South America by XRV750 Africa Twin & Ural

The black art of moving from A to B on foreign soil
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mark vb
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South America by XRV750 Africa Twin & Ural

Post by mark vb » Sat Jan 06, 2018 2:19 pm

Hello all,

we (me and my wife, Debbie) have now been in South America for 6 weeks with our 2002 Africa Twin and Ural sidecar. Our original intention was to ride the outfit onto a cargo boat at Tilbury and ride off at Montevideo in Uruguay. We booked this a while ago - but, 4 days before the boat was due to leave in early November, the sailing was cancelled due to lack of cargo.....so we had to quickly make alternative arrangements for us and the bike. We eventually flew both the bike and ourselves to Santiago, Chile, in late November. Strangely, it was around £1000 less expensive to fly the bike there rather than to Buenos Aires even though it's a bit further to fly. Santiago is on the same latitude as BA, so no problem for us albeit we would now be riding south on the west side of the continent rather than on the east side, as was the original plan. We picked up the bike from the cargo terminal after a several hours of paperwork and to-ing and fro-ing between the freight agent and customs....this was a relatively straight forward process albeit a little time-consumimg.

In summary:

We've worked our way south through Chile down to the southern-most town of Puerto Natales, and are now heading north along the famous Ruta 40 in Argentina, which runs adjacent the east side of the Andes for around 5000km, from one end of the country to the other. We're current taking a bit of a rest at the town of Perito Moreno to let my right arm take a rest after a few days of having to steer the bike into the notorious Patagonian winds to prevent it getting blown off the road and into the rock-strewn verges. I have never, ever had to take a break as a result of having to wrestle with a bike in this manner! Ruta 40 is now mostly paved albeit there is one 80km section remaining unpaved which we rode a couple of days ago.

We started to ride the Carretera Austral around three of weeks ago. This is the one road which runs through the lower part of Chile, accessing the more southerly parts of the country. We got as far as Chaiten, a couple of hundred kilometres into it, but had to back-track due to a landslide closing the road. This happened when we were 50km short of Santa Lucia, the town which was all but destroyed by the debris. I think around 15 people were killed and a number were missing.

A couple of photos:
Crossing from Chile to Argentina
Unpacking the bike at Santiago airport
Heading north on Ruta 40
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The scenery here in Patagonia is completely staggering - enormous, empty steppe landscapes of rock, scrub, guanacos, rheas and huge blue skies dotted with rolling white clouds. Yesterday, we rode 75 miles without seeing a single building.....the first one was a small hotel/cafe and then another 60 miles of complete emptiness until a tiny settlement with hostel and single petrol pump.

We've met quite a few fellow travellers on motorbikes, including two South Koreans on a KTM690 and F800GS, a personalable Aussie on a heavily-laden V-Strom 650, and many Brazilians on a range of bikes from Teneres to cruisers, mostly on their way to or from Ushuaia.

If anyone's interested, our blog is at www.sidecaramerica.com Or I could post a bit more on this site, again if anyone is interested?
Last edited by mark vb on Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
2002 XRV750+Ural www.sidecaramerica.com
1998 XRV750
1990 XRV750
2013 XT660Z

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Re: South America by XRV750 Africa Twin & Ural

Post by crofty » Sun Jan 07, 2018 12:00 am

Great stuff Mark, keep it going as a report with lots of photos. we need the inspiration !

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Re: South America by XRV750 Africa Twin & Ural

Post by Spike941 » Sun Jan 07, 2018 7:36 am

Too bloody right we’re interested, what a great trip. Have a fantastic time and keep us posted.

