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Old 01-25-2012, 11:17 AM   #166
PIMPTRIX OP
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Cochabamba and Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Sucre was nice and I had a really great time there but I had a bit more to see of Bolivia. The thing about this country is that it's the cheapest place in South America. You can buy a 3 corse meal for 1-2$, stay in a hotel for 5-10$ and even gas is cheap at around .50$ per liter... at least that's what nationals pay. There is a new law that forces tourists or any other nationalities besides Bolivians to pay about 1.20$ per liter. I didn't pay the tourist price a single time, although they did try to force me. The trick is to ask them if there is another gas station close by which will sell you gas at national price or if you can park the bike and come back with the jerry cans alone. The problem is your license plate which shows that you are a foreigner, so if there are no cameras in a gas station, they will usually sell you gas at national price. Another trick is to ask them if they have a receipt. Many gas stations don't have a receipt book so they can't charge you more than double for gas. There are many tricks you can use to pay national price, you just have to be a bit creative and really nice to the people there.

So anyway, the idea is that Bolivia is super nice and cheap, therefore I wanted to ride around this small country as much as possible.

From Sucre I rode up to Cochabamba and then to Santa Cruz.

[googlemaps http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&sour...d&w=425&h=350]

On the way, I met a Brazilian with this bike... it's a Suzuki DR800, single cylinder. I have never seen one before. Looks like a pretty sweet travel bike.

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The road

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The sun was going down, and I wanted to stop in this town. I couldn't find any hostels so I kept going. Rode all day on bad dirt roads but I still have much energy left. I kept going through the night and made it to Cochabamba.

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The city of Cochabamba isn't that great but I spent an extra night just to relax. I found a nice little hotel after much looking that had a garage for the bike.

Pictures in city taken with iPhone:

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On the way out, I noticed that my break pads were gone on the back. Trying to get the 2 nail like screws out with a hex key, I messed up the screws as they were way too tight. I went to see this mechanic on the road. Really nice guy, but he messed up the screws even more by rounding up the hex hole. Luckly, he knew a welder not too far so he had them welded out. We then welded other screws on top of the existing screw and it worked better than the original set-up.

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Back on the road. It sure felt nice to start going downhill and get some heat in. I had spent over a month in the mountains and the cold was really getting to me.

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Stopped somewhere in a small town and went to check out this park

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Crossing the river

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Can you recognize the plant?

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It's Coca! Yes, it's just a harmless plant. I walked through a whole field and I'm still alive... I didn't get killed by this green leafed monster... ;)

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This plant looks seriously dangerous! WTF are the Bolivians thinking by keeping it legal?!

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There were some caves there with 3 types of bats. These I think were the ones that eat fruit.

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In a cave, there was this rare bird

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I believe these bats were into insects

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And then I made it to Santa Cruz. This city blew my mind a bit because if felt more like Miami than Bolivia. It's a city that was built and still is on the Bolivian Cocaine trade. Santa Cruz does offer anything and EVERYTHING. You will see some of the nicest cars in South America here, some of the best restaurants and any type of luxury adult entertainment you want. Prices are also a lot higher than in the rest of Bolivia. They also have every type of dealer you'd want. If you have a BMW or a Ducati and need some parts, come to Santa Cruz. I only took a few iPhone pics though so don't get all excited. If you visit Bolivia, you'll have to come to Santa Cruz to see for yourself.

This is a 4X4 hang out. BTW, these buggies are road legal in pretty much all Central and South America.

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This KTM ran the Dakar before. It had 5 gas tanks. I found it in the back yard of a bike mechanic who changed the fork seals and the fork fluid on my KLR.

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At the mechanic shop I also met UWE who had his KTM 990 Adventure worked on. What you see him sitting on is not the KTM, it's a motorcycle/bicycle made in China with a 50cc motor.

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Old 01-26-2012, 07:44 AM   #167
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Ruta del Che

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Once the bikes were ready, Uwe and I both wanted to go south so the best road to take was of course Ruta del Che.


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About 2 km from the town where Che was killed, we met these 2 Argentinean travelers who are using a 2 Cheveaux for their adventures.

