Hello and welcome to my blog.The start!

I'm Gail Baillargeon, I retired from the US Navy (EOD) on 01 April 2013 and am now embarking on a life's ambition of traveling around the world on a motorcycle. No set destinations or time schedule, just want to see the world.

My journey started in Lyndon, VT on 23 April 13 with Ushuaia, Argentina and all points in between as the first leg of the adventure. I'm riding a 2012 BMW R1200GSA with camping gear, med kit, tools and a few spare parts.

The Adventure Has Begun!

My SPOT link: http://bit.ly/GailsRTW

- End of the Line, The Traveling Wilburys

November 22, 2014 GMT

November 20, 2014:
Got an early start to a beautiful day, clear skies and moderate wind. First leg of the days journey was to Perito Moreno and then a 35 mile ride west to Los Antiguos to get a view of Lago Buenos Aires.
Lago Buenos Aires:

From Rio Mayo to Gobernador Gregores

From Rio Mayo to Gobernador Gregores

Heading back to Perito Moreno:

From Rio Mayo to Gobernador Gregores

Filled the tank in Perito Morena and headed south to Gobernador Gregores.
Guanacos (difficult to hold the camera steady with the strong winds):

From Rio Mayo to Gobernador Gregores

They seem to be very skidish and don't appreciate having their photo taken. This area is sheep country and there's hundreds of miles of fence on each side of the road. Any of the animals I approached along the road would run off and jump the fence:

From Rio Mayo to Gobernador Gregores

Some don't make it:

From Rio Mayo to Gobernador Gregores

Lunch stop: Usually I buy a sandwich, ham & cheese, in the morning while I'm getting fuel and then stop somewhere along the way, around 2pm and have lunch. I carry two nalgene bottles, one with water and one with wine, red.

From Rio Mayo to Gobernador Gregores

From Rio Mayo to Gobernador Gregores

From Rio Mayo to Gobernador Gregores

Song of the Day: Whistle, Flo Rida

From Rio Mayo to Gobernador Gregores

From Rio Mayo to Gobernador Gregores

November 21, 2014:
The wind was blowing crazy strong when I woke and it never let up. Had a stretch of gravel ahead of me and with the wind it would be difficult riding on pavement let alone gravel. Decided to stay put and hope for better conditions the next day.

From Rio Mayo to Gobernador Gregores

Correction to Nov 16 post: When I crossed back into Argentina going to Bariloche I took photos of what I thought were different lakes and posted, one big lake after another. I viewed my map later and saw it's all one big lake, Lake Nahuel Huapi which Bariloche is on.

Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 08:12 PM GMT
November 19, 2014 GMT
Ruta 40, Esquel to Rio Mayo

November 18, 2014:
Esquel to Rio Mayo and the weather isn't looking so good. It rained some and the wind was getting stronger each hour:

From Along Ruta 40

Water stop:

From Along Ruta 40

I didn't know flamingos lived in Patagonia:

From Along Ruta 40

Earlier in the morning I did see a condor:

From Along Ruta 40

And the wind blows:

From Along Ruta 40

The sky cleared but the wind got stronger. This part of Ruta 40 is paved however this section was under construction, I was being pushed all over the place.

From Along Ruta 40

Song of the Day: My Maria, Brooks & Dunn (I saw a small shop named, Mia Maria and it stuck)

Not much out here:

From Along Ruta 40

From Along Ruta 40

Arriving Rio Mayo:
Home sweet home. I was exhausted from the past two days ride. The wind is incredible.

From Along Ruta 40

Downtown Rio Mayo:

From Along Ruta 40

All tucked in for the night:

From Along Ruta 40

November 19, 2014:
Good wifi has eluded me for some time now however here in Rio Mayo things are working great. I decided to stay here for the day and catch up on the blog and take a rest day. I'm a bit dehydrated, the cold wind is taking it out of me and I haven't been drinking enough.
My SPOT tracker is having a difficult time finding satellites this far south, Rio Mayo might be the last mark.


Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 05:45 PM GMT
Chile to Argetina

November 15, 2014:
Volcano Villarrica near the village of Pucon:

From Chile to Argentina

From Chile to Argentina

From Chile to Argentina

November 16, 2014:
I was planning on riding further south in Chile however I made a change in plans and decided to cross back into Argentina and ride Ruta 40. I've been looking forward to that part of the journey and I just couldn't wait any longer.
Along the way to the border:

From Chile to Argentina

From Chile to Argentina

Back in Argentina going over the pass to Bariloche:

From Chile to Argentina

That's volcanic ash covering the ground:

From Chile to Argentina

From Chile to Argentina

What a beautiful day!:

From Chile to Argentina

From Chile to Argentina

It was one big lake after another:

From Chile to Argentina

From Chile to Argentina

Bariloche in the distance:

From Chile to Argentina

November 17, 2014:
Bariloche to Esquel, Ruta 40. Just south of Bariloche is a the village of El Bolson, people call it the, hippie place.

From Chile to Argentina

From Chile to Argentina

Ruta 40:

From Chile to Argentina

I started seeing other moto travelers however everyone I met was heading north. I quick wave and thumbs up is about it.

From Chile to Argentina

From Chile to Argentina

From Chile to Argentina

Once I reached Esquel I took a 40 mile ride out to Trevelin and to the Chilean border to see the Fataleufu River.

From Chile to Argentina

From Chile to Argentina

Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 05:14 PM GMT
Chile

November 8, 2014:
With the moto all serviced along with a new set of hiking shoes put on I was back on the trail. I took a short ride to the Farellones, a ski resort area just east of Santiago, and then a ride to the coastal village of Pichilemu.

The ride up to Farellones, I did see a female condor along the way:

From Chile

From Chile

From Chile

From Chile

Arriving in Pichilemu:

From Chile

From Chile

From Chile

I spent a few days in Pichilemu, needed to make arrangements to meet some people in Concepcion. They had some moto parts that had been brought from the USA for me. It's a small tourist beach village popular for it's surfing. The water is COLD.

