Tag Archives: border crossing

Cerro Sombrero to Rio Grande, Sunday, 3 February 2013, Day 215

Phillys under arrest by the Argentinean Police and very relieved by that fact 🙂

Dirt roads bring them on after a good night sleep I am ready for anything well that’s what I thought and as you can see by the title of this post I failed to make it Ushuaia 😦

I had breakfast and then I tried to find the final short bit of tarmac south but I got lost but I was helped by a nice policeman who led me to the right road. 15km then a sign saying Fin Pavimento so its dirt roads for me for  the next couple of hours 😦

End of tarmac dirt for a while oh great joy!

Weather is dull and overcast wind is getting stronger but it is on my back so that is okay and the scenery is interesting. As for the road this is a mix of washboard corrugated iron surface which shakes Daisy and me to death and or rocky stony gravel which is a bit better as there is route left by car and lorry tyres that is a bit smoother. But then I hit a place where they are working on the road and they have had the huge road smoothers out and I hate it when they do this as in my view this makes the terrain harder and less manageable for motorbikes and the nice smooth track left by larger vehicle’s is gone so slow going. Then the universe thought lets really take the piss out of Philly and Daisy and there was a perfect concrete road running parallel to the crappy dirt track but it was not yet open and or not easily accessible. I was chatting to a bloke on the ferry and he told me some bikers where killed on this trying to get on the new road and every couple of km there where sections missing so I decided not to risk sneaking onto the new road. The dirt track had turned to soft sand and it had been raining heavily all night so this was the most difficult part so its down to a snails pace for this section.

Dirt roads mine and Daisy’s favourite NOT!

Finally I hit the Chilean border and by now the wind was getting stronger so had to try and find somewhere out of the wind to park Daisy or she would be blown over while I went and did the Border formalities.

Daisy sheltering from the wind at the border

Quick and simple and then 15km to the Argentinian side of more dirt roads also simple only problem was the wind was getting stronger and scarier.

So final push to Ushuaia back on tarmac road again heading to Rio Grande where I need a cashpoint and some petrol. Both are easily found the problem is the wind it is getting stronger and stronger and more and more unmanageable. Driving through town I keep getting hammered by strong gust of wind and I am having difficult in keeping Daisy upright whilst filling up with Petrol.

So I thought as long as I kept moving I was fine and out of town the wind would be more manageable and I determined to get to Ushuaia today. What a total arse I am!!! Gingerly I made my way out of town jumping the traffic lights as I did not want to stop just in case I got blown over and then at one stage I was blown over 2 lanes of traffic and I was no longer in control. I get out of town and I am struggling to keep Daisy in her lane and I am physically trying to pull her into the right lane using her weight my weight and all my muscle power that I process but I am failing miserably and I keep moving uncontrollably into the oncoming traffic and that’s when the penny dropped that I was no longer in control and shouldn’t be out there. DICKHEAD!!

So what do I do I was scared shitless fighting a losing battle and getting tired and more scared as I inched forward I did not dare to stop I did not dare to turn round as I would be on my arse in a blink of an eye all I could do was look for some shelter but as I had left town and was now in open country so there was no obvious place to stop. Heeeeeelp!

In the distance there was a police control post and two policeman so I managed to get there and stop there with these two guys making sure that Daisy and I did not fall over so it was taking 3 of us to keep Daisy upright due to the wind. One of the coppers says “I advice that you do not go any further as it dangerous”. Really officer! I had concluded that as well just recently and I was totally done in scared shitless and exhausted and it took 3 of us to manhandle Daisy out of the wind and returned to their little hut.

So this is where I met Alejandro and Harnen my two favourite policemen in the whole world and pretty high on the list of my favourite people at that moment they had rescued Daisy and me from the clutches of the wind which was going to seriously damage both of us if I was to continue.

It was about 3pm and the guys told me that the wind should drop at about 8pm that evening so I settled in for a long wait as I was going nowhere just happy to be alive Daisy was parked behind Alejandro car with a big metal bar holding her upright.

Sheltered behind Alejandro car and huge stick to stop her blowing over and she still moving which you can not see in the picture!

      

So I spent of the day chatting with my new friends drinking Mate first hot and later cold with orange juice learning the whole ritual about Mate which is local drink and custom http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mate_(beverage) and it is quite sociable.

