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Old 30 Jan 2013
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The Adventure Begins... Sao Paulo... Big Bold City

Okay, I'm going to try to finish up this tale of adventure within the next few days. Here it goes...

From Florianopolis I headed north to Sao Paulo. Not much scenery along the way. It was a two lane highway with lots of cars and big trucks. It was a long day of riding... I think maybe 9 or 10 hours. I arrived into the city just as it was turning dark. Luckily the hostel allowed me to pull my motorcycle into the lobby to park it. I checked into the hostel, ate some street food and went to sleep.

The next day, I left my moto at the hostel and set off on foot... and subway.

São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil, the largest city in the southern hemisphere, and the world's eighth largest city by population.

The first place I visited was the Edificio Italia (Italian Building). It is a tall skyscraper that allows visitors to ascend in an elevator and look out the windows for a pretty magnificent panoramic view of the city.

As I arrived into the city, I could sense that the air quality was not the best. When I looked out over the city and saw all the smog I could understand why. But there were some interesting architecture.

I walked around a bit and passed through this railway station. The design of the station was classic. There were huge arcs spanning the interior forming the ceiling, elegant brick masonry, light posts and an abundance of iron craft around the balconies and walkways.

I decided to check out one of the museums... the Pinaocteca do Estado.

The museum's collection consisted mostly of contemporary art.

This giant plate of people made me happy for some reason. The plate was probably about 8 feet in diameter.

I was a bit entranced by this collection of chromatic art.

Of course, the photos do not represent the real visual experience of seeing the art in person.

Trust me, it was very alive.

Also, I did find a few oil paintings that I really enjoyed.

This collection of oil paintings really seemed to capture rural life in Brazil's past.

I made another stop at the Mercado Municipal (Municipal Market).

It was a bustling market with everything a foodie could possibly want.


Olive oil





Cured items


Fresh meats

And a nice dining area to enjoy all the delicacies.

I continued walking around the city admiring some of the buildings.

There seemed to be an abundance of sculptures

I only spent two days in Sao Paulo. After spending so much time on secluded beaches, I was not really feeling the vibe of the city. Plus, there was somewhere else that I really wanted to visit... Rio!

For the full story with photos see Sao Paulo
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Old 8 Feb 2013
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The Adventure Begins... Rio de Janeiro... Cidade Maravilhosa

From Sao Paulo I headed east. The countryside turned into gentle rolling green hills.

Still, almost the entire ride was along a two lane highway.

I rarely pulled over to take photos out of fear that one of the big trucks might roll right over me.

After about six hours of riding I reached... Rio de Janeiro!

Rio de Janeiro commonly referred to simply as Rio is the second largest city of Brazil, and the third largest metropolitan area in South America.

Rio boasts approximately 6.3 million people within the city proper, making it the 6th largest in the Americas, and 26th in the world.

Rio is nicknamed the Cidade Maravilhosa or "Marvelous City". Granted on 1 July 2012 in the category Cultural Landscape, Rio de Janeiro is a UNESCO World Heritage Site named "Rio de Janeiro: Carioca Landscapes between the Mountain and the Sea".

It is easy to see why.
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Old 8 Feb 2013
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The Adventure Begins... Rio de Janeiro... A Normal Day

A normal day in Rio involves dressing casual and taking the subway. Today I was taking the subway... then a bus... to arrive at the Parque Nacional da Tijuca.

On my second day in Rio, I met a few locals through Couchsurfing.org and we went on a hike in the park. There was Me, Partick, Augusto, Mario and Thatiana.

Mario led us down some trails.

Around some obstacles

We were amongst the trees

Even got inside one

Found a waterfall

Even went for a dip in the water.

Then it was back to the city. All in a normal day in Rio.

I decided to stay outside of the main tourist areas of Ipanema and Copacabana and chose to stay in the working class neighborhood of Tijuca. This is a park near the subway station. These guys are flying little kites.

There is a bit of a kite battle going one to see if one person can cut the line of another person. It's really quite an impassioned past time in Tijuca.

Ahhhh... Rio!
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Old 11 Feb 2013
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The Adventure Begins... Rio de Janeiro... Typical Tourists

In the hostel at which I was staying I met a traveler from Germany named Franziska. I just called her Franzi. We decided to check out some of the major attractions in Rio and be typical tourists.

The first stop was Cristo Redentor or Christ the Redeemer.