From Chile

From Chile

From Chile

The village is getting a complete makeover, everything seemed to be under refurbishment:

From Chile

There's a new art museum established for local artist to display their works:

From Chile

Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 04:36 PM GMT
November 05, 2014 GMT
Argentina to Chile

October 31, 2014:
Arrived in Mendoza on Friday and planned on staying a day or so and then crossing into Chile on Sunday. However, there was some sort of Chilean holiday and the city was full of people from Santiago and I was told it would be best to wait until Tuesday to cross the border, it would be busy. Just as well, the weekend was a little wet and cold so I just hung out and enjoyed the food and wine!

November 04, 2013:
On my way to Chile, a beautiful day!
Just north of Mendoza:

From Argentina to Chile

Once I got to he base of the Andes the road turned to gravel. Awesome road!

From Argentina to Chile

From Argentina to Chile

From Argentina to Chile

From Argentina to Chile

From Argentina to Chile

From Argentina to Chile

From Argentina to Chile

Water and snack break:

From Argentina to Chile

I couldn't understand much of what he said but he was having a lot of fun sitting on the moto.

From Argentina to Chile

Song of the Day: Back to Life, Soul II Soul

Bridge of the Inca:

From Argentina to Chile

From Argentina to Chile

From Argentina to Chile

From Argentina to Chile

From Argentina to Chile

From Argentina to Chile

Just ahead is an entrance to a tunnel that was just over a mile in length. Somewhere in the tunnel is the border line between Argentina and Chile.

From Argentina to Chile

Some fellow riders from Brazil at customs:

From Argentina to Chile

From Argentina to Chile

From Argentina to Chile

I got held up at toll both for :15, I didn't have any Chilean Peso's and they wouldn't let me pass. Finally one of the supervisors paid my toll, 600 pesos, $1. I arrived in Santiago around 5:30 pm.

A truly memorable ride day!

November 05, 2014:
Took the bike to dealership for servicing and should have it back Friday. Time for brakes, all fluids and I've go a couple rubber boots that are cracked. All in all the bike is running great though.

Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 08:59 PM GMT
November 01, 2014 GMT
Argentina Oct '14

October 18, 2014:

A rainy afternoon in Salto, Uruguay:

From Argentina Oct 2014

From Argentina Oct 2014

Argentina across the river:

From Argentina Oct 2014

October 19, 2014:
Got an early start on the days ride into Argentina. The border crossing went smooth and I was on my way to Helvecia, a small village on the Parana River north of Sante Fe. I've been there twice before on hunting trips and have a couple friends there.
Down town Helvecia:

From Argentina Oct 2014

From Argentina Oct 2014

From Argentina Oct 2014

The two main streets are concrete the rest are sand, loose sand:

From Argentina Oct 2014

View from the hotel, Hosteria del Pescador:

From Argentina Oct 2014

Dorado fishing on the Parana:

From Argentina Oct 2014

These are by far the strongest fighting fresh water fish I've ever caught. They are very aggressive in taking the bait and once hooked, leap high out of the water.

From Argentina Oct 2014

Sunset on the Parana:

From Argentina Oct 2014

Catching a ride back to the hotel:

From Argentina Oct 2014

October 30, 2014:
Stayed a bit longer than planned in Helvecia. It was a good time seeing friends however, I ate to much and drank numerous bottles of wine and beer. I'm sure I gained a few kilos.
My direction was southwest toward Mendoza and this part of Argentina is flat, agriculture and cattle, not much for scenery.
Somewhere along the way to San Luis on a dusty road:

From Argentina Oct 2014

Song of the Day: Slam, David Sanborn
My hotel in San Luis:
From Argentina Oct 2014

Ocotber 31, 2014
I have no idea:

From Argentina Oct 2014

Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 07:44 PM GMT
October 18, 2014 GMT
Uruguay Oct 14-18, 2014

It's been slow going since I've entered Uruguay due to thunder storms and rain showers. I've done some short day rides however the sky doesn't want to stay clear for long. Even though I've been weather bound, Uruguay is a great place to hold up.
After a night of severe thunder storms I was once again on the trail. Decided against attempting this crossing:

From Uruguay

The back roads are kept in very good conditions and after some rain it's difficult not to try tearing them up!

From Uruguay

Cattle and sheep country:

From Uruguay

From Uruguay

From Uruguay

From Uruguay

From Uruguay

From Uruguay

From Uruguay
From Uruguay

October 18, 2014:
Got an early start from Tacuarembo after having been stopped short the day before due to storms. The weather wasn't looking to promising but I was planning on riding into Argentina.

From Uruguay

Rhea, raised for feathers, skins and meat. It's native to South America however the numbers in the wild are few.

From Uruguay

From Uruguay

Seems to be the latest fashion in sheep wear:

From Uruguay

From Uruguay

Well the weather closed in on me around 1:00 pm when I arrived in Salto so I decided to lay up and cross the border tomorrow. Processing through customs when you're soaking wet is never fun. Great couple days of riding!

Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 07:06 PM GMT
October 13, 2014 GMT
Brazil to Uruguay

October 11, 2014:
May last ride day in Brazil from Rio Grande to Chuy, Uruguay was a bit wet in the begining. I got break in the afternoon and it turned out to be a great day.
At a school bus stop putting in rain gear:

From Brazil to Uruguay

These Brazilian capybara are about 1/3 again largrer than the ones I saw in Venezuela.
From Brazil to Uruguay

From Brazil to Uruguay

This guy was in the middle of the road so I stopped to put him over the bank, he wasn't happy about it. I did manage to get a quick photo before chasing after him again. Turtles can be so ungrateful.
From Brazil to Uruguay

The Uruguay immigration and customs office is one kilometer inside Uruguay south of Chuy. The town of Chuy is actually on the border, Chui, Brazil and Chuy, Uruguay with the main street being the actual border line. After processing myself and the moto into Uruguay I ended up finding a place to stay on the the Brazil side of main street.
From Brazil to Uruguay

October 12, 2013:
From what I've been told, the northern part of Uruguay is the most scenic so the plan is to ride this area and then cross into Argentina.
Not the best weather for riding however it was still a great day!:

From Brazil to Uruguay

From Brazil to Uruguay

These trees reminded me of the ones in the movie, The Wizard of Oz:
From Brazil to Uruguay

Very rural area consisting mostly of small homes and cattle farms:
From Brazil to Uruguay

Lunch and weather break:
From Brazil to Uruguay

Uruguay seem to be horse country. Every pasture or paddock has a couple in it.
From Brazil to Uruguay

I stopped and visited with some people that were gathered around a few horses. It turned out that they had just completed a 90 kilometer cross country race. From what they told me these type races are very popular in this area. The average time to complete the race is about four hours. From the best I could understand it be can be quite challenging with the terrain and water crossing.
It's a bad photo however you can just make out the IV bracket mounted on the horses back. It had two bottles with lines going into each side of the horses neck, three other horses were receiving IV's as well. There were about a half dozen Vets present monitoring and checking the animals before allowing them to be transported. A Thorough Breed in the fore ground and an Arabian.
From Brazil to Uruguay

It does look like a nice place to ride:

From Brazil to Uruguay

I really enjoyed Brazil however it's nice to be in a Spanish speaking country again. I've only been in here a two days but I like Uruguay. The country side is beautiful and the people are very nice. I'm in the small village of Treinta y Tres (33, strange name for a town) today and will stay here until the weather is nicer. Uruguay is small so I won't be here long and I want to enjoy my ride.

Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 08:17 PM GMT
October 09, 2014 GMT
October 08-09, 2014

October 08, 2014:
Spent the night on the Ilha de Santa Catarina (island of) in the beach village of Barra da Lagoa. It's a bit early for the beach crowds and many of the business's weren't open for the season. Finding something to eat was a bit of a challenge, ended up buying some items from a market.
Arriving Barra da Lagoa:

From October 9, 2014

While I was out looking for something to eat:

From October 9, 2014

From October 9, 2014

October 09, 2014:
After I departed the, Ilha de Santa Catarina I noticed some mountains to the west and decided to take a ride out to the area. I'm glad I did! The area around Sao Martinho and Rio Fortuna was one of the nicest places I've been. Dirt roads rambling through the hills with lots of small farms. The area has a lot of German influence and everything is well kept and clean.

From October 9, 2014

From October 9, 2014

From October 9, 2014

From October 9, 2014

From October 9, 2014

Most of the farms have a small herd of dairy cows, some sheep, pigs and a fish pond along with a saw mill.
From October 9, 2014

From October 9, 2014

From October 9, 2014

From October 9, 2014

Spending the night in Torres, found a place that has a real shower!
Entering Torres:

From October 9, 2014

Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 11:45 PM GMT
October 08, 2014 GMT
Back on the coast

Ocotber 04, 2014:
Headed south to the coastal village of Paraty. It's an old fishing village that now mostly exists from tourism.
Arriving in Paraty:

From Back on the coast

From Back on the coast

From Back on the coast

From Back on the coast

From Back on the coast

Back on the road:

From Back on the coast

Lots of banana plantation in Southern Brazil:

From Back on the coast

Near the village of Eldorado:

From Back on the coast

Eldorado:

From Back on the coast

It's been a fairly uneventful time since my last blog post. Now that spring has arrived down here I'll be riding a lot more working my way south. I'm going to make a run through Uruguay and then on into Argentina.

Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 09:29 PM GMT
The Interior

Departed Lencois on the 25th and headed SW to Janauba before working my way back towards the coast. This area of the interior is hot and dry with not much scenery.
Many small basic houses scattered throughout the country side:

From Brazil Interior

From Brazil Interior

Song of the Day: Ring of Fire, Johnny Cash (heard this while stopped in front of a store)

I did manage to find some good dirt roads!

From Brazil Interior

It was a bit dusty, however I had them mostly to myself!

From Brazil Interior

From Brazil Interior

From Brazil Interior

As I got closer to the coast the weather changed to overcast with scattered rain.

From Brazil Interior

From Brazil Interior

I arrived in Rio de Janeiro on the 1st of October with the plan of staying couple days and hitting the beaches. Didn't work out quite as planned, I stayed for two days however it was windy or rainy most of the time. I did manage a trip up to the famous statue during a clear period.

From Brazil Interior

From Brazil Interior

From Brazil Interior

Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 09:09 PM GMT
September 25, 2014 GMT
Riding inland Brazil

September 25, 2014:
Back on the trail again! For the past two months I've been taking it easy due to an ankle injury that happened in Uyuni, Bolivia. I flopped the moto over in some sand and did a pretty descent job of spraining it. It's been slow in healing and it's been difficult getting around however, I'm doing much better now. I had attempted to see a doctor in Porto Seguro, Brazil but after six hours in a waiting room and many people ahead of me, I decided I'd live with it. I did manage to see a doctor in Itacare at the local hospital. The receptionist went outside, hollered up the hill for someone and then I waited. In about twenty minutes a guy showed up, wearing a doctors smock and those funny rubber shoes. He looked like a doctor, young, dark hair, you know the ones you see on a soap opera. I explained, well rather demonstrated what happened to me and he never said a word. He pointed to an exam room and I followed. He then motioned for me to take off my shoe and sock, he moved my ankle around some and then gave me a thumbs up. He never made a sound, hell he could have been a local surf instructor for all I know. It's strange but it I did feel better after getting the thumbs up from him.

