We have now been in South America for 5 weeks and this is our first post. We have been really slack. We have been using this site to help plan our trip for the last 12 months. It has helped amazingly with product reviews, tips for repairs and equipment, and also to just make new friends.
A little bit about Mike and I. We are two lads from Adelaide South Australia who have just turned 30 and what better way to spend your 30th year then on motorcycles going from Ushuaia to Anchorage.
We are riding 2 Kawasaki KLR 650 mine is a 2008 and mikes is a 2009. We had custom pannier made out of Brisbane Queensland which so far have been amazing below is a picture of me and mike by t he way my name is Dave. Mike is in the blue shirt.
We are planning to travel in a very unusual route. We are meeting friends in Rio de Janeiro for NYE so currently we are on the road to RIO. We left Santiago Chile on the 5th of December and Currently we are in Puerto Igauzu getting ready to cross the boarder into Brazil tomorrow. From Rio we are going to make our way south through Uruguay then BA and onto Ushuaia before heading north again back into Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Equador, Colombia then ship the bikes to Panama then through Central America and eventually Anchorage. We hope this will take approx 10 mnths as we wont to see the places we are going and to take some time out to relax as we have been working extremely hard for 18 months to save and plan for this trip.
Did i mention we are doing this trip for charity? Well we are we are doing it for an Adelaide based charity that help disadvantaged kids in Bolivia especially blind or orphaned with education and the like.
Check out our webpage Adelaide to Anchorage
and you can follow the links to the charity's page or make a donation if you like as we are trying to raise $20,000 and we have so far raised $13,000.
Anyway below you will find our first 2 entries in our blog hope you enjoy and anyone that would like to meet up for
s or a meal we would love to meet other like minded people out there.
Day 1 – Santiago to Mondoza
December 9th, 2011 by michael
Traveled – 400kms, 12 hours
Dropped the bike – Dave 1, Mick 2 (one into some poor bugger’s car)
Stopped the police – Dave 1, Mick 0
Broken gear – both helmets, 1 phone
One hail storm, one electrical storm, one mud slide.
18 months of planning and 3 weeks in Santiago waiting on the bikes to get through all the red tape, the trip begins. Well, it begins for about 100 metres before Dave’s battery dies. We pull off the panniers, racks and seat. Luckily, the amazing family we’ve been staying with for the last 3 weeks get out of bed at 7am on a Sunday to jump the battery with their car (and even chuck us the cables in case it happens again… Just good people)
An hour late, but we got going about 8am and that sweet feeling of finally beginning the trip… That feeling died a little when Dave ran out of petrol. . No worries, petrol station was only a few minutes away. Not going to lie, it was pretty funny watching Dave push a 300kg bike up the very first road, the poor bugger was sweating at a new level by the time he got there.
Petrol in the tank, but it turns out that Dave’s battery was knackered again. We’d been worried about my battery the day before and decided that we’d best buy another. So we weren’t even out of the 1st neighborhood and the 1st problem. Ricardo & Mario (the 2 people who had helped us out for the last 3 weeks) came to the rescue and it was an easy decision, don’t risk getting into trouble in the middle of the Andes, lets buy a new battery.
2 hours later, no luck, we couldn’t find the right one, mainly due to the fact that it was a Sunday morning. I did manage to have several hand signal conversations with random stranglers walking past our stranded bikes… What is it about blokes in their 40′s that makes them love to stand around looking at machines? We ended up driving into the main part of Santiago, finding 1 shop open and getting a win, the right battery! It was too late to leave by that stage, so we put it off for one more day. Again, without the help of Mario, we’d have been well and truly rooted. We have had a series of problems from day one, but they were relatively easy because of Mario, Ricardo and his family.
So after 1 false start, we got away by 8am on the Monday morning and hit the morning peak hour. Took an hour or so of stop/start, but I was expecting worse and it was good just to be on the bike. Through Maipu and out to the freeways, we’d mic’d up so we could talk, but one wrong exit and trying to get off a ring road and I lost Dave. Of course we hadn’t thought about what to do if that happened, but after an hour I saw his black KLR pulling away from a toll booth and the mics kicked back in.
The road to Los Andes was really nice, slowly climbing upwards. Reminded me of the foothills around Adelaide. We got into Los Andes in decent time, weather was good and even had a nice guy come up for a chat while we stopped for coffee.The biggest problem we soon realised was that the bikes are so heavy with the panniers that getting of the ****ing thing is a small feat – requiring some type of engineering degree and reasonably sized step ladder. If the ground wasn’t angled right the bikes wanted to tip over. No problem though, both feeling pretty good at this stage and sure to figure it out.
