El Burro - In Ushuaia.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by TeeTwo, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

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    I stayed at the Hotel Wynnie in Jujuy, the room was a bit tired but so was I ...I overslept breakfast that ended at 9am. Anyway, it was an easy place to find and the bike was locked up onsite. Restaurants and shops around though I forgot that in Argentina trying to get dinner before 8 or 9pm is wishful thinking.

    The ride over to Salta is short, but 30 miles of the 60 winds its way on a narrow road through hill country. It reminded me of the Blue Ridge Parkway , though more twisty and the road was narrower. Most of the ride was under canopy, so no pics...plus the cloud was low, some drizzle and rain so not much to photograph. Once off the hills it dried up. The whole area seems to be devoted to recreation, cabana signs, hiking trails and the like. I am sure in the summer getting up here brings welcome relief from the heat of the pampas.

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    Took this picture, because at times things can just seem to be a bunch of bull...…. but subsequently noticed the 'bull' had an udder. Truth be told I didn't see either variety on the ride.

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    Salta is an interesting town, quite varied. Some nice buildings in the center, churches and so forth, while other areas not so far from the center seemed a little tired. That said it has a genuine feel to it, rather than a tourist gloss.

    The steak for dinner was heavenly, 400gr, 400 pesos. Hard to beat that.

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    Tonight I am a guest at Las Lajitas Hotel, a dozen blocks south of the main area. Checks the boxes. Nice owner who originates from Ushuaia, so we chatted about that for a bit.

    There is a Honda dealer half a block away, just by chance. Wandered around the showroom which had mostly singles, scooters and step throughs. There was an Africa Twin on the floor, priced in USD unlike the other models.....an eye watering $33,000+ - that is not a typo. Big capacity, big import duties....

    Tomorrow I head southeast towards Corrientes, across the Chaco….. will catch up once on the other side.

    Cheers. T2
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  2. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

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    The GPS decided that taking RP48 to connect to RN9/34 (leading to RN16 across the Chaco) was both the shortest and fastest route out of Salta. I doubt the time estimate. It too 2 hours to travel the 40+ unpaved miles through the hills and valleys southest of Salta. The road follows the path taken by an early 19th century military leader, Guemes, in one of the many battles he fought. It got quite gnarly at times with 5 or so water crossings, not wide but fairly deep.

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    Crossing the Chaco is a bit like riding across the US Midwest, long straight roads with small agricultural towns every 25 or 30 miles with a larger town every 100 or so. It would have been a more pleasant ride without the long periods of drizzle and occasional heavier bouts of rain on both days. On the second day the last 100 miles was in a northerly direction to Formosa.

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    Formosa sits on the Paraguay River, which is presently in flood. I had high expectations of Salta and was underwhelmed and no particular expectations of Formosa which turned out to be a delightful town. Nice wide avenues, well manicured and littler free; pedestrian shopping areas and a lot of nice cafes and restaurants. I only stayed one night but being there longer would not have been a hardship.

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    …...
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  3. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

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    …. and they town made an effort to light up the huge main square.

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    I stayed at the Hotel Regina which is just a block off the river. Checked all the boxes, good price and large garage for the moto. I sought out a place to get the bike cleaned up the road across the Chaco was mud covered in places and with the wet conditions EB was pretty grungy. Found Pole Position Lavaderia and got chatting with the owner, Godfredo - he gave me some good local info abut the flooding to the north of Formosa - and when it came time to pay e said the cleaning was on the house. He rides and said it was nice to chat with a guy riding his dreams. Godfredo is at right in the picture with his crew. Oh and they don't usually do bikes...so that was a real favor for me.

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    Made the 100 miles north and entered Paraguay. There was a lot more evidence on the way up of the heavy rains that blighted the area 6-8 weeks ago and are causing the problems with the Paraguay River. The border was chaotic but it only took 40 minutes to clear formalities both sides. There were over 100 trucks lined up on the Paraguayan side waiting to enter Argentina...oh and the deepest, longest water crossing I have yet had about a quarter mile into Paraguay - just from flooding.

    Which brings me to Asuncion, my current location. The Presidential Palace is in the background.

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    The palace overlooks the Asuncion Bay on the Paraguay River, flooding is particularly apparent across the bay.

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    …….
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  4. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

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    The Premier Hill Hotel is home, again checks all the boxes and is located a few blocks from the old town. The old city has a lot of interesting old buildings, some of which are in need of a little TLC.

    The former rail terminus, now a museum.

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    I'm not sure what was being guarded, but he was keeping himself very well comported.

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    And the newer business area of the city across the bay.

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    Another day in the city tomorrow, then off to the Misiones region.

    Cheers T2
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  5. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

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    What a difference a bit of sun makes.

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    T2
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  6. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

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    Leaving Asuncion took about 45 minutes, not because of traffic but the size of the city. I had not appreciated how big it was, I also passed through areas that were more modern and well kept than the old center. The truth is a day and a half in a capital city only allows the surface to be scratched.

