Day 243 – Santa Tereza Do Oeste to Salto, Brazil

Day 243 – Santa Tereza do Oeste to Salto, Brazil      04/21/11      Mileage: 559

Today it was all business laying down miles towards Sao Paulo. It rained on and off most of the morning so it was hard to make good time. Like the other day he roads were very slick in spots and the back end of the bike broke loose again in a corner. The paper map and the GPS map were fighting all morning as well so I had to stop at each junction to find the right road. I was pulled over at the side a traffic circle looking at the map when another rider on a DL650 V-Strom pulled up. As it turns out he was on his way home which was on the way to Sao Paulo, so he offered to lead the way. It was great having a local out in front and for the first time in a long time I didn’t have to worry about navigating….I could just ride and enjoy the scenery.

 Me and my Brazilian guide….

The rain also stopped and the roads dried out making it easier to keep the pace up. After a few hours we arrived in Cornelio Procopio where he showed me the downtown and their Christ the Redeemer statue which also had a great view of the surrounding countryside.

A view of downtown Cornelio Procopio….

He showed me the way back to the highway, I thanked him for his guiding services and I was back on the road. At dusk I started looking for a hotel but the only accommodations along the road were no-tell-motels. I of course have no problem staying in them and I stopped into several, but none would give me a room for the entire night except one but they wanted too much money. So, I pressed on in the dark but didn’t pass a proper roadside hotel for almost another 2 hours. Well, at least tomorrow it will be a short ride to meet up with my friend Sabine in Morungaba tomorrow!

Day 242 – Iguacu Falls and Itaipu Dam, Brazil

Day 242 – Iguacu Falls and Itaipu Dam, Brazil      04/20/11      Mileage: 191

Nice breakfast, packed the bike, blah, blah… I’ll skip right to the good stuff. The Parque Nacional Do Iguacu Falls was one of the first pins I put in my map of must see places when I began planning this trip, and I was going to pick that one off today.  The park is a little touristy, but they did a nice job with it and it doesn’t seem cheesy at all. You can’t ride or take your car into the park……the only way to get to the falls is to take the shuttle buses.

There are over 275 individual waterfalls spanning several kilometers along a horseshoe shaped gorge and rang in size from a small stream to the size of Niagara Falls! It is simply impossible to wrap your head or camera lens around the scale of the scene. Here are the pics…

The trail along the gorge to view the falls is over a kilometer long and it’s impossible to get all of the falls in one picture…can’t be done!

Views up and down the gorge….

These cute little guys were roaming around everywhere…

Lost in translation….

The falls also divide Brazil and Argentina….and you can see the flag of Argentina at above the observation platform across the gorge.

So with that checked off my life list, I had just enough time to also tour the enormous Itaipu Dam which is about 15 miles away. The dam was a joint project with neighboring Paraguay on the Parana. River which divides the two countries and is the largest operating hydroelectric plant on earth. Even though Brazil is 20 times the size of Paraguay in every way, they share everything 50/50 right down the middle…from the power it generates to the workforce which is half Brazilian and half Paraguayan…1500 workers each. The size of the dam is almost as hard to imagine as Iguacu Falls. It’s almost 8 kilometers long (5 miles) and provides 90% of the power used in all of Uruguay and 19% in Brazil.

This is the giant spillway…..and of course the pictures just do not do it justice… is enormous!

The size just doesn’t come across in the pictures, but it’s as tall as a 68 story building…and 5 miles long end to end!

Those big pipes are 10 meters (33 feet) across, and just 2 of them (there are 20 all together!) can carry the entire flow of Iguacu Falls!

A view of the giant spillway from above…

After finishing the tour I made my way back to Santa Tereza Do Oeste to the same hotel I stayed at last night. Tomorrow will be all business laying down miles to get to Sao Paulo by Friday afternoon where I have a hot Brazilian chick waiting for me. My friend Sabine is flying down from the US to spend time with me and her family over Easter…it will be great to see a familiar face! It’s too bad her husband and also one of my best friends, Johnny O (a wild man on his KTM 625 SXC) couldn’t make it down.

Ooops…Day 238 never got published…but it’s up now…

Ooops…Day 238 never got published…but it’s up now if you want to go back and read it. I am currently in Santa Tereza Do Oeste, Brazil….heading for Sao Paulo soon!



