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Old 03-31-2009, 07:46 PM   #151
TomTom63
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Hey H-Jay, I am just fascinated by all the pictures and story. If you have seen any cement- or chemical plants along the route, most likely I have been there. I'm just saddened by the fact, that I was not able to visit many of the beautiful surroundings in my business travels ...

Keep it coming, PLEASE !
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Old 04-01-2009, 06:51 AM   #152
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Originally Posted by T.REX63
Hey H-Jay, I am just fascinated by all the pictures and story. If you have seen any cement- or chemical plants along the route, most likely I have been there. I'm just saddened by the fact, that I was not able to visit many of the beautiful surroundings in my business travels ...

Keep it coming, PLEASE !
I understand completely. I did a lot of work in South America but never got to enjoy the surroundings until this trip. Oh yeah, plants...you mean like this one on the Pan Am in Chile?

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South America Blog

Patagonia Bound Ride Report
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=420453

Alaska Ride Report http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=250239

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Old 04-01-2009, 09:42 AM   #153
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Originally Posted by H-Jay
I understand completely. I did a lot of work in South America but never got to enjoy the surroundings until this trip. Oh yeah, plants...you mean like this one on the Pan Am in Chile?
Yup, just like that one. I havn't been personally to the Bio Bio plant, but I know they operate our cement packaging machinery. In Chile I have been to the DOW plant in Concepcion, south of Santiago.

I also went to the cement plant in Riobamba, passt Mt. Chimborazo in Ecuador...

My "latino" heart belongs to El Salvador. I started traveling there in 1989, when they still had machine guns behind sand bag barricades in Pizza Hut parking lots. Thankfully, Alfredo Christiani was able to turn things around. The Salvadorian people have always been absolutely fantastic. Even back in those days, I never had a bad experience...

Enough business now, ...keep it coming, PLEASE!

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Old 04-08-2009, 07:30 AM   #154
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Quickly In and Out of Santiago



We pulled into Santiago around 2PM. Santiago is a big city with a downtown area that rivals any modern sophisticated large urban center in the world. It is picturesque, with plenty of quaint shops, cultural areas and attractive common areas. We would have to leave checking out the city for later. Our first priority was to find a hotel and then get the motorcycles in for some maintenance. We found a really nice area in the downtown area with cobblestone streets and a number of reasonable price hotels. We stayed at the Hotel Plaza Londres. I highly recommend the hotel and the area. The area was close to the main plaza but far enough away to avoid the crowds. It is very quaint, quiet and within easy walking distance to Museums and, shop.





After we checked in we went to the dealership to check on getting the motorcycles serviced, new tires and a battery for Chris. We were greeted by a friendly service manager that told us we could have everything done if we could bring the motorcycles in by 8AM tomorrow. A great relief to us was that they had the rear Continental brand knobbie tires we wanted. The TKC80s we put on in Lima still had some life in them but it was clear they were not going to last to Ushuaia and for sure not the 2000 miles of asphalt back up to Buenos Aires. It all sounded too easy and too good to be true. Little did we know…..


We arrived at the dealership at 8AM. The service orders were promptly written up. We asked about the price of replacing the front tires. The quote for the fronts was fair so we said sure, replace the fronts also. With confidence that we were in good hands we walked to a restaurant a few blocks from the dealership that had real coffee and some sinful pastries. To really boost our spirits we discovered the place also had wifi. It was the kind of café that Starbucks has patterned itself after. It had outdoor tables adjoining a little park area to add to the atmosphere.




As we walked up we spotted a brand new MVAgusta and a beaming owner. After talking to the owner in Spanish, his lady friend, in perfect English, assured us the owner already knew he had a cool motorcycle and we didn’t need to repeatedly tell him.




Chris, after enjoying his double coffee, walked back up to the dealership to retrieve his computer. Caution, a rank is about to start. Our first sign of trouble was the motorcycles where still sitting in the place where we parked them an hour and a half ago. We wondered why they insisted we get the motorcycles there at 8AM only to have them sit out in the sun. After killing most of the day at the café, we walked back to the dealership only to discover the motorcycles were being worked on but not done. Thanks to Chris ignoring the admonishments and walking back into the shop area, he discovered we had problems. They had installed new front Continental knobbie tires but no rears. The formerly helpful service manager finally told us they didn’t have any rear Continental tires. It’s now 5PM and they are insisting they have to close at 6PM. We eventually make some progress on the tires and found that a nearby store stocked Metzler Karoo knobbies. The service manager said they would have to handle it tomorrow because they were closing. We were furious. Worse yet when we asked him what he planned to do tomorrow to get us underway he did not have a clue what to do. The service manager knew we needed new rear tires. We expected he would have gone to work immediately to try and solve the problem. Instead his priority was getting the dealership closed by 6PM. Fortunately a higher voice of reason showed up in the form of Jose, one of the franchise managers. He took us over to the Metzler tire dealership so we could get the tires we needed back to the dealership. So while they were closing up shop they found it easy to just ignoring our pleas to help get us underway today. All we got was manana-tomorrow. With no glimmer of hope for any additional help, we resigned ourselves to our faith and unceremoniously caught a cab back to the hotel for the night with a promise that the motorcycles would be ready by 11AM tomorrow. What a day. We spent a total of 10 hours hanging around a dealership to get 2 hours worth of work not done.