Bout half an hour out of the town we hit the famous switch backs. Not going to lie, was pooing my pants a little. First day, bikes are way too flicking heavy and we’ve never really ridden them fully loaded (I do realize it would have been a good idea to practice a little before we left, but hey). 30 switchbacks with 3 cars up your arse and endless trucks flying down in the opposite direction is intense.Got through no worries and a little relived that neither of us stalled coming out of those corners, I have no idea how we would have got the bike back up.
Finally reached the first stop for Argentina. I barely speak English, let alone Spanish, so this was always going to be interesting… The biggest problem was firstly getting off the bike. I had a great idea though, once i was off I’d just take out the pannier bag from one side and keep all the weight on the stand, brilliant… Wrong bag Michael… So, entire bike goes crashing over, paperwork flying everywhere and some random bloke had got sick of wait for us and had pulled his car up along side – my crash bars left a lovely scratch down the door. All I could do was stand there looking stupid with that “yeah, sorry bout that” look.
I think it was out of pity, but the officer finally let us through. Got to Argentinian customs and went through pretty easy. Even met a couple of other bikers and had a few photos with random tourist (I think we stand out a little)
Stopped about an hour into Argentina and took the photo above. It’s over 3kms up, so I was feeling it after a few hours. A quick coffee and a muesli bar, we were off again. Until this point the weather had been perfect… Look in the left corner of this photo and you can see the very tip of a HUGE hail and electrical storm. About 10 minutes after this photo, it all really went pear shaped. The rain was so bad, we had to stop, just couldn’t see… 5 minutes later more it started hailing badly. The bike were in a little river of mud, there was so much hail that the seat was covered in ice. At that moment Dave’s helmet also decides to break. Fun times.
We waited about 45 minutes just getting soaked. the look on Dave’s face said what I was thinking, why are we doing this again? When there was no possibility that we could get more wet, the hail stopped and the rain backed off (the trucks flying past where nice enough to compensate for that by splashing water, mud and crap all over us), we started again.
About 10 minutes down the road we hit a line up of cars. the rain had caused a decent mud slide across the road, a truck was bogged and there was a whole lot of people standing around not doing alot (it actually looked a lot like road works at home) Some cars got sick of waiting and went for it, so we did too. About half way across the mud the car in front of me stopped and my heart was in my throat as the bike started to slip from under me… All I could see was me going arse up and Dave following suit right over the top of me on day one. Luckily I got some traction and we made it through.
The next 5 hours resembled that scene from Dumb & Dumber when they’re riding the scooter and there’s icicles from their snot. We had to sit on 40 kms an hour because of the wind and the rain so so bad. We finally got out of the Andes and into Mendoza and found the place we were staying at. It sounds like a whole lot of bad stuff, but it was a good day, just super intense and long. I was pretty stoked to see the end of it – surely it get easier from here!
Finally got to the hostel and had a new burst of energy, day one was huge, but we’d made it. Mario had organised the hostel through a friend and they were great. A couple of planks of wood and with the panniers off, we drove the bikes up the front steps and through reception. I have never wanted a hot shower so badly… If it was possible to make love to it I think I would have tried… Dave and I headed out into Mendoza and had a great steak and a few
s and had the cliche “what a day” moment…
We’ve had a couple of days in Mendoza now and we’re hoping to get going towards Sante Fe on Saturday morning.
Sorry for the lack of pictures – we had some camera issues… Less writing, more pictures next time.
Mendoza To Igauzu Falls
December 18th, 2011
Sorry it has been a while since the last post but we have been pushing hard to get to Iguazu Falls so that we can begin our journey to Rio de Janeiro for New Years Eve. So i will update you all now on what has been happening the last few days.
So after a spectacular day in the Andes where everything that could go wrong did go wrong, we arrived in Mendoza. The first day in Mendoza was pretty uneventful. We looked around the city and had some lunch, we made out we were locals and had a siesta (I tell you the Argentina’s have it all sorted with when it comes to life style). It was going to be my 30th birthday the next day so we thought we would email a winery that i used to sell at the Stag Hotel. We got a reply back saying that they would love to host us for lunch the next day and for a full tasting of their wines.
We Caught a taxi the next day out to Casa Argento and we were faced with a beautiful Italian style villa with beautiful manicured grounds. Paula and Augustina were great hosts as they showed and tasted Argento’s list with us. It was then time for lunch and we had Empanads and Salad with a Bottle of Argento finest torrentes absolutely delicious.
After going back to the Hostel and having another siesta we decided to go out to dinner to a beautiful little resturant in plaza italia called florentina. We had a beautiful big Rib Eye Steak one of the best i have had. We then went out to the suburbs and had drinks with Mario’s Friends that live in Mendoza. I have to say it was a great birthday and i would not have wanted to spend it any other way except to have all my friends and family there.
After a couple more days in Mendoza relaxing and looking over the bikes it was time to set off again. The next stop was only 250kms away in San Luis. It was a hot day about 37 degrees and we had to stop about every 100kms to drink water and to rest. We were making good time though and we arrived in San Luis about 4pm in the afternoon. It had got so Hot I felt very dehydrated and had to go out to get some water before i passed out.
