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Old 11 Feb 2014
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Location: Aussie riding South America
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Smile Hardcore Honda CG125s in the Americas.

I suppose this should start with a brief intro, before trying to razzle dazzle folks with hardcore pictures of big cc bikes loaded to the gunnels, big mountain ranges and a pic or two of the bikes in the rain, mud & sunset with a eagle soaring in the background grabbing an animal, mid-air, in the moonlight......


Kath, Rob's Mrs, is awesome, and has completed a ride across most of Australia by herself in 2012. Her username, when she's on ADVrider (which is rare), is Spaghettilegs. She's put up with Rob for quite a while, and now she's quit her job and is ready to see where the road takes her.


Rob's writing this, and has been fortunate enough to get a year off work, to travel. He's happy on any bike, and pretty much anywhere away from major cities and highways.


Elisa, aka travelbugblues on ADVrider, has joined up for the first leg of the trip. She also has a ride report (Americana in Latin America - ADVrider) of the trip, if you're keen to get her perspective (but if she says we have too much stuff and travel too slow, remember she's full of it)! We don't know how long she's riding with us, but we greatly appreciate her ability to speak Spanish, make us laugh and help us keep to a strict budget!

The plan

Back to work in 2015 for Rob and Kath, so the plan is to ride from Chile, up to the USA, but nothing is set in stone. We may look at Europe later in the year, but that's a way away.
Elisa is keen to see Patagonia, and southern South America, and maybe more.

We're all turning 30 this year, and are ex-school teachers. We've just bought our first brand-spanking new bikes in Santiago, and are ready to see further south.

The 'Gang of '84'

Join us! (will update on the road, when sufficient power, time and WiFi allow).

So, we flew into Santiago, Chile, as we heard it was the one of the easier South American countries for foreigners to buy bikes. Looking at prices, and the associated potential paperwork issues, we decided to buy new. Originally, the plan was to get Honda XR125s, but you could buy two Honda CG125s for the price of one XR, so the decision was made. Bikes, including paperwork (rego, insurance, plates etc) snuck in under $1500 USD each.

Our three beauties:

We all bought our own riding gear and luggage, and the bikes easily accepted the various constructs.

Rob's setup:


and Elisa's.

We looked at our massive map of Chile, and decided to head for our first trip 'goal'; do the Carretera Austral on these teeny bikes.

So far, unsealed roads have lead to speeds of only around 30km/h, so it may be a long 1200kms!

So we left Santiago, ignoring those 'run-in' instructions so instructed in our wee Hondas' manual. We left down the Ruta 5, at around 80km/h, which equates to around 8000rpm.

We headed to Pichilemu, an apparently famous surfing sea-side village. To get there, once off the highway, we snaked through much pine forest at around 70km/h and didn't slow many travellers. Overtaking was done closer than I was used to in Australia, but once used to it, it was quite safe.

Myself and Kath were still getting used to the right-hand side of the road thing, and had a few errant wonders onto the left hand side.......lucky our little bikes are equipped with dual horns and we're riding in a group!

Once a hostel was found, we bunkered down and celebrated our first day on the road by going and watching the hordes of surfers crowd the left-hand breaks Pichilemu had to offer.

The next day involved a real coffee (most places just serve instant Nescafe) and cake with a friend of Elisa's, in Pichilemu. She too was a teacher, and we heard her tales from life in Pichilemu; batshit crazy-busy during the summer months and nice and quiet in the other months. Work is scarce, and most locals earn their entire year's living during the busy summer months, where surfers flock to the coast.

We covered a few miles, then stopped in a small town for another coffee top-up. I think we were a rarity, and when we requested it they gave us a brand new tin on instant coffee, a jug of boiling water and some milk. We foolishly asked the price after consuming, and consequently the lady pretty much made up the price. Lesson learnt; ask prices first!

The road took us along many great roads, snaking through pine forests. There were roadworks, where we got our first chance to see how our wee bikes would handle unsealed roads. They handled it ok, if going slow, and it's just a lucky in deep gravel – think happy thoughts!

Despite the fact our bikes only had a few kilometers on them, we had our first race – flogging them to over 8500rpm (9000 reline) and we nearly reached 95km/h! German hostel that night.

The German hostel was pretty swish, we were paying around $23 a night to stay, each, whilst others were paying $150 each to use the same facilities and receive the same free breakfast. We did some bike work in the morning, and everyone changed their own oil, checked their chain and put Slime in their rear tyre.

Great spot for maintenance

Post-oil change carpark test ride!

The day then disappeared with a mix of swimming in the pool, wandering around the grounds, a couple of s and some serious hammock loitering. Batteries recharged.

