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Old 03-28-2013, 07:12 PM   #1546
Ulyses OP
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Originally Posted by 805gregg View Post
Why build a crate, find a motoshop, they get their bikes in crates, just buy one cheap
Actually, the crate building is included in the shipping service that I'm using. You want your crate custom built because you pay for the freight by volume and weight. Hence, the smaller you can make your bike (and crate) the less you pay. Also, when importing into the United States, there are special requirments for the type of wood that you can use. Otherwise, yes, I would just go to a moto shop.
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Old 03-28-2013, 08:04 PM   #1547
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Originally Posted by Ulyses View Post
No learning it little by little, I'm going to drink from the fire hose! I actually took some tango classes back in the day....I'll have to see if I remember anything.
That's great, man. The ladies are going to love you for giving it a go. By the time you fly home, you should be very tired. Invigorated, but tired.
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Old 03-28-2013, 08:09 PM   #1548
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Uruguay!

Day 162 (March 27, 2013)
Buenos Aires, Argentina to Rosario, Uruguay
Day's Ride: 273 Miles

Once again, google maps isn't quite tracking on the most current border crossings, so, you'll have to imagine a connection across the border. I've included two maps to show the majority of the route:


View Larger Map




View Larger Map

I was actually quite happy to leave Buenos Aires. It seems like a very cool city and I'm sure that I'm going to enjoy it immensely when I return; however, I'm not much of a city guy, and the crowds and people and general chaos tend to stress me out. What's more, it's generally impossible to find a good place to put your bike and you either end up paying a lot for a parking garage or stress out about it being stolen from whatever hidey-hole that you stashed it in.



The most common way to reach Uruguay from BA is to take a ferry straight to Montevideo or Colonia. However, I decided that I would try one of the land borders a little further north. The ride to the closest crossing over the Rio Plata was all flat, fast autopista.

I found yet another name for a speed bump:



Lomo de burro. Awesome.

A little before the border, I ran into the back of a huge line of cars. I had heard stories of this border being closed by protesters in past, and I was a little worried that I was about to encounter a similar situation.



Being on a motorcycle (normal traffic rules don't apply ), I decided to ride up to the front of the line and see what was going on. I found a few cops on bikes about half way up and asked them what was going on. I couldn't really understand them, so I just kept going forward. They didn't try and stop me, so I figured everything was okay.

As I neared the front, I ran into two bikers with Uruguayan plates. I pulled over and started talking to them. Their names were Damian and Germain and they were just returning from a 10 day trip to Chile. We hit it off right away and were soon talking like old friends.



I was asking Damian about campsites near the coast when he invited me to stay at his house in a small town called Rosario that was on the route I was planning on taking! So cool! I love it when stuff like this happens.

The aduana and immigration offices for both countries were both on the Uruguayan side and eventually we were allowed to cross the river and get our paperwork taken care of.



As soon as I had "officially" entered the country, I added Urugay to the list on my wind screen.



That makes 15 countries on this trip if you count the States.

We left the aduana and I fell in behind the Uruguayos on their sport bikes.



Luckily, they rode quite slow and I was able to keep up with them just fine.

We made it into Rosario just after night fall and pulled up in front of Damian's house. Germain said his goodbyes and went in search of a hotel. Damian and I unloaded our bikes then rode them about five blocks away to his garage. After we had locked everything up in the garage, I assumed that we were just going to walk back; however, Damian pulled out a little 1986 50cc Yamaha scooter and we rode double back to his house. It was quite a sight; two big dudes in full riding gear riding this tiny little bike that's bottoming out and barely able to make it up hills. Luckily, there isn't a stigma against guys riding pillion in South America.

We made it back to Damian's place, changed out of our gear and walked to a nearby roadside food cart and got some milanesa and some beer. I tried to pay, but Damian refused and told me that he was going to get it. What a guy!

We went back to his place and ate. After we were done he showed me his lawn mowers (he called them "yard machines") in the back yard:



I'll admit, the little conejos (rabbits) do a good job of keeping the grass down. If I ever get a yard someday, I'll have to buy a couple of rabbits. Then, when winter comes along and the grass stops growing, I can just eat the rabbits....
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Old 03-29-2013, 12:14 AM   #1549
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulyses View Post
I was asking Damian about campsites near the coast when he invited me to stay at his house in a small town called Rosario that was on the route I was planning on taking! So cool! I love it when stuff like this happens.
Best part of traveling, when that stuff happens.
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Old 03-29-2013, 12:35 AM   #1550
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Wow!!!!!!! That is freaking amazing!

I love the mustache. I hope Justin is looking at this. Thanks a ton man, I'm sending you a PM!
Vivan Los Bigotes!
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Old 03-30-2013, 09:06 AM   #1551
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Amigos Nuevos and Montevideo

Day 163 (March 28, 2013)
Rosario, Uruguay to Montevideo, Uruguay
Day's Ride: 83 Miles


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After sleeping in at Damian's house, we took our time starting the day. Germain arrived a little later carrying a big box of donuts and we all sat around talking, sharing a gourd of matte, and eating sugary pastries. Passing the matte gourd around is a big part of the culture down here, especially in Uruguay.