The following day we returned to the dealership. Of course 11AM came and went. By 1PM we were leaving the dealership and on our way out of Santiago with new Metzler karoos, fresh oil and a real battery for Chris.

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South America Blog

Patagonia Bound Ride Report
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=420453

Alaska Ride Report http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=250239

H-Jay screwed with this post 04-08-2009 at 07:59 AM
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Old 04-08-2009, 08:36 AM   #155
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LOL, Latin America Time?
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Old 04-09-2009, 02:08 PM   #156
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The Fabulous Lakes District


Here is an interactive Google map with blue flags to locate the cities mentioned in the write up….incase you were wishing or wondering …..



http://
View
South of Santiago in a larger map



From Santiago we headed south to check out the lakes district and the resort towns of Pucon, Chile, San Martin de Los Andes and Bariloche in Argentina.




On our way we ran into a couple, John and Gabriella, from Santiago on a new red GS Adventure. John is originally from Australia and Gabriella is originally from Buenos Aires. John is building a Motorcycle Touring business. It is called South American Motorbike Tours. The website is www.samotorbikrtours.com . They gave us some good advice on routes, what to see and where to stay.



We had lunch with them in one of Chile’s famous ski towns, Pucon. In Pucon they ski down a volcano. It looked to be a steep descent. We rode with John and Gabriella to another interesting little ski town called San Martin de Los Andes. We spent the night there and walked around town. Funny how, if you changed the language, it could have been any ski town in the world.






















Cool Cabalerros with cool caps. We instantly kew we had to get ours.




The first of many Chile Argentina Argentina Chile border crossings. Argentina requested if we had purchased Argentina insurance for our motorcycles. From where? We are in the middle of nowhere???? They didn't push it and let us in.







Lots of these in Argentina but most were not as clean as this example. Many are used as everyday transportation.



We got an education on Asados..more on that later.



As we continued south we traveled on the picturesque “Lake District” roads heavily promoted by the Argentine travel industry for well founded reasons. The planned route was 80% pavement for the day. We ended up making a wrong turn and enjoyed an 80 percent dirt route that followed the shoreline of a beautiful lake. Some of the views of the bright blue green lake were simply stunning. The dirt road condition was not all that challenging so we could enjoy the views.



























We rejoined the pavement on Ruta 40 (Route 40), more on this famous route later. We did a lunch stop in Bariloche. It is a well known Argentine ski town. By now we had our fill of ski towns and pushed on further south after lunch and spent the night in El Bolson.



We met the rider of this motorcycle in Barilochi. He was from Buenos Aires and obviously skilled at welding aluminum. We rode south together out of our final ski town visited.









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2007 BMW R1200GSA
1968 Norton Fastback
1969 Triumph Bonnie

South America Blog

Patagonia Bound Ride Report
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=420453

Alaska Ride Report http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=250239

H-Jay screwed with this post 04-09-2009 at 02:19 PM Reason: fix pics
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Old 04-09-2009, 04:46 PM   #157
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Absolutely fabulous RR
Very informative about the border crossings and the service from the mechnics. So far the shadetree mechanics are well ahead over the 'lifestyle' guys....
So eh where is the rest????.......
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Old 04-10-2009, 09:04 AM   #158
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Absolutely fabulous RR
Very informative about the border crossings and the service from the mechnics. So far the shadetree mechanics are well ahead over the 'lifestyle' guys....
So eh where is the rest????.......
it coming, its coming....
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2007 BMW R1200GSA
1968 Norton Fastback
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South America Blog

Patagonia Bound Ride Report
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=420453

Alaska Ride Report http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=250239
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Old 04-10-2009, 09:26 AM   #159
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We Found The Patagonia Express

We found the Patagonia Express. Before leaving Argentina we stopped in the town of Esquel.



This is the little mining town that made famous by the 30 year old book “The Old Patagonia Express”. The book is about Paul Theroux, the author’s train trip from Boston through Central and South America ending in Esquel. As I came across deserted train tracks in isolated areas of Bolivia, I mused about seeing the same terrain Theroux wrote about in his travels. The town has capitalized on the train’s notoriety. It also promotes one day train excursions from the town to a national park and back. The remains of the original wooden train the author rode still exist. It is in the train yard next to the station. It consists of one car and some sub frames. It doesn’t look like it is destine to exist on this earth very long. If you just walked up to the train station you would completely ignore the remains, no sign, nothing.





