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Old 04-13-2013, 01:35 PM   #436
AdvPrima
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Old 04-18-2013, 11:19 AM   #437
RexBuck OP
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Originally Posted by XRman View Post
Hi Rexbuck,

I am only up to post#104 but I am really enjoying your RR. So there is life after retirement!

I will have to have a look at the Aussie's RR too.

I was wondering how your Spanish language skills are coping. Did you ever attend a Spanish class in Mexico?

I have just returned to Oz after 3 weeks in California. ( I have visited the Okanagan a few times too) . Your adventure is making me think about a South American rid ein the future.
Hey XRman, welcome - glad you are enjoying this. As an aside, and since you obviously like dirty bikes , you may want to look up fellow inmate Ulysis' Ride Report - he did the trip on an XR650, is a cool guy and had a great adventure.

Spanish - I struggle with English and found Spanish no easier. I actually had a Spanish teacher and did a couple of hours of classes by Skype each week before I left. I did another couple of 3 hour classes in San Pedro in Guatemala. With all this I was able ask basic questions and understand basic answers. I could have a simple conversation if the other person had some patience. The more Spanish you know, the richer your trip will be.

Good luck on your future trip. My only suggestion is to not put it off too long - I didn't meet anyone who wished they had waited before starting their trip.
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Old 04-18-2013, 11:19 AM   #438
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Am in !
Welcome AdvPrima
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Old 04-18-2013, 12:41 PM   #439
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Mar 25 – 27 Braving the flatlands to Buenos Aires

We are on the home stretch now. I need to be at Dakar Motos on the morning of the 27th so, the plan is to ride to the town of San Pedro on the outskirts of Buenos Aires spending a night in the farm town of Arroyito along the way.

Long, straight, flat roads. Pretty mundane but it was enjoyable riding.

Started off with desert for awhile then eventually turned into some fairly large scale farming. Notice the nests on each telephone pole. Some sort of hawk. Sometimes 3 or 4 nests on one pole - went on for hundreds of miles.









(I don't know what the deal is with the color in some of these pics but if it looks weird, it wasn't)

Kind of like the mid-west – lots of corn, sorghum, beans and peas. Few other crops thrown in. Most of the corn was very short – mature at 4 feet or less. I’m guessing this is grain corn – probably for something “useful” like making Ethanol.
















Lots of fairly large elevators. Didn’t see any cattle being fed or for that matter, any other livestock. Maybe closer to Buenos Aires?











A pretty steady stream of these trucks hauling grain to and from elevators





I found it interesting that almost all highway trucks were single axle tractors, many times with an extra axle on the trailer. This is a gasoline tanker






Tried to stay on secondary roads as they have virtually no traffic. Turned onto one road and it was dried, rutted mud mess. WTF? If it’s going to be like this for the next 80 km, I’ll go find the highway. Turned out to last only 7 or 8 km to the next little town then beautiful country 2 laner from there. Straight but no traffic.

First night stay in Arroyito, a typical farm town. Has a large manufacturing plant making candies and cookies. Stopped at on big hotel but it seemed to be closed down. Found Hotel Americana which had an attached garage and was quite suitable.


Some different things I've discovered in Argentina:

Virtually every hotel uses skeleton keys - even those that were fairly new buildings.





Every hotel room had a bidet . . . I guess this shows the European influence. I don't really get these gadgets and they just seem to take up a lot of space in these sometimes cramped bathrooms







We are all used to Pizza Delivery and have run across a number of other hot food delivery services. Here they have ice cream delivery. I'm thinkin that's going to be one drippy cone by the time Jose gets to my house with his three wheeler.






On the second day I started to notice some pretty dark clouds on the horizon. Could see the edge of the storm running parallel with the highway and thought I might miss it. Nope, gave it to me full bore.

Rain, then rain mixed with hail and lightning striking all over the place. Usually three at a time – less than half mile away. I am ok with rain and I’m ok with hail but together they suck! I put my helmet visor down for the hail and up for the rain. With both, I have to have it down to protect against the hail on my tender face but the moisture from the rain gets it fogged up quickly. So I’m riding along with the visor up and my hand over my lower face to block the hail – thought I was riding the Harley again. Couldn’t pull over as I couldn’t see the side of the road.

Second night stayed in San Pedro at the Hotel San Pedro. Nice hotel and really nice folks running it. Last road food pic





The next morning I have a short ride into the outskirts of Buenos Aires to the Dakar Motors shop to meet with Sandra and Javier for the first step of the “four day” shipping process. They are the go-to people in Buenos Aires to ship motorcycles in addition to having a thriving moto repair shop.






The shipping process from Buenos Aires seems to be somewhat cumbersome but it works so I’ll roll with it. The first day is to allow Sandra and Javier to review all the documents, set up the schedule and get a reservation set up with the shipping company at the airport. The bike is delivered to the airport on the second day, paid for on the third day and the fourth day is to resolve any issues that may arise that would require the owner to deal with in Buenos Aires.

