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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Lostmike, Nov 6, 2018.
Forgot to say if you cross through the Paso Internacional Los Libertadores between Santiago Chile and Mendoza Argentina (which is well worth the ride) the border crossing is on the Argentinian side and its in a massive building and very well organised. They have a combined exit/entry stamp so you only need one, and its all drive through lanes so you can stay with the bike.
The free walking tour in Buenos Aries are fun and very informative
The amount of walking and Ubering around town it feels like we’ve done a hundred walking tours haha. Would have loved to have done a guided one but have just ran out of time unfortunately. Thanks for the tip though we will definitely do one in Montevideo.
Looks like you guys are having a great trip! Thanks for the write up and photos! I will keep following along.
Thanks mate appreciate it. Glad your enjoying it. We are having a blast as well :)
I just finished up a two week trip from Osorno, Chile down to Villa O'Higgins then back north through Chile Chico -> Trevelin - > Bariloche, Argentina and finishing back in Osorno. Chile is such a beautiful country that you might be hard pressed to continue north once you get a taste. Best to you and Meg on your journey. If you need anything in Portland, Seattle or Anchorage (or close to it), please let me know as we have offices in the PNW full of people willing to lend a hand in a pinch.
Sounds like a nice ride, thanks very much for your kind offer, we are heading into Uruguay today so pretty pumped. Will be in touch for sure.
So in for this!
Great pictures and writing.
We had a great time in Buenos Aires, lots to explore – the Recoleta cemetery, lots of stalls and markets, an Alice in Wonderland themed pizza bar complete with a whole room dedicated to tango. We said goodbye to Ivan from our awesome Air BnB – can highly recommend this little flat – excellent price, easy to get to the city, good facilities with very secure parking (‘Dpto de 2 amb para 4 personas con cochera incluida’ – Villa Pueyrredon, Buenos Aires). We headed north to Zarate and Pampa Cable Park where our fabulous friend Steph was competing in the world wakeboarding champs (yes she won!). The road in was slightly hairy, flooded in places (up to the tank), wet and muddy in others, and GIANT rat like rodents (I believe the species is called the Capybara) who strolled into our path. The cable park itself was still being built but did have an awesome beached ship/café. We camped the night and then continued north into Uruguay. The road crossing, Puente Libertador General San Martin, from Argentina to Uruguay was super easy and then we were in new territory!
The landscape in Uruguay was mostly farmland, apparently, there are 3 million people and 12 million cows in Uruguay, so guess that makes sense! We had a great lunch at a road side stop in Fray Bentos and then continued along the highway onto Colonia. We both did a second take when we came to some road works and saw the headless wooden cut out of the road worker who had the stop sign out to control the traffic along the highway – clearly a good sense of humour here in Uruguay! Colonia was a Portuguese port town and has lots of winding cobbled streets. We enjoyed walking up the lighthouse tower and down to the port.
The next day it was pouring with rain. We waited it out for a bit then decided to head onwards towards Montevideo. It was only 180kms so we were in no rush. Unfortunately, Mike’s motorbike pants were leaking water due to the hole from the exhaust and the new gloves while very ventilated are also great for letting water in! We were about 5kms from Montevideo when we ‘low sided’ the bike when we hit some railway tracks and the bike spun 180 degrees and we slid down the road. No damage to us but some repairs were needed to the bike as the luggage rack bent and the case now has a hole in it. We were pretty happy that all the gear held up well when put to a crash test! Just after we got the bike off the road with some help from some friendly Uruguayans I turned around and saw a scooter come flying over the railway tracks and also slide down the road. He was also ok but fairly shaken. Some local maintenance guys who stopped to give us a hand said that it happens every day on that piece of road. We noticed the local riders were going over the track at about 5km an hour with their feet down. We were missing that essential local knowledge!
We made it to Montevideo and after some misunderstanding with the hotel reception staff about the cost of parking – I thought it was US $50 per night for parking however it was US $15 – we went for a recovery beer and chivito (local Uruguayan sandwich/burger). The next day we did a walking tour of Montevideo and learnt some history and then visited just about every ferreteria (hardware shop) in Montevideo to find some bike essentials.