Germain eventually took off and headed back to Montevideo and his family while Damian and I jumped on the little Yamaha and headed over to his garage to pick up our bikes.



We got the bikes and went back to Damian's house where we spent some time cleaning them and doing a little routing maintenance. Damian's mom came by a little later and brought us some lunch; breaded chicken and rice with hardboiled eggs. It was delicious! We all sat around and in Damian's backyard and talked for a while and shared some more matte.

Damian and his mother gave me a very thorough explanation of Uruguayan culture and the prevailing customs. They talk with the same accent as the Argentinos so I was concentrating extremely hard to catch everything they said. Even then, I think I only understood about 70% of what was said; I had to pick up the rest by context.

In Spanish, the double "L" is pronounced with a "y" sound as in "yell". So, a word like "amarillo" (yellow) is pronounced "am-a-ree-yo". However, for some reason the Argentinians and Uruguayans pronounce the "y" sound as "sha" (as in "sham" or "shackle"). So, "amarillo" becomes "am-a-ree-show". For example, when I first arrived in Argentina and asked for a towel (in Spanish "toalla", pronounced "twa-ya") they didn't know what I was saying. Eventually, it dawned on them that I wanted a towel and they told me that it was pronounced "twa-sha". You would be amazed at how that simple change between "ya" and "sha" makes it so difficult to understand people. Add to that the fact that they have tons of slang and expressions, and it can be almost impossible to figure out what people are saying. I find myself having to ask everyone I talk to to repeat themselves.

A couple of Damian's friends stopped by after lunch and I was amazed to see one of them wearing a USMC shirt.



Turns out that he is a Sergeant in the Uruguayan Marines. He has done some peacekeeping missions in Haiti and was very interested to hear about my experiences in Afghanistan.

Throughout my time with Damian, he kept refusing to allow me to repay him for his hospitality. So, while he was busy talking to his friends, I snuck around the corner to a little tienda and bought him a bottle of wine that he could share with his girlfriend. I made some incomprehensible scribbles on the back:



When I gave him the wine he was super excited; this set off a whole new wave of generosity and he ended up giving me a matte gourd on which he wrote in english "for my friend Bryce". The generosity of complete strangers continues to amaze me.

Eventually, Damian and I got our stuff together and set off for Montevideo. He was heading to the city to see his girlfriend and so we rode together.



We got to the city and I had Damian sign my tank:



What a cool guy! I told him that when he comes to the States, he needs to look me up so I can let him stay at my house (assuming I have one).



I got settled into my hostel then went down the street to find a market that was still open. It's "Semana Santa" or Holy Week right now and everything is closed. Downtown Montevideo was like a ghost town. I finally found a tiny tienda that was still open and bought some food. As I was leaving, I saw a sight that totally exemplifies Uruguayan culture:



This guy was sipping matte out of his gourd with one hand and holding onto his "termo" (thermos) with the other, all while kicking a soccer ball against the wall. I had a good laugh and snuck this picture. In case I haven't explained it, Matte is a drink. You take a bunch of matte leaves, pack them down into a hollowed out gourd, insert a steel straw, add hot water from a thermos, and then sip it until it's time to refill the water. It's very caffeinated and has a bitter taste. I actually like it quite a bit; however, the fact that you have to carry a thermos everywhere kind of keeps me from getting too crazy about it. However, the Uruguayans, and to a lesser extent the Argentinians, are crazy about it and it's rare to see someone not sipping matte as they walk down the street with a thermos tucked under their arm.

Before cooking dinner, I decided to get a little exercise and went for a run down on the rambla. The Montevideoans were out in force drinking matte, fishing, and generally having a good time.

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Old 03-30-2013, 10:00 AM   #1552
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Frustration in Montevideo, Heading for the Beach

Day 164 (March 29, 2013)
Montevideo, Uruguay to La Paloma, Uruguay
Day's Ride: 143 Miles


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Sorry for slacking on these reports lately, I think I'm just starting to get tired after being on the road for a while.

Before leaving Montevideo for the coast, I wanted to lock down a bunch of American Dollars in order to ensure that I would be able to have the cash on hand when I headed back to Argentina so that I could utilized the Black Market exchange and get a big discount on my shipping and living costs during my final week in South America.

Unfortunately, I failed to take into account Semana Santa, the holy week leading up to Easter. I left the hostel and walked straight into a ghost town. Not a single bank was open and many of the ATM's were locked up and unable to disperse cash. I then had to make a very expensive international phone call ($100) on my cell phone to Bank of America and explain to them why I needed them to not issue me a new card for a few more days. I kept getting transfered between departments and supervisors who kept explaining to me that they couldn't do what I wanted and that I would have to talk to someone else. By the end of the call, I was about ready to explode. I kept explaining to them that every minute on the line was costing me several dollars. This whole identity theft thing has turned into a huge hassle. I had tried using Skype to call, but the internet connection was so bad that they couldn't understand me.

