Ushuaia to Quebec on Xchallenge

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Kabalung, Dec 30, 2017.

  1. ShineySideUp

    ShineySideUp Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2012
    Oddometer:
    916
    Location:
    N California
    Kabalung - thanks for taking the time to post your RR. From what I've read with other RR and videos I have watched with people RTW - they always seem to meet really nice people in their travels.
    #21
    Kabalung likes this.
  2. mac w b

    mac w b Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2015
    Oddometer:
    87
    Location:
    Jackson WY
    :lurk
    #22
  3. Kabalung

    Kabalung Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2017
    Oddometer:
    529
    Location:
    Warsaw, Poland
    C3B28CA1-7861-4FAF-8ACD-905911527ACA.jpeg It’s happening! Greetings from Santiago de Chile!

    After a drop-dead tiring flight maraton form Warsaw to Bologna to Lisbon to Sao Paulo to Santiago, I am finally in Chile. My first reflections and learnings:
    1. I was so tired I forgot I had hidden away my two gps navigators. As I got on the bus in the Santiago airport I could not find either. Has anybody stolen them from me on the plane when I was half-napping? Or maybe I left them in the overhead compartment when I was pulling stuff from my bag? All my planned routes gone! How am I supposed to do the trip if day one I loose both my gps devices? Luckily, during the third panic search through my stuff, I realized I had put them in the notebook pouch, so momentarily I had a big relief. Conclusion: if you travel non-stop for 30 hours do try to sleep a bit in the meantime...
    2. My lower intermediate Spanish may not be brilliant, but it was good enough to convince the bus driver to accept the payment in USD, to find the way to my hostel, to order food and inform the waiter I have no pesos on me, because it’s a New Year’s Day and I can’t find the place to exchange money, so he will have to accept my credit card or else I will go on starving. It worked in all cases. I promised myself to avoid using English from now on. That’s the only way to overcome my Castellano limitations. And I know the more rural I go, the more essential my Spanish speaking skills will become. 9C0B6DBE-DBA8-4D2B-8FC0-747E55E5E9B7.jpeg
    3. Arriving in Santiago on New Year’s Day was a dumb idea. Nothing works, which basically means you can’t exchange money, you can’t easily find a place to buy food, the city is virtually empty, all attractions are closed and the streets are piled with trash and full of guys sleeping off - on the sidewalk, park benches and grass - the heat of last night’s New Year’s fiesta.
    96007A0E-BCFA-4923-9B5F-A3819D9EFB03.jpeg
    Anyways, all things considered, everything went well. After all, I am here, safe, sound and with all my possesions, plus I can still do the Santiago sightseeing tomorrow.

    Will keep you posted.

    Happy New Year, everyone!
    #23
    scudo, flying.moto, Foiler and 11 others like this.
  4. MR X

    MR X MOTORCYCLE MADMAN

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    403
    Location:
    CANADA
    Greg , Looking forward to your ride report .:-)
    Good Luck and safe travels :-)
    #24
  5. Kabalung

    Kabalung Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2017
    Oddometer:
    529
    Location:
    Warsaw, Poland
    1EAD1DC1-A5A3-4BB4-860A-1EB0244AE67F.jpeg 2C5C73DB-F300-4D0D-B107-CB82CEF85B5A.jpeg 1E9AF2A4-FEF2-42A3-B279-2848B150C069.jpeg E8D117ED-8C81-4316-B2EA-2962726F7F0B.jpeg

    Santiago is a strange city. The historical and tourist center is vibrant, rich, full of historical buildings, and quite western. Once you cross the river, you find yourself in a different world: plenty of trash everywhere, visibly poorer, more latino vibes. I think I like it overall, but it showed me more contrasts than I expected to see in Chile, which I hear is the richest country with the strongest economy in South America.

    I also had a few encounters with the local folks, and my first impression is that they are more on the introvert side than I had imagined. It is way too early to form an opinion about Chileans, but so far they seem to contradict the latino stereotype I came with.