We then headed north along the coast to Punta del Diablo. The coastal road was absolutely packed with holiday makers! It was near impossible to see a patch of sand without an umbrella or towel. There were some huge hotels and apartment blocks and we even saw a ‘Trump Tower’ in construction. Punta del Diablo was a bit of a touristy mecca but we did happen to find an awesome sushi/burger/craft beer place called Bali Restobar where we met Agustin and Agustina who own the place. We had a great time with them reminiscing about when they lived in NZ and we can highly recommend the food. I think Mike’s highlight of the evening was getting to DJ and put some Six60, NZ hip hop, on the speaker! We are now in Brazil – country of beaches and festivals!
(MIKE. The luggage rack on the exhaust side is snapped, bash guards pretty banged up, hole in the roll bag, and bent brake lever. Everything's fixed apart from the rack which we will get welded. Lucky there was no major damage)
Lostmike I'm not sure how I missed this, none the less I'm glad to see that you have made the leap and are now fulfilling your dream. I will follow with a lot of interest.
Isn't the Antarctic the most amazing place? I was lucky enough to get down there numerous times with my work as a ships engineer.
The bike will serve you well as long as you keep up the usual maintenance. If you havn't done so yet, be sure to carry a decent 6204rs bearing for when that rear right wheel bearing fails. You guys are traveling pretty much exactly the same as us and that rear right will be cactus at 25,000 klms give or take. Don't wait for the clickity-click sound, just replace it before 25000 klms, otherwise it can be a bitch to get out. I'm now up to nearly 50,000 klms on the 4204 conversion and will replace it at aprox 75,000 klms as a matter of course.
Quick question, how long do you guys plan to be on the road? My best guess is that we'll make Nth America late 2020.
In any case have a great time as I know you will and i'll continue to keep a look out for you two.
Brazil to Bolivia
Gidday mates. I’ve been busy drinking beer, riding (and procrastinating) We have just left Brazil here’s what it was like. Awesome! The border crossing from Uruguay was rough!! Great facilities and the paperwork was easy but somehow or other I had a terrible hangover and that combined with the head made it a pretty tough day haha. We passed a heap of Capybaras which basically look like a giant rat. l managed to survive the ride and we stopped in at a little beach called Sao Laurenco Du Sol and found a little Posada there. Had a bit of a wander around but everything was shut. Luckily a local supermercado was open and had a frozen pizza in the chiller which saved us from tuna and crushed noodles…
The next day we headed inland destination Canela to see the Caracol falls. It was a fairly hefty ride but pretty scenic once we got away from highway. It was a hilarious town with a heaps of themed fondue places and weird theme parks. Everything from Hollywood dream cars to Dinosaurs. The Caracol falls was in a pretty cool but rundown little park which featured among others things a weird freaky museum full of mouldy taxidermy. Once we got back to town it was the mandatory local bar inspection we only managed one “The Viking bar” they brewed excellent beer but the food was terrible. Our accommodation was a very well-priced and tidy Posada Villa Allegre
The ride back to the coast the next day was awesome, two lane blacktop going through some pretty cool passes and lots of jungle. There were some gravel roads I would have loved to explore but I still hadn’t found anyone to weld my rear rack so didn’t want to risk it. Once we reached the highway I pulled in for fuel and food. It was bloody hot and we were both a bit knackered. Got the main tank full and while old mate was filling the aux tank I noticed liquid dripping. Not good. Then it turned into a steady stream. A quick sniff test confirmed it was indeed petrol. A split in the line between the aux tank and the main was the problem. While I was getting covered in fuel trying to pinch the line temporarily and stop fuel spraying all over the hot engine exhaust and surrounding forecourt the attendant unfazed began pestering Meg about how we were going to pay for the gas. I was a bit busy to tell him to piss off. I wheeled the bike away from the pumps and managed to get a couple of cable ties around the line as a temp fix.
Down the road there was a mechanic who was shut but opened up and luckily had a fuel filter the right size for the line to use as a joiner. So, I now have another inline fuel filter. Can never have clean enough fuel I guess. The owners of the café we stopped in just up the road where a bit nonplussed about the stinky fuel smelling riders but still served up a couple of toasties as well as proudly showing us their artwork which happened to be all for sale. Luckily we had no room on the bike which is always a convenient excuse when people try to sell us things. I’m no art expert but it definitely wasn’t the best….