The Cristo Redentor is a statue of Jesus of Nazareth in Rio. It is considered the largest Art Deco statue in the world and the 5th largest statue of Jesus in the world. It is 30.1 metres (99 ft) tall, not including its 6 metres (20 ft) pedestal, and 19 metres (62 ft) wide. It weighs 635 tonnes (625 long,700 short tons), and is located at the peak of the 700-metre (2,300 ft) Corcovado mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park overlooking the city. A symbol of Brazilian Christianity, the statue has become an icon for Rio de Janeiro and Brazil. It is made of reinforced concrete and soapstone, and was constructed between 1926 and 1931.

We bought tickets and waited in line with all the other tourists.

After boarding the tram we ascended the Corcovado Mountain.

We passed through the Tijuca Forest.

It was a cloudy day, but we could still see parts of the city

We debarked from the tram and ascended a walkway. There were some unusual trees in this park.

As we climbed we caught the first glimpse of the Cristo.

And then... there He was... pretty impressive... arms stretched out...

I just wanted to give Him a hug.

The skies cleared...

Just in time for all the other tourists to get in front of my photo. There were lots and lots of tourists. It was not exactly a private spiritual moment. It was more like a Disneyworld moment. We hung around for a while taking photos... but then it was time to leave.

The next attraction that we wanted to visit was the Pão de Açúcar or Sugarloaf Mountain.

To reach the summit of Sugarloaf we took a teleferico (gondola/cable car). The first segment of the journey ascends to the shorter Morro da Urca, 220 meters high.

The second segment of the journey ascends to Pão de Açúcar. The Italian-made bubble-shaped cars offer passengers 360-degree views of the surrounding city. The climb takes three minutes from start to finish.

Sugarloaf Mountain is a peak situated at the mouth of Guanabara Bay on a peninsula that sticks out into the Atlantic Ocean. Rising 396 metres (1,299 ft) above the harbor, its name is said to refer to its resemblance to the traditional shape of a concentrated refined loaf of sugar.

The name "Sugar Loaf" was coined in the 16th century by the Portuguese during the heyday of sugar cane trade in Brazil. According to historian Vieira Fazenda, blocks of sugar were placed in conical molds made of clay to be transported on ships. The shape given by these molds was similar to the peak, hence the name.

Once we arrived at the top, we had some pretty spectacular views of the coastline.

We could see the city below.

And the harbor which contained a number of sailboats.

And off in the distance... when the clouds cleared... for just a brief moment...

We could see the Cristo.
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Old 21 Feb 2013
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The Adventure Begins... Rio de Janeiro

Here are a collection of stories of my time in Rio de Janeiro.

On another day, Franzi and I decided to check out the Jardim Botânico (Botanical Garden) in Rio. See the full story.

I heard about a free walking tour of Rio and decided to join. Cassio, the guy in the middle, was our tour guide for the day. See the full story.

I went for a walk around the city and found this street art (graffiti). Look closely... not everything is as it seems. I saved the best for the last. See the full story.

In the historical area of Rio there are a number of churches, museums and architectural buildings that I found interesting. See the full story.

I took the Metro (subway) to Ipanema to check out the Feria Hippie (Hippie Market) and the famous Ipanema Beach. See the full story.

I connected with a group of Brazilians and took a trip to Ilha Grande (The Big Island). From Rio we took a chartered bus ride and then a boat ride to reach the island. See the full story.

I saw a promotion for the Festival do Rio (Rio Film Festival). I thought that it would be worth my time to stay in Rio a little longer to check it out. See the full story.

I met up with some friends to hike to Pedra Bonita (Pretty Rock). See the full story.

I went to a picnic organized by some people from couchsurfing. There was a pretty good turnout with a variety of food and drink. As the sun set the picnic turned into a carnival romba party. See the full story.

My original plan was to stay in Rio de Janeiro for a month, to get to know the city and to try to learn Portuguese. After staying a month in Rio, I realized that it would not be enough time. So I decided to stay an extra month to get a better feeling for the place. I settled into an apartment in the neighborhood of Tijuca. See the full story.
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Old 28 Mar 2013
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The Adventure Begins... More Rio de Janeiro and Beyond

A trip to Rio de Janeiro would not be complete without a visit to the famous beaches. In fact, I had the opportunity to visit the beaches a number of times. For the full story see Copacabana and Ipanema.

