Latin America - many decisions to make

Discussion in 'Latin America' started by crashmaster, Jun 10, 2009.

  1. Vell_Bruixot

    Vell_Bruixot Guest


    Which reminds me.... a Chilean friend of mine in Puerto Natales used to work the Paris Dakar races for the Chilean KTM distributor (and Carlo de Gavardo). He has no parts but a high degree of skill re KTM and other bikes. So if you are collecting resources.... his name is Samuel and his email is samuelpatagon at gmail ... cheers...
  2. Vell_Bruixot

    Vell_Bruixot Guest

    Again, I beg to differ, and not just because I live in southern Patagonia.

    The highway, if you take Ruta 3, from Bs As to Ushuaia, is mostly straight... and PAVED ....all the way .......except for about a 3 hour stretch across the top of Chilean Tierra del Fuego. This is not a serious challenge for most riders.
  3. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    Thanks for all of the info VB, I will be referring back to this thread when I hit Argentina and Chile. :thumb
  4. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    There's technical challenge, and then there's the long-haul endurance challenge.

    The summer before I rode to Ushuaia, I rode from Wisconsin to Seattle, Washington, to Orcas Island, back to Washington-mainland, up through Vancouver, up British Colombia to Prince Albert, west through BC to the Cassier Highway, up the Cassier to Yukon Territories, up the AlCan to Fairbanks, up the Haul Road past the arctic circle, past Coldfoot, to Wiseman, then back to Fairbanks, then the entire length of the AlCan, then back to Wisconsin, for about 9000 miles. Big long chunks of the Cassier, the AlCan, and the Haul Road were gravel/permanent construction. I think about 1/2 or 3/4 of the Cassier (is the Cassier 500 miles long?) is paved. Long stretches of the Haul Road (total length 500 miles, total paved about 250?) are easy 60mph pavement. The Haul Road is full of hazards, and not all of them are due to the road conditions. You have to battle fatigue, moose, bear (HUGE!), huge (HUGE!!!) semi trucks, unrelenting daylight, and unpredictable weather (it snowed on the Cassier on the 4th of July, but it was a warm 80 degrees and sunny when I camped above the Arctic Circle).

    Down Ruta 3 and then down Ruta 40 and then back up, you have to battle some of the same problems, only different. No bear or moose (thank god!) Fuel is a constant concern. Sometimes stations are closed, or don't have fuel. When I was there, it was windy and cold. Hour by hour I debated the idea of turning back. Guanacos and Nandu were constantly threatening me. Occasionally there were loose cattle, loose horses, loose dogs, loose small mamals, and I hit a fairly large partridge-like bird. I don't know how many close-calls I'm allowed, but after a while I started to feel like I was using them up. And when I started to feel that way, I was still 1000 miles from Ushuaia.

    I say the 2000 miles from BA to Ushuaia were harder than the Haul Road because, for me, they were. Individual sections of the Panamericana all the way from Mexico to Chile were fairly easy. The problem is when you put them all together. You ride and ride and ride for not only days, not only weeks, but months. You're not just riding, you're also exploring new places, meeting new people, and taking new risks. Every overland traveler I met was robbed at least once. I was still shaken from the attempted robbery I survived in Jujuy. My experience with Peru cops is still bothering me. The risks add up. You hear about other riders failing, falling, breaking... I can't remember when Ozy died, but I seem to remember following his RR and then suddenly... not. The fatigue- even if you're travelling leisurly- it adds up. But when you accomplish the goal, and you defeat your fears, and you actually get to where you wanted to be... this is pretty fucking awesome.

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    This last photo is of the road leaving Ushuaia. Yes, that's snow. The photo of the trucks- I was told that they were taken by the wind.
  5. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    Sorry about the reference to Ozzy's ride- I meant a different guy. There was a kid, maybe Gato Gato's age, who was going to ride to South America. I think he left from the East Coast, zig-zagged west into and out of Canada, and then down to southern California. He went dirt-biking with some new friends, caught some air, and went down like 20 or 50 feet? Broke his back and never got to ride Central America. Maybe somebody remembers the ride report and I'll link it to the Ride Report Link Thread. That was the RR that was mingling with Ozy's in my head when I started piling up the near misses.
  6. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    Ozy's report is in my mind, and vividly at that. Reading it is a much needed dose of reality for me. I go back and read it quite often.