The guys should have been checking the vehicles as they past but due to the wind they where having an easy day as it was pretty impossible to stand out in the wind and any documentation shown would be blown to Antarctica before you knew it.

So just chatting in Spanish Alejandro chatty Harnen very quite loads of questions about how much living in Europe cost, as Alejandro was only a policeman as a temporary measure and was studying mathematics and was going to be high school teacher once he had completed his studies so was fascinated by economics and numbers. Unfortunately Philly has no idea what anything cost or the price of milk so I was not much help but did my best in telling him in my bad Spanish about living in Europe.

We had a visit from the Desk Sergeant so I met him as well and then back to the Mate and the chatting.

During the day more Bikers came through and each time they would be advised about not travelling further because of the wind and it was amazing how many people ignored this advise and kept on going the arrogance or the ignorance amazed me. Others joined us in the hut so in the end there where 6 bikes.

Just to give you an idea how strong the wind was 2 Chilean bikers where stopped and given the advice and while talking a gust of wind picked one of them up and his bike and blew them completely over. They listened to the advice given 🙂

So very gezellig in the hut and before I knew it was 8pm and I been there 5 hours but the wind still showed no signs of abating. There was change of shift at 10pm so said goodbye and thank you to my new friends and hello to the next shift of police who where much more serious. At about 10.30pm me and 2 Columbian brothers Julian and Daniel Ruiz decide the wind has dropped enough for riding back to Rio Grande to try and find somewhere to sleep for the night its dark the wind is still gusting but you can ride and control your bike sort off!

First place closed second place bloody expensive and then we find Ruta 40 B & B and Willy which is reasonable so we have shelter for the night it 11.30pm Daniel has managed to get some Roast Chicken for dinner and we are safe and sound enjoying a meal together.

Late night as still buzzing from the day I had just had I did not make Ushuaia but I was just happy to be in one piece and I will try and will complete my goal tomorrow as the wind should have dropped by then (Oh god I hope so as I am so close!)

Cerro Sombrero to Puerto Santa Cruz, Saturday, 9 February 2013, Day 221

Leaving Tierra del Fuego heading North

First thing I did was fettle with Daisy chain as it was seriously slack except for that tight spot so I am not sure what to do run it tight or slack as its well buggered either way but do not want to loose a chain for doing the wrong thing so I sort of adjusted and it was still making horrible noises that I will have to live with till I can source a new chain probably in Buenos Aires so that’s about 2,500km away so I will have to keep an eye on this. Tyres a pretty finished as well so Daisy is dirty and in desperate need of some TLC which may be a long time coming.

I had breakfast and then hit the road tarmac oh what bliss 40km to the ferry and road straight to the front of the queue again where there was 4 Germans on BMW rentals so I chatted with them while waiting for the ferry. Not long wait and we where soon boarded. This time found out you had to pay in a little office, which I had missed last time, as I had to stay with Daisy and I could have done the same this time as no one was checking whether or not you paid but my conscience got the better of me and I did get a free trip on the way out here. Another short run wind getting up but on my back and side so not much bother to the border which was a combined one this time so exit Chile enter Argentina exit Daisy Aduana Chile enter Argentina Daisy Aduana not much queues in the way of queues so I was through quite quick Phillip spelt with 1 l should be 2 ll they claim it is not important lets see when I try and ship the bike out of here but I cannot be bothered to make to much of a fuss as I have pointed it out they say its fine so done deal.

Put my head down and headed for Puerto Santa Cruz and the free camping. Wind was strong but in the right direction so not to much bother with it today.

What do you mean you cannot read my numberplate its as clear as mud 🙂

Got to the campsite and it was rather busy this time and bugger it was no longer free blokes at the gate collecting money. Oh well it is a holiday weekend I guess we where lucky last time. Same spot and then I head to the beachfront with the plan of using the Wi-Fi and eating as the same restaurant as we ate at last time. There was a mini festival going on so I decided to wander around that first and when I eventually tried the restaurant but it was closed so plan B BBQ sausage sandwich at one of the stalls and an ice cream so that is dinner sorted walked around the few stalls at the festival and watch a few turns on the stage and did the tour of the town (2 streets) and then headed back to the tent to work on this.