I met up with some friends, a Brazilian named Jordan and a Russian named Yuliya, and we decided to check out a Brazilian football (soccer) game. The teams were Fluminense versus Gremio. I'm really not that much of a football fan, but I felt that I would never be able to understand Brazilians until I went to one of their football matches. Brazilians are fanatical about football. Jordan just happened to be a big Fluminense fan. For the full story see Fluminense vs Gemio

I passed by the Museum of Modern Art in Rio and outside there was this large iron art piece that was probably 30 feet long and 10 feet wide. For the full story see Outside Art

See the video

In Rio de Janeiro, it seems that music, dancing and celebrating life are an integral part of life. For the full story see Always Music

I decided to take a day trip and rode my motorcycle to the town of Petropolis. It was a beautiful clear and crisp day... and the road was twisty. For the full story see Petropolis

In Brazil, when there is an official day-off before or after a weekend, it is called feriado (holiday). On one feriado some friends and I took a trip to the ocean side resort town of Buzios. For the full story see Buzios

The Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) statue overlooks the entire city of Rio de Janeiro. From the favelas (slums) to fancy skyscrapers. Under the watchful view of the Cristo is the artsy neighborhood of Santa Teresa. For the full story see Santa Teresa.

A Brazilian friend of mine told me that one of the most beautiful areas in the country is the state of Minas Gerais. Another friend mentioned that the best food in the country originates from Minas Gerais. Well, I had to check it out for myself... off to Minas Gerais. For the full story see Minas Gerais.

Back in Rio de Janeiro, I decided to check out a Brazilian Churrascaria named Carretao. A churrascaria is a restaurant that specializes in grilled and roasted meats cooked on a spit or skewer. Generally, the waiters carry spits of meat around to each table and offer the patrons a taste. Many of them offer all-you-can-eat service. I sat and ate. For the full story see Meat.

On a clear day in Rio de Janeiro one can look across the bay... and in the distance... one can see on the other side... the city of Niteroi. In Niteroi... there is a hill where people jump off the edge... and parapente (paraglide). I had to go check it out. For the full story see Flying.

My time in Rio de Janeiro was coming to an end. My friend Roxanne and I thought that it would be a fun idea to share a little taste of Texas with some of our friends. So... we hosted a TexMex dinner party. For the full story see TexMex Dinner.

While in Rio de Janeiro, I often traveled by the metro (subway)... and discovered this underground art. For the full story see Underground

There was a film that I read about online that I wanted to watch. It was showing in an area called Cinelandia in the central area of the Rio de Janeiro. The film was screening at a place called the Centro Cultural Justicia Federal (Federal Justice Cutural Center). I ended up watching the film, but it is what I discovered inside the building that I found truly amazing. The best part is the last part. For the full story see The Centro Cultural.

See the video

While living in Rio de Janeiro, I rarely rode my motorcycle around the city. To me, the roads often felt like a maze and the traffic felt oppressive. However, I did take a few excursions outside of the city by motorcycle. It always seemed easy to leave the city, but to return to the city posed problems. It seemed like there was always lots of traffic flowing into the city. So... when in Rio... I often found myself riding like the Cariocas... Splitting Lanes. For the full story see Splitting Lanes.
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Old 5 Apr 2013
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The Adventure Begins... An Adventure

An Adventure should be exciting,
It should tease the senses,
It should challenge the norm,
It should be risky,
It should introduce one to fascinating people.
It should taste spicy
It should smell fragrant
It should make one stand in awe,
It should bring one to his knees in humility,
It should etch unforgettable images in the mind
It should take ones breath away,
It should replenish the soul,

When the surroundings appear common,
When the names and faces become a blur,
When the food becomes bland,
When the smells are pungent,
When a sunset just signifies the end of the day,
When the road ends and there is nowhere else to go,
The Adventure Ends.
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Old 5 Apr 2013
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The Adventure Begins... Rio de Janeiro to Buenos Aires... The Home Stretch

My time in Rio de Janeiro and Brazil was coming to an end. It was time to go home. I could feel it in my heart. And, I needed to figure out how to bring Emi, my motorcycle, with me. I was considering selling Emi in South America at the end of my trip. However, Emi had been such a good ride that I really did not want to leave her behind. I decided that I would take her back home with me.

I inquired with a few air cargo companies in Brazil to see what it would require and what it would cost to ship my moto from Rio to Houston. One company told me up front that they simply could not do it. A second company gave me a quote that was simply outrageous. The last company gave me a quote that was incomplete and could not promise a shipment date. It looked like it was going to cost over $2000 to ship my moto out of Brazil and there was still a chance that there would be some mystery fees at the port. It was not looking promising.

I looked into an alternative. I knew about a place in Buenos Aires called Dakar Motors. They have helped many motorcyclists over the years import and export motos in and out of South America. I sent Dakar Motors an email and requested a quote. They replied within 2 days with an estimate of $1750 and said that the shipment could be accomplished within a week of drop off.

So... it was time to hit the road... Rio de Janeiro to Buenos Aires.