While in Argentina you can’t not notice all of the old Falcons still in regular use. At one point in time it was one of the best selling cars in Argentina …likely because they were locally built and stayed in production into the early 80’s.



Anyway we are going back in to Chile for some really fun roads and sights.
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2007 BMW R1200GSA
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South America Blog

Patagonia Bound Ride Report
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=420453

Alaska Ride Report http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=250239
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Old 04-10-2009, 04:14 PM   #160
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The Southern Highway - Carretera Austral



Our next objective was to travel south on the famous Carretera Austral (in English the Southern Highway) in Chile. The Southern Highway is in the Chile Patagonia area. As you travel south, Chile’s Patagonia becomes very different from the more famous Argentina Patagonia. The Chile side is characterized by mountains, lakes, the Pacific Ocean and many islands. It is very similar to the Alaska’s Southern coast. Argentina, on the other hand, is characterized by some mountains, glaciers and a lot of flat brown tundra that goes on forever. Clearly Argentina did a better marketing job because the Chile side is a lot more interesting. That is why we are going to the Southern Highway. It’s the only road that runs a considerable length of Southern Chile’s Patagonia. Getting to the Southern Highway in Chile requires travelling through Argentina if you want to avoid multiple long ferry rides on the Northern end of the highway.

We reentered Chile in a remote border crossing and made our way over to the Chilean Southern Highway.




It started to rain and the road deteriorated. At first it was mostly hard packed dirt and then gravel. Soon the rain and gravel increased. The going got slow and tough as the rain increased, the temperature dropped and the road got sloppy, especially in construction areas.

At times the rain would let up and allow for a snap shot or two.






Here is a little about the highway (the highway term is used liberally). The Chilean government (Pinochet era) started building the highway in 1976. It was not opened to traffic until 1988. The purpose of the road was to develop the remote southern end of Chile. A number of high end fishing lodges are on the road but not much more. During the high season the road is a haven for trans American bicyclist, trout fishermen and crazy kayakers. The dirt and gravel road is about 770 miles and runs through numerous National Parks and around large lakes. The plan is to eventually pave the road. So we wanted to experience it now while the region is undeveloped.


We eventually made it to a little village where our road would intersect the Carretera Austral. It was getting late, we were both tired and hoping we could find a hotel for the night but nothing was available so we pushed on south. The weather and road conditions continued to get worse. Neither of us had on our electric jackets and neither of us wanted to prolong the ordeal by stopping so we pushed on until we reached La Junta and a nice warm hotel.
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South America Blog

Patagonia Bound Ride Report
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=420453

Alaska Ride Report http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=250239
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Old 04-10-2009, 04:48 PM   #161
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Continuing Down Chile's Southern Highway

As we loaded up I found the cause of the intermittent noise I was hearing yesterday on the road. Looks like my rear fender decided to mangle itself with my inner fender. After a quick surgical removal of the mangled part we were off.





Heading south from La Junta the rain stopped but it was still cold and overcast. We were wondering what we were in for given it was just the first day of the Southern Hemisphere’s Fall. The weather was unable to distract from the scenery and the road. Nor did the construction, and there was a fair amount of construction.






By mid day the clouds started breaking up and the temperature started to climb. We soon found ourselves with a warm sunny day riding by streams, waterfalls, snow capped mountains and an occasional glacier.
















The road is narrow, one to one and a 1/2 lanes at times. Several northbound motorcyclist where a bit overly enthusiastic and almost took us out as they rounded a blind curve with a bit too much speed. It was scary to think of suffering a serious injury in such a remote area.



Some of the cars we passed were a testimonial to the difficult road conditions. We helped a young German couple in a 30 year old VW Micobus get back on the road. We noticed it had no front windshield. It was explained that they lost the windshield after it was shattered by a big rock further up the road. Further down the road we came across a late model SUV with a caved in roof and no windshield. It was clearly the victim of a recent roll over. The occupants seemed to be barely tolerating the cold air blasting in their faces.




Our destination for the day was Coihaique (or sometimes spelled Coyhaique). It is the largest city on the Carretera Austral. Until the Carretera Austral was built it looks like the only way to get to the city from Santiago was through Argentina. The road got more difficult as we climbed over various mountain passes. All in all it took us 8 hours to go less than 200 miles.