Twirly dresses again 🙂 Bloke at the front likes it to.

    

Always someone who wants to spoil the fun evening officer 🙂

Resistencia to Asuncion, Monday, 4 March 2013, Day 244

Asuncion Paraguay

Maybe a new country will lift my spirits as the last couple of days riding has certainly not helped but I already knew that this was going to be a dull couple of days up front so its exactly as I expected with some damp weather thrown in to add to the dullness. Today did not start at all well as in my expensive room (by my current standards) no bleeding hot water the hot water tap in the shower did not work so I had a cold one. I complained to the guy in reception about this and he says I can have a different room tonight. I am leaving you arse but he could not give a fig and they probably knew full well about the broken tap as its not something that goes of just like that assholes. Rant over I really am not a happy bunny at the moment I must try and rectify this somehow.

I adjusted my chain again as it was sloppy and I am guessing this chain is about shot to as after a days ride it needs adjusting and there not much adjustment left. It has done 5,000km and it is not an O-ring type so I am not surprised at the rapid chain wear, as it not designed for the job being asked of it. So I stop at a Yamaha dealer and yes they have an O ring chain that will be 1,200 ARS or if I pay in USD $160 or that should be $240 using the official rate not black market rate. I ask to see the chain and he shows me an EK 530 I say no I am looking for a 525 he pulls out a Yamaha own brand chain and I ask him how much for this he says same price. This is to expensive just for a chain and the fact that I did not really like the chap I said thanks but no thanks I will try and get one in Paraguay. I may regret this decision but I think if needed I can squeeze some more miles out of the old one but it’s a risky call.

Road to the border not much different from the last couple of days so that means another dull day.

Border crossing into Paraguay quite quick had a laugh with the Aduana on Paraguay side the guy filled in the forms very slowly by hand he had beautiful copper plate handwriting  and it was a joy to see. Chatting whilst this going on and then they start talking about money and suddenly Philly does not speak Spanish anymore and the guys think this hilarious and ask for 100 USD and I reply in Spanish Lunes este todas libre (Monday everything is free) and this amuses them and handshakes all round and another bribe avoided with humour.

Asuncion is only 30km from the border and I get there at about 6pm. Place seems awfully quite and it turns out today it is a public holiday. I find a place to stay they have no parking for Daisy but I can park her on the pavement in front of the hostel as there is a night watch man on all night and a police station just around the corner so she would be fine. So I checked in and then first thing I needed is some local currency so off to the Cashpoint I tried the first one and it says I have no founds I think it means no funds amusing how a corporation like a bank can have such bad English on something like a cash machine it does not look very professional. So the question who has no founds (funds) me or the bank as it a bank holiday weekend so it may be out of cash so I try another bank and I try a couple of times to get cash out then it dawns on me there maybe a possibility that I may not have any money in my current account as its been a while since I transferred some monies across and I have been spending quite liberally. Back to the hostel on the Internet to check my bank balance yep it is me current account totally empty oops. Transfer some money and then go for a walk around Asuncion for about an hour before trying yet another bank and hey presto funds have been found or is it founds have been fund according to the programmer of the Paraguayan cash machines 🙂

Got to love a capitol city that has pigs wandering round the national monuments 🙂

Downtown Ascunsion!

I have cash so I can have some dinner and on the way back to the hostel I find an ice cream shop and it is a help your self ice cream shop. So you get a plastic glove and you help yourself to all the ice cream that you want and it is charged by weight. Brilliant I was like a kid let loose in a sweet shop I was asking the ladies what everything was and for most of the responses I had not a clue what they where telling me but I did not care as I was having a great time. I was quite constrained and the total price was quite exceptable and I did not require more founds from the cash machine.

Back to the hostel I could pay my bill now and then back to working on this. I would like to maybe stayed another day here but I am not sure if there was that much more to see than what I had already done and I was meeting up with Alex and Andrea in Iguazu my last chance to catch up with these guys before they head back home to Romania as there trip is nearly over.

Sleeping in a 20 person dorm which sounds horrendous but there only 4 of us in there so loads of space and very little disturbance so a good night kip was had.

Asuncion to Puerto Iguazu, Tuesday, 5 March 2013, Day 245

Makes you want one!