    Route 1 heads to the southeast and the city of Encarnacion. It takes you through rolling countryside with well kept arable and cattle farms.

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    I stopped at a roadside hotel and had a couple of empanadas and a nice chat with the owners who don't have many foreigners stop in.

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    It was a joy to ride on a sunny day.

    Paraguay is said to be one of the poorer nations in South America. Route 1 may not be a cross section of Paraguay but the towns and homes I saw were all well cared for, the streets paved, no litter - the towns had a calm and quiet confidence about them it seemed to me. Quite a contrast to my experience of the pueblos in countries further north. The dogs leave you alone as well!

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    …….
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  7. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

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    Encarnacion sits on the banks of the Rio Parana, on the other side is Posadas, Argentina which is a much larger city. The river front has been developed with wide open views, a nice riverside walk and a beach that fills up in the summer months with budding Miss Paraguay bikini clad women (if the promo video I saw was accurate). None of that at this time of year, the riverfront was deserted but still a neat place take a stroll. An impressive bridge connects the two cities and is an international border crossing.

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    The river is very wide at this point, I think there is a hydroelectric dam downstream. In any event the river is navigable.

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    Several ruins of the Jesuit Missions of the late 1600's to mid 1700's dot the area. The towns of Trinidad and Jesus each have UNESCO world heritage quality ruins and are only 25 miles away from Encarnacion. I paid them both a visit. At Jesus a family of burrowing owls made an appearance, one hung around long enough to get a picture..

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    ….
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  8. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

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    The ruins were worth visiting though much of the artistic stone work was damaged by the Spanish Crown when they forced the Jesuits to leave. In the areas that remain that are high up there are some nice features.

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    ….
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  9. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

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    Crossing the bridge back into Argentina tomorrow.

    T2
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  10. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

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    After exiting Paraguay, which was a 15 minute exercise, and crossing the Rio Parana bridge you end up riding past the line of cars to join the line(s) of two wheelers waiting to reach the moto dedicated immigration booth.

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    There is a lot of commuter traffic between the countries, I think I picked the wrong time to cross!

    Getting the TVIP was not as easy as at Pasa de Jama. The Aduana gal who pointed me to a parking spot asked for my documents and then pointed to my bags and said they needed to be passed through a scanner to check for illegal items. As she takes off with the docs I start to get the bags off the bike and an Aduana male colleague wanders up, asks where I am from, asks why I'm taking the bags off and then says I don't need to get them scanned. Aduana gal comes back out and asks why my bags aren't off the bike....I point to her male colleague. They have a little chat - I confirm no meat, fruit or veggies and she says OK. Score one for male solidarity....:clap.

    It is 40 odd miles up the road to San Ignacio Mini Jesuit ruins, another UNESCO site, on a nice road that passes by a lot of water views.

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    The ruins are well curated, with a good museum including artifacts from the Guarani tribe who where the subject of the Jesuit's interest. It seemed as though this site predated the Paraguayan missions, the stone work on the indian dwellings was not as refined.

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    But when it came to the Jesuit buildings the stone carvings were nearly as elaborate.

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    It was worth stopping and spending an hour looking around.

    The rest of the 150 miles up to Puerto Iguazu passed through forest country and intermittent towns> The sweet smell of fresh cut lumber hung in the air coming from very large processing facilities near RN12 north.

    The following day I headed off to Iguazu National Park, home to the famous falls. The park was well done, good facilities and super walks through the jungle, across the flows to the falls and onto the rim of the cataracts themselves.

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    …..
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  11. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

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    The array of butterflies was astonishing, one landed on my shoe and I got a shot off before it scooched.

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    ..and another on a railing..

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    …..
  12. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

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    … other animals too...

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    The coaties were everywhere, especially in the food areas...

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    Tomorrow the wheels turn south for the two day trek down to Uruguay.

    Cheers, T2

    Oh...and nice to have 10 pic upload capability on the site without using a third party host. :wings
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  13. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

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    Friday and Saturday was spent covering the 700 miles from Pte. Iguazu to Gualeguaychu which is a stones throw from the international bridge over the Rio Uruguay to Uruguay itself. It was an unremarkable 700 miles, backtracking down RN12 then cutting across to RN14 using provincial road 11. The RN roads were generally straight and flat, while the 30 miles on 11 at least provided some curves to have fun with and it also picked up some elevation, over 1,800ft (gasp!) with some decent views over the wooded flat lands. Then back to 150ft above sea level. A night in La Cruz at a hotel on the Rio Uruguay, which like most rivers in the area is in flood, though now receding.

    Elevation and a little bit of rock on RP11, both rare in these parts.

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    Rio Uruguay, Brazil on the far bank.

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    Sunday
  14. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

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    ...oops hit post reply...

    Sunday started with the bridge over the Rio Uruguay, quite an impressive bridge but a shitty picture.

