My big ride - A Kiwified Dutchman heading South from LA

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Normlas, Sep 9, 2017.

  1. Normlas

    Normlas Been here awhile

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    So yesterday I left Jujuy under dark and threatening skies, but luckily it stayed dry all day. It was a pretty uneventful ride, through green agricultural land mainly growing tobacco and increasingly into jungle. It seems I am entering back into the Amazon. The biggest change being the temperature, which increased from the high twenties and is currently in the high 30s.

    I get to Embarcacion in the early afternoon and play the hotel game finding a place to stay on the second try. Thankfully it has air conditioning which has not been off since I got here. When I go out to get some food in the evening it turns out the entire town is shut, it's just a tiny little village and on Sunday evening everybody eats at home.

    I was happy to find a small hot dog stand on the side of the road and that did me for dinner.

    Unfortunately the Wi-Fi is broken here, so I am typing this on my phone. breakfast is included in the room but I just asked about breakfast and the guy says that seeing it was Sunday yesterday and everything was shut, breakfast is just tea. I asked him if he has coffee, or at least milk, given that I have some coffee with me, and he replies no just tea :) You just have to laugh.....

    My back has been pretty sore for the last two days so I'm going to take a chill day in this little town, and hopefully get some real dinner tonight.

    It's 9 in the morning, and it is already 31° looking like it's going to hit 40 in the afternoon!!!
  2. Thomas B.

    Thomas B. desert racer

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    Hey Arjan, I just watched the News and there is a Dengue Fever outbreak in northern Argentina with couple of deaths and travelwarnings so be carefull with the mosis up there. Take care.
    Ride safe
    Cheers Thomas
    powderzone and Normlas like this.
  3. Normlas

    Normlas Been here awhile

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    Hi Thomas, thanks for the heads up, I caught dengue fever once in Cambodia and I know how horrible it can be. Also, given I have had it before, apparently a second hit can be much worse so I will be extra careful with repellent etc.

    Buen viaje amigos!
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  4. UKbri

    UKbri Just a Rider

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    Tucson, Arizona
    Lol. I did see that but couldn’t be bothered to correct you
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  5. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

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    Brilliant! Meat, dancing, Salta beer, rising, friends and peanut and chicken soup!!
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  6. C.J.

    C.J. Sierra Nevada Rider

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    Just want to give you a big thanks for the work you do on your reports. Have been following you for some time and really enjoy the ride.
    Thanks
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  7. Normlas

    Normlas Been here awhile

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    Thank you guys, great to have you along!!
  8. trevgale36

    trevgale36 n00b

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2010
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    6
    Hey mate

    Loving following along on your adventures and keep looking every day for updates of where you are and what you are up to.
    I'll do the same trip eventually...

    Few questions for you if you have time.

    1. Are you generally happy with the KLR and knowing what you know now, would you buy the same model again if attempting the same trip again?
    2. Are you planning on returning the bike to the States for resale or giving it away to a local host or shipping it back to NZ at completion ?
    3. The food on your trip looks awesome (Especially the mexican) but do you do much cooking of your own when your camping ?

    Cheers mate and safe travels.
    Trev.
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  9. Normlas

    Normlas Been here awhile

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    New Zealand - JAFA

    Hey Trev, welcome along.

    The KLR has been awesome and I would easily chose the same bike again, I trust it, it's a simple bike (no computers etc) , it's reliable and cheap to buy and farkle. I have the exact same bike and year in NZ !

    My plan is to sell the bike in Chile when I'm done, the easiest way is to sell it to an American or to someone who can do the ownership transfer in the USA as it's a USA registered bike. It is near impossible to sell it to a local apparently. I'll try and do it myself but there is also a service in Santiago that will do it for me for only 6% of the sale price (called Suzysantiago) if I run out of time.

    And yeah, I have cooking gear for camping and for very remote or poorly equipped hotels, if I have to cook it's usually quick and easy 2 minute noodles with a tin of fish and some bread, quick, tasty and doesn't take much packing room so I always have some on me.
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  10. Normlas

    Normlas Been here awhile

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    Embarcacion is a very quiet little country town in the middle of nowhere, very chilled out with horses wandering randomly around the Plaza de Armas.