Day 241 – Maravilha to Santa Tereza Do Oeste, Brazil

Day 241 – Maravilha to Santa Tereza Do Oeste, Brazil      04/19/11       Mileage: 199

I lingered this morning to enjoy my sweet digs, use the wifi, and get my $35 worth of the very nice breakfast.

The Maravilha Park Hotel….very nice for $35 USD….

Complete with a regulation soccer field and sand volleyball court…

I had to do some financial reshuffling also as I haven’t found a bank ATM yet that likes my card. The weather was clear and warm and the road north was also great fun twisting and turning over rolling hills.

Odd town sign at the entrance to Maravilha…

I was trying to make time to make up for my late start so I didn’t stop to take many pictures. It also started raining for the last 2 hours of riding and again the roads got very slick.

Darkness caught up to me about 90 miles from my destination…Iguacu Falls. That will have to wait for tomorrow morning, and another one off the life list…

Day 240 – Sao Sepe to Maravilha, Brazil

Day 240 – Sao Sepe to Maravilha, Brazil     04/18/11     Mileage: 285

I awoke to the sound of diesel engines which is of course no surprise as I was camping in a truck stop. Well, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em….so I packed up the bike and split.

It was raining on and off and the road, while paved, was very slippery in spots and it caught me off guard the first few times the bike got loose on me. The rear end broke loose and fishtailed when I was braking for a speed bump and another time simply by down-shifting. Granted I’m on knobby tires with high air pressure to survive the highway speeds, but I was used to that….this was different. What I finally figured out is that most of the side roads are not paved, and the dirt…this reddish brown clay…gets dragged onto the paved road by other vehicles. It was this reddish brown clay that was making the roads slick in the rain, but it was hard to see.

Taking a break and drying off a bit…

I stopped several times for gas and to dry off a bit, and the bike seems to garner a bit of attention again like Central America. Several people asked me questions, but I couldn’t answer of course as the extent of my Portuguese amounts to 3 words…oi, which means hi, obrigado, which means thank you, and caipirinha, which means 2 oz’s of cachaca or vodka, 2 muddled limes and sugar, shaken on the rocks….which is only handy if you’re thirsty and in search of a hangover. If they spoke a little Spanish then I was able to get some points across. But compared to my Portuguese, in Spanish I’m virtually a cunning linguist. I jest of course, as Helena and Gustavo’s sons, age 5 and 3, regularly trounced my Spanish and had to speak to me in English. They are being raised bilingual…how great is that! So anyway, I arrived in Maravilha and saw a nice hotel set back off the side of the road. Chilled and soaked, I decided to just ask even though it looked out of my budget. It was actually only $35 USD…above my budget but within reach for one night….and breakfast and all the wifi I could use was included. It also had a well stocked bar…enough said. After settling in I adjourned to the bar for a beer and burger. Most beer down here is available in liter size, and like all beer the first one goes down fast. The second liter sometimes takes a you bit longer and sometimes…..the last bit gets a little warmish for optimum consumption. Well, this hotel has a solution in the form of a liter size beer cozy. Perfect!

They also march to their own drum in the hamburger department. I ordered the hamburger completo…which usually means lettuce, tomato, cheese…etc. Well, this burger completo was very completo! It had the lettuce, tomato, onions, cheese, bacon, mayonnaise, mustard and ketchup….I’m with it so far…ham also….OK…a fried egg….hmm…sure why not. But they strayed from the reservation with layer of peas and corn.

Fried egg…..

…peas and corn.

Don’t get me wrong, I still mowed that thing down like Rosie O’Donnell at a Krispy Cream buffet, but it was a little odd.

 Bloated….from the burger or the beers, I’m not sure which…I wallowed back to my room to sleep it off…

Day 239 – Valizas, Uruguay to Sao Sepe, Brazil

Day 239 – Valizas, Uruguay to Sao Sepe, Brazil      04/17/11      Mileage: 396

The wind howled all night as my campsite was only 100 yards from the ocean. The clouds looked ominous as I was packing up and it started to rain just as I was finishing.