A hot shower this morning strange the cheaper the place sometimes the facilities are so much better not a bad breakfast either. Time to load Daisy and the street is completely different than yesterday when its was dead today it was chocker block with folks and Daisy is parked at a bus stop so surrounded by folks waiting for buses getting on and off busses that seemed to come every minute so basically Daisy was blocking a very busy thoroughfare Ooops.

So I packed her very quickly as she was in the way of everyone trying to get to work I did not fettle with the chain as there was no space and I hit the rush hour of a Capital city and it has been a while since I was in heavy traffic and it was quite chaotic. Looking for bikes shops as I head out of the city and I spot a Honda dealer and stop and enquire about chains. It amazes me how little the folks in these shop know about what they are selling a chain is a chain it does not matter what type of bike it goes on if you have the specs and I do it’s an O ring 525 chain with 118 links but the chap there is not sure as a Honda dealer that the chains they have would fit a Suzuki but he will investigate. He comes back some time later and tells me that a Honda Atlas has a 525 chain and 118 link really fascinating but do you have one. No!

I am not having a dig at these guys as they were trying so hard to help me they called some guys in town to see if they had one in stock and it was hard to get away as they where determined they where going to get me a chain so I appreciate the effort put in in it was entertaining but also very time consuming. One guy rang his mate who had V-strom and seemingly he got his spares from Amazon.com which is good to know! I finally managed to get away thanking my new friends for there effort and I head back to the road out of town and I try a couple more shops one will only work on bikes that he sells and an other had one but it only had 114 links but we could butcher another one for the 4 extra links not the solution I was looking for and surprisingly this last dialog all done in German! So I decide that Paraguay is not the place for chains lets wait till we get to Brazil and see if I can score one there. It’s about 12.30am and I still not left Asuncion and I still need to get Iguazu and a border crossing so I better hurry up.

still dullsville

It felt like I was driving through town for age’s loads of traffic and stopping and starting and when I did leave town it was never for very long before and you where passing through another town or village with speed humps chaotic traffic and traffic lights. I have been away in unpopulated areas for to long and I am not enjoying this much its dull and overcast and threatening to rain as well and it finally does so waterproofs out andI need to be very careful as the road are very muddy.

  

took very few photos today not really in the mood and scenery not that photogenic.

I finally reach Ciudad del Este and realize the route that Mr GPS is sending is via Brazil and there no way I want to go through Brazil and add another border crossing to my day as its already quite late. So I am certain that there has to be a way into Argentina without going via Brazil (does this sound familiar) I am stuck in rush hour traffic just before the border when I have this realisation so I turn right and I figure out that if I follow the river I should hit the border with Argentina soon why Mr GPS is not being cooperative I do not know why. I ask some Motorbike taxis and they send me to a place called tres fronteres which sound promising and I ask a police man and he says yes there is a border crossing but its closed but its down there. Well he was right it’s a ferry to Argentina and the last one is 16.30pm its 17.30pm I talk to the Army guys at the ferry about next border crossing into Argentina and that’s about 200km away as there are no bridges across the river till then. I am about 5km away from the Hotel where A & A are staying but have to go back 20km and then go in via Brazil and this I was not expecting. Sheepishly I follow the instruction of Mr GPS who was right this time and I really should do my homework on Border crossing I am expecting a lot more than there is in reality. Huge queues crossing the bridge into Brazil but its moving I nearly miss Paraguay immigration and Aduana as I cannot see them for the lorries but I know they are there so pull over and I am just past them. Check out easy peasy next stop Brazil. Tell the guys I am going straight through to Argentina so they say just do immigration for me and there is no need for a temporary import for the bike so that was easy as well. 20km ride through Brazil, which looks very civilised in comparison to Paraguay high tech traffic lights, which count down and up for every light change which is quite mesmerising.

Final border immigration for me simple chat with Aduana and they say if I am only going into Puerto Iguazu and going directly back to Brazil no need to import the bike into Argentina. It sounds dodgy but its late and getting dark so accept this and head to the Hotel to meet up with A & A.

Rolled into Argentina just as it was getting dark.

I roll up to the Hotel just as its getting dark A & A are there and seem happy to see me 🙂 so shall I stay at this place or try and find a hostel as its quite expensive but I am knackered and I really do not like the creepy guy running the place but after some negotiations I get the price down to a more acceptable level by agreeing a 3 night deal and I have a huge room with a double bed and 3 single bed as well so have 4 beds to choose from to sleep into tonight nice.