According to my map it would be 2922km (1815 miles) and an estimated 5 days of riding. That is a distance roughly equivalent to riding from San Francisco, California to Austin, Texas... a nice little leisure ride... let the adventure begin!

First I rode from Rio de Janeiro to Curitiba... 850km and an estimated 12 hours in the saddle. I arose early in the morning at 7am and hit the road. I watched Rio de Janeiro disappear in my rear view mirror. Some great memories in that city. I reached the outskirts of Sao Paolo by mid day. I thought that I was making good time, then got caught up in the maze of freeways within Sao Paolo. I probably lost 1 or 2 hours getting through the city. Once I broke away from the city it was easy riding. I arrived in Curitiba at about 8pm... it was a full day of riding... the longest day of riding during my entire journey.

I knew that the next segment that I would ride would be a fairly strait and easy segment. From Curitiba to Foz do Iguacu... 637km and an estimated 8 hours. Turns out that I knocked it out in 7 hours. I checked into a hostel and planned my route for the next day. I knew that I would have to cross the border and hoped that it would all go smooth.

I decided that I would cross the border and ride until I got tired. I crossed the border on the Brazilian side with little trouble. As I was processing my motorcycle paperwork to enter Argentina I noticed that the aduanas (customs) officer typed in my VIN (chassis) number incorrectly. He typed in my title number instead of the chassis number. I pointed out the mistake. He said that it would not matter. He said that he was the chief at the station and if there was a problem I could give his office a call. He refused to make the correction. I felt uneasy... I decided that I would take my chances and rolled away.

I eventually rode from Foz do Iguacu to Santo Tome... 442km and and estimated 6 hours. The weather was perfect for riding... not too cold... not too hot. There was one segment of the road that was closed, so I had to take a little detour. It added some time to my ride, but it ended up that the views along the detour were really beautiful... sometimes it just works out like that.

Santo Tome was a small town along the border of Argentina and Brazil. Across the border lie the town of Sao Borja. It appeared that there was not much going on in the town, but there was a casino. Gambling in Brazil is illegal, however it is legal in Argentina. I suppose that the casino existed so that Brazilians could cross the border and find a little entertainment. I dropped into the casino for an hour and walked away a winner... at least enough to pay for my hotel room.

I started my fourth day with an early start once again. I traveled from Santo Tome to Concepcion del Uruguay... 697km and an estimated 8 hours.

The ride was uneventful. I kept reminding myself to pay attention. I realized that my ride... my trip... my adventure was coming to an end. I did not want to let my guard down, but I found myself reflecting on all that had transpired over the past year.

I arrived into Concepcion del Uruguay late in the afternoon. I rode around the town for a little while to see what I could see. Concepcion was a town along the Uruguay River. It attracted tourists from the small towns in the north and from the city in the south. For me, it was just a stop on my way to Buenos Aires. I found a hotel at which to stay and a restaurant at which to eat. I bedded down.

The last ride of my ride. The last segment of my adventure would be from Concepcion del Uruguay to Buenos Aires... 296km and an estimated 3:30 hours. It would be an easy day. I would not even need to start early. I left Concepcion at around 9am and rode toward Buenos Aires. I was almost there!

Well... almost.

About 15 minutes outside of Concepcion I ran into a police checkpoint. I had passed many police checkpoints on my journey... never a problem. I pulled over and presented my documents. The policeman asked for my license, my permiso (temporary license) and my title. I turned all the documents over to him. He examined them, found them in order and returned them to me. Then he asked for my insurance. I turned over a copy of my insurance. It was actually my insurance policy from the USA. It was in English, not Spanish. I didn't think that it would matter. After some examination he returned the document to me. Then he said that the insurance was expired. Really!

This was the first time in all of my travels that I had been asked for my insurance. The document that I had passed to the policeman did indicate that my insurance was expired. After all, I had been away for over a year. However, I did have a valid insurance document... but it was in electronic format in an email in cyberspace. It was not going to help me in this situation.

So I thought to myself... This was just a shakedown. How far did he want to take this? How far did I want to go? How much was he going to ask for? How much was I willing to pay? I realized that it was early in the day. I had all day to reach Buenos Aires. Let's see who would have more game. So.... I decided to play along.

I explained to the policeman that my insurance was valid, just that the document was expired. I explained that I could provide him a valid document if he would allow me to access the internet in his office. Predictably... he said NO.

I asked him if I could return to Concepcion to visit an internet cafe to print out a valid document. He said... NO.

I asked him if he would call the insurance company to verify that I had insurance. He said.. NO.

