Beach Sao Vicente
Our last day culminated in a BBQ at Marcau and Patricia’s house with many of the members. A TV crew arrived for an interview and a huge number of photos were taken as we struggled to say goodbye to everyone. It was so hard to leave. The cameras rolled for a short while as we road with the club then we headed out along the highway with a few of the member to ensure we did not get lost. WOW… what a fantastic time we had in Santos/Sao Vicente.
TV Interview… was very funny
The Goodbye Party
Marcau and Tatu
“Follow that camera”
Due to our late start plus a little tiredness we could only make it to Sao Sebastiao but Eduardo from Santos gave us a good cheap place to stay. The road along the coast was a beautiful ride with plenty of hills and curves. The coastal scenery slowed us down often as we peered through the forest onto beaches and islands below. A quality Brazilian breakfast began the day which made the ride to Paraty an easy affair. The weather was getting warmer as we swept through the curves along the hilly coast line. The tourist office advised there were 400 pousadas in Paraty and this was the low season. Had to be a bargain somewhere and we found it with 40 Rs per night and the place was empty for three of the four nights we were there. This is a very touristy place which has a beautiful old town where vehicles are banned along the narrow cobbled stoned streets. We loved this town despite the touristy aspect and will let the pictures tell the story.
Breakfast at Sao Sebastiao
Views along coast road to Paraty
Beach and harbour coast south of Paraty
Beach coast road south of Paraty
Old Town Paraty
Old Town Paraty
Cobbled streets Paraty
Boats for charter to Islands from Paraty
Charter boats with old church, Paraty
Cobbled road with Restaurant tables Paraty
Ceramic Tiled advertisement, Paraty
Riverside dwellings, Paraty
Restored buildings, Paraty
Excellent restoration, Paraty
Night scene, Paraty
Our stay included a boat ride through islands but the weather got a bit too cool for swimming so we just sucked in the scenery and relaxed.
Our boat, Turbo 1
Deck of Turbo 1
Moored for lunch
Our passengers returning to Turbo 1
Plenty of variety in boats for charter
Ever northward bound we reached Angra dos Reis where we met up with our next contact in the XT600 Clube. Edilson (Guerra) who works for Petrobras about 20 kms north of Angra dos Reis, had also been in contact with us for some days and it was great to finally meet him, his wife Marcia and their children. The often spoken phrase in Brazil ‘my home is your home’ was heard once again. Despite our language difficulties we had plenty of conversations as Guerra’s English was much better than our Portuguese. Our stay was once again so busy and included a motorcycle meeting at a Ten Pin Bowling alley on the first night where we met many of the local members. The following day we had an escorted tour of the Petrobras Port followed by a trip to a small Indigenous village. It was a very rough track getting up the mountain but the area commanded beautiful views of the bay.
Beach resorts north of Paraty
Bikers from Angra dos Reis
Guerra showing us the Petrobras wharf facility
Guerra and Marcia with Petrobras worker on wharf
Indigenous singers and dancers
Dancers with band and family
In the evening we met a local family for snacks and a drink that we joined the following day for a boat ride across the bay. The weather and seas were kind to us and around noon our skipper moored the boat off a small beach to enjoy a little seafood snack followed by a short walk to Guerra’s local seaside club house for a late lunch. The day culminated in bike ride to where another related club was celebrating its anniversary.
Winter is not so hard!
Our hosts for the day. Fantastic!!
Guerra with son
“Come in the waters not cold”
Our boat for the day
Beachside restaurant and bar
Texting friends in Argentina about how tough it is here!!
We are not comfortable riding at night in foreign places however in Brazil our rule has been broken many times but only when we are with local riders or residents. The evening was spent talking to many bikers with a similar dream and held us up as a motivating force. This admiration does not sit well with us as we are just ordinary people who ride a slightly different road. We gave out many stickers and cards to enthusiastic riders and had our photo taken until we were worried about suffering ‘flash blindness’!!! The night was not late however and we were motivated the next day to make the ride to Rio de Janeiro early.
Our hosts however had prepared a beautiful feast for lunch and had invited several guests over to enjoy the time. Many stories and photos again before we said to Guerra and Marcia about our concerns of arriving in Rio in the dark. Saying goodbye is always hard when you have made new friends but eventually we left around 2.30pm. We followed Guerra’s instructions through Rio and all flowed along nicely until we hit a detour.!!! It all went a little pear shaped then but it was Sunday and the roads were quiet and with the GPS ‘alias Carol’ working overtime we found our small hostel.