San Luis is a medium sized town of about 200,000 people and as it was a Saturday Night we went to the plaza San Martin where it seemed the rest of the city was as well. To tell you a little about Argentina, they live a great lifestyle getting up for work at about 8am and working through till about 1pm. They then have a big lunch and then Siesta till about 5pm, when everything opens up again till about 9pm then they all go to the Central Plaza where they have dinner and coffee at about 10-11pm. Its a great lifestyle and one Mike and I are really getting into.
The Next Day we were off to Cordoba. Cordoba is about 480kms away and it was going to take us about 6 hours with refueling and breaks. We had a really good ride except for about a 100km stretch of road which was really bad and we had to reduce our speed to about 60kms/hr. We got into Cordoba about 7pm and went straight to the Hostel. After lubing the chain and then unpacking we went out for dinner. A storm has been following us all day and finally caught up with us once we sat down for dinner.
Cordoba is Argentina’s second biggest city with about 1.5 million people. Its a pretty city and is also famous for as Che Guevara lived there for sometime, it would have been nice to stay and see the city more but we are trying to push hard to meet our friends in Rio for NYE so we were off again the next day.
We were headed for Santa Fe today which is about 350km away. We are staying with a friend Lucia Riviero who is a friend of our best mates Shane from when he lived in Argentina for an exchange program. We were having a great ride and making good time. as we approached Santa Fe the GPS redirected us to Santa Tome instead and after speaking to one of the locals who kindly advised us as gringos we should not be there we were back on the road to Santa Fe only 5 km down the road. As this point i have to point out it is starting to get late and our phones are not working. This time not only did the GPS redirect us but also some of Santa Fe’s finest Police officers as there was a Football Game on. We were doing laps around the football stadium trying to find Lucia House, when Mikes Clutch Cable went. To say Mike and I where in a mild state of panic was an understatement, but after some consultation and a few deep breathes we borrowed a guys phone and rang Lucia to get correct directions. It was decided that i would go to Lucias and dumped all my stuff and then come back for Mike. I eventually found Lucia place unpacked and then went back for Mike. I had numerous problems again trying to locate the intersection where mike was stranded, when the Police pulled me over and proceeded to tell me that i should get out of this area before night fall. I pushed on looking for mike when a lovely couple pulled me over and also proceded to tell me that i should get out of the area before night time which was approaching really quickly. It wasnt until the third car pulled me over and told me that i should get out that i started to think that maybe i should get out as it might be a little dangerous. I eventually found the intersection that mike was supposed to be at but no mike and no bike. But then Mike pulls up behind me with bike fixed as a nice guy took mike to a mechanic just down the road where they put a new clutch cable on and we were off again.
We had a great time in Santa Fe with Lucia but after a couple of days rest and rejuvenation it was time to push on again as Igauzu was calling. Then next stop was the boarder town of Posa de los libres some 450km away. We were booked in for one night in a highway motel as there was no hostel in the town. We though this would be good as we could leave early in the morning and be right on the highway out of town. But we needed money in the morning and out of the 4 ATM’s only one one had money, but we eventually got money out and we were on the road headed for Posadas which is about 350km away. Posadas is a beautiful city situated right on the River Uraguay and the hostel we stayed in Vuela Pez was amazing. Overlooking the river with a cute little bar and pool. We met some great people from Portugual, Norway and the UK. After a nice dinner at a riverside cafe it was bed early as we were making our way to Igauzu in the morning.
Puerto Iguazu is about 350km from Posadas. It is on the Argentina side of the Falls and we are planning to stay 4 nights as i have to organize my Visa for Brazil here. We arrived at our Hostel on Friday night where we met an Australian guy Les who was traveling by himself so we had a few
s and went for pizza but we didn’t want to be too late as we were heading for the falls in the morning. We woke up early to be out at Iguazu Falls at 8am when the gates opened. We went on a jet boat which too us right into to the falls absolutely saturating us. The falls are just beautiful and are huge. The shear amount of water that falls over the falls is just staggering. We spent the entire day walking around and being mesmerized by mother natures awesome beauty.
After getting back to the Hostel and having our Siesta (of course) we meet 2 dutch girls and and dutch guy who has just arrived so we all decided to go out for dinner and a few drinks. We had a great time with great people. Today we are just relaxing, email updating facebook and the blog, we have done a couple of things to the bike tightened all the screws that come loose on the road, checked oil which has been good so far (we are planning on changing the oil and oil filter in Rio which will be after doing about 4000kms). Tomorrow i am off to Brazilian Consulate to organise Visa, we have some planning to do for our route to Rio then on wednesday we are off again make our way to Rio de Janiero to meet Rach, Diane and their friend for NYE cant wait.