I asked him how much the ticket would be for expired insurance. He said that it would be 817 Pesos (about US$185). I asked the officer that if he issued me a ticket, where would I have to go to pay the fine. He said that I would have to pay the fine in cash, today and directly to him... or he would be required to impound my motorcycle.

At that moment I knew for sure that it was a shakedown. Let the game begin!

There are many techniques that adventure motorcyclist use to get out of tickets. Some hire a fixer. Some pretend to not understand the language. Some slip a small amount of money into one's documents for the policeman to palm. Some provide lots of irrelevant documents and information. Some pretend to be sick. Some carry around legal documents. Some simply try to stall the conversation with the hope that after some time passes the policeman will eventually let them go... realizing that they could be extorting money from other vehicles.

I usually pre-empt the situation and ask the policeman for assistance. I tried this technique, but it was not working. Therefore, I attempted to stall.

I told him that I did not have that much cash. He said that he would have to impound my motorcycle. I asked him to explain the law about impounding my moto. He went into an explanation that basically ended with him stating that he would have to impound my moto. I asked if he could issue me a ticket that I could pay to the city government. He said...NO. I asked if I could pay at the next city. He said...NO. He pointed to a little shoe box in the corner of his office and said that I had to pay cash directly to him... today. I asked him a number of other questions. I could tell that he was getting frustrated. By this time, probably an hour had passed.

Other cars were passing by and being pulled over for various traffic violations. Sometimes the police officers would write them a citation and they would continue on their way. Sometimes they would make a contribution to the little shoe box and continue on their way.

I noticed that the police officers would often show the traffic violators a card. The card contained a list of violations, the amount of the corresponding fine, the al contado (in cash) discount of 25% and the price for paying in cash if one chose to take advantage of the "cash discount". Nice of them to do the calculation.

I asked the policeman if I could see the violation card. Surprisingly he obliged. I looked it over and it was quite extensive... it listed all the options... just like a menu in a restaurant. Choose your violation... seguro obligatorio vencido... no uso de luces bajas... falta chapa patente... it went on and on.

I pulled out my iPhone. When the policeman saw me, he asked what I was doing. I told him that I wanted to calculate how much my fine would be and convert the amount into US Dollars. I did the currency conversion calculation. Then, I snapped a picture of the menu... uh... violation card.

And... I snapped a photo of the policeman... Officer Guilletti P.

As you can see, I was holding the card in my hand to hide the fact that I was taking a photo.

I thought to myself... Officer Guilletti you are in for a long day.... I have nothing but time.

I had a million questions to ask Officer Guilletti. I asked him about the violation card. I asked him the difference between the fine of driving without insurance versus driving with expired insurance. I asked him about the al contado discount. I asked if he could translate a few words for me from spanish to english. I asked him about riding without lights. I asked him about the law. I asked him about the impound facility. I asked him if there was a supervisor that could explain the legal system to me. I asked him about the weather... I went on and on.

By this time it was almost noon. We had been talking for over two hours. I knew that lunch time was approaching and that soon he and his crew would want to take a break for lunch. I could tell that he was visibly anxious.

He wrote me a ticket.

After some time, he finally said that I either had to pay the fine in cash or he would impound my motorcycle. I pulled out my wallet and showed him that all I had was 243 Pesos. I explained that I did not have the full amount in cash and asked if he would allow me to ride into Concepcion to get some money from an ATM.

Amazingly... he agreed!

I hopped on my moto and headed back to Concepcion. I rode strait to an internet cafe, logged on, downloaded my valid insurance document and printed two copies. I stopped by an ATM and withdrew 800 Pesos... just in case.

I rode back to the police checkpoint. As Officer Guilletti saw me approaching he directed me to pull over. He looked really happy.

He asked me if I had the money. I said that I had something better. I said that I had a copy of my valid insurance document... and handed him a copy.

I watched his smile turn into a frown. He was fuuuuuuurious. He said... NO NO NO. He said that he had sent me back to Concepcion to get money. I played innocent. I said... but look I had proof that I had insurance... that's better, right?

He handed me back my documents and told me to get out of his booth. Probably 3 hours had passed since I was first pulled over. His frustration was getting the best of him.

At about this time, another policeman approached the group of policemen who were issuing the traffic violations. He called them into the main office to eat lunch. I could tell that he was their superior by the way the other officers responded to him. As the policemen were moving from the road into the main office, I approached the superior officer.