So, the fly in the ointment for me is Easter. That is the major holiday in Latin America and in Argentina it is a 6 day affair. All government offices, banks and most businesses are shut down for 6 fricking days!
The first day after Easter is Apr 3 and if I start the process then, I won’t be leaving town until the 11th or 12th (there are already a bunch of reservations in place for the first part of the week) which gets me home much later than I wanted.

So, if I want to get home around when I wanted, I start the process the day before the holidays, March 27 and cool my heals in BsAs for 9 days before flying out. While in BsAs, I also decided to leave my bike at Dakar for storage as they were substantially cheaper than hotel parking downtown. As it turned out, this part I would later wish I did a little differently.
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Old 04-19-2013, 06:13 AM   #440
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" As it turned out, this part I would later wish I did a little differently."

I am starting to get withdrawals already about this trip ending.....and then you keep us hanging with that last line.

Very cruel......
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Old 04-20-2013, 09:29 AM   #441
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Weclome home Rex
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Old 04-24-2013, 08:37 AM   #442
RexBuck OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunday Rider View Post
" As it turned out, this part I would later wish I did a little differently."

I am starting to get withdrawals already about this trip ending.....and then you keep us hanging with that last line.

Very cruel......
I'm really glad you enjoyed it - I sure had a lot of fun. That comment wasn't referencing anything that dramatic.

Sorry to be so tardy finishing the last couple entries. I'll get it finished up in the next couple of days.
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Old 04-24-2013, 08:38 AM   #443
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Weclome home Rex
Gary
Thanks Gary.

I'll be in to see you and your crew shortly and let you guys mess with my head.
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Old 04-26-2013, 10:19 AM   #444
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WOW
What a nice rr, read it all in (almost) one sitting... Very entertaining writing style!

Should be a must read for those people complaining about the "bad" food in Latin America... this shows you just have to be open to trying different things and not only stick to the chain brands you are used to at home (which IMO suck big-time even in the US) , after all, the different/new food is a big part of the trip to a different place!

Sorry you missed some of the greatest scenery in Latin America (Bolivia and Southern Chile/Argentina), but I'm guessing you'll be back

Looking forward to reading the end of your trip.
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Old 04-27-2013, 12:11 PM   #445
RexBuck OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SS in Vzla. View Post
WOW
What a nice rr, read it all in (almost) one sitting... Very entertaining writing style!

Should be a must read for those people complaining about the "bad" food in Latin America... this shows you just have to be open to trying different things and not only stick to the chain brands you are used to at home (which IMO suck big-time even in the US) , after all, the different/new food is a big part of the trip to a different place!

Sorry you missed some of the greatest scenery in Latin America (Bolivia and Southern Chile/Argentina), but I'm guessing you'll be back

Looking forward to reading the end of your trip.
Hey SS, thanks for joining in and thanks for the kind words.

One of the areas I missed was Northern Colombia and I was thinking about taking a quick little side trip into Venezuela - maybe next time for my "see the places I missed trip"

Still in food withdrawal . . .
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Old 04-27-2013, 01:35 PM   #446
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March 28 – Apr 5 Buenos Aires (Part 1)

Planed to stay in Buenos Aires for 9 days for the Easter interrupted bike shipping process. Supposed to be a pretty nice city so, could be a lot worse place to cool my heals for 9 days.

Didn't want to do a lot of traveling with the bike as it was way over due for an oil change, change of air filter and the front tire has the wear bars worn off. I have a new one waiting for me in Sacramento where I plan to pick up the maintenance supplies also.

In my enthusiasm to secure this plan I booked a room for 9 days (some hotels were fully booked for a couple of days on the Easter weekend) and agreed to leave my bike at Dakar as their storage was a lot cheaper than the hotels.

Here is what I regretted:

1) The city was a little quieter than I expected. Argentina’s 6 day holiday for Easter is a full blown holiday. All government, banks and most business’ are closed. With the exception of a few tourists wandering around, the downtown is pretty quiet. Most restaurants and the odd corner store were open so fortunately, coffee, food and booze were not a problem. Walking around, a bit of people watching and reading some books pretty well filled my day. Would have been ok with a bit of travel and some new sights in the middle.

2) This money exchange thing is more serious than I anticipated. Not having US$ when I came into Argentina cost me something in excess of $1000 extra. Yup, you read that right. I needed $1800 to ship my bike and probably spent $1200 while in BsAs . . . most of my Pesos were obtained from my bank through bank machines. After all the fees and the huge spread resulted in roughly 4.7 pesos per $ (official rate 5.3). With the few US$ I had, I was getting 8 to the $ from the black market money changers for smaller amounts and would likely get a bit more with a big wad of cash.

What was my option? Some of the other travelers headed up to Uruguay for a few days. Could have had Javier at Dakar throw a used tire on the front and would have been able to enjoy a different country, maybe some different scenery and get all the US$ I wanted. Grrrr!