Preparing lunch, a family affair! Guerra, Marcia and son
The ladies having a little travel dream
Saying goodbye is always difficult
We were in contact with some XT members in Rio also but we had a few things to do first like laundry and obtain oil for a full service on the bike. Could not believe how difficult it was to find suitable gearbox oil. Not many BMW’s here I know, but gearbox oil for cars should be everywhere. Somehow I do not think this item is changed too frequently here. On our second day in town, at around 2.00pm we met Vulcanico (Carlos) from the XT Clube. He was with a young girl Karita riding a GSX F 750 Suzuki who offered to show us the sights of Rio de Janeiro. How good was this!!!
We took off towards the airport as Karita was an airline pilot and Carlos shared her passion of planes. Now Carol and I also enjoy the sight of planes and Carol mentions often the days of ‘pre Ken’ of her and her friend watching these big metal birds fly to distant lands. I have also flown in some interesting planes such as DC 3’s and numerous smaller propeller planes over the years, even to the point of having my first flying lesson. It was still a bit of a surprise however when we allowed through a security barrier at the end of the runway to watch very closely the landing and take-offs of the domestic airlines. It is something we enjoyed very much however.
Plane watching in Rio de Janeiro
Added to this adventure was the spirited riding of Karita. No doubt about it she could ride, splitting the cars on the run and weaving her way to the front of the queue at the red lights. Now the R80 and Carlos’s bike Super Tenere 750 are somewhat wider than the slim sports bike so keeping her in sight took some skills. We chuckled with Carlos about these events as he is a retired gent like myself and has a far more relaxed riding style however we smiled and remembered when we were ‘young’.
Our escorts took us to their favorite bike shop Tekno Point in the afternoon and we met the owner who promptly wheeled the bike into the wash bay and a young lad set about scrubbing the last few months grime and insects off. This took a bit of time and when finished I was allowed to attend to the service. It was good to work on a clean bike and the cleaning lad was a great help in speeding up the operation. Winter sees an early sunset even in Rio and our ride back to the hostel was in darkness. We extend our thanks to the bike shop for their help and especially the bike bath. They also came to the rescue when the gear box oil I purchased was not suitable. I was able to purchase the correct oil from them.
The bike wash at Tekno Point
Karita and Carlos arrive the following day and we head quickly to Red Beach for a look then rode to the base of Pao de Acucar (Sugar Loaf Mountain) to catch the cable car to suck in those famous views of Rio de Janeiro. Sugar Loaf is made of granite nearly 400 metres high and we joined the throngs of tourists ready to ascend into the smog emitted by one of the world’s most densely populated cities. There are two sets of cable cars with each stop catering well for the tourist. Numerous souvenir shops and restaurants accepting our hard earned dollars but our hosts had seen this view many times and adjourned to the beach nearby until our return.
Karita, Ken and Carlos with the three bikes
Sugar Loaf lookout with Copacabana behind Carol
A very smoggy Cristo and beaches
Sugar Loaf cable cars with Copacabana behind
A clearer Copacabana
I was beginning to enjoy chasing Karita through the streets of Rio and the ride to the base of Cristo had its own special delights. The horn is used as a warning. Like ‘hey look out there is some one near or coming by’ rarely in anger or abuse and bike riders used this tool often however Karita’s bike had a very loud exhaust so her warning was a sharp twist of the throttle causing the bike to bark a deafening howl. Miraculously the cars parted and allowed our little procession of three to the front of the line. It’s all a matter of local knowledge. She rode confidently up a steep cobble stoned grade negotiating switch backs with ease and passing slower vehicles to the parking area. There are two options to the top of Cristo, one being by tram the other by shuttle bus and we used the latter due to the secure parking available at this junction. It is a pity we were not allowed to ride the last bit of pavement….nice road!! The commanding view is the first thing that catches your eyes then everyone turns to look at this famous statue. Despite the cold blustery conditions, there were literally hundreds of people hustling around trying to get that perfect or unique photo.
A distant Sugar Loaf
Karita, Carol and Carlos
Cristo and a bright Carol
Joining the crowd at Cristo
The wind is getting cold. Time to leave.
