An overlander's account of South and Central America by motorbike - the trusty Suzuki DR650. Within are great travel tips and hints (2011).

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pics for the last of Argentina

 Well... I think I´m giving up on trying to make the photos fit nicely.  Blogger doesnt really like me moving photos around much and most of the time spent writing the trying to fit the phots.  So I´ll just leave it as they come out.  Above are some animals seen at Iguazu.  Some fish caught in the rivers East of Salta in Argentina.

The little boy above was crying when I met them at Iguazu so I chucked the trusty akubra on his head and the weather dried up!!!  Also above are some valleys north of Cafayate.  BEAUTIFUL!! Iguazu I jumped the rails to chill out near the falls and have a dip, a sanga and a celebratory cigar.  Unfortunately I lasted about 3 mins before I called to return to the boardwalk!  Falls in background...

I pulled into this servo soaking wet and freezing on the way west to Salta.  This old beauty was driven my Canadians all through Central and Sth America (and around the world on other trips).  We shared some details and plans in the cafe were I luft a large puddle on the floor from my clothing...

Sometimes if you time it wait a while to get gasolina!  (If they have it at all)

Part of the main falls at Iguazu!

This was the end of my wet day...I got treated to a dry room!  This is a local hall where they party and here is where the roast pig!!!

At many servos there is no air for tyres...but often a "gomeria" (tyre shop) close by for some air.  These guys hooked me up with a tyre checkup!

Goatin about a round about...

This was the end of my very mentally difficult day (the moto crash, lots of death and other crashes and rain...).  They treated me to pizza and cake for tea and gave breakfast as well!  I only asked to camp on their grass.  

Beautiful scenery in the Cafayate valley!

Camping in the Cafayate valley.

Llama llama llama llama!

Windy dirt roads at just under 5000m...eventually the water trickling down the road turns into ice.  Yesterday I was at 400m.

 San Antonio de los Cobres

The hills near Huarmamarca.  The entire valley here is surrounded with beautifully coloured hills and is declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.

 More ass in northern Argentina than you can poke a stick at...
 More hills in the valley.

This was coming into the Huarmamarca valley (its on the way to La Quiaca, the Bolivian border)

Finally changing the tyre I was given to get me a few thou clicks.  Nice to finally have it off the back and on the front...for Bolivian dirt roads!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Change of plans...

A few days ago when riding from Cuzco to Nazca (Peru) I made a big decision to change plans.  Partly because of small carby problems with the bike at the time which made me realise I don´t have spare time if something goes wrong.

I was trying to finish South America in April, blast through central America, and be in the states by May and finish the states in 2 months so I could meet my brother and mum in Greece in July.  However this was a big rush and I was missing a lot of AMAZING things in SOUTH AMERICA!!!

So I´ve decided to mosey on slowly through the rest of south and central America and fly over to Europe from somewhere in the states to meet Mum and Shane and then return to the states and Canada to complete the moto journey properly, and most likely work in Canada. 

I hope you are all well!  Travelling here is amazing!  More updates soon.
B. xo

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Last of Argentina - Iguaza to Cafayate and La Quiaca - 24th-30th March 2011

After leaving BA I headed for Iguazu Falls then west across to Cafayate for beautiful hilly riding and a border crossing at La Quaica

24th March 2011 (725 km) - Yapayu (Campgrounds - 8 pesos)
Today and tomorrow are public holidays (Thurs and Fri) so traffic on the road to Iguazu Falls was horrific!  There were a few rolled trucks and some back track detours!  Found a nice campsite at Yapayu on the river...and on the other side was Brazil!!

Bikers note...I made it passed km 341 I think were the corrupt cops were by tailgating a truck real close and kept riding when we went passed.  Further down the road a cop tried getting 20 pesos off me.  He said I needed a reflective X but I said my jacket was reflective.  He tried for a few more mins when I said...look a car!!!  And he let me go!!