    Gabriela, a local tour guide, when asked about the challenges the nation was facing today, told me about strong social divisions between the rich white folks of European descent and the mestizo/indegenous poor folks, some of whom work three jobs and still can’t make their ends meet. She bluntly stated Chileans were racists, and that state run education and healthcare sucked big time...

    Tomorrow I am leaving for Valparaiso and hope to collect my bike and prep it for the ride. Will keep you posted.
    #25
    scudo, s1n4n, Parcero and 6 others like this.
  6. FotoTEX

    FotoTEX Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,972
    Location:
    Granbury Texas
    Ushuaia may be the end of the world, ( I know as I have been there) but for you it is the beginning of your world. Enjoy every mile. LIfe goes by fast...
    #26
    Kabalung, JoeFab and Trekking36 like this.
  7. Kabalung

    Kabalung Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2017
    Oddometer:
    529
    Location:
    Warsaw, Poland
    Day 3, Valparaiso, Chile, 0 km

    I took me a full day to arrive at Valparaiso, collect my bike from the customs, mount the gear and take it to the hostel. When I tried to inflate the tubes, my compressor broke down. What a beginning of the trip!

    At the customs office I met a group of Polish enduro maniacs, Moto Monos, who were starting a six week enduro tour around a few South American countries, including the tracks of Dakar, some desert riding and some exploration of the Amazon jungle. They, too, had some bike problems on arrival. One dead battery and one bike leaking oil.

    Anyways, we had a chance to do some bike talk, exchanged memories of various bike trips and some funny stories. We then filled our tanks and took a 30 km off-road shortcut from the customs warehouse to Valparaiso together.

    There was something very positive and comforting about meeting fellow bikers from Poland so far from home and riding together.

    BD6850DB-A165-47A3-B5DA-2AB664085F19.jpeg

    DC8BC4BA-9390-4E5E-9A04-42357E5D47DD.jpeg E7EFF1DE-261E-4E8F-8B73-2054810BCF49.jpeg
    #27
    george248, scudo, flying.moto and 5 others like this.
  8. Kabalung

    Kabalung Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2017
    Oddometer:
    529
    Location:
    Warsaw, Poland
    Day 4, Valparaiso, Chile, 30 km

    I had a busy day today, which started off with a walking tour of VP. The city is very colorful, with hundreds of murals decorating the city walls. It has a strong artistic vibe to it, but is a bit dirty, messy and chaotic. In a good way though, like Venice.

    In the afternoon I commited myself fully to repairing my compressor or buying a new one. I stopped by a garage, explained my problem to the local mechanic and asked him fix it. It was seriously broken, hence unfixable, so I asked him help me find one. He made a few calls and gave me the address of the store which had it. No need to say, once I bought it, I felt deep relief mixed with a strong sense of achievement - I managed to get help and find the store using my lousy Spanish!

    In the evening my fellow argentinian room-mates invited me for beer and chips. They told me about how difficult life in Argentina was these days and gave me tips on how to survive without beeing robbed. The hostel owner, Nina, commented later: dont listen to them. All Latinos have a strong tendency to exagerate - if you apply common sense and don’t look for trouble, you should be ok.

    This reminded me of the conversation I had with the wife of the garage owner:

    -You should be careful in VP. Bad things may happen.
    -Really? I walked around the city and felt quite safe...
    -Chileans are thieves!
    -Why are Chileans thieves?
    -Because they are Chileans!
    -And where are you from, originally?
    -What do you mean? We are from Chile!

    Let me just add that the diagnostics of my compressor and the help of finding the right store came for free.

    I don’t mean to undermine the wisdom the locals share with me, but it seems there might be some truth to what Nina said. BB21BDD7-2504-44E4-A1F2-637F3F5AE6A6.jpeg 3D3A1DE2-D01A-4E6F-8012-20CB6C662E3C.jpeg 0F5F385B-A417-4D46-9B7A-6730E91E76DB.jpeg 5CA5FCC5-25E0-456C-8439-CF141DA27710.jpeg
    #28
    george248, scudo, flying.moto and 6 others like this.
  9. Kabalung

    Kabalung Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2017
    Oddometer:
    529
    Location:
    Warsaw, Poland
    Day 6, Villarica, Chile, 1030 km

    What a day! So early in the trip and such an adrenaline rush already!

