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!

Cheers,

-Lenny

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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…