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Old 01-10-2011, 05:33 PM   #46
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Old 01-10-2011, 05:57 PM   #47
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Great stuff,I like the details on the build , you have my attention !
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Old 01-10-2011, 06:42 PM   #48
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Great work of Art - I mean, photos!! I was also sucked into this ride report and I love it... Ela, you are one great rider and a story teller. Gracias!
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Old 01-10-2011, 07:45 PM   #49
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Great report. Perfect way to enjoy this break in your work life!
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Old 01-11-2011, 03:26 PM   #50
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Chez Dakar Motos

With the bike out of customs, the next day was dedicated to sorting the paperwork. Looking for stationery shops and having photocopies made of all the new documents gave me the opportunity to meet more of the helpful inhabitants of San Telmo.

Then it was back to the headquarters of the bike insurance company to receive the policies for the other countries I was going to travel to; not only Argentina but also Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia and Chile were covered by the same contract. ¡Fantastico!

On the way to the office near the Diagonal Norte I came across one of the many demonstrations that happen in the Argentinean capital. Taking photographs is usually frowned upon but John had told me that tourists are exempt from this rule - phew...



Buenos Aires is a fascinating mixture of beauty and decay which I personally like very much - here you see colonial architecture…



… and there ruins just at the next corner



Parking in the city centre is difficult and not particularly safe, so there are lots of guarded car parks about. I was lucky to have one of these places right on the other side of the road from my hotel. This is Miguel who looked after my bike (and a few other cars, I think...) and who invited me to the first Mate of my trip. Mate is the Argentinean national drink and you should never decline if you are invited to share it.



Finally packed and ready to leave downtown for Vicente Lopéz, I entered Sandra and Javier’s address in the GPS - et voilà: only 14 minutes to Dakar Motos apparently. Right, on the eight lanes of the Avenida 9 de Julio I already missed the first turning to the left. A local bus driver pulled intimidatingly close, opened the door and helpfully suggested that I should just ride over the traffic island. Mmm, with a fully loaded bike and my foot still weak and hurting, that might not have been a wise move...

So I let the GPS recalculate and took the northern loop along the sea front and the Aeroparque, the national airport of Buenos Aires. Of course, it was just around five o'clock and the rush hour in full flow. As mentioned before, even the cars are filtering in this city, so there was no chance of slipping through with my big panniers. Coming to a hold was struggle enough, as I didn't dare to put sudden weight onto my left foot.

While waiting in the stationary traffic I suddenly noticed a familiar smell: fuel... Oh no, not again! It didn't help in this situation that I hadn't filled up since releasing the bike from the airport (you are only allowed to leave less than a quarter of fuel in the tank). So I could only hope that I would still make it to Dakar Motos. Whilst crawling along together, many friendly drivers and riders pointed out that I was leaking - but what was I supposed to do? I was on the outer side of the road because I had to turn left soon and after that, stopping on a fast five-lane motorway without any hard shoulder in sight was just not an option.

Literally on the last drop and one hour late I finally arrived at Calle Carlos Tejedor 1379 where I received a very warm welcome from Sandra and Javier. They introduced me to the already resident RTW travellers Adrian (from Australia) and Mick (from Denmark) and after a few hours of lively chat I decided to stay not one but two nights at this friendly place.

Mick, Sandra and Adrian at Dakar Motos


*****

The local supermercado nearby was open all day every day and sold everything we needed for a hearty breakfast the next morning.



This photo I took especially for my beloved Possu who swears by the original...



Life is good at Dakar Motos



Breakfast in the sun



The day was spent on bike maintenance and little adjustments. The previous evening Javier had stated that he doesn't work Saturdays, so here he is probably just enjoying himself fiddling with Adrian's KLR 650.



To avoid future fuel leaks once and for all, I replaced the old fuel pipe with a new one (which Possu had thoughtfully advised me to buy prior to departure) and fitted another filter from Javier's workshop. This bigger version would certainly be better suited for filtering dirty gasolina sold from rusty oil drums in the more remote areas of South America.



Dakar Motos seems to be a popular meeting place for the local biker community. We were introduced to a wide spectrum of the moteros of Buenos Aires.



Amongst them was Fabrizio who rides a restored 1949 Norton with all the trimmings.



He is also a very nice and helpful guy, here siphoning a spare litre out of his tank to enable me to reach the nearest filling station.



Then, as the icing of the cake and to make my bike ready for the South American roads, Javier added his personal signature. Been there, got the sticker...



We really had a brilliant time together and it would have been so easy to stay another day and maybe another one after that - in the company of like-minded motorcyclists and in the comfort of this home-like place so far away from Europe. After all, I had already made the first step and travelled to a different continent; so what was another day which would give me some additional time to build up a bit more courage before venturing into the great unknown?