    I was going write, "slow the fuck down!" inside my right hand guard to keep my testosterone in check. However a simple, "Ozy" seems more appropriate.

    I've seen bad shit happen to riders from huge washouts in Baja. I've seen bad shit happen to riders right in my neighborhood.

    I only hope that I can learn from the the experiences of others........
  7. Vell_Bruixot

    Vell_Bruixot Guest

    <link rel="File-List" href="file:///C:%5CDOCUME%7E1%5COwner%5CLOCALS%7E1%5CTemp%5Cmsohtml1%5C01%5Cclip_filelist.xml"><o:smarttagtype namespaceuri="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" name="PlaceType"></o:smarttagtype><o:smarttagtype namespaceuri="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" name="PlaceName"></o:smarttagtype><o:smarttagtype namespaceuri="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" name="Street"></o:smarttagtype><o:smarttagtype namespaceuri="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" name="address"></o:smarttagtype><o:smarttagtype namespaceuri="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" name="place"></o:smarttagtype><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:punctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="156"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if !mso]><object classid="clsid:38481807-CA0E-42D2-BF39-B33AF135CC4D" id=ieooui></object> <style> st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } </style> <![endif]--><style> <!-- /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} --> </style><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} </style> <![endif]--> I recognize the location of the foto of those trucks&#8230; the junction of Ruta 3 and Ruta 40, just inland from Río Gallegos. The last time I went by there, the wrecked trucks were still there. I would not be surprised if you also remember that junction because the Argie police were doing document checks at that location, and the wind was trying to rip the papers out of your hands!

    <o:p> </o:p> I am at a loss to understand why Ruta 3 could be considered a challenge to an experienced rider. My earlier comment on the long and straight and paved run from Bs As to Ushuaia is that, compared to other sections of the southern cone, Ruta 3 is comparatively tame. Don&#8217;t get me wrong &#8211; no Argie road with a single Argie driver is completely safe - but I think any experienced long-haul rider will find Ruta 3 to be largely boring.

    For the rider in a hurry, who stays on R3 (we recognized that you didn&#8217;t stay on R3) -- it&#8217;s only 1600 miles from Bs As to Río Gallegos. And that is only 3 days for a KLR rider, for crissake, plus one more long day from Río Gallegos to Ushuaia (400 miles) since that is mostly paved. Fatigue? That is what YPF stations and espresso are for.

    Back in the seventies, when all the roads in <st1:place w:st="on">Tierra del Fuego</st1:place> were gravel and we rode <st1:street w:st="on"><st1:address w:st="on">Yamaha street</st1:address></st1:street> bikes with stock fuel tanks, I would leave Ushuaia at noon and be in Porvenir, nearly 300 miles and two immigration stops across the island, by evening. You probably saw the old (disused) dirt switchbacks snaking up <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:placename w:st="on">Garibaldi</st1:placename> <st1:placetype w:st="on">Pass</st1:placetype></st1:place> over the Darwin Range, to give that sort of ride some context.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    But the real point here is to provide some guidance for prospective other riders and not to compare fatigue thresholds. In a hurry, then fly Ruta 3 along the coast, bearing in mind that the Argies drive like Bostonians. In less of a hurry and want to see the sights, then you'd probably enjoy the trajectory as follows: Bariloche to Ruta 40 to Esquel, Carretera Austral, back to Ruta 40 around Bajo Caracoles, some of the last of the unpaved R40 to Tres Lagos, and the rest is downhill. And take in the glacier parks in Sta Cruz province. And do it soon because they are about the pave the rest so that the Argie yuppies can pound their chests and say that they drove R40 in the family auto.
    <o:p> </o:p>
    The thrill is gone. R40 is a mere shadow of its former self. For those in the audience who have not made plans - ride it soon, before the first McDonald&#8217;s goes up, before they start serving low-fat lattes at the YPF stations and the HD riders start showing up. Peace.


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  8. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    Vell-

    We are actually in agreement. We're just talking about two different things, regarding risk and difficulty.

    This is one of the best South America planning threads I've seen in quite a while. Too bad it has so much of my drivel in it, or it could be the best one yet.