Still a bit behind - trying to catch up. Posting this here as homage to the folk who listed the 'how to' guides for buying in Chile. Greatly appreciated, and may not be here without them
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Old 11 Feb 2014
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Most excellent ! You have my attention, small bikes and long travels are always

Thank you,
-zie egret.
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Old 11 Feb 2014
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The next day we were back on the road, with our fresh oil. Had an uneventful day on the road, a little more bike racing on the back roads and stopping for feeding in a few towns. I tried a traditional Chilean drink which, in a cup, has corn kernels, peach pip, sugar and water. Can't say I'm a convert, but it's certainly an interesting mix. My phone managed to poop itself, so, without a GPS, we spent a bit of time asking locals for directions. I'm able to ask for directions (excuse me, where is 'x'), but cannot understand any of their spoken directions. I just hope they point in a direction, and I then go and ask someone else in that direction. Not perfect, but it seems to work eventually.

We had a sushi dinner (sushi places are everywhere), in Chillan, and enquired if there was any camping in the area after looking at the run-down hostels. After driving past a 'lovers hotel' where you can rent rooms by the hour (which we considered as they have secure parking and a 12 hour rate), we found the camp ground. I have to use that term loosely, as it was actually a 'pool park' with pools and slides, with an oval where they let people park. Our camping neighbours enjoyed playing really loud, Mexican sounding dance music until around 4am, and started it again at 9:30 the next morning when we happily left.......

Decided to see if we could get the bikes in for the free 1000k service – in luck.
Walk into town, coffee and pizza and chat with a nice young waiter.

Picked up bikes, found out that our bikes have non O-ring chains, which is why we've adjusted my twice in less than 750ks.......the guys were great, and they even showed us out of town on their bikes. Things are relaxed here; the mechanics are able to duck out for an hour, while customers are in the shop, just to show us out of town.

Rode along, had a great lunch for just 1000 pesos ($2), bread rolls with avocado and tomato outside a little shop. Weather was getting silly hot, and we got more water, and chatted to a father and son as best we could about our time in Chile, where we're going, where we've been etc. They also offered us water etc, which was again another example of the kindness demonstrated during our visit.

On our way to Chacay, we saw the stunning, almost 3000m volcano, on our way into town. It was difficult to stay focused on the road with its awesome presence felt from afar.

Later, we deliberated, at length, over an accommodation. We were initially planning to camp for two nights to have a day hiking, which was around $20. But, Kath's sister had given us some Christmas money to spend on a nice night or twos accommodation, so we decided to go for it. I was well glad we did, as soon as we dumped our shit of our bikes, we jumped in the pool, found out the place had excessive cherry trees (and picked ferociously) and a pond with hundreds of fish. We then returned to the hut, boiled lots of water for the following day's hike, and had a nice dinner Kath prepared. We ate dinner, looking at a snow capped mountain, while the girls ate chocolate and I drank .

I think we all felt pretty fortunate.

View from the room

Beer for me, chocolate for the girls – everyone is happy.

Wood is used here as the prime building material; far more than back home.

Next day we rode a few k, then went for a hike.

All dirt, and speeds were in the push-bike realm so didn't feel too guilty about a lack of protection.

The Andes's size is difficult to capture, but we still tried.

Volcano gazing:

We then got to the lake; Laguna Del Laja – 1000m above sea level if memory serves. Weather hot, water cold – great combo.

Honda CGs are fun for all.

Back on the road again.

We had to do a little highway, and I started drafting trucks. It allowed me to cruise at 80-90 with minimal throttle.

Then, after a while, we came up to a crash where a truck had rear-ended a tractor towing a harvester.

The truck was a mess, the tractor was on its side and the harvester was ruined. Worst of all, others saw a bumpy blanket in front of the truck. I took that as a stark hint not to draft trucks, and ceased drafting.....

Got near Pucon, and another volcano started photo bombing.

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Old 18 Feb 2014
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So, we had a day off the bikes and climbed it.

By memory, we started at around 1400m, and climbed it (summit just shy of 3000m).

Nearing the top, you would often see the blue glacier underneath your pick.

The volcano's massive mouth (there are people in the background here so you can gauge the size). It smoked whilst we were there.

To be continued....

Next was a short ride to visit thermal pools. We found our best camping price yet ($2000 pesos/$4 per person) and even got given a light globe in the evening to plug in!

The ride there was around 20k of awesome dirt:

In hindsight, we should have free-camped on the way to the springs, but that's always the way. There were plenty of lovely spots on flat grass, by a running creek flowing clear water.

The thermals were expensive, but very nice. They had multiple pool of different temperatures. The place was immaculate and you got the impression everything was well cared for. Later though, we saw the staff putting a little chlorine in one of the pools, and the pools drain into the 'pristine' river......