“Don't be such a wuss”, I told myself off, “that's what you have come over here for and four months will be shorter than you think!” Alright, the decision was made and I went for a last dinner with Adrian. Nice guy, really, but you have to watch your olives - we shared a pizza and I dropped one of my olives. In a fraction of a millisecond Adrian's fork swooped down and before I could say "Oi!" it was gone. How we laughed...



Outside the pizzeria we found a look-alike of the famous Australian Postie bikes which made Adrian feel a bit like home.



*****

On Sunday morning I captured the last impressions of the empty streets of Vicente-Lopéz - Calle San Martin



Good idea: kill poverty - not the poor...



Then I packed the bike, waved goodbye to Adrian and Mick and hit the road...

*****

By the way, if you want to know what these great guys are up to you can follow their trips on the following sites:

Mick started his RTW trip in his home country Denmark and has been on the road since 2009. He has travelled through Europe and down the west coast of Africa. From Buenos Aires he will ride his VFR down to Patagonia and then up on the Pacific side. ATWJ - MHoey.eu

Adrian was from Australia and just embarking on a RTW trip which would have taken him north from Buenos Aires to New York. From there he was going to ship his KLR to London and then head east to the next coast. Adrian's Motorcycle Diaries - Adriankemmis.blogspot.com.

Sadly Adrian was killed five weeks later in a road accident in Brazil. He was only 30 years old and such a nice young man – full of enthusiasm, open and eager to learn about the world, just starting to live his dream and having the time of his life. A terrible loss. RIP, my fellow traveller...

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Old 01-11-2011, 04:22 PM   #51
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Pumpy, did you take any bike security (locks etc) with you or did you feel it was too much to add?

...& did you require fuel from the canister at any time? I would've thought the large tank alone would be enough for a road trip.
Phil, I took a braided steel cable and a strong padlock which I used five times during the trip, mainly on campsites. When I stayed under a roof I made sure that the bike was parked securely in a garage, a court yard or the back garden - if this was not possible I looked for alternative accommodation.

Regarding the fuel canisters (5l & 8l) - yes, absolutely. Depending on speed, difficulty of terrain, altitude and especially the wind in Patagonia I had a range between 140 and 260 miles before hitting reserve.

In some remote areas you won't find a filling station in time before you run out of fuel; some services are closed, some don't have the fuel you need or any at all, and sometime you can just get into a situation where you are stranded in the middle of nowhere and need that extra ration (as it happened to me twice, which I will tell you about later on in the report).

I would recommend to take at least five litres for peace of mind, even if you only go to the Highlands of Scotland...
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Old 01-11-2011, 10:59 PM   #52
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Phil, I took a braided steel cable and a strong padlock which I used five times during the trip, mainly on campsites. When I stayed under a roof I made sure that the bike was parked securely in a garage, a court yard or the back garden - if this was not possible I looked for alternative accommodation.
Ah, I see it now!

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Old 01-12-2011, 07:49 AM   #53
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Well done Pumpy, but couldn't you have waited 2 years? We could have had a nice reunion and done the trip as embassadors of the fatherland.

Anyway - what are the chances to buy a used bike in lets say Argentina and sell it at the end of the trip? Worth the trouble?
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:15 AM   #54
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OMG!! I can't wait to read the full story
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Old 01-12-2011, 04:57 PM   #55
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Well done Pumpy, but couldn't you have waited 2 years? We could have had a nice reunion and done the trip as embassadors of the fatherland.
Well, someone had told me about your plans and so I thought I'd better get there quickly as long as they still let Germans into South America...

Only joking, Richard, I'll be happy to go back in two years' time!

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Anyway - what are the chances to buy a used bike in lets say Argentina and sell it at the end of the trip? Worth the trouble?
Motorcycles are very expensive in Argentina and I haven't seen a lot of overland bikes on the road. It's also complicated to buy a vehicle in South America if you are a foreigner. For me, the main reasons to discard the idea were that you don't know what you get and what condition the bike is in (any traveller's vehicle will have had a hard life), that you can't make modifications before you actually get there, that finding a bike at the start can significantly delay your trip and selling it at the end may add a lot of pressure on your schedule if you have already booked your flight back home.

If time is not an issue, the best place to look for a bike deal is probably the For Sale & Wanted section on Horizons Unlimited.

Good luck!
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Old 01-12-2011, 05:43 PM   #56
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Into Uruguay



The Ruta 9 out of Buenos Aires was long and uneventful - but the fact that I had finally hit the road and was riding the Pan-American Highway was excitement enough. Industrial areas changed to wide open Pampa and the traffic ebbed away kilometre by kilometre. I joined the Ruta 12 north near Zarate and crossed the Río Paraná Delta via two impressive bridges.