Our tour continued into the evening and the ride down the mountain was almost in darkness. The road was peppered with two piece lombardas (speed humps) and the pace was quick as we tried to split the staggered bumps with out loosing momentum. Our destination was a small restaurant close to Carlos’s home where we were to meet several of the local bikers for a relaxed evening of fun and conversation. The peak hour traffic however was horrendous so a small detour to another bikers den where we had a Guarana (Brazilian soft drink) and met more bikers. The traffic thinned and we made stop number two after a quick ride. Another great social evening with riders of Brazil. It was late when we left with our three guides back to our hostel. Unfortunately we picked up a nail in the rear tyre about three kms from our destination. Carlos was close behind however and Carol rode with him the short distance while I continued on slowly with the flat tyre.
Nice paint job. Sahara Honda 350
The next day we replaced the tube at a nearby bike shop for the princely sum of A$60. The next few days were not good as rain joined us, an unpleasant guest. It is not fun walking along Copacabana Beach with a blustery wind and showers. Carlos however rescued us for a day in his car and we drove some kms viewing the beaches from a mobile, sheltered viewpoint. But the major stop was at Forte de Copacabana where we viewed some serious guns belonging to the Brazilian Navy. It appears these guns have never been fired in anger. OBRIGADO CARLOS (Vulcanico) AND KARITA for your patience and hospitality.
Flat tyre repair
Guns at Forte de Copacabana
Even bigger guns at Forte de Copacabana
A quiet Copacabana Beach
No sun tanning today at Copacabana
Carlos gave Carol our exit instructions from Rio de Janeiro towards Belo Horizonte and they worked like a dream. Not one U turn!!! Today was a great ride which really should have happened a few days earlier as our original plan was to ride to Tiradentes and meet with several bikers who head to this beautiful area in Minas Gerais for a huge bike rally. Our friends from Angra dos Reis were heading there as well as our contact in Belo Horizonte. We emailed both when the weather turned bad and said we would not make it as we had no accommodation booked as we planned to camp. Apologies to everyone who had hoped to meet us there. The ride through the lush green mountains on the dual lanes was a pleasure and noted several bikes heading the opposite direction obviously returning from the Tiradentes weekend. The quality of the road dictated a good pace but perhaps too quick a pace for some as we saw a badly damaged sports bike that appeared to have crashed and forced its way under the guard rail to our side of the highway. There were police and ambulance present and a number of onlookers including several bikers. We arrived in the capital of Minas Gerais just before dark and the one way street system caused us a few problems. A couple of SMS’s to our contact Marcelo plus a few questions to the locals, we were able to find the Formula 1 Hotel.
Great road to Belo Horizonte
Road to Belo Horizonte and village
Marcelo called shortly afterwards and took us on a short night tour of the city. Marcelo is a friend of a Canadian motorcycle traveler, Jo-anne, who we met (1998) on our first RTW. We sampled the local Pizza for dinner and were joined by his wife Rachel a little later in the evening. The following day we searched for cheaper accommodation and found a hostel in the hills that make up Belo H. Now there are some serious hills in this city and a good deal of local knowledge is needed to avoid these. Something we did not have so there were times we wondered if we could climb some of the steep rough hills plus whether the brakes would hold on the declines. Glad we did not walk any of these slopes. The owner of the hostel placed his 4x4 on the street so we could have secure parking for the bike and also gave us the key to the shed.
During discussions over dinner that night, Marcelo convinced us to do a day ride to Ouro Preto. A two hundred km round trip through the hills to a very historic gold mining city which was a former State capital and is now a major tourist attraction due to the well maintained old city. Speaking to a tour guide in Ouro Preto we were informed that it also produces most of the states gem stones and this is evident due to the number of vendors selling stones and jewelry. We visited a few of the historic churches built on the steep slopes most of which had prime position in the city. We spoke to many tourists including a family from Iguazu, Argentina who were also avid Dakar Rally fans. He rode a KTM950 but intended following a little of the 2010 Dakar in a car as they now have a little girl.
Praca Tiradentes, Ouro Preto
Steep cobbled streets of Ouro Preto
Steep cobbled streets of Ouro Preto
Statue, leader of Inconfidentes, Joachuim Jose da Silva Xavier
Igreja de Sao Francisco de Paula
Ceramic figurines in window
Beautifully restored buildings
Steep hills and housing of Ouro Preto
Igreja de Sao Francisco de Assis
Argentineans enjoying Ouro Preto
We returned to Belo Horizonte late in the afternoon and in the evening joined Marcelo and Rachel along with two of their friends Fernando a motorcycle enthusiast and a local reporter for dinner. A very short stay in Belo Horizonte but we really need to keep moving. A special thanks to our new friends in Belo Horizonte for their help and hospitality.
Marcelo, Rachel, Carol, Ken, Fernando and local journalist
Posted by Ken Duval at 07:41 PM