My Woman Rides - and she’s taking me to Ushuaia

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by hochaz, Oct 1, 2018.

  1. hochaz

    hochaz Arizona to Argentina with Eva - October 2018

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    Hey again. We are in Macara Ecuador. Crossing into Peru tomorrow. We are leaving TIP open while flying home for Christmas. We have heard back from two others who have already gone home from Peru with open TIP. We will store bikes in Cusco at a place found on iOverlander.
    #81
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  2. Rubinski

    Rubinski Been here awhile

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    Great Pics, thank you for your postings. I'm living in Phoenix and am planning this trip this coming October. I liked Battoc's positing and how he flew his bike and him to Colombia. How much was your cost on the Stalhratte? IT only took 3 days?
    Safe Riding!!
    #82
  3. hochaz

    hochaz Arizona to Argentina with Eva - October 2018

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    Stahlratte is $1200 for bike and rider. One night on island hotel, two on boat. Great food. Excellent friendships with likeminded riders. Did you read about hassles with claiming bikes in Bogota for those who flew.. No thanks. The Stahlratte was a trip highlight. Don’t pass it up.
    #83
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  4. SOLOKLR

    SOLOKLR Back to work

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    Enjoy the break. Looking forward to seeing the completion of the trip.
    #84
  5. Rubinski

    Rubinski Been here awhile

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    Thank you. Thats what I had been quoted and I though, for half the price Battoc flew himself and the bike across. So I'm still up in the air about putting up with the hassle or just load it on the Stalhratte.
    Thank you for sharing. Be safe!!
    #85
  6. hochaz

    hochaz Arizona to Argentina with Eva - October 2018

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    Can someone tell me where on advrider to post the following for maximum help?

    Hello once again. Does anyone have good experience with a moto mechanic in Cusco, Peru? Eva developed a countershaft seal leak. I even installed a retainer as DR650 has a reputation for bearing backing out. Anyway, there was oil under her bike and the area around the seal was weeping slightly. Gently cleaned small grit from around seal and reassembled. It might have done the job but I bought some oil to put in the pannier just in case. Thanks for your time.
    #86
  7. Little Bike

    Little Bike Air/Clutz Sue Supporter

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    Maybe try the regional threads?
    #87
  8. hochaz

    hochaz Arizona to Argentina with Eva - October 2018

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    Wow!!! I can not believe it has been over 3 weeks since last posting. My apologies for the radio silence. Eva and I have been in Cusco now for 4 days. We’ve been seeing Incan ruins while the motos are being serviced by Danny Marquez of Motosmarquez. He came highly recommended. I found him to be an astute mechanic and an amazing gentleman. I would also now strongly recommend him to anyone needing a very good mechanic in Cusco.

    My last posting was from Medellin. Whew, we’ve had some excellent days since then. A brief summary in the form of personal journal outtakes:

    We have been making steady progress south. The bodies and the bikes remain healthy. We are currently in the Andean town of Huaraz. It sits at around 10,000 ft.. we rode up here from the Peruvian coastal city of Trujillo yesterday. The bikes panted a bit as we topped out at 13,800 ft, a high pass on the serpentine mountain road we rode to get here.
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    The days we ride usually go like this. Wake up from dreaming about some motorcycle or border crossing nightmare, check the weather along our route, get cleaned up and put on yesterday’s clothes, sometimes still damp from last night’s sink washing. We shuffle down to an inadequate breakfast (75% of the time, 25% of the time the breakfast is amazing), I get as much coffee in me as possible, we return to our room and pack our bags and then secure the bags to the motos. We’ve downloaded the google maps onto my iPhone and use them offline and do a final check of the route on the phone. We quickly check tire pressure and oil level and then we are off. Our riding usually starts at 8:30am and finishes by 3pmwith only a stop for gas or a quick stretch or photos. We check into our hotel which I reserved on Booking the night before. Hotel requirements include secure moto parking, good WiFi in the room, hot water, and breakfast. We rinse off the road’s dirt and head to the center of town with our cameras and a huge appetite. We do some exploring and head back to our hotel before nightfall usually. I charge the intercoms, clean the helmet visors, review the next days route, reserve the next days hotel, read one page (max) of a book I’ve been carrying too long. While I do this Eva is editing photos and updating Instagram and being the social conduit to those we’ve met along the way. We sleep like angels.

