Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Mexican and Canadian are off to Uruguay! Motorcycle diaries, eat your heart out!

So it’s finally our departure day. It took a while to leave as we kept getting delayed because of the weather and other factors.

But rain or shine we are off today.

So like I mentioned before, I sold the bike to Chris, but we are heading up together on the bike to Foz de Iguazu to give him a quick crash course on Adventure riding survival 101 and check out the world’s most amazing waterfalls together while we are there.

I suppose the motorcycle diaries finally apply to my journey. In this case it’ll only be a 4-5 day 1000 mile journey.

The bike looked pretty cool all packed up.



It was an engineering spectacle that was no easy feat.



We met an Irish bicyclist on the way out that had been floating around Europe, South America and Asia for a few months.

He took this crazy picture with us and the gear that looked quite impressive.



So we chatted, exchanged contact information and headed off

As we got on the bike together we laughed and realized that we were somewhat resembling the motorcycle diaries with Che Guevara. Let the adventure begin!

I had told Chris of my initial plans of what I was going to do with the bike. Cross into Uruguay, then back to Argentina, then Paraguay and then to Iguaçu. He seemed to like the idea so that’s what we planned on doing.

Chris was definitely a one in a million kind of guy. I knew he was a well deserving guy and I was happy that he would have such a great experience just like I did with my own adventure and hope that the torch being passed will be great if not more amazing for him.

So we embarked early on a ferry to take us to Colonia in Uruguay. The ferry was located in Puerto Madero in Buenos Aires for all those fellow travelers reading this blog.

The process was fairly easy, and they even tie down the bike for you with some complementary cardboard.




While on the boat there was a line already formed at the duty free shop full of women waiting for the ship to hit international waters.



It was only a 60 min ferry ride so they were sure to get their shopping in quick!



Quick interview



While Chris and I were sitting watching the people in line, a lady comes up to us and asks timidly if we spoke English.

We of course said yes. And as we answered she asked if she could take a picture of us, so we obviously said yes. A random picture by women for no reason, so obviously we were carious why she wanted a picture of us.

So we asked, and she replied that she was getting a “Book of Beards” published and wanted to put us in it. 

Apparently Chris’s funky beard and mine were a good addition to her book. So we exchanged contact information and we will be waiting for our copies of the book soon to be published. Things to do on this trip - have a photo of my beard published…check! (This was obviously not on my thing to do on the trip but a great story none the less!)

We finally arrived in Colonia Uruguay; this makes 13 countries I’ve now been to on this trip. I got a chance to show Chris the border process and paper exchange.

I was also surprised to realize that Uruguay give you 1 full year of temporary importation for any vehicle.

So if you need to store your motorcycle somewhere fellow riders for a long duration of time, go to Uruguay!

We hit the famous historic district of Colonia.

There was a light house



Crazy streets



And cute looking streets



A random whale skeleton in someones back yard



And of course a bad ass looking bike! Man have I missed riding!



I also realized that I had been stuck in Buenos Aires with all the pollution, vast amounts of people and crazy amounts of traffic for too long, and I had forgotten what an adventure on the bike through the country side truly was.

We continued upward, and passed by some nice scenery.



And nice trees.



Bathroom break



Then camped out for the evening, with a nice sunset



Because it was the two of us we managed to have time to build a fire and cook some food. It was nice to finally have a helping hand and share the beauty of the world with someone other than me and my tripod.

After dinner we went to bed.



At around 3 am we were woken up by a hoard of wild dogs hoarding around the campsite. They finally left and we fell asleep again.

At about 5 am, I wake up to a truck passing by, I see the lights, and see it makes a quick pass and goes away.

At 5:30am it returns, this time it pulls up quickly. Its reverse lights come on and starts backing up towards us.

As I notice this I see that it’s headed right for the motorcycle. My first thoughts were that this guy had seen the bike, gone back to get his buddies and was backing up the truck so that they could load it up on the back of the truck and drive away.

My caveman instincts kicked in, so I grabbed my knife and pepper spray, while still in my underwear, put on my boots and was ready to fight for the bike!

Just as it was near the bike it took a hard turn to the left and backed up into the lake.

The guy got out and started shoveling sand into the back for half an hour and finally drove off.

So a 5 am dirt run was all it seemed to be.

Then at 6:30am the people started to come for the fishing.

 Needless to say it was a pretty rough night.



The next day we basically drove all day.

With an extra passenger we were quite crammed, I started to get pretty bad back pain from sitting weird more towards the front of the bike to evenly distribute the weight on the bike and give Chris some more room, and he was getting his spine readjusted by the top box in the back.

two heads are better than one....at least I think so right?


We hit the worst thunder and rain storm I think I’ve ever been in. It was literally 4 hours of a torrential down pour.

Everything got soaked. Even my water proof gloves were wet.

I’ll repeat that again for those who missed it….My WATERPROOF gloves were soaked! That’s how bad the weather was.

My MP3 player that was under 7 layers of jackets was also wet.

Since I had to leave lots of clothes behind I was indeed nice and cold, not Patagonia cold where my boogers were frozen, but still pretty darn cold.

With the new off road tires and all the extra weight and passenger, it was also very slippery and dangerous. 

Truly a test that I passed well because of the vast experiences I’ve had on this trip thanks to Peru and Bolivia.

I hope this experience will be passed on to Chris for future success. He was keen on everything and knows he will do just fine when the time comes.

We arrived in a town that had thermal hot springs and had a much needed hot bath with the locals.

The following day we crossed back into Argentina to head up to Iguaçu.

Because Chris and I had already signed the title of the bike, customs was a pain in the ass about it and it took over 2 hours to cross.

We were signed in with the bike together, so now we were legally tied….which was a bit weird.

We drove some more, feeling the similarity and experience of the motorcycle diaries with Che Guevara.

Tomorrow we continue the journey to Iguazu (Iguacu) Falls, which ever floats your boat!

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The rest of Uruguay was beautiful.

Even saw a pretty can of olive oil at the gas station restaurant. 



Our hostel was nice.




Good parking



Even had some orange and lemon trees.





Posadas Argentina is up next!