These events left me a little frustrated, and I was seriously considering punching a few holes in the wall. Fortunately, I decided to take a cue from the Uruguayans: tranquilo, amigo, tranquilo.

I decided that I would just have to ditch Montevideo for the time being and come back at the beginning of the week and try and get my money. Before I left I booked a ferry ride back to Buenos Aires for the 3rd of April so I wouldn't have to ride another 300 miles around the Rio Plata in order to get back. It was a bit pricey; nearly $150 for me and the bike. Since it will be the end of a big holiday for the Argentinos, most of the ferries were already totally booked and the only open spot I could get was on the very expensive fast boat between Colonia and Buenos Aires.

After getting everything straightened out as best as possible, I got on my bike and started riding east towards Punta del Diablo. However, after about a half an hour of riding, I realized just how tired I was of riding. I love the bike that I'm on, it's done extremely well and it's a blast to ride in the dirt. But after nearly 20,000 miles of riding a thumper day in and day out, I think I'm about ready for a break. After an hour of riding, I decided that I didn't really want to ride anymore and I began looking for a beach town that was a little closer. I ended up turning off the main road and going to a small town called La Paloma.

I had planned on camping, but ended up finding a nice, cheap hostel that was pretty much empty.



I stashed my gear inside, and then signed in on the register. I have a little tradition for signing into Hostels. First, I always use a different passport number because I can't be bothered to dig mine out and actually look at it. Second, I always try to think of a creative and totally bogus occupation to put down on the form. Because the typical hostel worker doesn't read english, it's kind of a little inside joke with myself. Today I was a "fighter pilot".



I've been a "janitor", a "storm trooper", a "hobo", an "adventurista", and a "professional motorcycle racer". Once I was even a "mathematician". It's always fun to try and think of something random and new.

In any event, I'm going to take a little vacation from my vacation for a few days, so I probably won't put up much of a post today or tomorrow. I'm going to the beach to drink beer and work on my tan. Chao.
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Old 03-30-2013, 10:11 AM   #1553
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Originally Posted by Ulyses View Post
Also, when importing into the United States, there are special requirments for the type of wood that you can use. Otherwise, yes, I would just go to a moto shop.
make sure your bike is very clean, i was told by agents in Miami that they are starting to clamp down on dirty bikes and imposing fines as so many people are doing this now, my shipping company in South America refused to ship my bike until i went and cleaned it, so not sure if they are the ones to get fined or the rider...just a heads up, don't need any unnecessary cost when you are heading home
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Old 03-30-2013, 10:30 AM   #1554
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make sure your bike is very clean, i was told by agents in Miami that they are starting to clamp down on dirty bikes and imposing fines as so many people are doing this now, my shipping company in South America refused to ship my bike until i went and cleaned it, so not sure if they are the ones to get fined or the rider...just a heads up, don't need any unnecessary cost when you are heading home
Thanks for the advice. I was wondering if I needed to do that. I think I've still got mud on there from the Bolivia.
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Old 03-30-2013, 12:01 PM   #1555
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Funny signing the log book that way

It is the greatest to accept the hospitality of a total stranger, sometimes you just have to make yourself let your guard down a little.

I now the feeling well of being tired of traveling, it takes it's toll, now is the time to be more careful than ever, ride safe and don't dream of home too much
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Old 03-30-2013, 03:01 PM   #1556
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I'll admit, the little conejos (rabbits) do a good job of keeping the grass down. If I ever get a yard someday, I'll have to buy a couple of rabbits. Then, when winter comes along and the grass stops growing, I can just eat the rabbits....
Forget the construction job. you're CEO material.
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Old 03-30-2013, 05:04 PM   #1557
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Hey Bryce,

Keep up the good work. I'm still robbing valuable information from you report. Enjoy preparing a new trip when you get stateside!
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Old 03-30-2013, 06:56 PM   #1558
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These events left me a little frustrated, and I was seriously considering punching a few holes in the wall. Fortunately, I decided to take a cue from the Uruguayans: tranquilo, amigo, tranquilo.
Good plan; Tranquilo.

Come Monday life forgets about Semana Santa and goes bank to normal. Maybe even wait till Tuesday to avoid the herds of folks who are without cash after the holiday.

Enjoy the well deserved R&R and thanks for keeping us entertained!

Cheers
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Old 04-01-2013, 06:32 PM   #1559
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Slackin'

Days 165 & 166 (March 30-31, 2013)
La Paloma, Uruguay
Riding? Nah....

Ooooo seashells!!!

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Old 04-01-2013, 06:39 PM   #1560
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Hey Bryce,

Keep up the good work. I'm still robbing valuable information from you report. Enjoy preparing a new trip when you get stateside!

Thanks man! I think I'm going to try and enjoy living in one spot for more than a few months; that would be a real adventure! We'll see how long that lasts....
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