    I last wrote from Medellin where we had motos serviced and new tires put on. We then rode south to Salento, a wonderful little town in the coffee belt of Colombia. The Cocora Valley was absolutely beautiful and we enjoyed a day of hiking there.
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    From there, we continued south to Popayán and then the border town of Ipiales, from which we crossed into Ecuador. Thus far, Ecuador has been the cleanest, most organized country with some of the best roads we’ve ridden yet. The scenery was stunning - it always seemed that we were riding in close proximity to a snow covered volcano. The mountain roads were on a grand scale, precipitous drops into lush green valleys did not allow for daydreaming. We spent a day wandering through the colorful and boisterous Otavalo market. There a four foot Otavalan woman sold me two scarves before I knew what hit me. Well, I managed to talk her down a little.
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    We also visited the city of Cuenca which has been a mecca for US expats. I can see why - perfect year round weather in the mountains, a thriving art scene, strong professional business presence. The expats have, in turn, opened many restaurants and cafes of international tastes and high standards. I could see going back there for Spanish classes for a month.

    We sadly left Ecuador for Peru. Northern Peru, through which we rode, is extremely poor and dirty. We rode for 2 and a half days down the high desert just inland from Peru’s coast. It reminded me of riding through the Mojave dessert on I10. Barren and featureless. Just stark and lunar and windy as hell. The small towns that punctuated the dessert were extremely chaotic with no traffic rules and, again, trash strewn.

    We breathed a sigh of relief when, yesterday, we pointed the bikes inland and climbed over 13,000 ft into the Andes. It’s still chaotic here, a little less dirty and a lot cooler. The snow covered mountains of the Cordillera Blanca surround us and give this town an adventure travel vibe. Many climbers and mountaineers come here to climb mountains like Huascarán and Alpamayo.

    We have a tough mountain road to the town of Huanuco tomorrow. Narrow, precipitous, dirt and gravel sections and fast bus drivers. Not a great combination.

    Enjoy the photos.

    Thanks for riding along. More photos in next post.
    #88
  9. hochaz

    hochaz Arizona to Argentina with Eva - October 2018

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    Photos from Cuenca:
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    #89
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  10. hochaz

    hochaz Arizona to Argentina with Eva - October 2018

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    Hola mis amigos,

    We have been fully indoctrinated into motorcycling in the Peruvian Andes. These past 9 days have been some of the most challenging and rewarding riding we have done. They have pushed Eva’s skills and tolerances to their limits. For good or bad, I have never had my head on a swivel more than I have the past week.

    The mountains and high plateaus have put our bikes and bodies to the test. The views and stunning raw beauty have required new superlatives. We have been riding, at times, close to 15,000 ft, we have had mind numbing winds, precipitous mountain roads with no guardrails and just wide enough for one car at a time, we have had hail, unreal sunsets, as well as unbelievably careless (or carefree) drivers, unfettered cows, horses, dogs, pigs, and alpaca sharing the roads with us. We survived two days without alcohol as its sale was banned in the days preceding Peru’s elections. Our pleas that we could not vote in Peru were roundly ignored.
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    My exhaust mounting bracket had a bolt back out during one day of particularly rough riding, which I was able to patch with safety wire (again, thanks for the tip Frank) and a bungie cord, we have had two more flats, my rear sprocket had gotten enough wear in the 8000 miles we have covered that it threatened to throw the chain (and had been causing a loud knock that I feared was deep engine related) and Eva developed an oil leak for which I needed to add a little oil every morning before beginning our 7-9 hour day....whew. All that since my last writing. The motorcycling social community as well as my mechanic Frank Zabriskie have been fielding endless questions and have been invaluable resources this past week. Our motos are right now enjoying some TLC by a highly regarded young mechanic here in Cusco while Eva and I have been visiting Machu Picchu and other Incan treasures. We have been celebrating our arrival in Cusco and imminent return to family for Christmas with endless mojitos for Eva and Pisco Sours for myself. We have enjoyed some our most incredible meals in the past few days. I am still having the “pleasure” of motorcycle dreams usually involving vile muddy climbs, exposed narrow roads, and bullying border crossings but still manage to emerge energized in the morning.
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    This arrival in Cusco marks the end of 8000 miles of riding through Mexico, Central America, Colombia, Ecuador, and most of Peru. This is 2/3 of our trip mileage wise and presented challenges mostly regarding potential for political unrest, multiple tedious border crossings, rain and heat, and crossing the Darian Gap. The rewards have been priceless as I hope my ride reports and photos have reflected. We will enter the second part of our trip upon our return on December 28th. We have distilled the upcoming weeks down to visions and discussions of long hot rides through the Atacama desert of Chile, sublime views of the Fitzroy massif (google images) from the town of El Chalten, riding and trekking through the Torres del Paine (again, please google images), riding beautiful and remote sections of Chile’s Carretera Austral and Argentina’s infamously windy Ruta Quarenta (40) on our way to Ushuaia, el fin de mundo as it is called, the southern terminus of our journey. With some luck we will be able to secure discounted tickets for a trip to Antarctica from Ushuaia, the port from which cruises depart.
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    Once again, thanks for riding along. We look forward to your company going forward. We ask for your prayers to continue a safe and fulfilling adventure.