Arriving in Coihaque we found it to be a surprisingly large city given the remote part of Chile. We were happy to find a hotel with heat since the sharp temperature drops as the sun falls behind the mountains. It’s a pleasant city with a very active downtown. The main plaza is a bit unique in that it is in the shape of a pentagon and all of the surrounding streets follow that pattern, making it easy to get lost.
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2007 BMW R1200GSA
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South America Blog

Patagonia Bound Ride Report
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=420453

Alaska Ride Report http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=250239
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Old 04-19-2009, 04:57 PM   #162
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Continuing on Chile's Carretera Austral

Morning in Coihaique






The Carretera Austral from Coihaique to Cochrane was sensational, especially the Cerro (mountain) Castillo National Park stretch.




The pictures can’t convey the views and sensations you experience from the seat of the motorcycle. We passed brilliant blue green, glacial grey and green lakes, bays that connected to the Pacific Ocean and mountains with jagged peaks.

















It is amazing how the road can be narrow dirt and then without warning connect to a wide, paved and well maintained road.






We stopped to check on two French guys on small displacement Yamahas. They were north bound and just taking a break. They purchased the motorcycles in South America and planned to ride them around the Continent for 5 months… two brave and ambitious souls.
















Yes... that is the road ahead.







An interesting approach to advertising tree top cable rides. I guess its better than having the landscape littlered with billboards.






Cochrane is a small town literally in the middle of nowhere. Its not clear what the residence do to make a living beyond offer services to each other and the random tourist that might stop for the night. There is not much to do in Cochrane after the sun goes down but read or go to bed. Maybe that is why the restaurants typically don’t start serving until after 8:30 PM in this region. The hotel we found was clean and comfortable but sparse on services.

In the morning we had the typical hotel Nescafe, bread, cheese and juice breakfast. We didn’t think it to be a problem since we could stop on the road and eat. Unfortunately it didn’t happen. We found ourselves out in the wilderness with no stores let alone any other type of service. Except for a couple of smashed granola bars stashed away for emergencies, we didn’t eat again until later in the evening when we arrived at the cross road village of Bajo Caracoles.
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1968 Norton Fastback
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South America Blog

Patagonia Bound Ride Report
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=420453

Alaska Ride Report http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=250239
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Old 04-19-2009, 06:45 PM   #163
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Crossing the Andes Back into Argentina



As we traveled through the Northern parts of Chile and Argentina we frequently commented about not seeing any wildlife along the road. Suddenly that changed.





The road leading to the mountain pass had the typical road hazards for this part of the world. The wooden bridges were a worry. But the wooden cattle grates with open centers were a big worry. Maintaining focus on the road is critical.





OK back to the wildlife…Flamingoes and we are not in Florida.





I wasn’t prepared to round the corner and almost run down a large ostrich type bird standing in the middle of the road.





We later discovered the bird is a Rhea. I’ve seen Rheas in books but didn’t know they were that big and indigenous to in southern Argentina and Chile. They are a hoot to watch and difficult to photograph up close. Motorcycles seem to freak them out and make them panic run. I read someone else where the bird’s erratic running style looks like an armless man running. How true. The big birds run at least 30 miles per hour. They hang around the edge of the road and sometimes dart back and forth across the road before deciding which way to run. Obviously that is unnerving when traveling at higher speeds on a motorcycle.






We arrived at another isolated border as we reentered Argentina. It was an uneventful crossing except we got hassles on not having Argentina insurance on our motorcycles. We again dutifully promised to take care of it as soon as possible, with our fingers crossed behind us.

After making our way in to Argentina we soon found another isolated soft dirt and gravel road. I noticed at times the best we could do was around 22 mph.



We went from one isolated lonely road to arguable one of the world’s loneliest highways. We had reached the junction of the 3000 mile legendary Ruta 40 (route 40), more on the road later. We eventually arrived for the night at the cross roads village of Bajo Caracoles. After a 9 hour riding day we clicked off only 120 miles.
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2007 BMW R1200GSA
1968 Norton Fastback
1969 Triumph Bonnie

South America Blog

Patagonia Bound Ride Report
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=420453

Alaska Ride Report http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=250239
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Old 04-19-2009, 11:55 PM   #164
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Outstanding ride report! I'm reading and watching with envy from Europe. Glad to see a fellow Michigander out and about in SA. Godspeed!

R
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Old 04-20-2009, 10:24 AM   #165
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Outstanding ride report! I'm reading and watching with envy from Europe. Glad to see a fellow Michigander out and about in SA. Godspeed!

R
Thanks. Not sure why but we ran into a lot of motorcycle travelers from the Duetschland travelers in South American.
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2007 BMW R1200GSA
1968 Norton Fastback
1969 Triumph Bonnie

South America Blog

Patagonia Bound Ride Report
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=420453

Alaska Ride Report http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=250239
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