25th March 2011 (616 km) - Puerto Iguazu - (Hotel Inn - 65 pesos/night) 
Today I woke to the sound Of dinghies crushing the river and a fair breeze ablowin. It was a fairly easy day 
of cruising north to Puerto Iguazu. A truck crash sent lemon a crazy detour through some dirt roads...much like
 what I'd travelled on 2 hours before to reach a parallel road. Great riding and quiet villages always lie here!
 I managed to drop my helmet at a servo and cracked one end of the visor off. It still works but its only a
Matter of time...something cousin Paul will be happy about (an avid Harley rider). After pushing through rain
 and dust i finally made it to P Iguazu. Joe the ol fella i met in BA told of a place he stayed at so I checked it
 out. It had a pool flashy buildings nd everything else. I went in expecting to walk straight back out after
 hearing the price...but at 65 pesos (12.50 aud) it was too good to pass up. Tomorrow...Iguazu falls!!!

26th March 2011 (56) - Lago Urugua (Camp)
I headed to Iguazu today and it was BUSY!!! The entry is 100 pesos. The train lines were massive so I walked
 between most of the falls...and sometimes ran to beat the train and the crowd!  There were animals roaming
 everywhere and beautiful butterflies about!  I arrived at the main falls and a little boy was I chucked
 my akubra on his head and he loved it!  Amazing how simple things can make kids smile!  I wanted to have a
 celebratory cigar here so I jumped the rails at the main falls and lit up about 100m from the falls in the water. 
 I was about to start making a sanga when some locals said I couldnt and had to get back on the platform!!! 
 Dang!  I tried anyway.  The falls were awe inspiring and beyond anything you can imagine.

When I returned and was about to leave the key for my disc lock broke off inside it.  The scary thing was in 
5 minutes I busted it off and was on the road to Paraguay.  Apparently it was possible to cross to Paraguay 
via Brazil with a temp visa or something but I was denied and had to go south around Paraguay across towards
 Cafayate.  I found a beautiful camp amidst pine trees at a camping site on Lago Urugua...tranquilo!  Apart 
from the storm that was approaching!

27th March 2011 (616 km) - Resistencia (Camp)
The storm last night had passed until morning when the rain finally hit unluckily the tent held up!  Unfortunately
 though I made it 50m down the red dirt road and the tyres slipped on the grease!!! I nearly snapped my 
knee and ankle is it came down. Eventually I got on the road and my earlier thought to put on a rainjacket
 paid off...for a while. 100km later I was soaked to thebones and freezing cold. It seems the waterproof riding 
jacket, boots, raincoat and pants all aren't waterproof at 100km/h!! I took off after donning some warms and 
meeting 4 Argentinian BMW riders at a servo apparently the BMW is the only bike to ride for argentinians!! 
The clouds stuck around all day! Ventually the roads got flat and straight and the soil once again became black. 
There were some unreal palm forests around...of course tainted by the power lines. 
I pulled into a servo after only 80 km needing a break and warmth again, and paranoid about the next fuel stop. 
Inroad through 6 inches of water into the town and found this ol antique Rolls Royce...driven by Canadians! we
 shared some info and routes and parted ways. In the meantime Id leaked a metre square puddle on the floor of 
the servo cafeteria! By the way, They'd recently travelled the world in the RR!
Finally I pushed on and made it to Resistencia after crossing a huge bridge with a beautiul village and fish markets
 on the road. I'd heard resistencia had sculptures galore so I detoured in to see em. Sure enough they were
 fantastic! I left in search of a camp as it was getting late. After getting turned out of 2 camping places (socios only)
 some nice blokes let me camp in a social hall. They come over for a yarn and cleaned up after a party the night 
before. They were super interested in the bike! Im dry again for now...
28th March 2011 (766 km) - Famailla (Local family´s house)  **Please read this day**
Today was one of the toughest days I´ve had on the road.  2 minutes after leaving camp, I arrived at a motorbike crash.  It was a small local motorbike and as I approached I saw a bloke lying in the mud next to another person.  The moto wa 10m away on its side and the helmet 50m down the road.  I´m not sure what happened here.  I though maybe my first aid experience could help but there were a few people attending already and as I passed I saw the second person lieing in the biggest pool of blood I´ve ever seen.  I looked into the eyes of the person holding them and it was a strange feeling.  His face was vacant like he´d lost everything in an instant.  They could´ve only been going down the road to get milk, but usually only one person has a helmet, if any.  The shoulders of the road was a mudslick also.  This image stuck with me for the whole day and since then as well.  It made me think how I´d feel if I lost someone close to me.  So I decided to do this...