Autopista Mesopotamica



At Ceibas began the Ruta 14 and I stopped after exactly 100 miles to check the fuel consumption - due to my broken foot I hadn’t test ridden the bike properly and only had a rough idea how long a tank would last me. But hey, just under four litres per 100 kilometres or 72 miles to the gallon (fully loaded on the motorway) was a result I can’t really complain about.

The Pampa is mainly flat…



But if you look around you can still find things worth seeing - vintage, beautiful and still in use (I'm referring to the truck, cheeky!)



The GPS indicated a shortcut to Gualeguaychú and I had a quick look at a sandy dirt road. No, I was not ready for trail riding yet and so I continued on the highway until the official Ruta 136 branched off to the east. Over the beautiful Puente Internacional Libertador General San Martín I crossed the Río Uruguay and arrived at the border between Argentina and Uruguay.



If you look closely you can spot the bridge in the background



Rarely have I experienced such an efficient border crossing: although having to pass through four different desks - pre-check and start of the procedure, personal details, vehicle documents, insurance and customs plus temporary import registration - everything was dealt with as quickly and friendly as possible. I think I needed less than 15 minutes and that included chatting about my trip, the bike and the origin of some of the officers’ German surnames such as 'Ehrhardt' and 'Schmidt'.



Whilst changing money and talking to Leopoldo, the nice chap in the tourist office straight after the border, I thought it would be quite appropriate for a vegetarian of 30 years to stay in Fray Bentos, the home of the Liebig Extract of Meat...

Leopoldo recommended the campsite at the Parador Playa Ubici and off I went to find an idyllic little hostel directly by the river. Hostess Antonela was just about to leave when I arrived but stopped immediately to show me the facilities and the rooms from which I could choose, as I was the only guest this Sunday evening. Well, for the equivalent of £8.00 I decided to leave tent and sleeping bag in the luggage roll.

Parador Playa Ubici in Fray Bentos



Antonela carried all my panniers upstairs and made me really feel at home. The travel guide hadn't exaggerated about the warmth, helpfulness and hospitality of the Uruguayan people.

After transforming myself into a civilized, nicely smelling human being again, I headed into town for dinner, allegedly just a short stroll away from the hostel. Well, I won't bore you with the details of my odyssey through Fray Bentos but it was at least a three-kilometre walk until I found the excellent Pizzeria 'Los Immigrantes' in the lively town centre. Not a big deal normally but I was still limping! When I finally returned to the Parador after another 3 kilometres my ankle looked like a tennis ball. Maybe I should have splashed out and taken a taxi...

However, I found Fray Bentos a nice place with friendly and helpful people. Although I crossed a few rather un-touristy corners I never felt uncomfortable and my greetings were always returned with a smile. I was looking forward to exploring more of this likeable country the following day.

Río Uruguay by night

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Old 01-12-2011, 06:11 PM   #57
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Old 01-13-2011, 03:52 AM   #58
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Well done Pumpy, but couldn't you have waited 2 years? We could have had a nice reunion and done the trip as embassadors of the fatherland.

Anyway - what are the chances to buy a used bike in lets say Argentina and sell it at the end of the trip? Worth the trouble?
Richard, there's enough Germans in certain parts of South America, they don't need any more thanks.

We considered buying a bike in South America but to me, the choices were:

a. buying a local bike that needed prepping for the trip which would be difficult and expensive to do or

b. buying a bike that had already completed a long overland trip which would probably be well equipped but in desperate need of major servicing and TLC. There's also the problem of buying and selling foreign registered bikes in other countries.

Both of the above could result in an unreliable and expensive bike that broke down and ruined Ela's trip.

By buying a low mileage bike here in the UK and prepping it thoroughly, we'd be sure to have a bike that was prepared properly and would be reliable. I spent well in excess of 150 hours on prepping Ela's DRZ, by buying in BA, she would have either have had to extend the trip duration by another 2-3 weeks to do the same prep or keep the trip at 4 months duration but massively reduce the riding time and see less of the continent, neither of which was acceptable or possible.

It worked out more expensive but we feel that it was the best way for us but possibly not for everyone. The payoff IMHO was that the bike was very reliable and didn't really let her down. We've cleaned the wheels, fitted a new front disc and Ela will be out trailriding on it this Sunday.
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Old 01-13-2011, 05:37 AM   #59
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But if you look around you can still find things worth seeing - vintage, beautiful and still in use (I'm referring to the truck, cheeky!)


Nice one. Here in germany are a lot of people which search for such a lorry and would
pay a lot of money!

Great Pics! Thanks!

Regards Mike
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Old 01-13-2011, 07:36 AM   #60
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Good works Ela both, trip and report

Happy to know your trip finish ok

Hope this year we can meet again with you and the rest

waiting for more....
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