North to South America on a Honda 250

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Joris van O, Apr 26, 2019.

  1. treebumper

    treebumper Macro Trav

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  2. treebumper

    treebumper Macro Trav

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    That was a very long time ago, working in Quito! I think it was 1972, and rode a Yamaha DT 250 in the states at that time. BTW, your new ride, if I saw correctly is shaft driven, and is my preferred mode, having ridden mostly Guzzis & BMWs in the past 30 years.

    Keep writing! You do a great job at that, and efficient travels!
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  3. NSFW

    NSFW Death Valley Noobs Rally 2022 Super Supporter

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    awesome to read the updates, much better reading while i'm on staycation at home.

    thanks JVO and good luck with the new job.
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  4. Joris van O

    Joris van O Been here awhile

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    After an evening with lots of beers, wine and good stories we said goodbye to Rafal in the morning. He would lead the way south a few days ahead of the rest (the rest being Gregg, Suhas and me).
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    My little trusty steed was in need of some attention, and as the hostel in Santiago felt like home I decided to hang around for a few days. The weather was just perfect, like a summer in Europe. The company was great and Santiago being a big city there was lot’s to do and many shops to get stuff from. The front brake issue I had in Peru, caused by a leaking master cylinder, was solved with a top up there. I checked it but it seemed fine so no worries there. Next task was finding a front tire, it was due for replacement a long time ago so I went hunting in all the shops. One of the shops had this thing out front, an Indian/Chinese cruiser with a 350cc fuel injected, watercooled twin with remarkable similarities to the little Honda engine. My bet was that it would fit right in, that would make an awesome little bike. But the owner of the shop said that the quality was quite bad and the Honda was a much better bike. He didn’t have a tire though.
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    I returned to the hostel for lunch, then replaced the top headstock bearing with a spare before going out again to some different shops.
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    After checking at every shop I decided on a Pirelli Scorpion Trail 2. At just over ninety euro it didn’t come cheap but I wanted something reliable for the rest of the trip (which at that point saw me going back up to Brazil). A small shop installed it for a small fee and that was another day filled.
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    Having Indian roots, Suhas suggested going to an Indian restaurant close by for dinner. Boy was that a good choice, the tastiest meal we had had in a long time.
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    Back then, the end of February, the Chilean news was still mostly dominated with reports about protests and riots against the government. Seeing the damage throughout the city, we decided to go see the daily protests at Plaza Baquedano.
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    The place looked like a warzone, completely demolished. The pavement and every single object they could find ripped out to use as ammunition against the riot police. You could feel the teargas in the air. We decided to keep our distance to where the watercanon and the real riots were taking place.
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    Because the protests are a daily occurrence, I believe the impact and novelty wears off. The rest of the city was just going about as if nothing was going on. Walk one block and you will find full restaurants and bars, street performers and people dancing.
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    Later in the evening, the same street that was a mess a few hours earlier is quiet.
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    In the morning Justin, Gregg and Suhas loaded their luggage back on their bikes and set off. I had hopes of catching up with them somewhere further on but that never happened unfortunately.
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    Went to run some errands and clean the bike. When I came back there was a new guest, Jean from Quebec. Another great character with an abundance of good stories and a way of telling them.
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    One last thing to fix was the luggage racks, remember back in Bolivia on the Lagunas Route the left one broke again. Upon further inspection it turned out that it wasn’t my welding that failed but rather the metal I welded on. The metal rods were ripped from the frame.
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    Found a good weldingshop and showed them the problem.
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    They also added some reinforcements on both sides. I didn’t have any problems afterwards, they did a great job!
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    Figured that since my rear tire was close to needing replacing I might as well grab a spare when there is one. Probably won’t find one further south. I think it was a Kenda of some sort, not the one I would’ve liked but better than nothing.
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    After Tim left for the airport, Jean and I where the only guests for a short while. But we were soon joined by Nick Sanders, who had just dropped off his T700 for shipping to Australia. I had a nice chat with both of them in the evening before turning in early. After spending six days in the beautiful capital of Chile the bike was fixed, supplies were gathered and I was re-energized. I couldn’t wait to get back on the bike and head south, Patagonia was waiting! Another shoutout to Hostel Casa Matte and Christian for making such a welcoming and great place for weary motorcyclists.
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  5. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

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    Yeah!
    I like the special roll of shop towels in that headstock bearing pic...
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  6. Joris van O