While in Itacare I met up with Andi and Ellen, (Two Moto Kiwi's) again. They had just come from Lencois, where I was heading.
TMK's departing:

From September 25, 2014

On the way Lencois. For now, I'm a bit gun shy when it comes to sand but the road was good.

From September 25, 2014

Lencois:

From September 25, 2014

From September 25, 2014

From September 25, 2014

From September 25, 2014

From September 25, 2014

Rode a few kilometers out of town to a look out point:
From September 25, 2014

From September 25, 2014

From September 25, 2014

I met a fellow rider from Germany in Lencois and we had rode out together:

From September 25, 2014

Lencois was actually a very nice place to hold up. I wasn't able to update my blog, poor internet, and the power went out a few times but the people were there were great and I had some books to read.
Tonight I'm stain in the village of Brumado and will head south west tomorrow. This part of Brazil is very similar to parts of South Africa I've been. I'm going to slowly work my way towards Rio de Janeiro and then further south along the coast.

Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 11:42 PM GMT
September 08, 2014 GMT
Continuing up the coast

September 01, 2014:

Took a short ride up the coast to the village of Arraial d' Ajuda. I was only planning on staying the night however a storm front came in so I stayed put for the week. I found a street vendor selling used books who had a good selection of ones in English.

The town is well kept and the people very friendly:

From September 7, 2014

Everyone seems particularly proud of this church:

From September 7, 2014

Behind the church there's a fence that people tie wrist band ribbons to. The bands have something to do with the peoples pride of the town I believe.

From September 7, 2014

September 06, 2014:
Some light rain but I was ready to move on so headed north for the coastal village of Itacare.

Ferry to Porto Seguro:

From September 7, 2014

Notice how quickly the sky changed:

From September 7, 2014

After a few rain stops I finally got grounded just south of Mascote. The sky was getting darker and the rain squawls more frequent.
Found a rest area with fuel, restaurant and hotel. There are many places along the roads like this and the hotels are inexpensive and nice. Many are in or near a town and seem to be a meeting place for the locals.

From my balcony:

From September 7, 2014

September 07, 2014:
The landscape in this part of Brazil is actually quite nice. Lots of hills with big trees and jungle along with lots of ponds a rivers.

Along the way to Itacare:

From September 7, 2014

From September 7, 2014

From September 7, 2014

Now this my friends, is a BOOM box! Let's get this party started!

From September 7, 2014

Itacare:

From September 7, 2014

From September 7, 2014

From September 7, 2014

Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 06:30 PM GMT
September 06, 2014 GMT
Along the Brazil coast

August 26-30, 2014:

I've been continuing up the coast, visiting many of the small beach villages along the way. Not much exciting has happened in the past few days however, the weather has been great for riding, other than some rain.

Conceicao da Barro:

From August 23-31, 2014

Water stop:

From August 23-31, 2014

Song of the Day: All Summer Long, The Rock Heroes (Kidd Rock)

Housing on a banana plantation:

From August 23-31, 2014

Much of the land in this area is used for tree farming. Lots of paper mills along with their smell:

From August 23-31, 2014

Predo, a very popular beach during the summer however, not much going on this time of year. A local told me in two months the town will be full of tourists.

From August 23-31, 2014

Whale skull:

From August 23-31, 2014

Road to Ponta do Corumbau:

From August 23-31, 2014

From August 23-31, 2014

Song of the Day: Just What I Needed, The Cars

Ponta do Corumbau:

From August 23-31, 2014

From August 23-31, 2014

From August 23-31, 2014

From August 23-31, 2014

My home in Corumbau for a few days. Got held up due to rain. Not much going on here either:

From August 23-31, 2014

All is going really good! Internet has been a bit difficult sometimes and the rain is keeping my process slow but hey, I've lived without internet most of my life and I really don't need to be anywhere in particular. The people are very friendly and every time I stop someone wants to talk. When I tell them I don't speak Portuguese they look confused for a moment and then go right back to talking. It's quite fun actually.

Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 11:04 PM GMT
August 24, 2014 GMT
I'm back in Brazil!

August 15, 2014:
Crossed into Brazil and worked my northeast towards the coast. The first couple days were cold and a bit rainy. Did a stop in Ribeiro Preto and changed the oil along the way. The area so far has been pretty much sugar cane fields and other agriculture. The people are friendly and It's very clean and modern.

Song of the Day: How Bizzare, OMC

Lunch stop:

From Brazil

August 20, 2014
Ouro Preto:

From Brazil

From Brazil

From Brazil

From Brazil

Song of the Day: Ramble On, Led Zeppelin

August 20, 2014:
Somewhere along the way:

From Brazil

August 24, 2014:
I'm currently in Conceicao da Barro and will stay here a few days and decide on a riding plan. I was going to ride up the coast but now I'm not so sure. The coast scenery hasn't been anything special and I'm not sure how far I want to continue up it.
Conceicao da Barro:

From Brazil

From Brazil

Life is Good!

Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 06:55 PM GMT
Bolivia to Paraguay

August 03, 2014:
After a few days in Sucre it was time to head north back to Santa Cruz. While in Sucre a fellow rider told me about a dirt road from Villa Serrano to El Trigal that's part of the famous Che Guevara route. Che is still very popular in Central & South America. The route twists through valleys and mountains, the scenery was great but it was slow rough going, lots of sharp rocks.

Water stop along the Che route:

From August 03-09, 2014

From August 03-09, 2014

Along the route I stayed one night in Pucara:

From August 03-09, 2014

Not much going on in Pucara once the sun goes down:

From August 03-09, 2014

Near Samiapata:

From August 03-09, 2014

I spent a few days in Santa Cruz, obtaining a Visa for Paraguay and that's where I realized I had over stayed my, Temporary Import Permit (TIP) for the moto. I was told I could extend it however, this has to be done before it expires. Not good. I wasn't sure what the fine or penalty was but one local rider told me they can confiscate the moto and the fine for getting it back, is the value of the moto. Change of plans. I was going to head east into Brazil however I wanted to find a more remote and maybe a bit less controlled border to exit Bolivia. Plan, head south to Villamonte and then east into Paraguay. From what I could find out, the immigration and customs offices for both Bolivia and Paraguay are a few miles apart.