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    The first evening (Sunday) I explore the very shut town, except for the ice cream parlours of which there are four and they are all open? So what are you going to do?? I enjoy an ice cream whilst people watching in the plaza, interestingly, chewing coca leaves is popular here again, I haven't seen much of it in Chile or Southern Argentina but here probably half the men have a big bulge in their cheek. I've tried it but it's not for me, the taste is pretty awful and the effect is very mild.

    It is openly sold and there are even shops that specialise in selling it.

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    As I mentioned before, I end up settling for street cart hot dogs for dinner, although to be fair they were pretty good with lots of salsa, salad and even some pickled cactus leaves which I haven't seen since Mexico. 30 pesos each, about 70 cents US.

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    My hotel is pretty average, I had to choose between a room with a double bed and a single but no toilet seat, or a room with two singles and a toilet seat....... I went with the toilet seat :) , the room with the double bed was pretty jam packed with little room to move as well.

    My back has been very average so I call a chill day the next day, take some painkillers and watch movies all day, thankfully the TV takes a USB stick and so I actually get to see some good movies and in English!

    It wasn't long before I had some female company show up and although she was a little shy at first, she warmed up pretty quickly and ended up spending the entire day in bed with me :)

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    It is hot, really hot outside and I was very happy to have airco, here's a screen grab from my weather app "Windy" showing temperature and I am right on the edge of it getting much worse.

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    I head off the next day and turn on to Ruta 81 which I will be riding for a couple of days, it's dead straight and over 800kms long, running roughly parallel to the Paraguayan border. I end up doing about 350kms and find a hotel in a dusty little sh1thole town called Ingeniero Juarez, but at least it has airco, a restaurant, a cat, parking and a TV, it's 44 Celsius outside !!

    Not long after I've settled in, this guy was knocking on my door .....

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    I've never seen a grasshopper/locust? so large, I actually heard it knock on my door and I went to see what was going on.....WTF!!

    I plan to head further down Ruta 81 tomorrow, maybe all the way to the end to the town of Formosa if I have a good day.
    C.J., dano619, Saso and 5 others like this.
  11. gman71

    gman71 Adventurer

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    WTF!. I bet they have the poisonous version of those in Australia.
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  12. windplay

    windplay Adventurer

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    Nov 22, 2016
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    11
    Love your report Normlas. My klr is looking out at the snow and minus 42. Amazing extremes in temp on both hemispheres. Windy is a cool app. Hope you do the TCAT someday and stop by for a beer. Im on the trail about halfway in Sioux Lookout Ontario.
    Cheers!
    Normlas likes this.
  13. XR Valdeez

    XR Valdeez Been here awhile Supporter

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    So. Cal
    Lookin' good! Pretty awesome stuff up there in northern Argentina!
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  14. Normlas

    Normlas Been here awhile

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    Maaate, the Australian version would have worked out how to open the door and chewed half my face off during the night........ and taken my baby ! :)

    Thanks windplay - you never know...

    Hey dude, good to hear from you, you getting stir crazy and itchy feet yet?? I kept thinking of you in the desert to the West of here - you would have loved it up there!
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  15. Normlas

    Normlas Been here awhile

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    So I didn't make it to the end of Ruta 81, the heat and the lack of corners got to me and I found the little town of Palo Santo at around 3pm, filled up with fuel and found an OK hotel. It's another tiny little one-road town but the people seem friendly enough.

    Along the ride today I saw a bunch of trees with what looked like paracord holding their foliage to the ground, these were pretty big trees. I slowed down to discover that it was a spiders web reaching from the top of 10m tall trees (30ft) to the ground. No photos as I didn't stop, I have no interest in seeing anymore giant bugs and the things that build these webs must have been the size of cats..... I shivered, closed my visor and got the hell out of there :)

    Going to head South tomorrow, not sure of the route yet, will have a look at the map in the morning. I have arranged a motoposada in Santa Fe, about 2 or 3 days ride away and another in Buenos Aires with the admin of the "MAI Argentina" WhatsApp group.

    Mhamed is also still in BA and I can stay at his AirBnB too so I have plenty of options to kill a few days and have a few cold ones before Lisa arrives on the 8th.