I explained my situation. I told him that I was pulled over earlier in the day, that I presented all of my documents, that I presented my insurance document that was expired, but now I had my insurance document that was valid. I explained that the policeman had written me a ticket, but now would not tell me what I needed to do to cancel it. The officer took the ticket and said that he wold discuss the matter with the other officer.

About 5 minutes later, Officer Guilletti returned outside. He directed me to his little booth. He said that he was going to help me out so that I could continue on with my journey. He said that he was going to reduce the fine of the ticket. I asked him what the fee would be. He said that it would be 243 Pesos.

243 Pesos was the exact amount of money that I had previously shown him that I had in my wallet. Basically, he wanted all the money in my wallet. Ironically, when I went into the town to print out my insurance document I had to pay 2 Pesos for the internet service and the copies. So I actually only had 241 Pesos in my wallet, plus the other 800 Pesos that I had withdrawn from the ATM.

I told the policeman that I appreciated his help and the "discount" on the fine. I said that I would like to say thank you to his supervisor for his assistance. At this point, I think that I broke Officer Guilletti.

He asked me for my ticket. I handed it over. He wrote something in his ledger. Then he scribbled something on the ticket and said that this note would verify that the ticket was cancelled. He handed me the ticket and said that I was free to go.

I asked if I still needed to pay anything. He said... NO.

I didn't need to hear anything else. I hopped on my bike and rode off toward Buenos Aires.

What an interesting day.

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Old 6 Apr 2013
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The Adventure Begins... How To Make A Motorcycle Fly

Have you ever seen this wall? If you have traveled in South America by motorcycle there is a good chance that you may have seen it. It's a wall inside a business called Dakar Motors.

Dakar Motors is a motorcycle garage, motorcycle hostel and motorcycle transport operation in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The owners Javier and Sandra open up their doors to motorcyclists from all over the world and make them feel welcome. I had contacted Dakar Motors the prior week about arranging transport of my motorcycle from Buenos Aires to Houston. I arrived at 9am on Monday morning and the process began...

First, I checked into the hostel. Really it was just a room in the back of the garage. There were two bunk beds with room for four people. There was a small kitchen. And, there was a swap shelf... a shelf with unneeded items left by other travelers for other travelers. There was only one other traveler staying in the room. He was a Britt just beginning his travels in South America. Of course we had lots to talk about and got along nicely.

After settling into the hostel, Sandra and I went over the paperwork that would be required to transport my motorcycle.

Sandra had already briefed me by email about all the papers and copies of papers that I would need to have ready. I had all my papers in order, but there was one small detail about which I had a question.

When I crossed from Brazil to Argentina, the customs officer filled in my motorcycle title number in the place of my VIN chassis number. I asked Sandra if this would possibly cause a problem. She said... YES.

So I was directed to the central office of customs to correct the problem.

On Tuesday morning, I arrived to the customs office and waited in the invisible line. After some time passed, a clerk greeted me, took my papers, then said that she would be right back. I waited in the invisible line once again. After some time, the clerk said that her boss would be reviewing the request, but he would not be able to respond until after lunch. I left the office in search of some food.

I returned to the customs office in the afternoon to check on the progress of my documents. I waited for a while in the invisible line, then after some time I was told that the boss would like to see me.

I passed through to the other side and sat down in the office of the boss. We exchanged some pleasantries, then he apologized for the error that his staff had made when I entered Argentina. Wow... shocker. He was very nice and very accommodating. He placed a few phone calls, typed some notes into his computer keyboard, then printed a document.

The documented basically stated... To Whom It May Concern... and verified the correct VIN chassis number for my motorcycle. Not too bad. It only took about 6 hours in total. Honestly, I thought that it might take days. Good thing that the boss was on the job.

On Wednesday I went to this office building in the city center.

Inside the offices of Navicon, my documentation was processed for the shipment of my motorcycle.

I then went to the bank next door to withdraw the equivalent of US$1,600 in Argentinian Pesos. It was a huge wad of money to be carrying around in city. Luckily, I only had to walk next door to the office of Navicon once again to make payment.

I presented my documents and my payment to this office.

In return, I received a Shipment Way Bill which described how my cargo would be shipped from Buenos Aires to Houston.

On Thursday, I rode my moto to the airport cargo terminal where I encountered this pallet.

I removed my front wheel and my rear case to give my shipment a smaller profile. Some workers then strapped and wrapped my bike like mummy.

They placed a few stickers on the wrapping

This sticker designated that United Airlines was transporting the pallet to IAH (Houston Intercontinental Airport).

This sticker designated that my shipment was fragile.

Oh... if only they knew where I had ridden my motorcycle... they would have known that my motorcycle was not fragile. Emi might be important... but fragile... NO.