It wasn’t too much further to Praia do Rossa another beach town, it was pretty uneventful getting to it apart from nearly knocking a suicidal local bikie and his girlfriend into a barrier after he decided to overtake us while we were overtaking a truck. It was a bit of a goat track getting to the accommodation which is always fun at the end of a very long day but we managed to get her tucked in safely and spend the rest of evening on the beach. Which was outstanding by any standards, even had people wheeling chilly bins past selling beer.
A couple of days in that town and we were off to the next, another beach on an Island near Florianopolis called Campeche where we booked an air bnb right on the sand for a couple of days. Both of us had a terrible sleep the night before and where feeling a bit worse for wear. It was a bit of crap ride up the highway battling traffic all the way especially in the city which was pretty chaotic. Once we got there though it was pretty sweet. Another couple of days swimming consuming large amounts of beer and generally relaxing. I did go for a run and get the rack welded though.
All this lying around in the sun on beach swimming and drinking beer is hard work so we decided to head off inland towards Iguazu falls. Unfortunately, it turned out to be one of the hottest days yet it wasn’t a particularly long ride to Curitiba directly but I really wanted to go over the mountain pass on one of the oldest paved roads in Brazil which made it a lot longer. We had a ferry crossing to get to it and on the ferry a local on a big late model Tenere introduced himself as Leonidas. He was riding the same way and invited us to tag along. We stopped for a drink of Caldo de cana (Juiced sugar cane and its awesome) Even Leonidas was struggling with the heat. I had a smashing headache and had drunk all the water in my hydration pack. Leonidas was a very careful rider and we ended up following a long line of cars up the hill. It was paved with really uneven paving stones and the low speeds and the heat was really starting to get to me. Eventually I had enough and overtook everything in front of me heading up the pass. There were still a few ks of awesome road left but I didn’t get the most out of it. We got into town pretty late and checked in to a surprisingly nice hotel. Uber eats saved the day and we got an early night before our ride to Foz de Iguazu the next day.
The ride from Curitiba was bloody long, ten and a half hours on the bike. Fairly nice scenery though and enjoyable to start with till it started pissing down with rain and the road turned into a series of never ending roadworks punctuated by a constant stream of heavy trucks and suicidal drivers trying to overtake them. I was absolutely knackered by the time we pulled in. Its great having Meg on the bike as she sorts out everything not riding related on days like this, I.e. pays for fuel, orders food, checks into hotels, pays tolls, etc. etc. It was all worth it the next day though. We shot out in the morning to find some snacks, and witnessed the Brazilian president’s motorcade go past. Pretty hard case, they had a heap of cars, bikes, SUV’s with guys holding a variety of assault rifles hanging out the windows and even two ambulances! We eventually got to Iguazu falls and man what a sight, tons of water and heaps of different waterfalls. We had a great morning wandering around the Brazilian side, before jumping on a chopper for a ride over the falls (we had to wait for the president to take off and the airspace to be reopened) which was absolutely spectacular, if your ever in the area do the chopper ride! It was in a very new looking Bell 505 and the pilot really knew his stuff. We got back and I was pretty hyped so needed a few calm me down beers before we had a wander around the awesome bird park across the road.
The next day was 600ishk ride further northwest to Bonito on a variety of roads. It started off pretty well, but too soon turned into an all-day slog through pouring rain, its days like this when the conti tkc70s that I accidently got mounted in Santiago really shine, they may have their limitations off road but on wet slick seal they are pretty surefooted. We saw a pretty bad bike accident on the way, a young chick on a little bike or a scooter (was too busted up to tell) had tboned a car going through an intersection in one of towns. There was nothing we could do to help as the Ambos where already on scene so we managed to get around it. I’m always careful around intersections over here but needless to say I was extra cautious after that. We finally got to Bonito and check in. The gear held up pretty well to the rain apart from my Forma boots which have turned out to be pretty bloody terrible. They both leak and the heel is departing from one of them. Weirdly Megs have been great I guess I just got a dud pair. Ill replace them when I find something decent.