    With love,
    Steve and Eva
    #90
  11. Phone Guy

    Phone Guy Oddometer: 23,626

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    Great adventure! Love the pics. My Wife and I were in Peru in June/July. Based out of Cusco and a day or two in Aquas Caliente to see Machu Picchu. We packed a lot into those days. Try a Maracuuya sour!
    #91
  12. Bgunn

    Bgunn Posible mañana

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    Looks like a captive audience for your flat repair :lol3

    Great report, and battle with the elements!
    #92
  13. hochaz

    hochaz Arizona to Argentina with Eva - October 2018

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    My apologies for the radio silence of the past six weeks. We just want to send out a few words and photos of the wonderful riding we’ve been doing and to let those following that both we and the bikes are well...
    We flew back to Cusco after a wonderful 10 days back in Tucson to be around family for Christmas. We rested and acclimatized for 48 hours before planning to ride further south. The motos had been stored with the mechanic in Cusco and were “ready” to go. The frightening knocking on my moto was the cry for new sprockets and a chain. Fixed. Eva’s weeping countershaft seal was no longer leaking despite the multiple test rides the mechanic took to antagonize it. It was considered ‘fixed’ but I had my doubts so I returned to Cusco with another seal in my luggage.

    Early on the second morning in Cusco we loaded up the bikes and bid the mechanic farewell. Upon starting Eva’s bike, oil poured out of the engine. I looked at the mechanic and he at me - both in disbelief. WHAT IN THE HELL!!! I pulled out the replacement seal much to the mechanics delight and surprise - spare Suzuki parts are normally easy to get in most central and South American countries WITH THE EXCEPTION OF PERU. He set to work immediately installing the new seal. Eva and I watched him and the clock. Our 8 hours of riding planned for that day slowly faded into the realm of the impossible as it approached noon. We promised each other and our loved ones that we would never ride in the dark. We got a room in the industrial part of Cusco at a ‘new’ hotel and settled in for the evening accompanied by a steady stream of WhatsApp messages coming from the mechanic who worked late into the night. Without getting into too much detail, the new seal (ordered from a reputable Suzuki supply store while I was home) seemed to fit very loosely in the countershaft opening necessitating some additional adhesive. The mechanic had tested the seal overnight and early in the morning. No leak. Eva and I were elated to be heading out of Cusco finally. Well.....we made it 30 miles out of town and the seal gave out and oil was hemorrhaging out of Eva’s bike once again. We pulled over in the middle of nowhere and had a civilized discussion that went something like this: Eva-I’m not riding this damn bike back to Cusco through all the mud we just got through. Me-baby, please listen to me, we HAVE to ride back. No one out in this tiny village will have the part we need. Eva-no ‘fricking’ way. Me-please, please understand me, we have to ride back. Eva-dammit, lets go then. The discussion carried on longer than this and was a lot more colorful but you get the point. We were both deflated to have yet another delay in our progress. When the mechanic got the news he immediately began networking his contacts throughout Cusco and managed to locate a seal at 3pm on New Years Eve. He worked until 10pm that night. The feeling of being stuck yet another night in the ‘new’ hotel, with no hot water by the way, was literally a smothering feeling. Not knowing if this new seal would hold, worrying about getting stuck somewhere on the side of the road and having to rely on someone’s good graces and a number of other scenarios raced through both of our minds. We reminded ourselves that this is also a part of adventure. It’s the part you can’t plan for. The part where control is no longer yours. It is an extremely unpleasant feeling-doubt. Eva and I agreed that we needed to go out for a nice New Years Eve dinner to get our minds off of our mechanical trouble. We got dressed up, jumped in a cab and went to one of Cusco’s nicer restaurants. Wrinkled foreheads and frowns began to release as the alcohol began to flow. By the time the food came we both agreed that we would look back at this and laugh-one day.

    Well, we are now one week and 1300 miles down the road. We haven’t laughed yet BUT we are feeling the confidence in the bikes that we enjoyed before the seal fiasco. We rode to Puno, a small city on the shore of Lake Titicaca, where we spent a day touring the Uros islands. These islands are made of reeds and populated by the colorful Uros people. Despite it being a bit too touristy, the experience was very informative.