Packed and ready to hit the road…

The sleepy bohemian town of Valizas, Uruguay

I rode for maybe 5 miles before the skies opened up with torrent of rain, wind and lightning. I was soaked in minutes but I pressed on towards the Brazil border. I stopped for gas after 40 or so miles and waited a while to see if it would let up, but it only got worse and the skies look dark and angry in every direction. So, I pressed on as waiting there any longer was only delaying the inevitable it seemed. I haven’t seen rain this steady and hard since northern Guatemala, and I know this for a fact because like then the bike started sputtering from all the water soaking the electrics. Luckily I rolled right into the Uruguay border post a short time later with the hope of drying both me and the bike out while I processed out of the country. For once I was in no rush at all and wouldn’t you know I was processed out in under 2 minutes…go figgure. I hung around for a while anyway, but begrudgingly put on my helmet and set off for the Brazil side of the border. In between in no mans land is the town of Chuy (Chui in Portuguese), which is one big duty free zone. There was also a hotel with a garage and I was mighty tempted at the prospect of getting warm and dry, but decided to keep going. The Brazil side of the border was easy, straightforward and didn’t cost anything for the bike(the Brazil visa I got back in Buenos Aires cost $145). So that done I was off and riding north along the coast of Brazil…country number 18!

The road was boring and straight and not close enough to see the ocean to provide a view. The rain did finally let up and after getting gas in Quinta, my route turned inland across some rolling hills with nice twists and turns which made for some good riding. What’s not so good was the price of gas in Brazil so far…$7.60 per gallon! Might I add that this is also a BIG country and it will take A LOT of gas to cross it…so much for the budget. Towards the end of the day the sun finally came out and I was able to dry out a bit.

At dusk I was looking for a place to bush camp, but the only place I could find was a grassy spot on the side of a truck stop. Oh well…good enough for truckers…good enough for a smelly biker…

Day 238 – Montevideo to Valizas, Uruguay

Day 238 – Montevideo to Valizas, Uruguay      04/16/11      Mileage: 216

I was up relatively early and worked on the blog over breakfast. I had one last look around town before packing the bike and heading east out of town.

I took the road that ran along the waterfront and it was quite a nice ride. There was a great pedestrian walkway and bike path that ran along the beach that must have stretched for some 15 miles at least.

My first stop for today was the beach town and resort of Punta del Este, perhaps one of the most famous in South America.

I rode around taking in the sights and boy was there a lot of money in that town…you could almost swear you were in Miami Beach.

One of these bikes is not like the others….

I had a quick lunch and then continued east along the coast heading for Cabo Polonio National Park. When I arrived I was disappointed to find out that the only way to get into the park was on a 4×4 tour…I couldn’t ride or even walk in myself. I’m not big on the group tour thing so I split and continued up the coast. It was getting late so I decided to find somewhere to camp and found it in the little bohemian town of Valizas. It had a little hippie colony vibe to it and seemed like a pretty tranquilo place. Tomorrow I’ll have a better look around and then it’s on to Brazil!

Day 237 – Dolores to Montevideo, Uruguay

Day 237 – Dolores to Montevideo, Uruguay      04/15/11      Mileage: 211

It rained most of the night and into the morning, but around 8:30 it let up just long enough for me to break camp and hit the road. Fifteen minutes later it started pouring and there was nowhere to even pull over and wait it out, so I pressed on. Thankfully the rain stopped just before the town of Colonia de Sacramento, a touristy and expensive colonial town that was worth a quick look.

A cool old car parked on the street…

After snapping some photos I was back on the bike heading for the capital of Montevideo. Along the way I passed what must have been a pro cycling race with a full entourage of police and support vehicles.

I arrived in Montevideo a short time later and settled into a hostel near the city center.

That night I walked around and I have to say that the downtown has the look and feel of NYC more than any other city I’ve been to on this trip…right down to the pizza shop on every other corner.

I got a table in a street cafe and enjoyed a margarita pizza and a liter of beer while taking in the scene.

Back at the hostel I chatted with some of the other travelers and used the wifi before calling it a night….

Day 236 – Buenos Aires, Argentina to Dolores, Uruguay

Day 236 – Buenos Aires, Argentina to Dolores, Uruguay      04/14/11      Mileage: 228

Valerii was heading the same direction this morning, so we agreed to ride together. He was heading for Paraguay…me for Uruguay. I chatted more with the lads from the UK and used the wifi for a bit, then packed the bike and Valerii and I hit the road.

