gear and boots and it is blowing a gale and due to be -5 tonight. We also have no water or torches and Mike’s limping along. We made it back to the roadhouse about 10.30pm and needless to say we won’t be taking anymore ‘free trekking tours’ to any farmhouses!
We hit the road to El Calafate from Las Horquetas and the wind is our companion once more. So strong it really pushes you around. It’s so interesting watching the landscape from the back of the bike - lots of desert and then more hills and as we hit the repio (gravel) and see Lagos Cardiel we are both in awe! The colour of the water is amazing. This section was the toughest we’ve had yet, deep gravel, a howling wind, the bike is sliding around and it feels like a long 70kms! Once we hit Tres Lagos and have the best pan (bread) yet we are feeling much improved! We arrive in El Calafate on 30thDecember 2018 and it’s an awesome small town. Mike’s knee is definitely feeling poorly, especially after the 7km walk in armour and motorbike boots, so we decide to try the hospital here to see if we can get a scan. The hospital in El Calafate were so helpful, can’t thank them enough. Mike has a tear in the lateral ligament and will need 3 weeks rest and an MRI in the next few days. It’s a blow that it’s more serious that we hoped but on the plus side no surgery is needed and we have plenty of time so we can make some new plans.
After our trip to the hospital and getting some awesome recommendations from the friendly pharmacy staff we head to the pub to get some perspective on what to do next. We end up sitting next to Thomas, Sandra @Thomas B. and Steve @XR Valdeez who we were due to be meeting later that night for new years. We had a wonderful afternoon and evening with them and really appreciated their hospitality. We thoroughly celebrated new years and I ended up with a unicorn necklace so can’t complain at all.
We went to the Perito Moreno Glacier near El Calafate this afternoon and loved the boat trip – an amazing sight to see! Unfortunately our second experience at El Calafate Hospital was extremely lengthy but after a 9 and a half hours wait we got the MRI and are on the road again. We just arrived in Rio Gallagos. Until next time!
And a few more
Hey, your on the bike again! With or without the ok from the docter? You´ll be in Ushuaia before us. We´re in Punta Arenas and will be in Ushuaia on the 10th.
Beer again? let us know.
Hey mate, yep got some better drugs from the doc and hit the road. Took the easy way down though. We are Rio Grande tonight and should be in Ushuaia tomorrow. We are going to hang round down there for a while so will definitely have to catch up for a few diet cokes. Cold wet and windy down this way.
OK we´ll Keep in touch