    Joris van O Been here awhile

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    Puerto Montt was about one thousand kilometers south of Santiago, normally I would split that distance into three days. But since I still felt pressed for time to get to Ushuaia before winter set in, I decided two days would do. Thinking back, I would’ve loved to spend more time there. But then again I would probably never have made it to Ushuaia, if I did. The first day I made it near to the city of Los Angeles, after a long, non-interesting but still joyfull ride along many wineries. It marked the halfway point so I pitched my tent on a campsite named camping La Isla. This little area was quite touristic because of the Saltos del Laja waterfalls. I was mostly just happy that Chile had actual proper campsites, along this beautiful stretch of river. It all felt like a holiday again, and I was inching ever closer to my goal.
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    There were many small streams and waterfalls that formed the Rio Laja. So after sunbathing, swimming and cooking dinner I went for a stroll. It seems the ground is made up of some sort porous volcanic rock (freaking sharp with bare feet).
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    When I had opened my bag to grab the tent, I smelled something soggy. Thinking nothing of it I went on to pitch the tent, and then for a swim. Later when I grabbed the rest from the bag and found out there had been a little leak somewhere and my fleece blanket had soaked up a fair bit of water since the last time camping. Luckily it was still warm enough to dry out the lot.
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    The next day was another long haul. But the surroundings were definitely changing again, Chile is really beautiful south of Santiago. Came across this huge railroad bridge near Collipulli.
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    More riding, and a quick lunch from the topcase. It serves as my little kitchen.
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    More trees!
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    And even big volcanos, this is Volcan Osorno. Located north of Puerto Montt.
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    It wasn't the most interesting ride, considering the straight roads. But I liked every minute of it, because it brought me to Puerto Montt very efficiently. The gateway to Patagonia. Arriving in the city, iOverlander showed me the way to a small two bedroom hostel, an older couple renting out rooms. They were very friendly and the breakfast she served me next morning was great.
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    Went for a walk around town.
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    Even here there were protests, not as violent as in Santiago though. After buying a ferry ticket for a crossing a few days ahead I treated myself to some Patagionian goodness for dinner. Reaching Puerto Montt felt like completing another part of the trip, and I was nearing the finish now.
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    Being back on the coast ment that a thick fog was hanging over the bay in the morning. The temperature had dropped considerably this far south, which made it hard to leave the warmth of the hostel.
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    The similarities with the scenery along coastal roads on Nova Scotia, at the very start of my trip were great, and brought back many memories.
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    To get south along the Carretera Austral you have to take a couple of ferries, the first one, from La Arena is just a short hop and doesn't require a reservation.
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    Leaving the ferry and back on the Carretera Austral, a few kilometers inland the sky cleared and my day just got a little better again. It got even better when a few minutes later i saw a sign advertising hot springs up ahead.
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    The entry fee for Termas de Pichicolo was a bit steep, but as todays ride to Hornopiren was short I decided I could soak for a couple of hours. There were multiple baths spread out in a small area and they were all very hot.
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    The rest of the ride to Hornopiren was equally awesome! This was only the beginning of Patagonia and it was already really really beautiful.
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    I arrived in Hornopiren early but had to wait for my ferry, that would only leave the next morning. So I enjoyed a leisure evening on a small campsite called Camping Ciruelillos. Keeping myself well fed :D
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  7. jeckyll

    jeckyll Kneedragger

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    Sorry to hear that he got into an accident, super glad he's OK!

    I'm not on facebook much so appreciate the update :)

    I double checked, and I met him in Chicken Aug 10, not sure what path he took though the US though.
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  8. ernest t bass

    ernest t bass Been here awhile

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    Apr 11, 2007
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    Cardiff by The Sea, California
    Thank You.
    That was better than any travel book ive ever seen.
    Im glad you stopped at Mama Espinosa's in El Rosario BC Mexico.
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  9. LS650

    LS650 Been here awhile

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    I just stumbled onto this report recently, and I've been reading through it the last few days. Right now I am on page 20, where the OP has just crossed from Nicaragua into Costa Rica. It is a very informative read with many beautiful photos. I hope someday to do a similar ride to South America from my home on Vancouver Island. Thanks for sharing and I will keep reading!
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  10. NSFW

    NSFW Death Valley Noobs Rally 2022 Super Supporter

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    JvO. i like the pictures you take along the road and on your way to your destination. it actually shows what to expect which others will find boring; unlike many RR, they cherry-pick the landscape and showing only a glimpse of the place which will look like a postcard. i enjoy pictures of the countryside, the people and food.

    thanks again for taking the time to update this very nice report.
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  11. Joris van O

    Joris van O Been here awhile

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    Woke up early to catch the ferry from Hornopiren straight to Caleta Gonzalo, when I rode to the docks I came across this view. Couldn't help but stop and appreciate the still morning air.
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    There was already a long line of cars and bikes waiting for the ferry. Not keen on waiting in line I rode to the front and parked next to some other bikes. I didn't realize that all these people hadn't bought a ticket in advance (the ticket I got in Puerto Montt) and were waiting to fill up the no-show places. So I quickly rode on board after showing my ticket. Not long after the ferry was completely full, the last square meters filled with bikes.
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    Heroic Argentians heading south on small two-strokes!
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    The odd one out? :D
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    Smooth sailing, taking approx. four hours.
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    The sky had gotten dark and rain was imminent, time for everyone to suit up (Well, I didn't actually).
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    Four hours of sailing had transformed the landscape again. I couldn't enjoy it much though, a whole ferry full of cars in a hurry were either in front or behind me. The road was dusty and rocky, so I had to ride faster than I liked to keep the traffic of my tail, but also keep my distance and watch out for the traffic heading the other way.
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    Because I didn't put my rainsuit on while on the ferry, I pulled over and righted my mistake. Traffic had thinnen out by now and the first one I caught up with was a familiar motorcycle. It was Rafal on his V-strom, I had stumbled upon him just by chance. Had I not stopped to put on my raingear I would've missed him returning from a hike. I followed him to his hostel in Chaiten and got the last free bed.
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    Apart from some small rainstorms every now and then the weather in the south of Chile was still much better than I had expected. No rain in the morning, and Rafal and I set off together, he with destination Puyuhaupi, I to Coyhaique.
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    After saying farewell to Rafal I continued, shortly after I said goodbye to pavement as well. And rain came back, of course. Right when I got going on Queulat pass my clutch cable snapped, great :D Luckily I bought a new spare back in San Fransisco when the other one snapped. A few minutes in the rain and I was good to go again.
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    With a fresh clutch cable, and sunshine, the last bit to Coyhaique was a breeze. Very enjoyable. The Carretera Austral is absolutely beautiful, and it's supposed to be even better further south!
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  12. LS650