Valerii and his white Honda Africa Twin….

L to R: John, Dave, Ian and the famous Javier…owner of Dakar Moto’s…

It was good to be rolling again for sure, though I think I needed a good break from the day to day grind of the road…and Buenos Aires was the perfect spot to do it. About 90 miles from Buenos Aires, we crested a small bridge and up ahead I could see a police checkpoint. No big deal, Valerii and I have each been through hundreds of them, and most of the time they just wave you through..or perhaps just a question or two. But this time the cop waved us to the side of the road and said one word…seguro…Spanish for insurance. He didn’t care about a license, import permit, passport….nothing. He wanted to see our insurance documents for one reason…because it’s mandatory in Argentina and he doesn’t think we have it…and he would be right. In fact few overland bikers do purchase it and he probably knows that. So, I’ve developed a bag of tricks for dealing with cops, now I just have to decide which trick to pull out of the bag to get out of this. Hmmm, I think I’ll play the document game with him. It goes like this…he asked you for something, in this case an insurance document. You in turn look puzzled as to what he’s actually looking for, but you want to seem helpful, so you start pulling out all manner of paperwork and official looking documents and just keep handing them over one by one….then two at a time until he’s got a mound of official paperwork and documentation 2 inches thick. As he hands one back you hand him another one…international vaccination record, international driving permit, tourist card….whatever…just keep handing over documents until he forgets what in the hell he actually asked you for in the first place. It’s also important to make sure he see’s your passport filled to the rim with stamps so he know’s that your an experienced traveler…and you must know what your doing. I point to all the flags on my side cases also…it builds the case that you actually know what you need more than he does. Eventually, as was the case this time too, they tire of the game, hand your stack of paperwork back and wave you on. Valerii was behind me and I can hear him playing a similar game. He handed the cop a bunch of paperwork with his insurance card from Ukraine, pointed to the 20+ countries on his fairing and said it’s valid everywhere…knowing full well it’s not valid outside of Ukraine…heck, maybe not even in Ukraine! Lol Anyway, he let Valerii pass also and we were on our way. Another 60 miles up the road we reached my turnoff for Uruguay.

Safe travels my friend…

We wished each other well on the rest of our journeys, and we parted ways. The border was blissfully simple as both the Argentina and Uruguay border posts are in one building. They even have the 4 desks you have to go to right next to each other and numbered 1,2,3,4….brilliant! Crossing a border in 4 easy steps…literally! So that done, it was on into Uruguay…country number 17.

Found this great little dirt road through the open country of central Uruguay…

It was starting to get dark so I found a good stealth campsite….that is…until they turned the lights on for some night practice on the soccer field…damn…didn’t see that when I pitched my tent in the dark! Oh well, I ain’t moving now…

Day 235 – Buenos Aires, Argentina

Day 235 – Buenos Aires, Argentina      04/13/11      Mileage: Local miles

Javier at Dakar Moto’s had tracked down a set of tires for me, so after picking those up I was going to hit the road north. Helena and Gustavo have been such gracious hosts and their home is so nice and comfortable, it’s hard to leave for sure!

With digs like this, no wonder it was so hard to leave! 

But the KLR isn’t going to ride itself back to NJ, so I packed my things and headed for Dakar to pick up my tires.

As it turns out, they didn’t arrive until 6pm. There were also a few other bikers staying there that night, and we started to do what bikers do when they get together….drink beer and tell lies and tales from the road. Valerii is from the Ukraine and is on the South American leg of an around the world ride! There were also 3 other riders from the UK…John, Dave and Ian…that were there waiting for their bikes to be delivered after being held up in transit. Their plan is to head for Ushuaia, then ride up to New York…so it may work out that we get to ride some miles together, perhaps in the US! Worst case we’ll try and meet up when they arrive in NYC. So, it seems I wasn’t meant to leave Buenos Aires just yet…and I crashed at Dakar Moto’s for one last night…

Day 232 – 234 – Buenos Aires, Argentina

Day 232 – 234 – Buenos Aires, Argentina       04/10-12/11        Mileage: 0

I spent the last few days running errands and trying to track down a new set of tires after hearing how expensive they are in Brazil. The odd thing is that many of the motorcycle tires sold in South America are made in Brazil, so you would think they would be cheap there…go figgure.