Having said that, it wasn't that bad and Buenos Aires is a beautiful city. The European influence is obvious with European names being more prevalent and above all, a healthy contribution to the local gene pool. Generally, taller, slimer, more blond and red hair, light colored eyes. In most areas of Latin America, I felt like a giant but as soon as I came out of the mountains in Argentina, it started to feel like I'm back to my average sized self

Staying at the Gran Hotel Buenos Aires located just a block off the main park in the MicroCentro area of BsAs. My room looks through the Military Museum to the park.

The downtown area is going through a major renovation with most of the one way streets being reduced to one lane for traffic and adding very wide sidewalks for pedestrian. A couple of major streets are designated pedestrian only and have the street mall atmosphere. In the meantime, it seemed everywhere you turned the streets are like this in front of my hotel





Sunday night I woke an number of times with some very loud thunder, wind and heavy rain. It was loud and frequent. Lots of radio towers on surrounding tall buildings which I assume were attracting the lightning. Went down to breakfast the next morning and eventually realized everybody in the dining room is watching the news. Something about some flooding. Hmmm . . . seems that parts of Buenos Aires are flooded. Wow! Apparently 6" of rain last night.

Get back to my room to find some detail on the internet and it looks like the flooding is in the north west part of the city. Uh oh . . . Dakar is in the north west part of the city. Call Sandra on her cell phone and she tells me they have a foot of water in their house. Almost hated to ask how the shop fared. Javier is going over to check it out. Hmmm, shall I start drinking now?

Turns out the shop and by extension my bike were fine.

Here is some of the city I saw walking around and from a tour around the city on this decapitated double decker.




Casa Rosada – The Pink House. The President doesn’t live here anymore but does have her offices here. The building is on the site of the original fort built by the Spanish in 1536. The buildings have been added to and replaced a few times in the ensuing years and the current building was constructed in the latter part of the 19th century. There are a couple of stories behind the pink color. One is that building was painted pink to placate two warring parties, one represented by red and the other by white so the Prez ordered equal amounts of red and white paint mixed. The other is that cows blood was mixed in the paint to protect against the humidity . . . maybe both are true.







Behind the Casa Rosada is the Liberatador Building, originally built as the military headquarters in the 1920s. Connected to Casa Rosada by tunnels, at least one President escaped a coup by sneaking to safety in the Liberatador Building.




The National Congress Building (the Capitol)




No Latin American city is complete without a lot of staues and monuments






As periodically seen in many Spanish speaking cities, a memorial to a fictitious character . . . Don Quixote




The Obelisk at the center of the city (Notice the picture on the side of the building in the background)



At night





A Memorial to the 650 Argentinians who died in the Malvinas War or the more familiar name for us - the Falklands War. Still a real sore point with Argentinians



To be continued

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Old 04-27-2013, 01:40 PM   #447
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March 28 – Apr 5 Buenos Aires (Part 2)

Some other things catching my eye. I'd hate to have the apartment on the end - don't think there would be a lot of room for entertaining



Have seen a lot of these cool looking trees in South America (Winter has started so, no leaves)



Which have an effective defense against lizards, monkeys and tree climbing kids



And then just some giant trees




A busy street with lots of moto parking



A lot of cars set up for Natural Gas - Natural Gas service stations very busy




Can even find some solitude in the city



It's hilarious watching a show like this with the voices dubbed in Spanish . . . just not the same




Get the odd street performer



One restaurant on a main corner had a spot for musicians - this guy playing jazzy sax, girl sounding like Diana Krall and an old guy singing and playing blues guitar. I thought hanging around here was a great excuse for enjoying some wine or beer . . . or both.



Most restaurants were open over the holidays so, no shortage of food. Eating wasn’t particularly cheap here but, some really good chow . . . particularly meat. I am an unabashed meatatarian and I think herbivores would suffer in most of these South American countries, particularly Argentina.

A really good empanada



Steaks (All outstanding)




Steak and heart of palm salad



Pork




One place had a wood fired barbeque in the window with a bunch of lambs or goats and racks of ribs slowly cooking



A typical bakery



My last night in South America, met up with Cory, Bryce and Dylan for dinner. These guys have all had outstanding adventures.

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Old 04-28-2013, 01:28 AM   #448
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It's been a great adventure. Thanks for taking us along.
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Old 04-28-2013, 05:33 AM   #449
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Great update and wonderful pictures RB. I was missing my fix.
Too bad about the exchange rate mess. Should have seen how far Canadian Tire money would have got you
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Old 04-28-2013, 09:57 AM   #450
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Great Ride Report RB!

I finally sat down to catch up on your Ride Report and I see that you're home, welcome back now its time to readjust to N America living

I've enjoyed following your trip. You've got a nice way of capturing what's going on
If you drop down into the Eastern Washington give me a shout and we can enjoy a few beers
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