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Old 02-19-2014, 07:50 AM   #3721
JDowns OP
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Joined: Mar 2005
Location: Bassett, NE
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodly1069 View Post
Hey John as I was reading along in the last few pages it occured to me that changing money is no big deal in most places but I must have missed it some place way back if you explained how you get yours to start with. I mean, do you just carry credit cards and hit up ATMs when your supply runs low? I'm sure you have a stash of emergency greenbacks but what is S.O.P. on a trip of this magnatude where you are gone for so long and can't carry bags of cash?
Thanks for any insight!
Tim
Hi Tim,

Most people just use an ATM (cajero automatico) since that way they don't have to carry much cash. I am of the belt and suspenders travel finance school.

I started out with 2 credit cards, 1 debit card and some cash in a money belt. It's good to have options. I canceled my first credit card when I lost it in Colombia. Canceled my debit card when I lost it in Peru. I'm down to my last credit card and cash.

Mind you, I am an imbecile. Most people don't lose stuff like this. You can find cash machines all over the place in Latin America, but it is good to have a few thousand in cash for countries like Argentina where the black market for pesos is nearly double what you get out of an ATM. Or Venezuela where the black market rate is 10 times what you get out of an ATM. Or in my case it is good to have cash in case you keep losing those little plastic cards.

Saludos,
Tio Juanito
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Old 02-19-2014, 07:53 AM   #3722
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Kinda what I thught but just confirming! Travel safely me amigo!
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Old 02-19-2014, 08:39 AM   #3723
wanderlost
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Sending cash your way

John:

As a fellow Sherpa rider I have been enjoying your travels. Sending some cash your way for a couple tanks of gas so you can keep going and entertaining us all.

Buena suerte

Paul
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Old 02-19-2014, 09:08 AM   #3724
Deah
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Looks like an awesome RR! I’m a minimalist with a XT225 with cabin fever.
249 pages, challenge accepted. There goes my productivity…
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Old 02-19-2014, 10:08 AM   #3725
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Best wishes for a speedy recovery Don Juan.
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Old 02-19-2014, 01:22 PM   #3726
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Sounds good, let's go!
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderlost View Post
John:

As a fellow Sherpa rider I have been enjoying your travels. Sending some cash your way for a couple tanks of gas so you can keep going and entertaining us all.

Buena suerte

Paul
Hi Paul,

Thanks so much. Wanderlost is on the side of the Sherpa tank.

Saludos,
Tio Juanito
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Old 02-19-2014, 01:24 PM   #3727
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Sounds good, let's go!
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deah View Post
Looks like an awesome RR! I’m a minimalist with a XT225 with cabin fever.
249 pages, challenge accepted. There goes my productivity…
Hi Deah,

Nice to have you along for the ride. It's a long and winding ride report. Should keep you busy for a while. Small bikes= big fun.

Your ADVpal,
Juan Sherpa
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Old 02-20-2014, 05:17 PM   #3728
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After resting up from a mild case of turista the last 3 days it was time to hit the highway. It was nice relaxing in the desert oasis of Pica with it’s surrounding citrus orchards:



and mango orchards:



but the Sherpa was eager to hit the long lonesome highway. With the emphasis on lonesome:



Took a wrong turn down the hill and ended up heading north on a long detour. Had to whip a U-turn when I saw this muslim mosque being built out in the middle of nowhere:



The stucco guys were putting the finish coat on the dome and minaret. I liked the curved ladder they devised pivoting on the top of the dome that lets them plaster at arms length without messing up their work. Pretty clever. As well as the platform that the stucco crew was using to put the finish coat on the minaret. It was held in place with ropes and 4 pulleys coming from the top of the minaret and kept from falling with a steel beam resting on the winding staircase inside. Just winch it up 6 feet, throw the beam under the platform and continue higher. Not sure if they are going to keep the winding staircase exposed or infill the four sides. It consisted of a central steel pole extending up 70 feet or so to the top and welded steel treads winding around to the top. Pretty unusual to see out in the middle of the Atacama desert. Although it does look a little middle eastern arid around here.