    Crashmaster- when do you think you'll be in southern South America? Could you hurry-the-fuck-up already? I need a decent ride report to read.

    What kind of camera equipment are you taking? I hope you're not taking just a little point-and-shoot DSLR! Have you taken any photography courses, or at least have you spent a day or two with an avid/good hobbyist? Lighting, composition, etc... I really like my Nikon D40- big enough to act like a professional camera, small enough to fit in my tank bag. I don't like my lens choice though. Nina also used a D40, but she had better lenses. Spend money on a couple of good lenses. And to avoid dust, don't change lenses in the field. (I did, and I still have dust in my camera- UGH!) Take at least two cameras. Take two D40s. One with a good fast telephoto lens, and one with a good fast wide angle lens.

    What are you doing for a tri pod? I took a small light plastic one with a built-in velcro wrapper. It fit in my pocket. I got it at REI.

    If you do this epic ride and end up taking crappy photos I'm going to take back every bit of bad advice I've given you.
  9. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    :rofl

    Canon 40D and 17-55 EFS lens. I know, no telephoto, but I just cant carry a big ass tele lens with me.:bash So I figured that I would take one high quality walk around lens.

    I take shitty pictures, but I'm much better at taking pictures with my CCD camera and telescope. Little hobby of mine, astrophotography.

    [​IMG]




    I'll try and get some good shots though. I know about DOF and the rule of thirds, lighting, etc, but I have had no training in terrestrial daylight photography.

    I need a small tripod. The one I use is too big to take on the bike. Just one more thing I have to do before I take off.

    RR started: No Fumar Español
  10. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    Good. Take tons of photos.

    If it's not too late, there are some nice compact zoom lenses. That's what I carried. It was a pita, but better than not having a good zoom.

    If something is really far away, at least set your photo quality to "fine" or even better, "Raw."

    Here's the ride report I had remembered yesterday: Charlotte to Canada to South America, by Funklab. Not as sad as Ozy's, but still not happy.
  11. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    Yeah, the Glamis dunes. A buddy of mine launched off a razorback like funklab did, but luckily he only broke both his femurs. Lots of accidents happen at Glamis, and some pretty horrific ones at that. Very sad story. He sounds like a strong guy though and is working through it. I dont know how I would be in that situation. I could only hope to be so strong.

    A friend of mine broke his spine in a dirt bike accident in Peru a few years back. He is also a very strong person and is living a very full life despite the injury.

    I probably think about these things more often than I should. I really don't know if it does any good or makes me any safer, but I think of them from time to time. Sometimes shit just happens. Thats the way it is.
  12. Vell_Bruixot

    Vell_Bruixot Guest

    Not sure if the image will show but... this is concerning the earlier comments about the various ways to get across and enjoy the ride across Tierra del Fuego. I think bananaman took the commercial trucking route which is Chile Ruta 257. You end up fighting the big trucks, bad wind, rutted road, and evil spirits. The alternative is date palms, good karma, no wind, and hula girls.... just kidding.

    Assuming you have come across the Straits at Punta Delgada, I recommend leaving R-257 just before Cerro Sombrero. Good food, lodging, and fuel (via local schedules) in Cerro Sombrero. Around the corner from the hotel there, take the ripio road Y-665 south (may not be marked), then briefly south on Y-79 in the area of the Primavera estancia, then make sure you turn off on Y-725, then proceed to the Onaisin crossing and go east on Y-755 to San Sebastián. GPS is handy here and you can get the Lat/Longs for all of this via google earth. Bear in mind that google earth often does not place their yellow highway lines where the roads really are.

    You should not run into big truck traffic until you reach Y-755 and possibly none til near the San Sebastián frontier control point. Just after reaching pavement after Argentine frontier checkpoint, when you get onto R 3, there is a small YPF fuel point. It is not always attended so you may have to ask but it is only about another hour into Río Grande and if you tanked up in Cerro Sombrero you should be good to go. There are decent bathrooms in both the Argentine and Chilean frontier control complexes. If there are buses or holiday traffic queues then your stay at each frontier control complex can last two hours or more. Or you can be lucky and get through in 10 minutes. Try not to openly contradict the Argie poster claims there that the Falklands "were, are, and will be... Argentine..." Such claims are all over the island and ... don't get me started....