Anyways, they carried my motorcycle away and placed it into some waiting dock.

All that remained for me to carry was my saddle bag, my tank bag and my helmet.

I returned to the city center and checked into a hostel. I would wait at the hostel for two days before I received confirmation that my motorcycle would be flying out on Saturday. I booked a flight for myself to leave on Sunday.

On Sunday, I arrived at the airport and prepared to depart.

I pulled out my valuables from my saddlebag and stuffed them into my backpack. I checked my saddlebag in as luggage at the baggage check area. I carried my backpack and helmet with me.

Then I boarded my flight... leaving Buenos Aires... leaving South America... ending the adventure that had began over a year ago.
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Old 7 Apr 2013
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The Adventure Begins... Home... Austin, Texas, USA

My flight from Buenos Aires to Houston went according to schedule. I arrived safely and was greeted at the airport by my mom.

We drove over to the airport cargo office and picked up Emi. She was wrapped up just as I remembered. I remounted the front wheel and rear case... and off I rode.

No lie, it was pretty sweet to spend some time visiting with my family in Houston.

After a couple of days in Houston, it was time to hit the road once again for my final ride to my home in Austin. I decided to not take the most direct route along the interstate highway, but instead opted to take the alternate route that would take me along some of the backroads through central Texas. I headed down highway 90.

This alternate route was the best way to be reacquainted with Texas. Along the way I would see farm houses flying the Texas flag.

Texas cattle

Texas small towns

Texas drive-in fast food restaurants like Dairy Queen.

Texas small businesses like smokehouses

Texas courthouses

Texas grain silos

And, in the town of Shiner, Texas...

There is the K. Spoetzl Brewery also known as the Shiner Beer Brewery.

I stopped by the brewery for a tour and tasting, but unfortunately it was closed. Do you think anyone would have noticed if I hauled off one of those kegs on the back of my motorcycle?

And yes, we have oil in Texas. This oil pump just happened to be decorated as a see saw with kids on top.

This oil pump looked a bit out of place. We do not have killer whales in Texas, except at the amusement park in San Antonio call Sea World.

I passed by the town of Luling, Texas which is famous for this BBQ restaurant called City Market.

In Texas we cook our meat by slowly smoking it in a pit for around 6 to 8 hours. The meat absorbs the smoky flavor of the wood, becomes very tender and a little charred on the outside. The types of meat that one can usually find in a BBQ restaurant in Texas include brisket, ribs and sausage. Sometimes they may have a pork loin, prime rib, chicken or turkey. The side dishes are pretty simple like coleslaw, beans and potato salad. Some places will sell , some places will allow BYOB (Bring Your Own Beer). My apologies to my friends in Argentina and Brazil... but our beef is better!

I passed by the town of Lockhart which is famous for BBQ. This small establishment is Black's BBQ.

This large establishment is Kreuz's BBQ.

Finally I arrived at my home in Austin, Texas.

27,549.6 miles or 44,336.8 kim... 14 months... 16 countries... 3 continents... what an adventure!
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The Adventure Begins... Austin Moto Fest

I feel honored. I have been asked to give a talk about my adventure "Texas to Tierra del Fuego" at the Austin Moto Festival on April 13th at 5pm. I'm putting together a presentation right now. I will be discussing adventure motorcycling trip planning, bike selection, bike preparation, gear selection, and tell a few stories and show a few slides about travel in Latin America. Stop by and check it out if you are in the neighborhood.

For more information: Austin Moto Fest
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Old 11 Apr 2013
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The Adventure Begins... The Entire Route

I really did not have a route planned out when I began my adventure. I just rode to the first placed, asked around, then found the second place, etc. But, I wrote a post on my blog for every place that I visited, thus was able to record my route. Here you go...

Texas to Tierra del Fuego and Beyond


La Pesca
La Poza Azul
El Cielo
Alta Cima
El Tajin in Papantla
Puerto Escondido
San Christobal de las Casas

Todos Santos Cuchumatan
Santa Catarina
Santa Lucia Milpas Altas

El Salvador
La Hachedura
San Blas
Laguna Verde
El Espino

El Almatillo
El Espino

Cerro Negro
San Juan del Sur

Costa Rica
San Juan del Sur

Panama City
Darien Gap

El Desierto de Tatacoa
San Augustine

Isla Galapagos
La Mitad del Mundo
Lago Agrio
El Cajas

Chan Chan

La Serena
Puerto Montt
Puerto Varas
Puerto Natalles
Punta Arenas

San Sebastian


Rio Grande

Punta Arenas
Puerto Natales
Torres del Paine
Puerto Natales

Villa de la Angostura
San Martin de Los Andes
Junin de Los Andes
San Carlos de Bariloche
Paso Del Indio
Puerto Madryn
Puerto Piramides
Peninsula Valdez
Mar Del Plata
Buenos Aires
San Rafael
Valle de la Luna,
San Agustin de Valle Fertil
La Rioja
Siete Colores
Quebrada de Humahuaca
La Quiaca