August 08, 2014:
Headed south and spent the night in Villamonte and the next morning I headed for Paraguay. The first obstacle was getting past a military control point. They checked my passport and then the TIP, never noticing the expired date. Luckily the man in charge was training a younger soldier and I don't think the younger guy knew what he was looking at. They did a search of the bags, looking mostly for marijuana, a couple photos with the moto and then was told to proceed two hundred meters to Immigration.

From August 03-09, 2014

Immigration is in there somewhere:

From August 03-09, 2014

There it is:

From August 03-09, 2014

Sometimes Immigration will ask to see the moto permit but this guy didn't . Passport stamped, Salida, so far so good.

Next obstacle, customs. It was a about a 40 minute ride to the customs office for Bolivia and the one for Paraguay. A Bolivia agent asked for my TIP and instantly noticed the expired date. I had a couple good stories lined up depending on which way it went but the first plan was to shut up and act like everything was fine. Another agent was consulted and then I was told to wait. After about 20 minutes one of the agents asked if I had gotten my exit stamp in my passport. Yes. Another few minutes of waiting and then I was asked if I planned on returning to Bolivia, Me, no. Agent, are you sure? Me, no never, I'm riding around the world and will not return. Agent, ok leave, don't come back. Both agents were actually very good about the whole thing and wished me a good journey.

The Paraguay Customs office was within walking distance and everything went fine. He wanted a copy of my TIP with exit stamp from Bolivia before he would do the Paraguay TIP but when I told him I didn't have one he proceeded without it. Someone had shot a couple deer, very small deer, and they were dressing them out behind the office and he wanted to get back to it. They wouldn't let me take any photos.
The Paraguay Immigration office is in Mariscal Jose Felix Estigarribia, a good six hour or more ride, and was told I had a day or two to get my passport entry stamp, all is good!

Paraguay:

From August 03-09, 2014

Didn't spend much time or do much of anything in Paraguay. There's not much along the Trans Chaco and the city of Asuncion is nice but I didn't see much to hang around for. Heading for Brazil.

Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 06:01 PM GMT
July 28, 2014 GMT
Salar de Uyuni

July 26, 2014:
Against the advice of some local riders at the BMW dealership, I departed Santa Cruz and rode west to Cochabamba and then south to Uyuni to visit the salt flats. I was told it's going to be very cold and windy and that it would be better to visit later in the year. Well they were correct, the closer I got to Uyuni the colder it got and the wind got stronger. It was pretty much survival riding from Oruro to Uyuni. When I arrived in Uyuni on the 25th there was a sand storm going through and the village of Uyuni was not visible until I entered it. It was brutally cold.
I found a place to stay easy enough and then went out for some dinner. I put on every piece cold weather clothing I had and was still freezing. People in the restaurants were dressed like they were on an expedition to the South Pole. People were eating with gloves on. It was a long cold night.
The next morning it was clear sunny day with little wind so I headed out to the flats. At 08:00 when I started the moto it was 19 deg F but felt a lot warmer than it was in the room.
I rode out to the flats, 14 miles from town, and quickly realized I hadn't calculated how large an area they covered. Distances a very deceiving here and I figured I should get more gas and a good meal, so I headed back into town. While in town I met up with an Italian guy, Stefano, on a Yamaha 250 doing a RTW journey. We filled up on food and fuel and headed out.

From July 26, 2014

From July 26, 2014

Stefano running the flats:

From July 26, 2014

We found a spot were someone had chopped through the salt to expose the water.

From July 26, 2014

I dropped a piece of salt in an watched it sink about a meter and half before disappearing:

From July 26, 2014

From July 26, 2014

From July 26, 2014

Cactus Island: A tourist stop with a restaurant, small store and a few buildings that people can sleep in.

From July 26, 2014

A bit of celebration:

From July 26, 2014

It was 4:30 when I decided to head back to town. All total, I rode 148 miles on the flats. It was really a lot of fun!

After another brutally cold night I decided to head east to warmer weather. A quick stop at the famous train cemetery south of town and then onto Sucre.

From July 26, 2014

Somewhere north of Potosi:

From July 26, 2014

There are a few more places I would like to visit in SE Bolivia but not during this time of year. Middle of the Andes in the middle of winter is not the best combination.
I'm in Sucre now and will start riding my way east to Brazil and Paraguay in a day or two.

Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 10:54 PM GMT
July 19, 2014 GMT
La Paz to Santa Cruz via Trinidad

July 11, 2014:
The TMK's and myself departed La Paz on the 11th headed back to the "Death Road" in hopes of better weather. Didn't work out that way but it was a good ride just the same.

From July 18, 2014

From July 18, 2014

We decided to ride together up Ruta 3 to Trinidad and then down into Santa Cruz. It was great meeting up with Andi & Ellen again and heading into the Amazon region sounded like a good break from the cold and altitude. It was a six day ride, an extra day in Trinidad, mostly due to rough roads and construction delays however it was a great run!

The three of us agreed that the section of road from Coroico to Caranavi is the new "Death Road". The road was narrow, muddy and it was every man, woman and child for themselves.

From July 18, 2014

We managed to squeeze through even though he wasn't going to give us an inch.

From July 18, 2014

A bit of a delay:

From July 18, 2014

From July 18, 2014

From July 18, 2014

Lunch break:

From July 18, 2014

Somewhere along the route:

From July 18, 2014

Once in the basin things dried out some and it was quite nice:

From July 18, 2014

From July 18, 2014

From July 18, 2014

Couple ferry crossings just before entering Trinidad:

From July 18, 2014

From July 18, 2014

From July 18, 2014

From July 18, 2014

July 18. 2014:
Andi & Ellen headed for Paraguay this morning and I'll be heading west in a day or two to see more of Bolivia before going there myself.
Good times!

Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 12:48 AM GMT
July 18, 2014 GMT
July 06 & 09, 2014

July 06, 2014:
Spent a couple days in La Paz and then headed for Coroico to ride the famous "Death Road". There really isn't much of the original road in use now and what there is used by tourists, mostly for a mountain bike run.

From July 06, 2014

From July 06, 2014

From July 06, 2014

From July 06, 2014

It's a short ride, an hour or more along the dirt section to Coroico. Views from my hotel room:

From July 06, 2014

From July 06, 2014

One of the main street in Coroico:

From July 06, 2014

There were a lot of mountain bikers along the Death Road so I planned on getting up early the next morning and riding it again however it was raining so I just hung out. On the 8th I was packed up and riding out of town when I was stopped by a couple riders I had met on the boat crossing from Panama to Colombia, Andi & Ellen, Two Moto Kiwis. I checked back in to the hotel and we spent the day catching up.

July 09, 2014:
Headed out to ride the Death Road in hopes of good weather however it didn't work out so well.
Departing Coroico:

From July 06, 2014

Weather wasn't cooperating so we rode into La Paz to wait it out.

From July 06, 2014

Getting an internet connection or a reliable connection has been difficult to find. Even in La Paz things haven't worked well.

Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 11:52 PM GMT
July 04, 2014 GMT
Onward to Bolivia!

July 01, 2014:
Rode to the Bolivian village of Cocacabana just over the border on the south end of Lake TIticaca. Checking out of Peru was quick and clearing the moto and myself into Bolivia was easy, not much going on. The border personnel see quite a few motos coming through and were friendly and efficient.
Along the road to Bolivia:

From July 4, 2014

From July 4, 2014

July 02, 2014:
I'd heard from other travelers that Cocacabana which is located on the south shore of the lake is a nice place to hang out for a day. It's a tourist stop over spot however it's a nice village:
On the north side of town there's a hill, Cerro Calvario that has great views of the town and lake. It's only 400' elevation climb however you start at 12,650'.

From July 4, 2014

It's truly amazing how big Lake Titicaca really is.

From July 4, 2014

Some religious shrines at the top, there was also some along the trail and people were stopping at each one to say a prayer:

From July 4, 2014

July 03, 2014:
Headed into La Paz. It's cold here and along with the wind, the ride into the city was, burrrr. Didn't take many photos.
Cocacabana is located on a peninsula separated from the main part of Bolivia.
Ferry in Tiquina:

From July 4, 2014

From July 4, 2014

July 04, 2014:
Independence Day!
Decided to stay in La Paz for a day and watch some world cup. Heading out now to watch Brazil vs Colombia.

Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 08:53 PM GMT
June 30, 2014 GMT
Around Puno

June 28, 2014:
Saturday, market day:

From June 30, 2014

These moto-tricycles are the main taxis in most villages:

From June 30, 2014

These two came running out of their produce stand all excited asking me to take their photo. Once I showed it to them on the camera the both demanded money from me. They went from cute to scammers very quickly:

From June 30, 2014

From June 30, 2014

Most of the people, especially the women don't appreciate having their picture taken so I had to be as quick about it as I could:

From June 30, 2014

Plaza de Armas, city center. Every village & city in Peru I've visited names the center, Plaza de Armas:

From June 30, 2014

Took a boat trip out to the floating islands where the Uros people have lived for centuries. Visiting the islands was on the "Bucket List". When I was young I watched an episode of "The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau" The Legend of Lake Titicaca, where him and his crew dove the lake and visited these islands. It's been on the list a long time.
The Uros supposedly started living in this manner centuries ago in order to isolate themselves from the aggressive Collas and Incas. There are 85 floating islands with four to six families on each. Tourism is their sole source of income and really existence now. It was still really interesting, they pretty much live the same way.
Meaning of Titicaca, Titi - Puma and caca - grey or stone.

They build this type of boat for the tourists. I heard a couple locals call them, Mercedes Benz:

From June 30, 2014

From June 30, 2014

Typical island:

From June 30, 2014

From June 30, 2014

Every island has a small tower on it that is used for commenting, either yelling and having it passed on or waving something. Not sure how much they use this system though, despite trying to keep them discrete, I saw cell phones.

From June 30, 2014

The islands are anchored so as to keep from drifting off however they do sometimes move the island depending on water depth. Each week the inhabitants need to add more reeds as the lower layer decays:

From June 30, 2014

From June 30, 2014

A traditional style boat that many islanders still use.

From June 30, 2014

From June 30, 2014

From June 30, 2014

From June 30, 2014

From June 30, 2014

A few of the islands have wooden structures on them.

From June 30, 2014

The Yavari, the ship was built in England and then shipped in 2,766 pieces to Lake Titicaca for the Peruvian Navy. It was hauled over the Andes by mule, taking six years, and then reassembled and launched in 1870. It's now a museum.

From June 30, 2014

Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 08:25 PM GMT
June 27, 2014 GMT
Lake Titicaca

June 26, 2014:
It's a short ride from Putina to Puno so I decided to take short detour to the Northeast corner of Lake Titicaca. It was a great day and there was very little traffic. Amazing views!

From June 27, 2014

From June 27, 2014

From

From June 27, 2014

From June 27, 2014

From June 27, 2014

June 27, 2014


I'm gong to hang out in Puno a few days and plan out my strategy for the first few days in Bolivia. I initially intended on spending more time in Peru however, I'm at the border now.

Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 09:10 PM GMT
La Rinconada June 25, 2014

June 25, 2014:
One of the items on my "Bucket List" was to visit the town of La Rinconada. I don't remember when or how I learned about this place but it's on the list. The town was built and exists because of the gold mining in the area. It's supposedly the highest permanently inhabited town in the world. Depending on the source of information the towns altitude is from 16,700' to over 17,700'.
I spent the night in Putina and the ride up to La Rinconada was only 45 miles. The road is paved most of the way to Ananea and from there to La Rinconada, 12 miles, it's good dirt road.

La Rinconada in the distance:

From La Rinconada June 25, 2014

Entering the village of Ananea:

From La Rinconada June 25, 2014

A mile or so from La Rinconada, trash everywhere and it's starting to smell bad:

From La Rinconada June 25, 2014

Welcome :)

From La Rinconada June 25, 2014

From La Rinconada June 25, 2014

The town has NO, garbage, potable water or sewage systems. In recent years the growth has increased so rapidly that most housing and shops are these tin sheds. (I don't know how I got the snow effect in the photo, it just happened when I went to attach it??)

From La Rinconada June 25, 2014

Most of the streets are steep and in very bad condition:

From La Rinconada June 25, 2014

City center, I was told there was another center however I didn't want to ride the moto through the streets to get there:

From La Rinconada June 25, 2014

The people seemed very skeptical of me and weren't very friendly. I don't think they get many tourist here and I don't think they want them either. When I took my camera out I heard people mention it and many went inside the shops or turned away.

From La Rinconada June 25, 2014

This is why I didn't ride around the place. Many of the streets were just open waste water pits or they were just thick mud from the waste water.

From La Rinconada June 25, 2014

There are a few permanent buildings, I saw a couple hotels. I was told that when you check in they supply you with a bucket:

From La Rinconada June 25, 2014

Miners:

From La Rinconada June 25, 2014

I didn't have my GPS with me, however my SPOT has my highest point at 16'122'. It's amazing how much trash is here and how bad the living conditions are: Between the altitude and the stench it was very difficult to breath:

From La Rinconada June 25, 2014

Aside from this town and the mining, it's a beautiful place:

From La Rinconada June 25, 2014

I didn't ask however I got the feeling no one was interested in taking a photo of me so here's a self:

From La Rinconada June 25, 2014

I liked this place, second story with balcony. Not much of a view though. I didn't see any Real Estate signs so I figure new construction is probably your best option:

From La Rinconada June 25, 2014

From La Rinconada June 25, 2014

Just outside of Ananea on the way to La Rinconada there's a check point and you're required to show ID and vehicle documentation to proceed any further, I didn't have any of it. Left everything in the hotel room in Putina. I explained everything to one of the guards and he wasn't sure what to do. Finally he said if I bought him a big bottle of Sprite in La Rinconada for him I could enter. It wasn't a problem to go back and get the documents but soda is cheap and it was a good trade.
When I returned with the Sprite he wanted me to take a photo of him and his partner with the moto:

From La Rinconada June 25, 2014

Heading back to Putina:

From La Rinconada June 25, 2014

I've seen a few of these shrines throughout Peru, normally near or at a pass. People stop to give an offering usually alcohol or a food item and maybe light a candle. The only issue is the areas become a trash pile of empty bottles and containers.

From La Rinconada June 25, 2014

Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 08:32 PM GMT
June 23-24, 2014

June 23, 2014:
The days plan was to ride to the Canyon del Colca, second deepest canyon in the world and home to some Andian Condors.

The pass before descending into the village of Chivay, 16,018':

From June 23-24, 2014

From June 23-24, 2014

Chivay in the valley:

From June 23-24, 2014

On the road form Chivay to Colca:

From June 23-24, 2014

From June 23-24, 2014

From June 23-24, 2014

From June 23-24, 2014

Canyon del Colca and the Condor lookout point:

From June 23-24, 2014

From June 23-24, 2014

Condors feeding:
From June 23-24, 2014

From June 23-24, 2014

Rode back to Chivay and got settled in. This is a view from my window of the volcano Ampato coughing:

From June 23-24, 2014

June 24, 2014:
Chivay to Putina:
Riding back over the pass I noticed volcano Ampato was still coughing:

From June 23-24, 2014

Stopped for breakfast and to warm up and a view of Mt. El Misti

From June 23-24, 2014

From June 23-24, 2014

From June 23-24, 2014

Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 07:17 PM GMT
Cusco, Nazca, Lima, Arequipa

June 15, 2014:
Departed Cusco on the 14th and rode back to Abancay for the evening. Woke up early on the 15th and headed for Nazca. Around ten miles out of Abancay the road started to climb up to a height of above 14,000' and staying there for 140 miles with a couple points above 14, 900'. It was cold and desolate.
There had been a recent dusting of snow:

From June 15-21, 2014

Just a few small adobe villages along the way:

From June 15-21, 2014

It was cold and barren, however it's a beautiful ride:

From June 15-21, 2014

From June 15-21, 2014

From June 15-21, 2014

Descending out of the high plains towards the desert coast:

From June 15-21, 2014

From June 15-21, 2014

June 16, 2014:
The ride to Lima was pretty boring and dismal really. It was a grey overcast day with a lot of wet fog. The road is good however the scenery leaves much to be desired, it's desert, trash and trash fires. Lima is a mad house on on motorcycle however it didn't take long to find the dealership and get settled.

June 20, 2014:
Took a bit more time to get everything done with the moto however all is good. It felt good to get on the road and head out of Lima. Departed the hotel just before day break to get ahead of the traffic. All along the highway heading south out of the city there were trash fires, some next to bus stops. It seemed strange after all the beautiful clean villages I've seen in the mountains.

Near the village of Ica there's the small oasis village of Huacachina. It's a popular place for playing in the sand dunes, lots of sand boarding. I stopped for lunch and then was on my way back to Nazca:

From June 15-21, 2014

From June 15-21, 2014

June 21, 2014:
Plan, ride to Arequipa, 347 miles. It started out as a very grey overcast day, not much visibility. Just south of Nazca the road follows the coast down to the village of Camana. The temperature was in the mid 50's however with the cold wind coming off the ocean, it was a very cold ride.