They had a KLR on the sales floor…but no tires in stock…  😦

Here is a rare sight in South America….a Buell XB12 Ulysses… gusta! The only other one I saw in all of South and Central America was Cort’s (the owner of Freedom Bike Rental) back in Quito, Ecuador…

I also took Helena and Gustavo’s son Alex for a ride on the back of my bike. He’s quite the little dare devil at the age of 5 and the harder I hit the throttle the more he liked it. In 15 or so years, it seems that maybe he’ll be globe trotting on his own adventure motorcycle. I also took a walk one afternoon to the river front near the house which was quite a nice little scene.

 A view down the river towards downtown Buenos Aires…

Other than that I just chilled and enjoyed Buenos Aires.

Day 231 – Buenos Aires, Argentina

Day 231 – Buenos Aires, Argentina      04/09/11      Mileage: 0

I woke up at 1 in the afternoon with what I could swear was an axe buried in my head. I wasn’t motivated to do squat but I did at least sort through some pictures and did a bit of work on the blog. I also heard from Joachim and Kyosti, the father and son team from Denmark that I rode with back on the Carretera Austral in Chile. They had arrived in Buenos Aires a few days ago and have a flight back home in a 3 days. It just so happens that they were staying in…you guest it…San Telmo, so I rallied to meet them for a few beers that evening.

We ended up staying a bit later than I thought enjoying the live music in Dorrego Square and I misread the train schedule, so ended up missing the last train back to Martinez by 30 minutes. Crap! Oh well, so I went and parked myself in an all night cafe for a bite to eat and some coffee. Needless to say it was another late night getting home at 6am again…

Day 230 – Buenos Aires, Argentina

Day 230 – Buenos Aires, Argentina      04/08/11      Mileage: 0

Helena told me to check out Puerto Madero, so after catching the train back downtown that was my first stop. It runs right along the old wharf that surely was a bustling port back in the day. The warehouses that run along the docks have been converted to trendy restaurants, upscale office space and even a college.


Hooters….flying the American flag of beer swilling buffalo wing eating goodness in the middle of Buenos Aires.

The old cranes were painted and now stand as towering relics of a bygone era. One has even been turned into an information booth.

After walking along the waterfront I walked the few blocks over to my new favorite bario…San Telmo. I parked myself in the square and took in the scene for a few hours.

A tango in the Plaza Dorrego…

Beto and Tracy had also arrived in town, so I made dinner plans with them in Polermo. I met them at an apartment of another rider they had met along their route. Felix is from Colombia but is now studying and living in Buenos Aires. After polishing off a bottle of Johnny Walker Red at his place, we went out for dinner.

As chance would have it we ended up right back in San Telmo where we had dinner, drinks and continued the makings of a mean hangover until 4am.

I first had to catch the train back to Martinez so I didn’t get back until 6am. Tomorrow, or actually, today is going to hurt…

Day 229 – Buenos Aires, Argentina

Day 229 – Buenos Aires, Argentina      04/07/11      Mileage: 0

After a good night’s sleep at Gustavo and Helena’s, I went back downtown to pick up my Brazilian visa.

Helena and Gustavo’s house in Buenos Aires…

It wasn’t ready when I arrived and was told to come back in 2 hours….so I went and used the wifi in a nearby cafe.

Returning to the consulate my visa was ready and I was off to explore more of Buenos Aires. I wanted to check out the bario of San Telmo which is supposed to be the hip part of town, like the Village in NY. I spent the afternoon walking around and sitting in a cafe on Plaza Dorrego which was really enjoyable.

Plaza Dorrego in the heart of San Telmo…

After lingering to take in the scene, I hopped the train back to Martinez where Gustavo and Helena were hosting a small dinner party which they graciously invited me to.

L to R:  Helena, Gustavo and me….

It’s in situations like this that I realize how limited my wardrobe is, as the nicest things I had to wear were grease stained jeans, a quick dry Fox riding jersey and flip-flops. No one cared though as like Gustavo and Helena, their friends are gracious, fun and enjoyable to talk with.

….and one with the ladies! Too bad their all taken….

Thankfully they also all spoke excellent english and were spared the indignity of my clumsy and limited pigeon spanish. We had a thoroughly enjoyable evening of great conversation, good food, wine, and whiskey and cigars for the boys on the back patio before calling it a night.