Colonia del Sacramento

Salar de Uyuni
Santa Cruz
San Xavier
San Ignacio
San Miguel
San Rafael
Santa Ana

San Pedro
El Chaco
Parque Agripino Encino
Loma Plata
La Laguna Blanca
Jesus de Tavarangue
Ciudad del Este

Puerto Iguazu

Foz do Iguacu
Ilha do Mel
Sao Paulo
Rio de Janeiro
Ilha Grande
Ouro Preto
Foz do Iguacu

Santo Tome
Concepcion de Uruguay
Buenos Aires

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The Adventure Begins... Austin Moto Fest Images from the Day

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Old 20 May 2013
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The Adventure Begins... From a blog to a book

I have really enjoyed sharing stories and photos with each of you through my blog TheAdventureBegins.tv. Your views, comments and support have been a great encouragement to me. Who would have thought that anyone would show an interest?

Almost on a daily basis I receive feedback in person or though my website about traveling in general or about my adventures. And often people ask me... what is next?

Well... I have been thinking about writing a book. But I have been wondering if anyone, other than my mother, might buy and read a book about my travel experiences. So I thought that I would try to survey you... my family, friends and fellow adventurers.

Would you take one minute to complete this five question survey? I promise that it will take less than 30 seconds. Your feedback will be greatly appreciated.

Don't worry, you would not be under any obligation to buy a book at this time, I'm just asking questions and trying to gauge interest.

Click here to answer... The Survey


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The Adventure Begins... A Conversation with Adventure Motorcyclist David C. Parkinson

I recently had the opportunity to chat with a fellow adventure motorcyclist named David C. Parkinson. I thought that some of you might be interested in what we talked about.

David, tell me why?
Ever heard of the Langston Hughes poem "A Dream Deferred?" Hughes mulls on what happens to deferred dreams. Doing this motorcycle adventure to South America was my deferred dream... I had always wanted to go on a long trip from when I was a little boy. In college I had an opportunity but started a company instead. When I left my job at Microsoft I had another opportunity but started anothre company instead. I knew at some point I had to make this happen; or else I would never travel and my dream deferred might shrivel up or explode!

The best thing about my motorcycle is…
I ride a 2005 Suzuki DL650 V-Strom. It's incredibly reliable. I have put 20,000 of the most difficult miles for any motorcycle to take but the V-Strom keeps coming back for more.

The worst thing about my motorcycle is…
At 250kg dry, without gas and gear. It's a bit heavy for off-roading but that hasn't stopped me from taking it plenty of places it was never intended to go!

I cannot travel without…
My Charles Schwab check card. This is a travel secret everyone should know about. It's one of the only cards I know of that you pay 0% foreign transaction fees on, is free to use at all ATMs worldwide, and finally they'll reimburse you for the ATM fees the ATMs charge you. So essentially you can get money out for free, whenever you want, whatever country you're in (no limits). The account is free (you must set up a brokerage account and a checking account) with no minimums. What I do is transfer $1000-2000 into my Schwab account to cover a month's expenses. With this technique you stop thinking about the ATM charge as they are reimbursed at the end of the month, and it makes it easier when you know you will be exiting a country not to have too much currency left over.

When I’m riding solo, I think about…
What a lucky ******* I am to have the opportunity to travel by motorcycle in Central and South America. More people should travel this way!

I like it when I ride into a town and…
See the smiles on people's faces. There's something about a motorcycle that just cheers everyone up.

I would like to go back to…
Mexico, Colombia, Nicaragua. I was in love with Colombia and spent nearly 6 months there!

I was surprised to find out that…
Almost anything can be repaired. When abroad, it's normally the case that repairing your items is far cheaper than buying new items. Locals' ingenuity have repaired everything from my tent, my motorcycle, my watch, my aluminum panniers, to my GPS.

My attitude about travel is…
Do it when you have the opportunity.

The single most important thing that I could tell someone is…
When you like a place; stay there for awhile. When you meet a person you like, stay there for awhile. It's great travel advice that I wish I had followed more often.

You can read more about David and his adventures at his website www.davidparkinson.com
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central america, dr650, mexico, south america

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