Bonito is a little touristy town in the Pantanal area I randomly came across which has these amazing springs that feed rivers. The water is some of the clearest in the world and there a heap of different activities you can do. We booked in two days of snorkelling which was absolutely mind blowing. This combined with some great food and cold beers made for a very relaxing few days. I stopped in a little motorbike workshop to see if they had a few spare bolts for the top box plate which had decided to try and part company with the bike. Seems even Loctite is no match for Brazilian roads…
Again, it was time to leave and we had another fairly long ride to the border town of Corumba. Again, it wasn’t a long ride on the highway but I had a few detours on some gravel we were keen to check out. They had a bit of rain in the area and we got through the first section no worries, it wasn’t too muddy just potholy and rutted. The second section looped through the Pantanal wetlands and wasn’t so hot. It was questionable when we started and the TKC70s don’t love the mud, but we decided to press on. It got a bit better and we were making pretty good time until we crossed a random huge bridge and the road turned into a mudbath. Deep mud, wheel tracks going everywhere and huge puddles. That’s why drivers of the mud covered 4x4s kept flashing their lights and shaking their fingers at us Meg reckons. I managed to keep the bike upright far enough to get to a bridge where we could turn around and ride back through it. In situations like this you either put the feet down and duck walk the bike through it or try and gas it through. I always try the latter option first (Which is generally why the bike ends up having a nap and we end up covered in mud) This time it paid off and we made it through. Still covered in mud though haha.
Due to all these shenanigans, it was nearly dark before we got to Corumba for a few well-earned beers and an excellent meal from the local bbq joint. It turned out it’s the busiest time of the year here as it the public Carnival holiday and all the accommodation between Corumba in Brazil and Santa Cruz in Bolivia was booked out. So that left us with a 650k ride (10hrs according to google) and a border crossing thrown in as well to look forward to the next day. We got away pretty early and made it to the border just before 8 when it opened. Unfortunately, we weren’t the only ones with the same idea and joined the long line. Four hours and a lot of blood sweat and tears later we were on the road. I even went to the local transit police and obtained the permission to travel slip. The paper was official but the payment went straight into his pocket which was pretty funny. It was lucky we got it because we got checked for it quite a few times on the way. Our first fuel stop was 400ks away which is getting close to our max range. Especially with Brazilian fuel which wasn’t going as far. This dictated the max crusing speed. The intro to Bolivian roads was pretty easy, and we only had a few rain showers which was pretty good for us. We made it with about 3 litres of gas left in the tank.
The town were having a carnival celebrations and was pretty crazy, we also used up all our Bolivian pesos filling the bike so didn’t have any money to buy food so we didn’t stop. It was hard enough dodging the kids with water guns and throwing water bombs, the traffic and random animals wandering around. With a full tank of gas, we gunned it for Santa Cruz as I was pretty keen to get checked in before dark. We made it to our Posada just before dark. Not too bad. So here we are in Santa Cruz, we stayed for an extra recovery day as we were both feeling pretty knackered and the place we are staying in, has cold beer, air con and a nice swimming pool. The ride down to Sucre looks pretty rough so we are expecting a long hot dusty day tomorrow. We are spending a week or so there and learning some Espanol and I’m going to drop the oil on the bike, hopefully find some new tyres and give her a general going over. Just need to make sure we leave time for a few beers. Until next time, adios amigos.
Hey mate, thanks for having a read, Ive been following your adventure as well looks like you guys have had heaps of fun, yeah Antarctica was pretty out there, once in a lifetime experience I reckon. I saw the dramas you've been having with bearings so swapped my front and rear for all balls racing bearings before we left. No problems as yet but I think ill buy another rear just in case when I do my next service in Sucre. I reckon we will be done and dusted by the time you get over unfortunately, work might get cranky if I stay away for an extra year. Hope all is well with you guys. And isn't the AT a honey of a two up tourer! The only issues we've had with it is the mods that I've done to it haha. Thanks for the message and take care.
Bolivia has sent it.....
Quick update, some fucker stole all my tools of the bike, heap of motion pro, teng, sp, and sidchrome, all my spare nuts, bolts, safety wire, loctite, tyre levers etc etc. so if anyone comes across a bike mechanic in Sucre with a really nice Andy strapz tool roll.... otherwise if someone is flying into Bolivia or Peru in the near future with some spare space that would be great. Some of the stuff is hard to replace here. Otherwise sucre is a great place to visit haha