South America, Blowing The Kids’ Inheritence

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gbags
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South America, Blowing The Kids’ Inheritence

Post by gbags » Tue Jan 08, 2019 11:17 pm

A year or so ago my wife Yenni and I realised that by Sept ‘18 our kids would be gone and we’d have a bit of time on our hands so we decided a good long bike trip would sort us out. We decided to travel the America’s. We had no time restraint and no itinerary (as well as no mechanical knowledge, no guide books or maps). We pretty much just wanted to mooch about up and down the Andes, talking to people and following our noses.

This is how it’s gone so far.
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Ffs, this is upright on my computer. Anyway this is us filling a container with all our worldly goods.
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Santiago, Chile. Motofreight shipped the bike and all we needed was a screw driver, a knife and crow bar.
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Happy man in the hostel in Santiago.

Why Santiago? I wanted South to North and that left Santiago or Buenas Aires. The road south to Ushuaia from Santiago is 2,000 k’s through Patagonia, the Andes and the Carretera Austral. The road from BA is supposed to be flat and boring.

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Re: South America, Blowing The Kids’ Inheritence

Post by gbags » Tue Jan 08, 2019 11:23 pm

Before I do anymore , does anyone know how to put up photos so that they stay in their original portrait/landscape format?

I just previewed three and two had turned.

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Re: South America, Blowing The Kids’ Inheritence

Post by mark vb » Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:02 pm

Ahhh - Santiago cargo terminal - I can feel the nostalgia flowing back!! And that wonderful place, Hostel Casa Matte! We spent a few days there getting some R&R, spending evenings on the breezy rooftop terrace to escape the heat. Is the old XT 500 still in the living room?
Look forward to hearing details of your trip, route stopovers etc. Really wish we were back in S. America!
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Re: South America, Blowing The Kids’ Inheritence

Post by gbags » Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:07 pm

You’re right. Ark, Casa Matte is great. We had many beers on the roof with other overlanders heading north or south. Lots of info about routes and good places to visit.

The initial part of the famous Carretera Austral, which runs down the Chilean side of Patagonia, involves a few short ferries from dinky little ‘ports’ like this. The RORO ferry comes up to the ramp, we (trucks, cars, a few bikes, some backpackers and foot passengers) pile on, ramp up and away you go.
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We arrived early in the season and met this Brazilian on the ferry. The weather was a bit wet and the surface is ‘ripio’, meaning graded gravel. Chilean ripio was described to me as graded volcanic ash whereas Argentinian ripio is graded gravel. I was initially nervous of what I thought was wet mud but you pretty soon get used to it. There are sections of ripio between sections of tarmac, maybe 60/40 or 70/30 tarmac to gravel, especially if you cross the Andes.
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This pic shows us having a break at the top of a pass on the main Austral. Marvellous scenery up near the snow line. Massive trees, lakes, mountains and splendid ripio riding that had me howling with glee. Huge trucks occaisionally come along and tear up the corners as they grind around first gear switchbacks and then you have to bounce and buck over it. The traffic is really sparse though, often hours between vehicles.
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Re: South America, Blowing The Kids’ Inheritence

Post by gbags » Fri Jan 11, 2019 4:24 pm

I’m not sure if this little farm/campsite is Heaven but it’s pretty close to my idea of it.
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This scenery and weather was typical for our time in Chile. I think we were lucky as there are millions of rivers and lakes so there must be a lot of rain, but much of the rain comes from melt off.
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One day we got stopped at a road block as they were doing some dynamiting further up to improve the road. We took a diversion that ended up in four hours of gravel track, but what a day!
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My photos don’t show the lumps and bumps but it was all doable for two geezers, Bubi the Brazilian in his sixties and me not far off, two up in my case.
What I try to show is how pristine Patagonia is.

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Re: South America, Blowing The Kids’ Inheritence

Post by gspod » Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:18 pm

Great stuff, keep up the RR and great photos

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Re: South America, Blowing The Kids’ Inheritence

Post by gbags » Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:18 am

The astonishingly blue Baker River. It’s a very famous trout fishing river and colour stuns you. Expensive to fish, with guides and boats.
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The Marble Caves. There are sunken boats here, plenty to see and we’ll worth the few bucks fee.
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I came across this ferry when we pulled in for a break. It went from one rural farming community to another so hadn’t attracted the tourist money. The boat’s engine tugged it across the river on a cable, against a strong current.
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Re: South America, Blowing The Kids’ Inheritence

Post by gbags » Sat Jan 12, 2019 2:46 pm

Just another day in paradise.
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A coffee break on the Carretera Austral. We have coffee or tea at brekkie and put another in a flask for a morning break. We carry a small electric kettle for hotels and a gas stove for camping and anywhere else we want a brew.
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A Chilean rider who I felt might not have pared his kit down enough! I showed him our Rok Straps and recommended them.
His mate behind is on an Enfield.
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We’re in Colombia now and flying to Panama in a couple of hours to start the Central America phase.

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Re: South America, Blowing The Kids’ Inheritence

Post by gbags » Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:35 pm

Once we’d ridden to the bottom of the Austral we got a ferry from Puerto Yungay which would take us down the Chilean side to Puerto Natales. There is no road alternative on that side and we wanted to come back up the Argentinian side. It would take three days and run through all the fjords and inlets. Reclining chairs, three basic meals and all the fresh air you could cope with. All of the ferries that work around these lakes are Chinese made RORO ferries but they are fairly new, well manned and we had no problems at all.
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Four bikes, some camper vans, overlanders and adventurous holiday makers renting vans and 4x4’s made up the foreigner contingent. Then there were plenty of locals going to the big town for monthly shopping, or visiting. There were also usually some long distance cyclists and hitch hikers.
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These views were constant and lovely. By taking this ferry, we’d hop down through the lower Chilean Andes and reach the section of Chile that roads can’t reach. By now we were getting very far south, early in the pre-season so it was cold and this far south, very windy. Our Brazilian mate Bubi, who we’d say goodbye to when we landed, warned us about the winds.
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Out of interest, we were riding Mitas tyres which gave us good grip on the ripio. Most other bigger bikes had road tyres and were jealous when we hit the rough stuff. The tyres were very good on the gravel but the back tyre didn’t last long. By the time we got back up to Santiago I had to replace it for a Heidenau with a continuous centre ridge. I’m still on the original front now. On the more knobbly Mitas’ I just took it easier in the wet and sat up straighter.

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Re: South America, Blowing The Kids’ Inheritence

Post by PatC » Wed Jan 30, 2019 1:33 pm

Which dates were you on the Pto Yungay - Pto Natales ferry? Just got back to the UK after three weeks in Patagonia. We were on the ferry that sailed south on Saturday 12th and arrived in Natales on Monday 14th. There were 13 riders of various nationalities on board that weekend.

Bit of a whistle stop tour for us. Watch out for the wind on Tierra Del Fuego and on Ruta 40 heading north. A lot of Ruta 40 is in good condition but we rode a couple of horrendous sections: a 70km stretch north of the gas station at Tapi Aike and another stretch south of Bajo Caracoles in particular were pretty grim.

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