That was certainly one of the most enjoyable days on the trip…thanks Helena and Gustavo!

Day 228 – Buenos Aires, Argentina

Day 228 – Buenos Aires, Argentina      04/06/11       Mileage: Local miles

This morning it was back on the train downtown to the Brazilian Consulate to apply for a visa. Luckily there was only one person ahead of me in line and it only took 20 minutes. They said it would be ready tomorrow at noon which would be great, as I was told by others it would take at least a week…sometimes two! That done I was off to see more sights, this time heading for the upscale bario’s of Recoleta and Polermo. First up was Recoleta and it was nice just to walk the streets.

I found a nice sidewalk cafe for a small bite to eat and then walked across the plaza to tour the famous Cemetario de la Recoleta…the final resting place of anyone who was anyone in Argentina…ex presidents, generals, aristocrats and Eva Peron are all buried here.

But that alone is not what makes this cemetery famous, it’s also the mind boggling array of mausoleums and tombs in every conceivable architectural style that make it like a small city itself. Some look like miniature chapels or the stone edifice of an old bank, while others have monuments and sculptures.

The Duarte family mouseleum….Eva Peron’s maiden name….

Most are well kept and some have fallen into disrepair, but for sure there is a unique story behind each of them.

This one was glass on the front and sides…a close-up of the inside is below…

After making the rounds at the cemetery, I walked to the bario of Polermo taking in the scene along the way. I picked up a sandwich and had a relaxing picnic lunch in the botanical garden…a little oasis of tranquility in the bustling city.

After strolling around Polermo I started making my way back towards the train station, then back to Dakar Moto’s to finish up the work on the bike.

 I also relocated from Dakar to a friends of friends house who live in Martinez…a very nice suburb of Buenos Aires. It was short ride over to Gustavo and Helena’s house…and what a nice house it is! It was a significant upgrade from the “modest” accommodations at Dakar and they are very gracious and welcoming hosts. Photos coming soon…

Day 227 – Buenos Aires, Argentina

Day 227 – Buenos Aires, Argentina       04/05/11       Mileage: 0

Gus was heading  into town as well so we hopped on the train and headed downtown. He steered me in the right direction and then went off to do his errands.

I first had to get some documents printed and scanned for my Brazil visa application, then went to the Brazilian Consulate. I arrived 15 minutes after they stopped taking foreign visa applications for the day, so I’ll have to come back tomorrow.

Of well, at least now I can head out to see some of the sights around town.

The memorial commemorating the Falkland Islands War with Britain…

This guy was selling nuts and was a real character…and a little nuts himself!

The consulate was on the north end of Avenida 9 de Julio…which is like Buenos Aires’s answer to the Champs-Elysees in Paris, a broad boulevard with nice cafes and shops.

In fact they call Buenos Aires the Paris of South America, and I’d have to say that was true…fashionable people, good coffee and croissants, and dog shit all over the sidewalks.

At the Obelisco, I hung a left and walked to the Plaza de Mayo and the famous Casa Rosada(the residence of the president)…the balcony from which Juan and Eva Peron gave so many impassioned speeches.

The Casa Rosada….

I sat in the plaza for a while to take it all in, then walked down to the trendy bario(neighborhood) of San Telmo where I found a nice cafe and did some people watching. I continued walking around San Telmo a bit more and then began to make my way back towards the train station.

Along the way I walked down Calle Florida, a pedestrian only street filled with shops, cafe’s and street performers…including a dance company showing off their tango skills.

And no city in the Western World would be complete without a Starbucks of course…

After catching the train back to Florida and Dakar Moto’s, I worked on the bike for a bit as well as the blog which was still back in Chile! Gus and I also hung out for a bit and drank a few beers before I called it a night. Tomorrow it’s back to the Brazilian Consulate to turn in my visa application and see more of Buenos Aires…

Day 226 – Buenos Aires, Argentina

Day 226 – Buenos Aires, Argentina      04/04/11      Mileage: 0

Today was a rest day of sorts spent working on the blog, returning emails, and just walking around the local neighborhood running some errands. Tomorrow I’m going to head downtown see the sights and to stop by the Brazilian consulate to start my visa application…

Token picture: The KLR in the Dakar Moto stable with the other adventure bikes…

Day 225 – Tornquist to Buenos Aires, Argentina

Day 225 – Tornquist to Buenos Aires, Argentina      04/03/11      Mileage: 386

It was a nice morning in camp and I took the time to make coffee and chill for a bit before the final push into Buenos Aires.

