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

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.


  1. This is the other ol guy from BA - Vern. Is your SPOT not working? Keep coming this way. Both Joe and I are following your adventure now that we are back in the US. You really should try to get to Joes by the end of May so you could go to Alaska with him.

  2. Haha. No mate it's back to working again. Ran out of batt. Just spent 3 days riding 500k from cusco to Nazca with carb probs. Cleaned it twice and pushed the bike 6k in the Andes. Somehow still an amaZing experience. Camped with a crowd of kids one night and on Someones roof the next.

    My rush plan has changed so looking ar being in states s little later. Explanation soon...

  3. You are always welcone here in Las Vegas - Vern