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    The formalities on the other side of the bridge were completed in 30 minutes, Argentinian and Uruguayan officials occupy the same building at consecutive windows..makes life easy. Then it was off to Fray Bentos to tour the UNESCO site of the former Anglo beef processing factory, the origin of the Fray Bentos line of products and the humble OXO cube (any Brits tuned in will know these products). The factory closed in 1979, was declared a national heritage site by the Uruguayan government and then left to rot. That changed in 2015 when UNESCO nominated the site, now it has a nice museum and tours of part of the factory are provided.

    A two headed calf, recovered from the inside of mom when she met her end.

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    The marble faced electrical control panel - marble doesn't conduct electricity, it was used to prevent any leaking current from spreading.

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    The refrigeration plant, with a marble floor for the same reason...

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    The slaughterhouse showing the pens where the cattle was stunned, by hand, using a long handled hammer...brutal. Hauled up onto the rail and cut to bleed out. Twenty minutes later the skinned, disemboweled, headless and half sides of the cow were on their way to the chiller and freezer rooms. At its peak 1,500 head of cattle was processed over 24 hours, three shifts.

    The workers in the area below the pens, where the cow was cut to bleed, wore no shoes, too slippery, the fresh blood kept their feet warm on the concrete. Nothing was wasted...the plant moto 'everything is used except the moo'. Roger that. BTW, a tin of corned beef was the Fray Bentos equivalent of the hot dog, all the scraps boiled up..I will think about that the next time I have corned beef hash.

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    The plant provided 300 homes in the local town, Barrio Anglo, with electricity, which is where the first domestic electric light lit up in Uruguay; proudly displayed.

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    Then onto Colonia del Sacramento and a tour of the UNESCO world heritage old town with the 1700's Portuguese rock paved streets. They have a lot of UNESCO sites in this corner of the world.

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    A cool town with a lot of nice restaurants in the old town and new.

    …..
  15. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

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    ...and this guy had not one care in the world up on his perch.

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    Sunset over the Rio del Plata.

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    Off to Montevideo tomorrow, my last stop on this leg of the tour.

    EB has had the final flag added of the countries visited on this journey. The final leg will be the Patagonia ping-pong between Argentina and Chile.

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    T2
  16. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Damn @TeeTwo, haven't checked your thread in while and see you've covered some serious ground in my lapse :lol3 :lol3

    The shots from your traverse of Paraguay & Argentina and back are really neat - especially the ruins you visited. That cattle processing plant is nuts, can't imagine 1500 cows going through there in a 24 hour period, that's a lot of burgers...lol.

    Those waterfalls are spectacular, can only imagine how cool it was to witness them in person. How was the noise from 'em - deafening given the amount of water cascading the cliffs to crash below? I've seen those in various nature shows, would really enjoy catching them with my own eyes and ears some day.

    Forgive the memory lapse, but how long will el burro be sitting idle until you return? Seriously cool to see those flags on your screen, way to go :thumb :thumb
  17. Balanda

    Balanda No, I don't believe I will

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    Well ! Over 40 years in the trade and that's the first marble switchboard I've seen, lol.
  18. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

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    Hi liv2day, well at the point in the photo below, the Devils Throat......

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    ...where the greatest volume of water flows over one cataract the noise was thunderous. I stood there for 5 minutes in total awe and got completely drenched. I refused to wrap myself in a plastic bag like many of the tourists did, it was like standing out in a rain shower. Nice day, mid 70's, no humidity - dried out in 20 minutes. I hope you get there one day, you will not be disappointed.

    Changed my plans a bit due to family needs and will be returning to SA a little earlier than originally planned, now around the end of September. EB will be in hibernation for about 14 weeks.

    Patagonia will be a little cooler and wetter than in November which was my original plan, but what are ya gonna do....family matters, right?

    Cheers T2
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  19. TeeTwo

    TeeTwo Been here awhile

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    Hi Balanda...as an Aussie I think you will get a giggle from this...

    Yes the panel was a pretty interesting piece of kit, other panels were outfitted with granite, same principle. It had nothing to do with worker safety, yeah, bugger the workers...protect the equipment, particularly the refrigeration plant. If they lost a compressor they would have been up sh$t creek.

    Now to really bugger the workers take a look at this....

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    Ships would arrive empty (or partially empty) from the UK and they used iron plates for ballast. Beef was the ballast on the way back...so they off loaded the iron plates, which were building up at the dockside. Just what was needed to strengthen the roads around the plant that were taking a beating from the trucks, so the plates were repurposed.....not so good for the workers when it rained, slippery as sh$t...and the area also has a lot of thunderstorms, so don't be standing there when lightening is around .. yeah, bugger the workers.

    T2
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  20. Balanda

    Balanda No, I don't believe I will

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    Marble and granite switchboards, steel roads, lol, it’s nuts haha. Yes, feet out riding those steel plates in the wet, horrifying. And yeah, don’t drop a power line on ‘em.
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