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Camping in the town Che was killed in, La Higuera. This is the Telegraph house.

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The chair he was killed on

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After visiting the town and museum, we headed south again.

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At some point on the road we separated as UWE was heading over to Sucre and I was heading for the Bolivia/Paraguay border.

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I made it to the border. It didn't look like much. A couple of signs, and a small shack where a guy would pull out a dry stamp and try to make it work on your passport. The Aduana for the bike paperwork was another 80km further and then the Paraguay Immigration offices along with the Aduana, another 220km.

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Old 02-01-2012, 09:29 AM   #168
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Still enjoying the updates.

In pheonix flying out in 30 minutes. Very sad.
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Old 02-17-2012, 03:48 AM   #169
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Paraguay entrance and Assumption

Like for most tourists, Paraguay wasn't really on my list of countries to visit but I have to say that it would have been a real shame to leave it out of the list. It just so happened that while in Bolivia, I looked at the map and Paraguay was really close by, therefore I decided to run by and check it out. Paraguay has the nicest and most laid back people I have seen up to now along with the most corrupt police force... more on that later.

Here are pictures of the border crossing and the road. They are working paving the main road, but till then... it's blocked off in most places. I still ran most of the miles on this.

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Funny thing is, the road is still not opened, but the pavement looks like it's been there for a few years. I guess that things are done in Paraguay timing.

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And then the Chaco! 100s of KM of straight road, with Savanna looking scenery all around.

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The first night, I set up camp here at this police check-stop. It was the only place for about 150km from the Bolivian border. The Paraguay immigration was still over 100km away.

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As you probably read a few months ago, things didn't really go as planned. Going through the super dusty dirt roads of the chaco, with no oil in the air filter, dust got in and ate up my piston rings. I posted about this here. Big thanks again to the guys at Metal Car and Kawasaki for helping me out with this!

I spent 3 weeks in the municipal campground in Assumption and that was a great experience. The municipal campground is at the heart of the botanical garden, making it probably the best place in the city to spend the night. Everyone in the campground became like my family in the 3 weeks there.

Some pictures of the gardens and my family there...

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While in Assumption, I rode around in the Collectivo Busses

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Took a boat

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Checked out the harbour

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And been all over downtown, including many visits to the big market they have there.

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Meanwhile, after about 2 weeks of camping alone in the gardens, this gentleman showed up on his 4X4 motorhome. He's been traveling around the world for 10 years in this.

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A few days later, these 2 also showed up. Aless & Celine from Switzerland in the VW van, and Sebastien & Maude from France in the Range Rover.

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Days went by something like this. BBQ meat, aka Assado, is a big thing in the south, especially in Paraguay. Ate a lot of it there.

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Drinking Terere. I ended up buying my own thermos after a couple of days along with my own terere cup, although mine weren't as fancy as the ones in the picture.

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BTW, not sure if you recognized the asian guy on the left? Over a year before, I met Yosh right before the border crossing with Mexico and then we rode all of the Baja together. Afterwards, I had lost touch with him as he stayed in Mexico for 6 months to work. Turns out that he flew by me at some point as he did all of Central America in about 2 weeks time and out of all the places, I met him again in Paraguay.

His way of saying hi to everyone... it's a Japanese thing... ;)

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Old 02-17-2012, 01:23 PM   #170
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Excellent ride report!!! Are those brake problems maybe only on the new design? I have an 06 KLR and don't have any issues with brakes.
On the subject of hammocks, one of my friends has this:
http://hennessyhammock.com
Only problem is if it gets really REALLY cold, the cold creeps in from the bottom

Sorry to quote this old post but hey, I started reading and got hooked!
Quote:
Originally Posted by PIMPTRIX View Post
Dood, you can also look into a nice hammock that you can sleep in. They pack up a lot smaller and I have seen some people use them. I have back problems so it's not really for me, but there are some cool ones that come with a zipper, mosquito net and a top for the rain. Just an idea for the room part?
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Old 02-17-2012, 02:33 PM   #171
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solorider View Post
Excellent ride report!!! Are those brake problems maybe only on the new design? I have an 06 KLR and don't have any issues with brakes.
On the subject of hammocks, one of my friends has this:
http://hennessyhammock.com
Only problem is if it gets really REALLY cold, the cold creeps in from the bottom