    All is good, but bloody hot, in Northern Argentina.
  16. Normlas

    Normlas Been here awhile

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    There were a couple of options for routes to leave Palo Santo heading South-East and the biker that owned my hotel in Embarcacion recommended the minor route 23 as a nice ride. I asked a couple of locals about this road and they both recommended I don't take it, that it's deserted and in a poor state. So I ummed and erred for a while but decided to go with the biker's recommendation and leave town heading directly South from Palo Santo on Ruta 23. The road was OK but did have a lot of very large and potentially trip-ending potholes so I had to stay focused. And it was very quiet, with perhaps one car every half hour going the other way, this was the real Argentina, tiny little agricultural towns, horses, cattle goats and sheep wandering all along the road and people very surprised to see me cruising by. And of course - it was hot, 25 degrees when I left at around 9am and over 40 by lunchtime. I drive by a huge swamp for an hour or more and lots of large cacti.

    I did my normal trick for helping to stay cool in temperatures like this and soak my T-shirt in water before I leave the hotel and at every rest stop I take. It really does help quite a lot.

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    I didn't really have a goal in mind for the day and thought I would just ride until I got sick of it or overheated and then find a hotel where ever I ended up. It turns out this was in the relatively large city of Resistencia, a relatively new city with not too much in the way of nice old buildings and churches. I luck out playing the hotel game by asking at the gas station near the centre and a local biker offers to ride with me and show me a hotel nearby. It looked very flash and well above my budget as I roll up but turns out to be just 600 pesos or around $16 USD a night and it's a proper modern hotel - score!! Hotel Diamante has great rooms with airco, toilet and TV, great parking and a better than average breakfast (no cats thought). Once it cools down a little I head out to explore the city aiming to get me some culture as there are a bunch of museums nearby. Unfortunately the first two I visit are closed for the holidays but I do get into the Museum of communication and get a private tour by the curator, it was actually pretty cool and contained the history of local newspaper printing, radio, TV and cinema.

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    No spell check on that sucker! Amazing to think that most of the stuff in this museum are now able to be run from the phone in my pocket, makes me wonder what we'll be doing in the next 20 years for this technology.

    The Plaza de Armas has the standard dead general on a horse and as I walk through a small police troop is having some sort of award or graduation parade.

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    The locals were clearly impressed and very engaged with the ceremony :imaposer

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    This looks like a pretty new city and the few nice old buildings that there are, are slowly being engulfed by a concrete jungle - shame really.

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    The museum of fine arts is open and I enjoy a stroll around a couple of exhibitions, I thought that this little sculpture outside was kinda fun - milking the church perhaps?

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    I hit a supermarket on the way back to the hotel and get some dinner and entertainment supplies including a new bottle of hooch, 37% honey whiskey at only 86 pesos or around $2.30 a bottle!

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    And end up having a quiet night watching a few movies.

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    The hotel room is one of the best I've had on the entire trip so I decided this morning to stay another day and enjoy it, I do have some time to kill before getting to BA so why not do it in comfort.

    Oh, another thing, a couple of weeks ago @rtwpaul asked I would do a rider interview for the front page and I agreed. It took me a while to get it done, especially to choose my favourite 10 photos from so many, but it is finally up. So if you want to hear a bit more about me and my story then you can check it out here (linky).

    I'll be interested to hear what you guys think so do drop me a note!
  17. dano619

    dano619 Been here awhile

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    Great post!.....just read the interview, you have a great outlook on life and living in the moment!! As you say...Be Free! Really enjoy your report and pics!! The picture of the udder above....Church milking us? Looking forward to more, thanks again!!
    Normlas likes this.
  18. Normlas

    Normlas Been here awhile

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    Thanks Dano - much appreciated, and as for the sculpture - you could well be right. Although a slightly less cynical view than either of our first guesses could be "the church provides nourishment for the psyche / soul" ??
  19. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

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    When I still drank, I enjoyed sipping whiskey in a comfortable room after a terrific day on the road and watching a good movie. I always had a beautiful sleep to follow as well.
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  20. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town...

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    The interview was great. The questions about YOU brought out some details that help explain your refreshing perspective.
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