Rode over towards this hill that was off the highway to take a pic of these ancient pictographs. About as easy to make out as the Nazca lines. Interesting though. Ancient grafitti artists need love too:



About the only tree that I saw occasionally were creosote trees. Stopped under the shade of one to drink some water and get out of the heat. These trees are bad-ass. Check out that creosote resin marking its territory. It looked gooey, but was hard and resinous to the touch. Like prehistoric JBweld:



more coming…..
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Old 02-20-2014, 05:56 PM   #3729
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Saw a couple dual sport bikes and stopped to say hi. Brazilian riders from Sao Paolo resting in the shade. It was hot out today. Like a furnace. They were heading down and over to San Pedro de Atacama and over the Andes on Paso de Jama on their way east to Brazil. The turn off was not too far down the way, so when I stopped later to drink some water and get out of the wind they waved and honked as they drove by. Nice guys who spoke excellent English:



The wind really picked up in the afternoon, maybe 30-40 mph. Just under gale force. With the heat it was like a blast furnace. As I lay on the gas tank to keep a low profile and keep the bike on a somewhat straight line I tried to convince myself it was a cleansing alternative to an afternoon at the spa for a sauna and blow dry to rid the toxins from my system.

It looks and feels like Death Valley down here at times. Only imagine if Death Valley was twice the length of California. That my friends is the Atacama desert. When you ride it you’ll know what I’m talking about. Words can’t describe it. It is vast and awesome, hot and relentless. With a feeling only deserts can bring. Imagine mesmerising wavy mirages evaporating ahead of you leading off to the vanishing point on the horizon. Either you like it or you don’t. I like it.

I had gone over 200 miles from the last gas station and there was no gas station in sight. I still had 60 miles to go to Antofagasto down on the coast when I hit reserve. Yikes! Could be trouble. Maybe a 1/2 gallon left and then when that runs out it means laying the Sherpa on it’s left side and tipping the gas from the right lobe over to the petcock side. Hmmm. It would be close. As I was doing the calculations taking into consideration the stiff headwinds and the square of the hypotenuse, I came over a rise and saw a Copec gas station on the horizon. If you check Webster's Dictionary you'll find that listed as the 1st definition of ADVrider nirvana.

Finally coasted down the hill to the town of Antofagasto on the Pacific coast. Headed downtown to change some money. I am burning through pesos in Chile. This is the most expensive country I’ve been in since Costa Rica. In fact it reminds me of Costa Rican prices. 1.50 for a coke. 6.00/gal for gas. Hard to find a place to stay for under 30 bucks. Dorm beds in hostels 16-20. I am going to be camping most of the way from now on like I did all the way through Costa Rica. It’s the only way to keep your costs under 50.00/day. I spent 30 bucks for 18 liters of gas today just to go 500 kilometers. That is 4 times the money I was spending in Ecuador. It was all I could do to find a cheesy hotel with wifi and peeling paint for 30 bucks. The first couple wanted 80! Yikes. It made 30 sound cheap.

But Antofagasto does have a nice town square:



With a beautiful church across the street lit up with the last rays of daylight:



Hasta Mañana,
Juan Atacama
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Old 02-20-2014, 06:41 PM   #3730
George 99
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Figured out what I had done wrong on my contribution, Juan, so there's a few more shekels in the till. Sounds like it'll be put to good use.

Time to do some stealth camping, but choose your locations carefully. Just read this morning friend Karl Bushby almost got crushed by a semi overnight by choosing the wrong sport to pitch his tent. (See Bushby3000.com for details.)

Getting all my thrills reading stuff from youse guys as I (finally) get my India Visa package mailed in the AM.
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Old 02-20-2014, 06:45 PM   #3731
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Glad to see you making headway, Señor Juan! I believe Ecuador has beautiful town squares, but then I'm no world traveler as you are, and I'm partial. I hold hope I get to travel to and experience a portion of what you have, and have so finely depicted herein. Kudos and cheers!
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Old 02-20-2014, 07:41 PM   #3732
Dracula
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Thanks for the ride

Hi John,

I kept following you silently and wanted to thank you once again for sharing a piece of your life with us, not just the ride. You inspire me with your steadiness no matter what life throws at you. They say life is 10% what happens to a person and 90% how they react to it. I wonder how you feel every day waking up to a new adventure. It has been a hell of a year last one with my escape from NY and relocating to North Carolina. The roads here are liberating, no traffic and plenty of dirt/gravel as well if one chooses. Not that I am an expert riding dirt. Had my ankle broken, almost both, when I trashed my GS over a hill top hitting deep gravel unexpected at about 60 with Ozzie blasting in my head . Live and learn to pay attention. Was under the influence of a powerful witch though, I think I am free of her now I learned that women have a way to reset their memory just as easy as you do your laptop. I plan to dedicate my next LD ride to that.