    I took the main highway to the Park of Villarica. It is a paid highway, but pretty much the only one that takes you South. Later on there is an off-road option of Carreterra Austral, but that is still to come. So far Ruta 5 is my only option

    The highway rides are pretty uneventful to my taste, and such was this one. But I had my moment at the gas station, when a guy called Dario, a retired policeman, asked me about my bike. He was a biker himself, so we had a nice 20 min chat, he introduced me to his wife, and gave me his phone number. „in case you need help, call me. I know many people and can help”, he said.


    An hour later, my bike went off and I couldn’t get it running again. The ignition worked but the engine wouldn’t start. Damn! I have the fuel, I have a charged battery, so it is either a fuel pump failure or electicity issue! Not good!

    As I was standing helpless by the road, within two minutes or so, a car pulled down. Guess who? Dario and his wife! I explained the situation to them with my clumsy Spanish, and they called a highway tow services for help. In the meantime, I called Pawel, a befriended biker and a mechanic in Poland, who said it was likely a fuel pump failure, and gave me some advice on how to handle it. By the time we finished talking, the tow car arrived.

    The car driver, Elmo, took me to the closest town, Pitrufquen, but we could not find a workshop which handles bikes. Someone advised us to get to Dario, a car mechanic, who is also a biker, as he might help. And he did!


    It turned out the fuel pump relay broke down, and as soon as they replaced it (had a spare one!) the bike was reanimated... Que bena suerte!



    Now the feelings part: When the bike broke down I had an instant thought that this could be a sign and I should not continue my trip. It reminded me of the miserable times I had in Kazakhstan, and did not want to get through it again. Get the bike fixed, ship it from Valparaiso back home and get your ass on the plane... - I though. „Quien espera, desespera”, they say in Spanish. But within three hours the problem was solved. The good people of Chile helped arrange the towing track (Gracias Dario!), the good people of Chile helped me find a handy bike mechanic (Gracias, Elmo!) and the good people of Chile replaced my relay ( Gracias, second Dario!). It turned out the towing was for free, bacause it is a part of the paid highway deal, and the biker mechanic refused to accept any payment for his help. „We are bikers, so we help each other.”, he said.

    C4B80073-FAAA-423A-B5E2-DB73369FCC2A.jpeg 0A54C9D2-8662-471E-BCDD-EE9318052C81.jpeg A2AFBF37-B069-4CE2-8E9F-5DF2F972D0BD.jpeg 1D5EDC0C-53F4-44B2-9140-D6EF29B1958F.jpeg

    If this the whole thing was a sign, I must have misinterpreted it initially! I am continuing the trip!
    #29
    Frey Bentos, FR700, elron and 18 others like this.
  10. FangitAshmo

    FangitAshmo Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2015
    Oddometer:
    69
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Kabalung. You have a ways to go on this trip which promises to be epic. To give up on the first set-back would be a disaster for you. Have faith in the goodness of people. People do shine in adversity. I was in Chile (Patagonia) last April. Chileans are no exception - great people - amazing country. Get into the groove of the adventure. Good luck!
    #30
    Carlo Muro and Kabalung like this.
  11. Kabalung

    Kabalung Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2017
    Oddometer:
    529
    Location:
    Warsaw, Poland
    That’s what I intend to do now. Thanks for uplifting comment!
    #31
    FangitAshmo likes this.
  12. Parcero

    Parcero Mundial

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,338
    Location:
    Chicago physically, Colombia en mi mente.
    I'll be following along, Kabalung! Have a great trip! Maybe our paths will cross at some point.
    #32
    Kabalung likes this.
  13. #1Fan

    #1Fan Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    Oddometer:
    943
    Location:
    Lakewood, CO , USA
    I'm in!! Thanks for letting us follow along!! Cool bike! :clap:clap:clap
    #33
  14. Kabalung

    Kabalung Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2017
    Oddometer:
    529
    Location:
    Warsaw, Poland
    Day 7, Puerto Varas, Chile, 1.256 km

    I continued on Ruta 5 to Puerto Varas, where I called it a day. Tomorrow I get off the road on Carreterra Austral, so I wanted to buy a spare relay before the the civilization ends. I am not sure I will be able to buy it where I am heading, so I figured I’d wait in a nice place until the stores open on Monday.