Around 1pm the sun poked through a couple times:

From June 15-21, 2014

From June 15-21, 2014

From June 15-21, 2014

A late lunch just before Camana. Grey sky coming back in:

From June 15-21, 2014

Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 06:45 PM GMT
June 14, 2014 GMT
Back to Cusco

June 13, 2014:
The ride back to Cusco was fun despite the overcast weather. Traffic was light and I was pleasantly surprised how few animals there were this time.

From June 12, 2014

It really wasn't that steep:

From June 12, 2014

When I arrived in Cusco many of the streets were blocked or closed due to dance parades. During the month of June there's some sort of celebration everyday. Something to do with the Inkas and the sun, best I could figure out

From June 12, 2014

From June 12, 2014

June 14, 2014:
I'm now back in Abanacay for the night, I'm working my way towards Lima to get the moto serviced and put some new hiking shoes on her.

Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 11:00 PM GMT
Machu Picchu

June 12, 2014:
Woke up early in Santa Teresa and took a minibus to Hidroelectrica where I caught a train to Aguas Calientes, (Machu Picchu Peublo) :30 min ride. It was a bit cloudy but it looked to be a good day.

Train to AC:

From June 12, 2014

The main plaza in AC, from here I took a bus up to MP:

From June 12, 2014

Song of the Day: Feel so Close, Calvin Harris (heard while having coffee in AC)

From June 12, 2014

From June 12, 2014

From June 12, 2014

From June 12, 2014

From June 12, 2014

From June 12, 2014

From June 12, 2014

From June 12, 2014

Back in AC catching the train back to Santa Teresa:

From June 12, 2014

From June 12, 2014

A very good day! :)

Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 10:30 PM GMT
Cusco to Santa Teresa

June 11, 2014
One of the bests rides I've done! The road runs through the Sacred Valley to Phiri and then north into the mountains over the Malaga pass to Santa Maria. It's good paved road from Cusco to Santa Maria however it's slow going due to animals and curves. From Santa Maria to Santa Teresa (14 miles) its good dirt with a couple easy water crossings, just a bit dusty.

Sacred Valley, descending into Pisac:

From June 11, 2014

Song of the Day: Wild Ones, Flo Rida (stopped for fuel in Pisac and heard this playing)

From June 11, 2014

From June 11, 2014

Climbing out of Phiri to Malaga Pass:

From June 11, 2014

Just over the pass:

From June 11, 2014

Road from Santa Maria to Santa Teresa:

From June 11, 2014

Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 10:01 PM GMT
June 13, 2014 GMT
Onward to Cusco

June 08, 2014, Ayacucho to Andauaylas

Very nice paved road, going is slow due to curves and obstacles however it's a great ride. Road runs along the top of the Andes and the altitude keeps around 13,500'+.
Lunch break:

From June 10, 2014

Incredible views:

From June 10, 2014

I wonder if there's anything around this corner?:

From June 10, 2014

Yup, another rock:

From June 10, 2014

From June 10, 2014

June 09, 2014, Andahualyas to Abancay, 104 miles:
The road is paved about half way and then it turned to dirt, dust and rocks, three hours of it, however, more amazing views!

From June 10, 2014

From June 10, 2014

From June 10, 2014

Abancay in the distance, an hour and a half more:

From June 10, 2014

From June 10, 2014


June 10, 2014:
Great ride from Abancay to Cuscos, twisty mountain road and only one construction stop.
GPS started mapping, road climbing out of Abancay:

From June 10, 2014

From June 10, 2014

From June 10, 2014

Lunch stop:

From June 10, 2014

Song of the Day: Sussudio, Phil Collins (this played while I was eating lunch)

Arriving Cusco, Plaza de Armas:

From June 10, 2014

From June 10, 2014

From June 10, 2014

When I first saw Cusco I was a bit concerned about navigating and finding a place to stay however it went great. Asked directions to the Plaza de Armas twice and then a policeman directed me to a Hostal with parking. Within 15-20 minutes I was settled.
Wondered around the plaza and found a pub, Norton's Rat, motorcycle themed place and hung out there. It's tourist central however, I met a lot of fun people. Life is Good!

Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 11:48 PM GMT
June 08, 2014 GMT
Concepcion to Ayacucho

Jun 06, 2014:
The road from Concepcion to Ayacucho is paved for most the way, narrow mountain side road with lots of sharp corners. Luckily traffic was fairly light and even though the going was slow it was a great ride.

Another cable box crossing:

From June 6, 2014

I liked the mock piece of ordnance, nice touch:

From June 6, 2014

From June 6, 2014

From June 6, 2014

A Toyata truck can get through keeping all tires on pavement, but anything bigger is hanging on the edge. Most spots were even narrower and the corners sharper, it just wasn't safe to stop and take a photo.

From June 6, 2014

I did hit a construction area and had to wait an hour and then the road turned to dust and sharp rocks. Traffic had backed up and when we got moving again I got dusted out. By the time I reached Ayacucho it was 5pm and I was filthy.
The village of Ayacucho is beautiful and the people are very friendly. Got settled in fairly quickly near the town center and then went out to find Mamma Mia Pizza. The guy was right, cold beer and good pizza, very nice place.

June 07,2014:
Decided to take the day off from riding and do some domestic chores. I sent the cloths out to laundry and then washed my riding gear, helmet to boots. Hadn't done that since Venezuela, things were bad.

Ayacucho is a great place to stop if you're ever riding through. The plan now, ride to Andahuaylas tomorrow and then onto Cusco the next day. Everyone I've talked to here has recommended it.

Posted by Gail Baillargeon at 12:40 AM GMT
 
 

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