To cool off, they had a waterfall which was a balmy 9 degrees.

Still, a relaxing way to waste a few hours.

Then, back to the campground.

Stopping on the way, this dude stopped at the supermarket we were stopped at, and parked like so.

Not one person tooted their horn, or got overly annoyed. I guess everyone is expecting the unexpected, and with that mentality, it's all good. We've had our share of road-related shocks – reversing down the road on a blind corner, leaving your car in the middle of the road with all doors open etc and with our 'anything goes' mentality, we haven't yet been shocked. In Australia, this dude would cop all sorts of abuse, or at the very least unfriendly looks.

This dog was a campground local:

Many of the street dogs are ferocious when you first meet them (enjoy chasing bikes) but very friendly once you 'greet' them.

Next day, on the move again.

Everyone is welcome on the roads.

Stopped for lunch under some trees, to get off the highway.

Our standard feed of avocado, tomato and cucumber in a roll.

I heard there was a brewery outside Orsorno, so we had to check it out.

Was pretty good, but quite dear. Had a plan to ask them if we could pitch our tents there after purchasing , but they seemed a little too fancy for that.

Back on the road.....

Stayed in Puerto Montt, and found out we had to book a ferry at the beginning of the Carretera Austral. Went to the ferry booker, who didn't open, and found out from another company that the ferry is booked out for now, and only runs once a week.....so, we had a decision to make. Loiter in Puerto Montt, or go through Argentina and cut onto the Austral a little later. We chose the latter......
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Old 19 Feb 2014
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Great stuff,
You guys should head down to Quellon and catch the ferry there to Chaiten, it runs once a week, thursday as I recall. Chiloe park is nice beautiful beach, Welsh communities down there

Sent from my SM-T211 using Tapatalk
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Old 27 Feb 2014
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Great, small bikes are the way to go!

You can always get your feet down when needed, you can pick it up alone if it falls over, every village mechanic can repair it, and a new rear tire costs about fifteen Dollars, not 150 like on a big BMW.

Hope to read more on your trip later on!
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Old 10 Mar 2014
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Took photos of my speedo showing my birthday.

On the way, we saw a Studebaker mueseum – had to stop. Kath and I love looking at old vehicles. Vehicles had style back then.

The owner was a funny old man, who spoke in what he called poor English (for us), but is was better than our Spanish (still working on that).

This one, Kath could easily sleep in the back seat.

Again, the building was primarily made of wood and looked fantastic.

After the museum, we again hit the road, with the plan being to cross the border early in the morning – we still didn't really know if we had all the required documents. We bought insurance on the way (3 days of insurance in Argentina), just in case it was required.

Lovely ride.

Got ripped off camping in a national park just shy of the border, ready to hope to cross....

Ride to the border was nice, albeit a little fresh.

Then, booyah!

The surrounding area was covered in a fine, sand-like material. You could see many 4x4s had been playing in the area; unfortunately our bikes weren't suited to sand!

This lake is just inside Argentina.

Weather wasn't the greatest.

We failed to change money near the border (at banks, you will get 6 pesos per USD, but on the streets you can get more than 10; a budget game changer). But, I won at finding a brewery.

Decorated brilliantly.

Doesn't this make you want to stay, like until infinity?

We cruised into Bariloche. This was one of the few vehicles we managed to overtake, and it looked like he had a working exhaust which was fine, but chose to hang, with rope, two more exhausts just for looks. Certainly didn't help performance if we're overtaking.

In Bariloche, a guy sold photos with these two dogs. This one was free.

Looked in the Church – lots of Catholics about.

And, eye-pleasing wooden buildings.

After successfully changing money (10 pesos per dollar), we left to El Bolson).

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Old 17 Mar 2014
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Ride was rainy, and cold.

Elisa had arranged meeting a friend of her mother's.

The next day rained, and we wondered around town, under heavy clouds. But, not without seeing a disco pub karaoke show joint!

Once the clouds cleared off, we were able to appreciate what a aesthetically pleasing part of the world we were in.

'Roberto' who we stayed with was a dead-set legend, and totally welcoming of strangers on bikes. Every meeting was with genuine warmth, and an Argentinian trademark kiss on the cheek. He let us stay for 4 days in his visitors cottage, for free, showed us around and even gave us free (great home-brew he does in 200 litre lots). What more can one ask for?

The cars in Argentina are almost all old European cars; Citroens, Fiats etc. Also, bikers don't even bother with helemts in smaller towns. My personal favourite though was dude up front, with helmet, Mrs on back, sans helmet.