Sorry to quote this old post but hey, I started reading and got hooked!
Yes, they do get cold from the bottom, which is nice when it's super hot outside but if I want to sleep in mine, I use the sleeping bag and it's nice and cozy. A small thin thermo mat can also be used. :)

As for the brake problems, it seems that they are only on the newer 2 piston models. It doesn't matter much really since the KLR brakes are there just to slow you down more than anything serious like bringing you to a full stop in a short period of time... ;)
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Old 02-19-2012, 04:32 AM   #172
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North of Paraguay

Once the bike was fixed, thanks to the guys at Metalcar, I headed back up north to check out the chaco in more detail. Of course, just a few km out of the city, I got pulled over by the transit cops. They said that I was going over 40 in the town and that they had a radar set-up. They were pulling over EVERYONE and the radar story was pure BS. While waiting and arguing with them on the side of the road, I noticed that they tried to pull over a Mercedes but the guys just flew past them and they did nothing about it. I only found out later that you can just keep going without stopping as these police are a total corrupt joke and they don't even have guns. Either way, they took my paperwork and wouldn't give it back till I would pay a fine. First they wanted around 250$, then I kept laughing at them and kept saying no and that I don't have that kind of $, so they went down to 150$, then 100$ and finally I paid them 25$ to leave me alone. Either way, like I said in the post before, Paraguay has the nicest people I have met but the crappiest police.

So heading north. Went to Concepcion where I stayed at a nice little hostel on the side of the river and took the bike apart once again, but just the outside as it started choking on the way there. I think it was just bad gas, but I did reroute a couple of tubes, fixed a corroded wire in the wire harness that was hardly touching anymore, and added a missing breather tube to the carburetor. From Concepcion, I went up on the dirt roads shown on the map below. The map isn't that accurate because in reality point B and C connect through a small dirt road.

[googlemaps http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&sour...d&w=425&h=350]

Picture of the bike all done and ready to leave.

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On the dirt roads north of Concepcion, I met this guy.

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Sucks for him though, since he was going to be the guest of honor to dinner that night and there was monkey on the menu.

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The roads looked something like this.

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And the bridge... well... seen these in old western movies...

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Super dry Chaco

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You know how I said above that point B and C actually connect? In order to get on that road, you have to ask for a key from a post where they have a guard during the day. You can also camp at the post without any problems. Also, if it rained, don't even think about taking this road. For me, it had rained just over 24 hours earlier and I waited those 24 hours in a town nearby. I soon realized that 24hours were not really enough as the first 7 km or so on the road were pure mud and puddles. I almost ended up in the ditch a few times trying to go through the puddles and having the bike just go sideways. After the first few km, the road became nice and sandy where I think that the wetter ground was actually in my favor.

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I had to stop for about 10 of these gates, maybe more. Stop, open gate, get on bike ad ride it to the other side, get off the bike, run back and close gate, get back on bike.

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Not too much traffic around here.

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I had almost forgot that before getting through the first gate and this cool dirt road, I had broken off one of my foot-pegs. I was doing about 70-80km/h on a nice wide dirt road when I hit a rock with the skid plate, frame and the peg. The peg got broken off as if the bolts were made of plastic. I stopped the bike and went back looking for my peg. I rode without the right peg for most of the day as noone had a welding machine around to get the broken bolt pieces out. Finally, towards the end of the day, I found this mechanic in a small town. He welded the broken bolt pieces out within minutes.

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He had quite an impressive tool collection, so I took advantage to change the sprocket which had more than half it's teeth broken off.

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I camped in a close by national park by the guard's office... but there was no guard. There was this guy though keeping me company.

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I had running water there so cooked up some rice.

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Remember how I said that these roads were impossible in case of rain? This is what they look like still after 48 hours of heat and sun.

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The roads described above took me about 4 days to do including the 24hrs I waited after the rain. Totally worth it!
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Old 02-20-2012, 04:05 AM   #173
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Cerro Cora, East Side, Itaipu and Missiones

Although Paraguay has huge amounts of land and a small population, most of the land is privately owned by few of the richer people. There are still a handful of national parks available to visit. I went and checked out the "famous" Cerro Cora. I was also able to camp there for free, and my understanding is that they even have beds for free if you go in groups.