    And it is a lovely place! Pto. Varas projects the image of a rich German town. Could be because it is rich and it was established by German immigrants in 19th century. Around the city bay there are three snow capped volcanoes which define the city skyline. And there are palm trees on the beach, which is not typical for this part of Chile.

    Anyways, upon the arrival I asked a local biker at the gas station to show me the way to a good guesthouse, and he took me to a place which is both nice and affordable. While sightseeing the city I also inquired about stores that could have the relay I need, and I got the addresses, so I am ready to try my luck tomorrow.
    614C7979-C7C1-43EF-BAD3-B5F92CAFE2B4.jpeg 6FEC3631-4016-4A48-8FE8-AB358A22890F.jpeg 0C10E4D2-3C0B-42A8-A436-4E83C137D2F5.jpeg 90E733C2-35DA-46F1-B865-1B80448AA2CD.jpeg
    I celebrated my successes in a local restaurant with a Chilean dinner a couple of beers.
    #34
    scudo, flying.moto, Dago and 7 others like this.
  15. Kabalung

    Kabalung Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2017
    Oddometer:
    529
    Location:
    Warsaw, Poland
    Day 8, Hornopiren, Chile, 1.376 km

    I only managed to get to Hornopiren, which is some 120 km away from Puerto Varas, and got stuck. This is the place where I was supposed to take a ferry to Caleto Gonzalo, but I could only get the ticket for the following day.

    They also told me that Carretera Austral has been destroyed around Villa Santa Lucia and no traffic is permited. The only way to proceed south of Chalten is to take another ferry to Raul Marin Balmaceda. That’s 13 hours on the sea for both rides! Damn!

    That is a pity, bacause the ride has just gotten so enjoyable! Carretera Austral, or Ruta 7, has been a pleasure to ride so far. It’s been a mix of tarmac and gravel, nice curvy roads, taking me through most beautiful landscapes - juicy green woods, fjords, volcanos, and lakes. I just hope that skipping a part of the route will not mean I missed most fun parts.
    938A088E-601E-400C-A9DA-659424D24607.jpeg B6B678DB-2319-4DD5-A160-CD2EAA7A0BD5.jpeg D174C2F2-114B-40C8-8156-539000A9C355.jpeg C05B4F96-2D42-4004-A4EB-D069293F3AF6.jpeg
    Anyways, I walked to the nearest restaurant and asked if they would allow me to pitch my tent in their garden and use their facilities. We agreed a symbolic fee and here I am - camping in front of the Hornopiren volcano on a small hill overseeing the bay.
    #35
  16. rattis

    rattis Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2010
    Oddometer:
    3,559
    Location:
    East of the seas of Kattegat
    Hi been there and done that, you're in for a treat.
    Be sure to fill up your tanks at each and every opportunity in Argentina, I kid you not!
    Do not take the costal road in Argentina, BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORING.
    Buenos Aires is nice ,the northern part of Argie is also nice.
    The Pampa sucks, Cafayate is nice.
    Suerte, I'm going to Africa on a Xchallenge in 5 days
    #36
    Kabalung likes this.
  17. Kabalung

    Kabalung Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2017
    Oddometer:
    529
    Location:
    Warsaw, Poland
    Thanks for the advice, I appreciate that.

    Been to Africa, although not on a bike - you will love it. The south and eastern parts are easy to travel, everybody speaks English and all the way to Nothern Kenya roads are relativele good. Be sure not to skip Malawi. It’s a gem, and the people, especially those in remote areas, are most hospitable. You need to take a local med, if you want to swim or dive in the Malawi lake (highly recomended!) and probably anti-malaria drugs, too.