Best regards,
Vic

P.S. Sent you some gas money hope you didn't lose all plastics and can retrieve it.
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Old 02-20-2014, 08:10 PM   #3733
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dracula View Post
Hi John,

I kept following you silently and wanted to thank you once again for sharing a piece of your life with us, not just the ride. You inspire me with your steadiness no matter what life throws at you. They say life is 10% what happens to a person and 90% how they react to it. I wonder how you feel every day waking up to a new adventure. It has been a hell of a year last one with my escape from NY and relocating to North Carolina. The roads here are liberating, no traffic and plenty of dirt/gravel as well if one chooses. Not that I am an expert riding dirt. Had my ankle broken, almost both, when I trashed my GS over a hill top hitting deep gravel unexpected at about 60 with Ozzie blasting in my head . Live and learn to pay attention. Was under the influence of a powerful witch though, I think I am free of her now I learned that women have a way to reset their memory just as easy as you do your laptop. I plan to dedicate my next LD ride to that.

Best regards,
Vic

P.S. Sent you some gas money hope you didn't lose all plastics and can retrieve it.
Vic!

I got your donation. Thanks so much. Glad you jogged my memory so I can write Dracula on the tank once again instead of VM.

I don't need no steenkin' plastics. The Sherpa has turned into a Road Warrior Battle Wagon with a lot of help from me. It vaguely resembles what it looked like 8 years ago when I bought it. Still keeps humming along day after day through the desert.

edit: I was thinking of all the plastics that have fallen off the bike. Now I see you mean all the plastics that keep falling out of my pocket.

Sorry to hear about your ankle. Bones heal. At least you had Ozzie blasting to take your mind off the pain while you were laying in the ditch. Rock and Roll can have a direct connection to your right wrist at times. Hard not to be going WFO if you are listening to this:

[img][/img]

Your ADVpal,
Juan Musica
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Old 02-20-2014, 08:34 PM   #3734
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Sounds good, let's go!
 
Joined: Mar 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George 99 View Post
Figured out what I had done wrong on my contribution, Juan, so there's a few more shekels in the till. Sounds like it'll be put to good use.

Time to do some stealth camping, but choose your locations carefully. Just read this morning friend Karl Bushby almost got crushed by a semi overnight by choosing the wrong sport to pitch his tent. (See Bushby3000.com for details.)

Getting all my thrills reading stuff from youse guys as I (finally) get my India Visa package mailed in the AM.
Hi George,

Thanks so much.

As far as camping, fellow Sherpa rider Hektoglider was very kind to send me some excellent camping spots down the coast. Tomorrow I am heading just south of Chañaral. And the following day I have an invite to a beach cabin from Lorraine. I met her years ago through Horizons Unlimited when I stayed at her beach house in Costa Rica where she spent a year. She was driving her $500 beater Chevy van from the States down to South America with her 2 dogs. Quite an interesting person. The last time I saw her she was spending the weekend on a gravel bar in the middle of a river. When her directions said turn right at the river crossing and ride up the river, she wasn't kidding. I literally had to ride up the river in water over the axles with my boots in the air up around the bend. She had driven her van upstream with water up to the floorboards and parked it on a gravel bar in the middle of the river to camp with her dogs for a couple days and do some writing.

It was a peaceful place though. I just had tea and a short visit before motoring off. Didn't want to disturb her writing. Should be fun to see how she's doing 8 years later.

Saludos,
Tio Juanito
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Old 02-20-2014, 08:37 PM   #3735
trespalacios
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...Imagine mesmerising wavy mirages evaporating ahead of you leading off to the vanishing point on the horizon...
No wonder I keep following your tracks Juan de Atacama. Awesome as always!!!
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