Roberto took us to a nearby lake, and to a community farm he's a member of. 25 families pay for the land, and pay a worker who gets WOOFers (working on organic farms) to work there. The farm's yield is then returned to the contributing families, as well as those working on the farm. It was great to visit, and we wished we had more time to hang our there for a few days and get our hands dirty.

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Old 11 Apr 2014
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Elisa's bike ended up breaking down in town. I deduced it was electrical, and pushed her back to our place with my foot on her rear footpeg, whilst Kath was on the back of the bike. We pretty much laughed the whole way. A day later, after much head scratching, figured it out; the tank!
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/TmR6rDfN7qk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

So, I poked a few wires under the tank, and so far there's been no problems!

Back on Ruta 40, heading south. Highway vehicle!

Chatted to a few guys on old Hondas, man they were in good nick.

Met another traveller – Andre who had come down from Canada.

Had coffee and camped alongside him – man his beast dwarfed ours!

Got out of dodge, and started the dirt, back into Chile and, finally, the Carretera Austral.

We meandered, slowly, along the winding gravel roads happily taking in the many sights.

Our average speed was probably only 40km/h, but the roads were in, mostly, good condition.

The road follows, and crosses, many rivers – all of which look absolutely pristine.

Good views abound:

But, where there were roadworks it was, umm, let's say 'exciting' in the deep gravel. We spoke to a guy from Alaska who had ridden all the way down here, but the roadworks section broke his rear sub-frame.

Road was sometimes thin.

Sometimes wet.

But always enjoyable.

We free-camped along here, with this just behind our tent.

There were some great reflections in the water when the eased.

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Old 11 Apr 2014
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Thumbs up

What a great photo log!

I look forward to seeing more.
Bruce Clarke --- 2011 Kawasaki Ninja 250R (black)
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Old 11 Apr 2014
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I can't see any photos!!
'He who laughs last, was too slow to get the joke'
Never confuse the map with the journey.
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Old 11 Apr 2014
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Yesterday I could see the embedded photos, but now all I see are warning blurbs to "upgrade for additional bandwidth"... Stupid Photobucket....

If you click on each of the individual warnings, you will get linked to the photos on Photobucket, and you can scroll through them there.

Well worth taking a look.
Bruce Clarke --- 2011 Kawasaki Ninja 250R (black)
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Old 12 Apr 2014
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Originally Posted by brclarke View Post
Yesterday I could see the embedded photos, but now all I see are warning blurbs to "upgrade for additional bandwidth"... Stupid Photobucket....

If you click on each of the individual warnings, you will get linked to the photos on Photobucket, and you can scroll through them there.

Well worth taking a look.
I use photobucket and this happened to me after I made a few changes (e.g. the order of the photos and deleted some doubles). I use the paid subscription because it's cheap for a year and gives tons more space.

For me it's a for photo bucket.

When you come to a fork in the road…take it!

BLOG: paulnomad.blogspot.com.au

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Old 19 Apr 2014
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Like many great dirt roads, it seems people just want to seal them. There's a chunk in the middle now which is bitumen.

But, it ain't all bad!

Got to a viewpoint with crazy wind.

My bike couldn't handle it.

Did I mention the colour of the water here?

Some epic landslides to view; wouldn't have wanted to be riding when this guy came down:

Got a boat to the 'marble caves' from a dodgy camp-site. The legitimate mobs wanted 20000 pesos, thought this boat was only 5000 ($10). They were pretty impressive, but not as impressive as Google's images would have you believe.

The boat drivers were happy to bump and grind into any hole they could fit their boats. Entertaining, but I'm unsure of the long-term impacts.

There will have to be a pause here; Photobucket is not playing ball.

Quick update – we left the Austral towards Chile Chico on one of the most brilliant roads I've had the pleasure to ride. We left here as if we kept going south, we would only have to double back as the 'track' from O'Higgins is push-bike territory. So, for us, this was the end of the Austral.

Unfortunately, just as the day began, Kath went in some gravel and became unstuck. Just bruising to her, and a little damage to the bike (mirror, pegs & brake lever bent).

Onward we went, albeit slowly. There was, again, a fierce wind, but thankfully mainly at our backside. It was also raining.

We were cold and weary by the time we rolled into Chile Chico, and got a bed to rest Kath's not-so-nimble body. The next day, we looked around Chile Chico – the weather had done a 360.

After a couple of days rest, we went again into Argentina and caught this little fella.

We were now on Ruta 40, heading south. Did I say it was windy?

Found this camp spot out of the wind – great price, and quiet neighbours.

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Old 20 Apr 2014
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Great ride!
Thanks for posting!

Did you found the paid campsides by luck or are they on the web somewhere or a guide book?

Freedom is all i need!
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