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Old 02-04-2013, 07:12 PM   #63
porkandcorn OP
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Joined: Jan 2011
Location: Portland, Oregon
Oddometer: 296
cassino, brazil to gramado, brazil

i've started using the motorcycle to my advantage. before i was fully ready to go, i pulled the bike out from it's overnight parking spot up in front of the hotel. so while i was packing, a steady stream of onlookers were gawking at the machine. by the time i drug my duffle bag out of the hotel room, there were 3 dudes hanging out by the bike, eager to find out what country the oregon plates were from. now, when i pull into a town, i just go to the main drag before i look for a hotel, and hang out in my riding gear for a while until people come up and tell me where to stay, what restaurants to eat at, etc. it's proving much easier than my previous methods.

hotel cassino, praia da cassino, brazil by porkandcorn, on Flickr

one of the guys at the hotel, who happens to own a hyabusa 1300, gave me some outstanding advice on my current route in the mountains of southern brazil. he also let me know that i could ride along the beach for 10 miles to get to my ferry in rio grande, brazil - as opposed to a boring trucking road that i would have otherwise taken. it was a nice surprise to start the day out with - thanks to mario - who happened to be riding by on his bicycle when i was stopped to take a photo. pretty fun to ride the hard packed sand, swerving away from the waves as they ran up to, and at times, engulfed the road.

sand road along the beach, praia da cassino, brazil by porkandcorn, on Flickr

thanks for the tip, praia da cassino, brazil by porkandcorn, on Flickr

i made it to rio grande to find the ferry at 10am, and was disappointed to be told the ferry didn't leave until 2pm. i was hoping to have a long day of riding, and that would seriously cut it short. the lesson learned many times before is to never just ask one person's opinion, and don't take no for an answer. i asked 3 more people, and finally, someone said - "oh, you have a motorcycle - well there's a pedestrian ferry leaving in a half hour and they take motorcycles on the front of the boat!" so i quickly went off to find the place to buy the ticket, and then was loading the tiger onto the bow of the boat. i had to pop off my touratech zega pro cases to squeeze through the tiny gate on the boat, but it fit.

ferry to sao jose do norte, rio grande, brazil by porkandcorn, on Flickr

on the boat, i met a really nice guy, mauro, who lives in rio grande, but was taking the ferry over to sao jose do norte to have lunch at his favorite seafood restaurant. we talked for the 30 minute passage across the water, and he invited me to have lunch with him. while i was off-loading the bike, he went and got a table at the very busy locals-favorite eatery. fresh fish fillet with a shrimp sauce. yum.

after lunch at brisamar restaurant, sao jose do norte, brazil by porkandcorn, on Flickr

then it was off to ride north through a very remote area and i had to make sure my tank and reserve tank were both full. it was about a 2.5 hour ride to capao da canoa, brazil, the overnight spot recommended by mauro or maybe someone else. beautiful lush fields, more capybara, lots of sea birds, and a section of road about 50 km long with pot-holes that could seriously ruin my entire adventure. it was a bit like playing frogger - my full attention was devoted to not hitting capybara, ducking behind the windshield for birds scared up by the engine, dodging potholes, and eventually, getting caught in a massive downpour that put the klim badlands goretex riding gear to the test. (dry as a bone after 2 hours in heavy rain.)

capao da canoa was also getting hammered by the rainstorm when i pulled into town. but again, the bike helped me find a place to sleep for the night. i got it parked in the hotel owner's private garage, and then ventured out to find a bite to eat. brazilians are afraid of the rain. the streets were packed with people, caught and huddled under very minimal cover wherever it could be found. maybe it melts them? anyway, this pacific northwesterner just walked down the street like it was a sunny day, getting stares of wonderment from the rain-averse brasileiros. i found a place to get some food, and met some dudes on holiday from porto alegre, brazil.

downpour in capao da canoa, brazil by porkandcorn, on Flickr

dudes, capao da canoa, brazil by porkandcorn, on Flickr

scuba-moto-duck, capao da canoa, brazil by porkandcorn, on Flickr

the next morning, i headed inland from the coast to explore the mountains of rio grande do sul state, famous for canyons, waterfalls, and really fun twisty roads. i had one good climb, but there are never any vista points and no shoulders, so you'll have to take my word that it was amazing. eventually, i reached the top of the plateau, and the scenery turned to rolling hills, and ancient remnants of mountains.

looking west, terra da areia, brazil by porkandcorn, on Flickr

looking west, terra da areia, brazil by porkandcorn, on Flickr

rota do sol near tainhas, brazil by porkandcorn, on Flickr

hills at 3000 ft, sao francisco de paula, brazil by porkandcorn, on Flickr

hills at 3000 ft, sao francisco de paula, brazil by porkandcorn, on Flickr

caracol falls, canela, brazil by porkandcorn, on Flickr

at about 4pm, i was tired of riding and just pulling into gramado, brazil - a really beautiful city with strong german heritage. there is an incredible view of the quilombo valley from many parts of the town. i found a hotel that seemed like it had the best view, and went in only expecting to have a look and go find a cheap pousada (guest house) for the night. i told the guys at the front desk about my trip, and asked them what their best deal was for me. they came down from 300.00 USD a night to 60.00 USD a night - i'm on the top floor and here's the view from my balcony:

view of quilombo valley from hotel tuscana, gramado, brazil by porkandcorn, on Flickr

tomorrow will be a really beautiful day of riding, as i only scratched the surface of what the area has to offer today. i'm hoping to make it to florianopolis sometime wednesday afternoon, so i have a couple of days to kill up here checking out the great roads and great views.

porkandcorn screwed with this post 02-08-2013 at 03:25 PM
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