    Upon departing Puno, our route to Tacna took us up to 15,000 ft where the bikes began panting yet again. The skies darkened, the temperature dropped, and the winds picked up. Eva and I hustled to get all of our rain gear on. And then it began, first just rain, then hail, and then snow. Visibility dropped and as we continued climbing higher the snow began to stick to the road. Staying within the two black tracks which the car tires in front of us had made and which provided some traction with the underlying asphalt became our focus, our sole objective. Our speed dropped to 10mph. Within 10 minutes the precipitation stopped and the road became slush with streams of water running down the tire tracks. That was close!!! We both yearned for the hot Atacama desert we were riding toward.

    We spent three days in Chile at sea level, enjoying the beach community of Iquique, the industrial port of Antofagasta, as well as the warm rides through the dry, vast, featureless desert. We stopped at the iconic sculpture, Mano del Desierto. Check it out...

    Two days we were in Santiago. From there we did a three day excursion to Argentina’s Mendoza, in the heart of wine country.

    As always, thanks for riding along.
    #93
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  14. hochaz

    hochaz Arizona to Argentina with Eva - October 2018

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    Dang. Photos did not populate. Here they are... 52071C82-F458-4B73-B5C2-DFC819B684F1.jpeg 2923EE77-48BB-46FE-A9A4-6B47C729639C.jpeg D72DA0EE-5A87-4DDE-91A2-82038C472183.jpeg 479995F9-DA3D-4C93-8834-9D511E4634DA.jpeg
    #94
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  15. hochaz

    hochaz Arizona to Argentina with Eva - October 2018

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    We are currently in the town of Coyhaique surrounded on all sides by mountains, glaciers, verdant forests and fertile fields. The past 3 days of riding the Careterra Austral are arguably the most scenic rides and the most fun roads that we have had all trip.

    Since last writing, we have ridden down the rugged Chilean coast and spent about 8 days between the cosmopolitan tree lined streets of both Santiago, Chile and the wine region of Mendoza, Argentina.
    We took a full day bicycle tour of Santiago which revealed its multiple, less visited, funky neighborhoods.

    We also did a full day of winery touring in Mendoza. We have had more than our fair share of Chilean Carmenere and Argentinian Malbec, typically with a fine piece of steak or fresh salmon.
    We have also been drinking much local beer, which is excellent especially in Chile.
    We have spent some great times with our Canadian motorcycling friends, Katherine and Tony, whom we first met in Panama and continue to run into. We were also invited to a BBQ in Santiago by a Chilean couple, Roberta and Bernardo, whom we met on the sailing vessel, the Stahlratte, while crossing the Darian Gap.

    As I said, the last few days have been especially beautiful.

    In 5 days we expect to be in Ushuaia, Argentina. It will be a few days of riding on wide open plains with fierce southern ocean winds. From there we will try to land an Antarctic cruise, sell our bikes and book a flight home. Tentative arrival home is March 5th.

    It’s been fun sharing this indelible and exhausting experience with you through now. Again, thanks for riding along.

    Some photos to follow...
    #95
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  16. hochaz

    hochaz Arizona to Argentina with Eva - October 2018

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  17. hochaz

    hochaz Arizona to Argentina with Eva - October 2018

    Joined:
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  18. Rubinski

    Rubinski Been here awhile

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    Great Pics my friend. You mentioned selling your bike in Argentina before you leave and head bak home to Tucson. There is a great article on Selling your US plated bike in Colombia, South America on Adventure Rider Web page. Right when you logon to ADVRider.com scroll down and look to the left, you'll see the article. Since I head south in October, I would like to find out more about selling my bike in Argentina as well and flying back home to Phoenix rather than riding all the way back again. Would love to hear how that goes for you guys.
    Be safe and thank you for all your Pics. Incredible!!!!!
    #98
  19. hochaz

    hochaz Arizona to Argentina with Eva - October 2018

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    Hola mis amigos. Eva and I have had a great run through Patagonia. We arrived in Ushuaia two days ago. It is with mixed emotions that we end our motorcycle trip. It is with relief that we endured the brutal Patagonian winds and are now enjoying endless Beagles and Cape Horns (Ushuaia beers). It is with sadness that we acknowledge those things we don’t yet miss will soon be the same things we will crave. It’s been a wonderful trip. Thank you for riding along. With love, Steve and Eva.
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    #99
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  20. Dan Diego

    Dan Diego Long timer

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    Just wonderful photos and ride report!

    OK, what’s next?