Dad, Mum, Shane...I love you guys more than anything in the world.  I appreciate everything you´ve done for me and couldn´t have had a better life to this day.  My family and mates...I appreciate you more than you have shaped the person I am and for that I thank you.  Go back now and think about this and tell those you need to that you appreciate them.

The next 100km after this I saw 3 dead dogs on the road, 2 rolled trucks, and a litter of kittens that had just been thrown out on the road and were still spasming.  Today was a mental test.  After this it continued to rain for some time.  Eventually it dried up and I passed through some lovely villages with more asses and goats than you could count!  On dusk I pulled into Famailla looking for the local campgrounds and turns out it had none.  I pushed down the road and pulled into a big yard with some grass and asked to pitch my tent there...they gave me a bed in their shed, pizza and cake, and made me take a shower (rightly so)!!!  Its amazing how the good of people can turn an ordinary day into an amazing one. 

29th March 2011 (377 km) - Near Cachi (Camp)
In the morning I was given bread and tea before I left.  I thanked the family and told them of the previous day and how it warmed my heart to have them help me...the old guy that owned the place shed a tear as I left.  I pushed up into the Andes through beautiful Forest and then onto the Altiplano through Cafayate and past Cachi were I found a nice spot to camp above a river and surrounded by cacti!  This region is full of beautiful hills and wineries...a must ride (Cafayate to San Antonio de Los Cobres).

30th March 2011 (504 km) - La Quaica (Camp)
Riding through the hills was amazing this morning and eventually over a pass at 4900m.  Many creek crossings, dirt tracks and beautiful views!  I pushed pasted a beautiful salt flat and through the coloured hills at Purmamarca.  The valley here is a UNESCO world heritage site and rightly so...its beautiful!  Finally I made it to the frontier town of La Quaica on the border of Bolivia and camped for free in the municipal campsite...quite run down.

No pics today...more soon.

Buenos Aires 19th - 23rd March 2011

In Buenos Aires I stayed at Dakar Motos.  A great place with fellow travellers and advice and help at hand!  I spent a few days here servicing the bike...oil change, new tyres etc.  Other than that I managed to check out a zoo, the Recoleta cemetery (full of massive houses and statues for the dead), watched a game of soccer at La Boca and checked out Camanito!  Buenos Aires was a nice place but not one of my favourites!

To watch a game at La Boca (how to get tickets at La Boca stadium) NOT buy the 400 peso tourist pass.  Go to the gates around 2 hrs before the game (find out when the game is on from the tourist info places that sell the costly tickets) and ask "donde puede comprar un boleta?" will be offered some around 200 or 300, and some tickets can be fake.  Find one of the socios that has a card and will get you in for 100 pesos!!!  La popular is definitely the best place to be...the atmosphere there is amazing...90 minutes of sweat spraying, singing, drum beating and arm throwing!!  The place is pretty safe although you will be locked in at the end so all the other stages can leave first...tourists might be let out if you can get back to the door!  I was lucky enough (with my long hair) to look similar to a gay guy in their big brother show at the moment, so got ridiculed and roughed up a bit at the end when leaving.  Otherwise really no problems...a fantastic experience not to miss!

Ushuaia to Buenos Aires - 5-18 March 2011

I think its time to reevaluate how I update the blog.  Im very behind and have just lost a nearly completed draft!  So back to square one!  Here is the tale from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires

5th March 2011 (455 km) - Ushuaia (Cruz del Sur Hostel)
Today I left Los Flores ranch and headed south to Tierra del Fuego via a free barge at the north tip (Biker´s note).  I headed south to check out some beaver dams (they were introduced to TdF yonks ago as a food supplement I believe and now run a muck).  The southern border crossing on TdF took about 20 mins total...the longest part was finding the Aduana (Customs) guy who I think was out fishing in the creek.  I rode on through some amazing roads after this and caught up with Frankie who I met in Santiago.  