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Re: South America by XRV750 Africa Twin & Ural

Post by Tonibe63 » Sun Jan 07, 2018 8:25 am

Great inspiration, thanks for posting.
An errant u in your blog link above is causing a problem ............. I think this is the place https://sidecaramerica.com 8-) 8-) 8-)

Happy travels.
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Re: South America by XRV750 Africa Twin & Ural

Post by mark vb » Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:05 am

Tonibe63 wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 8:25 am
Great inspiration, thanks for posting.
An errant u in your blog link above is causing a problem ............. I think this is the place https://sidecaramerica.com 8-) 8-) 8-)

Happy travels.
Thanks for that, I've edited and taken out the errant u!
After a rest day yesterday we're back on Ruta 40 today heading for San Carlos de Bariloche, the main town in the Argentinian lake district where I need to get a new rear tyre. Will update this thread in due course when we get decent Wi-Fi again!
2002 XRV750+Ural www.sidecaramerica.com
1998 XRV750
1990 XRV750
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Re: South America by XRV750 Africa Twin & Ural

Post by WIBO » Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:45 pm

Great stuff!!!!!


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Re: South America by XRV750 Africa Twin & Ural

Post by mark vb » Tue Jan 23, 2018 9:59 pm

Hi folks,
Following on from my previous post of a couple of weeks ago, we’re now in our ninth week in South America. As said, we started off in Santiago, which is about halfway down Chile, riding south. The last southbound section was over 4 days aboard the Navimag ferry which took us through the Chilean fjords to Puerto Natales which is located the south end of the country. From there, we’ve headed north through Argentina on Ruta 40, battling for several days with the notoriously fierce Patagonian winds which blow from the west across the vast expanses of empty steppe. The winds notably dropped to ‘normal’ speeds once we arrived in the Argentine lake district which started at the town of Esquel and continued through El Bolson and Bariloche. We then headed, via San Martin de los Andes, back to Chile and are now just over the border near to the lovely town of Pucon which is surrounded by the Andean foothills, including a number of dormant volcanoes. We’re currently taking a bit of a ‘holiday’ at a superb place known as Motocamp Pucon www.motocamppucon.cl , a motorcyclists’ retreat where one can camp or hire a room, eat, drink, relax and carry out bike maintenance in their dedicated workshop. Tomorrow, I’ll carry out some maintenance including an oil/filter change, whilst today I changed the worn rear tyre for a Metzeler Sahara, the only tyre of the correct size available without having to wait a while for delivery.
Highlights of the trip so far……pretty much everything. Even the Patagonian crosswinds which had me constantly steering to the left (west) to counter both the force of the wind and the road camber. In the end, we rode a lot on the wrong (left) side of the road to benefit from the camber dropping the other way, into the crosswind. The staggering landscapes, complete emptiness and unusual (to us) roadside creatures made it very worthwhile…..imagine riding near on 100 miles with not a single building, hardly any other vehicles, and a huge, huge blue sky to all horizons. It was truly awesome and a even bit magical at times.
From Motocamp, the loose plan is to head north along Chile’s coastal roads, then turn inland to San Pedro de Atacama, in the north of the country, and continue northeast to the Uyuni salt flats in southern Bolivia.
Photos:
Stopping for a break after riding over the Andes back into Chile
Motocamp
Camping in San Martin de los Andes, the last place we stopped at in Argentina before crossing back into Chile
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2002 XRV750+Ural www.sidecaramerica.com
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Re: South America by XRV750 Africa Twin & Ural

Post by mark vb » Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:24 pm

Oh, I forgot the pic of the cool beer dispenser here at Motocamp! Plus there's the town of Trevelin, at the foot of the Andes, founded by the Welsh, where Welsh is still spoken and where there are several Welsh teashops. We also spent a week camping near El Bolson, in the grounds of a beautiful farm owned by an interesting and nicely eccentric German couple, Klaus Schubert & Claudia Metz, who toured the world from 1981-97 on a pair of XT500's. They're pretty much unheard of outside Germany since their book, Abgefahren, has so far not been published in English - a great shame. Our neighbours when camping at the farm are as seen below!
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Re: South America by XRV750 Africa Twin & Ural

Post by Spike941 » Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:46 pm

Thanks for the update. Sounds like you’re having a trip most of us can only dream of. Got me thinking of how I can turn it into a reality.

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Re: South America by XRV750 Africa Twin & Ural

Post by geoham » Wed Jan 24, 2018 8:25 am

Great ride report. Keep updating us along with lots more photos :)

Good luck with the rest of your trip.

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