Inside the park. It's mainly dry chaco style vegetation, but still nice to walk around... in the 45 degree sunny weather! Bring lots of water!

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I also checked out this other park but I can't find the name of it. The road to get here is pretty challenging and you have to pay big bucks for EVERYTHING. Even camping was expensive and they didn't even have a set spot to camp. I ended up camping by the guard's habitations.

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The commando team getting ready to go out on a 5 day mission in the forest. They go looking for poachers and drug growers.

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Then there was Itaipu. It's the second largest dam in the world when it comes to size and it stands in the first spot as to the energy generated. It is Paraguay's pride, although they share the dam with Brazil. There is a lot of controversy around this dam as the GVT says that it produces a certain amount of energy for the Paraguayan people when in reality it seems that most of it is being sold to the other side of the border. Either way, corruption and propaganda aside, it was a really nice sight to see.

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From the dam, I went into Ciudad del Este where they have a tonne of products duty free. The problem is that most of the products are total fakes. I even saw a perfect fake of the iPhone 4. What I was looking for were tires for the bike. Although there were a lot of people selling Pirellis, I couldn't find the MT21s I was looking for. I spent all day, going through every store, having people call the stores around... etc. I ended up buying the MT60 rear for a decent price. The best place to buy your tires there for the best price is at the Pirelli dealership called Ferrari. Just ask around for Ferrari and people will point you to it really fast. No need to look around as the other guys buy the tires from Ferrari and then resell them at higher prices.

Around Ciudad del Este there are some waterfalls just a few km away. Went and checked those out too. I wanted to go see Iguazu but I only had a one entry visa so no way of crossing the border to Argentina yet.

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Then I headed towards Missiones. The night was falling and I needed a place to crash. In a tire shop where I went to change both my tires, I met a guy in a small town. He said that there were a couple cheap hotels around but that we should go eat first. Sounded good to me. We went to a small restaurant and had a few beers and pizza. Then more people joined. At the end of the night, Carlos invited me to stay at his place where I could set-up my sleeping bag. He is on the right side of the picture. He's a huge bike enthusiast as well and owns a couple of chopper style bikes. Thanks Carlos for the hospitality!

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And then, missiones. Went and checked out the famous ruins.

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Chairs were set-up in one of the rooms. I asked and was told that there was going to be a rock concert that night. They offered me to set-up camp for free and a free entry to the concert. Sweet deal!

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Turns out that it wasn't a rock concert but a chorus, classical music along with Opera at the end. It was a unique experience that I surely wasn't expecting. Totally incredible!

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The next day, I had a choice to make, go back and see everyone in Assumption or cross the border to Argentina. I still had a few Guaranni left but not enough to make it to the city, so I would have had to get some more out at a machine. That wouldn't have been the problem, but I didn't wanna have to deal with the corrupt police around Assumption again so I decided to cross to Argentina. The thing is that the police were generally nice to me in most of Paraguay, but around the capital, they become like sharks and a tourist bike filled with stuff looks like gold to them. Either way, I was going to miss Paraguay. Drinking Terere with it's super chilled out people, adventuring on chaco dirt roads, and of course, my family from the botanical garden.
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Old 02-20-2012, 04:24 AM   #174
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Great report and pictures. I've only seen one sprocket on a KLR worst than yours. LOL! A German touring across the USA had stopped by our dealership with a chain so tight you could play a tune off it. I gave him the sprocket off my bike as the shop didn't have one for that model.
Keep it coming!!!!!!!!
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Old 02-21-2012, 02:20 PM   #175
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lol, thanks man! If you think this sprocket looked bad, just wait to see the 2nd one. I had a chinese chain that ate it all up and coming up from Ushuaya I couldn't find a replacement for a loooong time. By the time I found one, the chain was skipping...
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Old 02-27-2012, 03:55 PM   #176
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. I gave him the sprocket off my bike as the shop didn't have one for that model.
Keep it coming!!!!!!!!