6th March 2011 (175 km) - Ushuaia (CDS)
Ushuaia is a nice little city nestled in the hills deep in TdF.  Years ago there used to be natives here who lived off mussels, llama and other things.  One of these groups was called the Yamana...and there was a great museum in Ushuaia for it, so I had a peep.  Today I was headed for the last 25 km of road to the end of the world sign and then to go salmon fishing.  I strapped my rod on the bike and it was sticking out a bit (usually protected by the panniers).  I saw this and thought if i drop the bike Ill snap the rod (really good 3 pc, xmas present from brother).  NO WORRIES MATE, I´ve just done 5000 km, im not gonna drop the bike in the next 25 km.  Well 4 km before the end I dropped the bike on a deep gravelly corner...and broke the mirror and turned the beautiful 3 pc rod into a 6 pc shishkebab.  Oh well, no injuries.  I made it to the end and sat by a waterfall for a cuppa and a celebratory cigar (have one at all my major goals).  A camp spaghetti was had under the sunset in a mountainous valley 15  km north of Ushuaia.  Tranquilo!

7th March 2011 (0) - Ushuaia (CDS)
Today I had to fix the mistakes I made yesterday.  After much asking, I eventually got a guy to put a piece of mirror glass in to the mirror brack with some glue and tape for $2.50 AUD.  No worries!  I was advised to have dinner at Tia Elvira here and had some amazing crab...a must in Ushuaia, but a small splurge!  about 2am today I was awoken by some water sounds from nearby...turns out a backpacker girl in my room that had a litttle too much to drink during the night and had a little waterfall chuck in her bed!  Crikey mick!

8th March 2011 (158 km) - Near Estancia Harberton (Camp)
After checking off a few more things I headed off after lunch to a dog sledging place in hope of hopping in a cart for a run with some huskies and other sledging breeds.  Apparently there were personal reasons but it was closed this day, but the bloke let me in to check out everything and play with the dogs!  Him and his son are world champs in sledging and other similar sports (dog aided running and bicycling also). The guys couldnt get sponsorship because the team was only 1 or 2 people, so the country wouldnt sponsor them...ridiculous!  Some beautiful animals here...a pic of one of the ladies below.  Eventually i headed to Estancia Harberton, East of Ushuaia and made camp under the bright pink sunset on a creek...and saw a beaver at last!

9th March 2011 (316 km) - Las Flores Ranch
(Local ranch)
After an arts and crafts session in the morning (pannier cover ripped as well as clothes and other little things for repair) I headed north, only to get caught in a storm.  I pulled over in a shed beside a roadside crash memorial to don the raincoats, and stuck out the brunt of the storm.  I often wonder what happens to a biker riding in lightning in a flat as a tac environment...  The border crossing at San Sebastian was easy and as it was late and windy, I popped in to see my ol amigo at Los Flores Ranch who welcomed me in again with a warm heart. 

10th March 2011 (? km) - Pescazaike, Guer Aike (Camp)
Well there is certainly nothing like riding in 120 km/h wind.  I guessed this as I turned a corner and rode with the wind...stick out your hand at 120km/h and you dont feel any wind at all.  But this was only for a few moments as it was mostly a cross breeze...and later on a headwind, which means you can only go about 70km/h.  Unreal!!!!!  You cant imagine it until you experience it!  The power of wind is amazing.  I think its my least favourite out of wind rain cold and hot.  There is nothing you can do to escape it.  Its relentless and makes cooking, setting up a tent (may as well be a paraglider) and sleeping impossible.  An easy border was had at Monte Aymond and eventually I pulled into sanctuary in (Biker´s note) Pescazaike, a local fishing campground on the River on the right as you cross the bridge in Guer Aike.  Costs about 10 pesos a night for you and the bike I think.  The highlight of the day was a roadside peestop...I´d started peeing with the wind when all of a sudden the wind circulation from my body started whipping my own finest into my face (lucky I was wearing my helmet)...nothing beats a good windy day on the road!