    LS650 Been here awhile

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    Looks like some beautiful (and low traffic) countryside for riding.
    Four hours of sailing had transformed the landscape again. I couldn't enjoy it much though, a whole ferry full of cars in a hurry were either in front or behind me. The road was dusty and rocky, so I had to ride faster than I liked to keep the traffic of my tail, but also keep my distance and watch out for the traffic heading the other way.
    I've had very similar situations happen to me. I usually just say screw it, I'm not dealing with these dusty cars, and pull over to take a 20 minute rest and let the bulk of the traffic get well ahead.
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  13. NSFW

    NSFW Death Valley Noobs Rally 2022 Super Supporter

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    the red one is the king of the pack!....:clap
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  14. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

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    Always worth the wait!

    Shoulda lubed all your cables when you were here...:1drink
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  15. Joris van O

    Joris van O Been here awhile

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    A good night sleep in Coyhaique, stocked up on supplies, ready for a sunny new day! I remember that when I went to the supermarket, there were long lines and people were stocking up on stuff (yes, it was around toiletpaper time). You could feel something was coming, and people were preparing for it. My route for that day would take me from Coyhaique to Puerto Rio Tranquilo. The first part of the Carretera Austral would be beautifully paved, the second part not so much. The second part though, runs along the General Carrera Lake (the biggest lake in Chile) and the views over this bright blue lake are just unbelievable. Well, everything down here is otherworldly.
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    The sight of this winding road definitely got a big smile on my face! And just a little to the right was another massive jagged peak.
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    Another viewpoint along the Carretera.
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    After Villa Cerro Castillo the pavement came to an end and was replaced with the -by now- farmiliar gravel, running along the Rio Ibanez.
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    Sometimes the forest would thicken, only to disappear again a few kilometers further. Before eventually making way completely to the Lago.
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    It was after this corner that 'Little Red' suddenly died on me. I might have gone a little to fast over all the bumps because a solid indication of the problem was the side stand warning light being on. Upon closer inspection I noticed the spring holding the side stand in the up-position had made a dash for freedom.. thus triggering the switch and cutting the engine. The spring must be somewhere down that road then.
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    I walked back scanning the surface for some filthy oil covered cylindrical shape. I walked all the way to where the engine cut out and then some more, but no luck. I gave up, thinking it must have landed somewhere in the tall grass. When I walked back I spotted the little bugger right on the edge of the road underneath some shrubs. Mounted it where it belongs and continued on my merry way.
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    The reason for riding to Puerto Rio Tranquilo, besides that it is an amazing road, is the fact that a peculiar kind of cave is close-by this town on the shores of Lago General Carrera. They are the famous marble caves of course! I arrived early and bought myself a ticket for one of the many boats heading to the caves. Just a tour over the lake would've been worth it.
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    But the caves are also worth it! The bright blue water reflecting on the marble walls is something else. It's hard to capture on film.
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    There's a few spots where this phenomenon is visible, so it was off to another spot!
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    It just looks like it could come crash down any minute, but it's probably been balancing like that for thousands of years already.
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    Finishing the very scenic boat tour I pitched my tent at a small campsite in town, named Rincon Austral and finished another succesful day cooking some pasta (again).
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  16. Franque

    Franque Nilé na sohakélwa manga

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    Amazing pictures Joris! I think I found a new desktop background!
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  17. nails1

    nails1 Been here awhile

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    Queue the Jaws theme.

    How's the new job? I mean, when will you get sick of it and take another bike trip?
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  18. Joris van O

    Joris van O Been here awhile

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    Haha, well I was able to spend one month in the office. But from last week on I have to work from home again (partial lockdown). But it feels good to be working again really, weird isn't it.

    For now it's nice to have a routine, feel useful, learn new skills, and put some money aside for future plans :D

    Let's see how I feel about that in a year though. I have lots of plans, but not that much time anymore. But the North cape or somewhere in Asia is high on the list and will happen maybe next year (if we're allowed at least).
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  19. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

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    Epic ride man!
    Great gas mileage going 70kph at 0 rpms...:photog
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  20. Donson

    Donson Been here awhile

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    Outstanding RR, and great pictures also.
    This trip is a bucket list item I will never be able to make, thanks for taking me along.
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