Good on you. Nice to see bikers sticking together. I'm sure the guy was stoked!
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Old 03-04-2012, 02:43 AM   #177
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Welcome to Argentina.

For me it was a bit of welcome back as I had spent the night on the AG side of the border to get my Paraguay visa before. The plan was to ride through the north of Argentina all the way to Chile and then descend along the coast from there. I had to cover a few km before Chile anyway, somewhere around 2000 I think with all the detours I was going to do.

First 2 nights, camped at a recreational fishing campground. It was nice and relaxing.

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And then in the municipal camping in Resistencia on the other side of the bridge.

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Relaxed with some nice people by the river beach there and hung out all night by the boardwalk.

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From afar, the campground looked calm, but locals would go there to cook BBQs till 4-6am sometimes and would blast music from all corners. It was hard to sleep even with my ear plugs.

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It was time to leave and find some tranquility. There was a nacional park of Chaco not too far from there. In this region, nat. parks are a nice place to camp because they provide everything from electricity to showers and all for free.

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From there, I tried to make it to another national park. In the mean time it had rained and the dirt roads had turned into mud. I did make it to the other park, but I had to ride the last 27km in the dark on a super slippery mud slide.

Once I got to the park, there was no one there. The gates were locked, so I camped in front of them.

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I was watching a movie on my laptop on the ground and when I went to get up I saw a black stain running away from me. After grabbing my flash light I looked to see where it had run away to. The front suspension of the kawi seemed a great place to hide. If I wouldn't have got up, he would have probably just finished watching the movie there by my side.

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He was the biggest one I've seen yet.

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The next day, had to take the mud slide back out but I felt a lot better after a good night's sleep.

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The bike didn't agree and decided to rest some more. On the way in, I mede it without problems, but on the way out, I ended up dropping it twice, and every time I lifted it by myself... a 300 km tank sliding all over the place was no easy task.

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I finally made it out of there and headed over to Salta. On the way I saw some guys working on a bike on the side of the road. I stopped to see if they needed anything and all they were missing were tire spoons to get the tire back on the wheel, luckily I had a couple.

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Old 03-07-2012, 08:43 AM   #178
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Oddometer: 150
Crazy French guy, Yannick

I made it to a city showing on the map as Salta. I didn't know much about but it was a good place to relax as it was getting late and rainy. After looking at prices for hostels, I found out that there was a municipal campground available. Set-up camp, saw one of the largest swimming pools of my life (no water at that time) and checked out the city.

Some pics of the city:

Teleferic to go see the jesus. Paid for the ride when I could have made it up with the bike for free but oh well.

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Views of the city

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While relaxing in the campground, a crazy French guy showed up on a BMW 1200GS, Yannick. We ended up exploring the rest of the the northern side of Argentina together.

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I wont go into too many details as I'm feeling a bit lazy but I'll let the pictures do the talking...

I believe these were the roads and destinations

[googlemaps http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&sour...d&w=425&h=350]
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We followed the railroad at one point that's supposed to be some kind of engineering marvel. This bridge for it is supposed to be something unique as well, but it didn't seem all that special to me. Back in the day when it was made out of wood, well, that was I'm sure quite an achievement.

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Zoom zoom zoom....

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If only I had one of my old gixxers on these roads....

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Old 03-10-2012, 07:57 AM   #179
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Oddometer: 150
North of Salta, Argentina

We set-up camp in a small town called Humahuaka I believe. Daytime it was nice and hot, but nights were super cold. Over 3000m altitude and kind of desert, but gorgeous.

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For the next 3 days or so we rode around exploring the region, all the way up just a few km from the Bolivian border.

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A small town at the end of a 50km road...

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A couple of guys traveling on chinese 200cc bikes. Those things are great on these roads.

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Layers and layers of goodness...

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High up, close to Bolivia, there is a reserve hardly visited. We made it there and even the ranger wasn't around. Mesmerizing place!

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The next day, Yannick and I slpit up. He had to go down to Buenos Aires as his daughters were coming to visit for Christmas while I decided to head over to Chile and explore new territory.
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Old 03-12-2012, 12:48 PM   #180
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Oddometer: 1,111
Very nice
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