11th March 2011 (? km) - Estancia Las Tres Hermanas (The Three Sisters) (Local Ranch)
Today was one of those cold, wet days!!!  The coldest yet actually.  I donned plastic bags on my hands and feet and a garbage bag under my jacket...its amazing how your "waterproof" boots, jacket, gaiters, pants and gloves aren´t waterproof on a bike!!!  I met Marcyek (a HUBBer and moto rider) heading south.  After riding into dusk in the rain still I didnt make my waypoint and had to pull over and found a ranch where another lovely bloke let me have a bed in some empty shearing quarters!  Amazing...He was there alone so probably enjoyed a bad chat in Spanglish!

12th March 2011 (665 km) - Punta Ninfas (Camp)
I was riding along this morning at about 8am and saw a dead rabbit on the road...and as i passed i thought...DAMN, i should´ve grab that for tucker tonight!  I found another 5km down the road and skinned and gutted it in 15mins and was off again!  I grabbed some vegies in a town (and a bloke in a shop sharpened me knife for me!) which was nice on the inside but the surrounds were a waste land.  An absolute shame really.  Camp was setup near the windy cliffs of Punta Ninfas and a delicious rabbit stew was had!!! amazing! 

13th March 2011 (332) - Puerto Piramides, Valdes Peninsula (Municipal Campsite)
The next 3 days I spent in Puerto Piramides and the Valdes Peninsula spotting sea lions, penguins, elephants seals and....ORCAS!!!  We managed to spot some far off the coast and the day after I left apparently they came in closer....but unfortunately no seal eating, regardless of how many jokes we made about chumming the water and slingshotting seal pups into the water!  It was still amazing to be there though!  The best time to catch the orcas is at high tide when they come in near the beach to eat seal pups!!  The armadillos here are amazing also!  Everywhere and mega cocky!  No wonder why they say you cant eat food at the lookouts...the carpark is riddled with these fellas sniffin out food!

Have been having some fuel feed problems with my inline fuel filter and T-tap for filling the gas stove.  Tried to clean the line and petcock, seems to be better!  Cutting the sieves off the petcock seems to work.

14th March 2011 (246 km) - Puerto Piramides, Valdes Peninsula (Municipal Campsite)
Happy Birthday Mum!!!!!!!  Love ya a million.  You´re the best mother a son could ever ask for and I´d have my raising done no other way.  Big respect and miss you like bad archer.

15th March 2011 (158 km)
- Puerto Piramides, Valdes Peninsula (Municipal Campsite)

16th March 2011 (513 km) - Viedma (Oscar´s place)
After a nice chillout from riding at Valdes Peninsula, I head north to Viedma to meet a HUBB community member ( - the best resource for moto travellers).  Managed to catch a tarantula and a rat snake eating a snake near the road!!!  THe stay with Oscar was great, he let me camp in his garage and had an amazing meal and shared some stories in ordinary Spanglish!  Muchas muchas gracias Oscar!

17th March 2011 (724 km) - Cachari (Camp @ Campgrounds on highway)
Today I was heading to Azul to catch another moto hangout, but the guy was out so I pushed on to Cachari and camped up!  Managed to whip up my own version of locro...not too bad although when I asked for a few bucks of bacon, all I got was pure fat!!! hehehe.  On the way to Cachari I passed through Villa Ventana and the hills around there.  A beautiful ride!  A nice break from the boring flatness...

18th March 2011 (? km) - Buenos Aires
(Dakar Motos)
Today was a nightmare.  traffic is crazy 30km out of BA and trucks pack the highways! I´d tried booking a hostel in hope of it having carparking in BA, and when I turned up it was only a tiny door.  After jumping on the web I found some hostels with parking, but when I turned up it was only paid parking across the road for the same amount as the bed!!  I ended up finding out I could stay at Dakar Motos and after 6hrs of a nightmare in traffic I rocked up and DM and was welcomed warmly!  There were a couple of yanks, Fins and an Israeli rider there at the time...all doing well.  Turns out when I´d last adjusted the chain one of the sides had dropped off and I was riding with the rear wheel crooked...IDIOT! 

More soon, big love and buenos suerte to you all!

The last picture here shows that with some REALLY gotta make sure you pick the right part of the bridge to cross!  A front wheel in the middle here would be a disaster!!!