    Aafe travles!
    #37
    forgorin likes this.
  18. Kabalung

    Kabalung Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2017
    Oddometer:
    529
    Location:
    Warsaw, Poland
    Day 9, Chaitén, Chile, + 70 km

    Early in the morning I got on a ferry to Caleta Gonzalo, which took 5 hours. On the ferry, I met a group of Argentinian bikers, who told me I was supposed to get a ticket for the consecutive ferry ride back at Hornopiren. Since I did not get it, I felt unsure what to do, and asked if they could help me get the ticket in Chaitén. They promised to help.

    Form Caleta Gonzalo to Chaitén there is a 60 km ride over Carretera Austral. The road takes you through a dense forrest on a curvy gravel road. It would have been lovely, if not for the fact that I was one of the last to leave the ferry, and the hundreds of cars that left earlier, raised clouds of dust and I could hardly see anything. At times the dust was so thick, you could not see the the road and cars in front of you for more than 10-15
    meters ahead. This meant a slow ride all the way until Chaitén.

    Because the road further south is closed, the only way to go is with the ferry. Unfortunately, there are hundreds of cars and campers awaiting the ride, some people got stuck there for a week, squatting around the harbour - bored and pissed off.

    Benjamin, one of the Argentinians, helped me get the ticket for the following day 7 am ride (for some reason bikes have priority over cars), but said we should try to get on the one that still leaves tonight. Unfortunately, it worked for the Argentinians, but did not work for me and Martin, an American biker, so we headed back to Chaitén to find a place to sleep. 6FC7BF1B-54CC-410D-BBB9-CDC872BD44E4.jpeg CACBAD89-8BF1-45B6-9167-70B947F91DA9.jpeg 067913A6-10B3-4650-AE58-A1A1177E28DB.jpeg 1108CDE7-D33C-456A-9BD4-DBFC32303E59.jpeg
    #38
    BillUA, FR700, george248 and 8 others like this.
  19. Kabalung

    Kabalung Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2017
    Oddometer:
    529
    Location:
    Warsaw, Poland
    Day 10, La Junta, Chile, 1.533 km

    The morning ferry ride took 7 hours to get to the passable part of the road south. But the Carretera Austral after that was just magnificent. The narrow jungle part of it gives you a sense of exploring the unknown, going into the heart of darkness; the mountains and valleys parts are so beautiful that they make you want to cry...

    The plan was to go further south, but Andre, the New Zealander that joined me and Martin, got a serious bike failure, which made us stop at La Junta.

    Andre bought his Suzuki DR 650 in Santiago last week from a Dutch overlander and wanted to go to Ushuaia. Unfortunatelly, the piston rod in his engine broke down, so the bike trip is over for the poor guy.

    What pissed me off most in this whole situation is that the guy who sold the bike to Andre knew he was setting him for failure; the mechanic said the engine was opened up and then closed up with no work done, and the old gasket was replaced with red silicone sealing, so the guy must have known his engine was about to fall apart, yet he sold the bike to Andre.

    How can you do such a thing?! Take advantage of a fellow overlander who came from the other side of the globe and spent his hard earned money to exercise his travel passions, knowing he would end up stuck in the middle of nowhere with no help?! Yak! I really hope that bad carma’s gonna hit this guy hard some day.

    Of course Martin and I helped Andre get the tow truck, have a mechanic look at his bike, and give him some support in those hard times. But the game is now C15E0511-FB1D-4E89-8C5F-6796589C211E.jpeg 7618A827-723A-4CC1-8C88-E113BF2C0956.jpeg 1857FFAB-292A-47BF-A346-9E3FA02CAEAD.jpeg 3F55EDD2-2AAC-478B-998D-C599C08E7272.jpeg over for him.
    #39
  20. LostInTransit

    LostInTransit Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2015
    Oddometer:
    356
    Location:
    Leeds

    lean mean machine right there!



    Dave
    #40
    Kabalung likes this.