I only had around 380 miles to go, so instead of taking the most direct route I got off on some side roads to explore a little of the countryside.

I found a great dirt road that weaved its way between some farms and open country which was a nice change from the last 1500 miles of fast straight highway.

Back on the pavement I passed the Moretti guys that I had first met in an Irish pub in Ushuaia. I bumped into them again at the Argentina border….and now again 1500 miles north on some random road outside of Buenos Aires…what are the odds.

The picture is crooked because I took it with my regular camera as I was wizzing by!

Here they are parked at the Argentina border post in Tierra del Fuego…some 1500 miles south of here…with there 4×4 delivery truck!

They work for a beer distributer in Italy, which sent them on an expedition to deliver beer to Ushuaia…how cool is that!  The beer distribution business must be lucrative in Italy! LOL  Soon after I hit the outskirts off Buenos Aires and thank god I had a GPS guiding me or else I would have never found Dakar Moto’s…a home for wayward overland bikers and their motorcycles. Being a Sunday there was nobody there…and it was only sheer luck that another rider, Gus, who was staying there wandered up and saw me sitting there on my bike and let me in. In addition to being a repair shop, Dakar Moto’s is also a small “hostel” that amounts to 2 bunk beds, a bathroom and a small kitchen in the back of the repair shop. Nothing fancy for sure, but who cares. The owners, Javier and his wife Sandra, also help with local info, logistics and they’ll store your bike as well if needed.

That night Gus and I had a few beers and swapped stories and lies from the road…

Day 224 – Puerto Madryn to Tornquist, Argentina

Day 224 – Puerto Madryn to Tornquist, Argentina      04/02/11      Mileage: 442

The morning air was noticeable warmer than it has been which is certainly due to my progress north. I broke camp and got back on the road and was also delighted that the wind was calm. Now I was able to whip up the pace and really make time on the arrow straight roads across the bland scenery.

Sleepy cat…

Half way through the day I was able to switch back to my summer riding gloves…which I like riding with much better and haven’t used in weeks. It was all business though getting north…hopping from YPF station to YPF station. I was still on the road at sunset which compelled me to stop for the first time today to take a picture.

There were also some small mountains off to the east which not only made for a good sunset picture…but also might offer a good stealth campsite. So I hung a right off the main road and headed up into the mountains.

 Sure enough I found a wooded picnic area that fit the bill and I even had a picnic table…luxury! Tomorrow, it’s on to Buenos Aires…and another one off the life-list…

Day 223 – Caleta Olivia to Puerto Madryn, Argentina

Day 223 – Caleta Olivia to Puerto Madryn, Argentina      04/01/11      Mileage: 352

The hotel let me put my bike in the lobby last night and while I had a good place out of the weather, I figured it’s also a good time to change my oil. So I went to work on the bike and the owner didn’t seem to mind and was asking me questions about the trip while I worked. That done I packed the bike and headed out of town. My rear tire was almost gone and I had to put the other that I’ve been carrying on. The owner of the hotel had told me about a good Honda dealer in the next town…so that’s where I was heading next. I found it easily but they literally closed the door in my face….? Damn siestas! They didn’t reopen until 3:30pm…3 hours from now…and I didn’t feel like waiting around that long. I went a few blocks back to tire repair shop and asked if they could swap the tire for me, which they could….sweet.

So I pulled the rear wheel off, and using the tire changing machine the mechanic had the tire swapped in 10 minutes. I’m embarrassed to say that it took me (even with Marshall’s help) over 90 minutes to swap the rear tire by hand back in Uyuni. So to me that is $7 well spent! Back on the gas the wind was not quite as strong as yesterday, but still gusting heavily in spots. Late in the afternoon the road turned more northeast which put the wind primarily at my back…making it much easier to ride. At sundown I started to look for a stealth campsite which I found 100 yards off the road by riding into the open range through a gap in the fence.

My stealth campsite near Puerto Madryn

Tomorrow it’s more of the same…and I hope the wind continues to get more manageable as I make my way north…