    BTW Cerro Sombrero is a good place to stay overnight and from there you have an easy ride all the way to Ushuaia in the same day. If you elect to say in Río Grande then excellent food and lodging at the Hosteria Los Alamos, along with wi-fi if you bring the netbook. It is right across from a YPF station so food-fuel-lodging etc all within half a block and right on the Atlantic coast, away from the city centre.

    If questions then write to ridepatagonia at gmail dot you know.

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  13. damasovi

    damasovi Long timer

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    not to go to off track but you mention you are using paper maps, so can you please guide me on the brand/make or what ever about this? thanks you see Maybe I want to ride south one day...

    Damasovi
  14. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    Thanks so much VB! :thumb I will be seeking more of your advice for sure when i get to Argentina and Chile. Good stuff amigo. :strum
  15. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    Well, I have the Guia Roji atlas of Mexico. I'll let you know how it works out. In Baja, the best paper map I have seen is the US AAA Baja map and the National Geographic maps (norte y sur) of Baja.

    However, as you know, there are so many dirt roads in Baja that most are not on any map. I have learned my way around Baja by riding and logging the tracks in my GPS. I would be happy to share that with you if you like. Most times I ride in Baja, I am WAY off the major routes, but on the big Katoom I tend to stick to well traveled routes. On my dirt bike however, it's another story, a lot of sand wash and cross country desert bushwack through the central mountains. :thumb
  16. damasovi

    damasovi Long timer

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    thanks Cmaster, when are you leaving? maybe we could share a cold one before you go

    Damasovi
  17. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    Vell-

    Just north of Rio Grande, the road gets very wide and it's very straight. It felt like a super-jet runway. Is this left over from the Falkland Island war?
  18. Vell_Bruixot

    Vell_Bruixot Guest

    Actually that map is from the Turistel site in Chile but I see they are no longer up --so no downloads anymore apparently. I can send you the latest versions that I downloaded a couple of years ago. About 600 kb each and about 8 Chile regional maps that show the entire country and some of Argentina as well (almost useful for R40 planning but see my other posts that R40 is changing rapidly) I might even put some up some highly compressed jpegs or strip map versions of these IGM maps on the ride patagonia image site (which doesn't have much at this point).

    For free downloads of maps from Argentine instituto geografico militar (just changed its name to Instituto Geografico Nacional) you can go here for pdf versions - not as large as earlier jpg versions but still useful for planning and major/secondary routes

    http://www.argentina.gov.ar/argentina/portal/paginas.dhtml?pagina=294
    Also the Argie Auto Club has moderately useful images of maps here
    http://www.aca.org.ar/servicios/cartografia/framecartogra.htm

    Note that other countries in America Letrina also have "military institutes" for their maps and many of the maps are decently detailed and downloadable

    email for Turistel map request is ridepatagonia at gmail unless I get overwhelmed then I will put them on the image site

    LATE EDIT I see someone has posted the Turistel maps you can download
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/thejourney1972/3448514845/
  19. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    I'm leaving on Thursday, possibly Friday if I have to wait on a new ECU for my bike. I'm planning on crossing at Tecate then dirt to Ojos Negros, pavement to Valle de Trinidad then onto Mike's Sky Rancho for the night.

    If I leave Friday, I might cross at Mexicali and head to Gonzaga Bay to meet up with a buddy of mine.
  20. Vell_Bruixot

    Vell_Bruixot Guest

    I have often wondered about what that section of Ruta 3 was for. No log support pad or taxiway/turnaround along the sides though, and not long or smooth enough for the high performance Argie jet fighters, but it could serve for limited dispersion of aircraft with shorter takeoff and landing requirements such as their C130s and the Pucaras and maybe the Aermacchis that were used in that war. The Argies could not base their high performance fighters at the Stanley airport in the Falklands since the runway there was less than 5000 feet long and that was not long enough for the fast movers. I have received conflicting stories about that strip of Ruta 3 and some with more knowledge tell me that Argie Navy Super Etendards could use that Ruta 3 strip but the Daggers and Mirages could not. I am terribly out of my depth on such matters so someone else could take this up perhaps in another area.