A & A you have taught me well in the art of haggling for Hotel rooms 🙂

I am totally done in after my long day I just had and and so where A & A as they been out and about all day as well so we spent the evening just hanging in there room chatting and catching up and swapping tall stories no dinner only chocolate biscuits which was all I needed. A very pleasant evening I am going to miss you guys and it was nice that you where always in the vicinity so when I needed company or a pick me up a quick E-mail and a rendezvous was quickly sorted 🙂

Cassino to Punta del Diablo, Sunday, 31 March 2013 to Monday, 1 April 2013, Day 271 to Day 272

In Paraguay they had pigs around there national monument so new country Uruguay new monuments this time bulls!

Another good nights kip in the tent I packed up and I am heading to Chui in Brazil or is it Chuy in Uruguay to cross the border into my final new country on this trip. I had found a hostel on the my GPS in a place called Punta del Diablo, (Devils Point) which I like the sound of.

Pleasant enough ride a huge fire in the distance and some interesting wild life around to keep me interested.

      

I hit the border and there are long queues at immigration and some folks doing some market research on folks experiences and trips whilst in Brazil which helped to kill a bit of time but I was finding it difficult to remember where I had been and even harder to remember how much I had spend and it was embarrassing on telling folk how much I earn especially when compared to local wages here. It made me think what a bloody fortunate chap I am I am not short of a bob or two and I am whizzing around on me bike without a care in the world.

I was a bit confused when I got through to the Brazilian side as I was expecting the Uruguayan customs next but there was a town of Chuy or was it Chui and or had I missed the Uruguayan customs so I was thinking of doing a U turn when I figured out I am still in Brazil and its still some while till the Uruguayan border and for some reason they have put the border post well before the town. So I decided to fill up with Petrol and I got into another ruck with some bloke jumping the queue arrogant tosser who thinks as he in a big car he can jump the queue so I call him on his arrogance and of course he is all apologetic as if he did not realise what he was doing was wrong which pisses me of even more when folks do something wrong and they know dam well they are doing something wrong and they start apologising without really meaning it. No sir I do accept your apologises and you sir are an arrogant fucker who should not be allowed out in polite society. Philly is hot and sweaty and looking for a ruck and I scared the hell out of this poor fella I am not a violent person and I am total pacifist at heart but I look like I could do some damage and I have a gob on me that is quite ruthless if required which can get me both into trouble and out of trouble depending on the situation and this fella needed to be brought down a peg or two.

I need to chill and cool down before hitting the Uruguay part of the border which was a breeze a nice chap doing the formalities so I am back in a better mood in no time and its only a short ride to Punta del Diablo my destination just because I like the sound of the place.

Fun and games as usual with GPS!

My GPS was doing it usual trick of not wanting to cooperate and had been directed me in a huge loop to my destination which I kept ignoring so I was 30km away from were I wanted to be and it was telling me I was 288km away.

I found out why later as the road I was travelling on turned into a runway for airplanes for the military so Mr Garmin did not see this as a road and kept on redirecting me I just followed the road signs!

Before Punta del Diablo there was a nice fort called Santa Theresa where I stopped for a while and for a look at first they tried to charge me to get in then it was free which was confusing but I spent some time here before heading to the hostel in a cool little seaside town which had a really cool vibe to it.

Went for a short walk looking for food and then back to the hostel and I am just chilling there.

Punta del Diablo

As I had loads of time on my hands I had decided to spend another day here and I woke up had my free breakfast weather is dull and overcast so I hung around the hostel for a while in the hammock reading and then I went for a long walk along the gorgeous coastline which was nice. I had a late lunch/early dinner than back to the hostel and just chatting to the folks there.

Kite Surfing on my to do list another sport Philly can be crap at 🙂

    

There where so many request from my fan base out there for pictures of Philly on a surfboard so here you go.

Colonia Del Sacramento to Buenos Aires, Monday, 8 April 2013, Day 279

Long way down!

Margaret Thatcher is dead said the immigration officer with a huge grin on his face and a huge smile no Buenos Dias or any other courtesies or pleasantries that you usually get when going through customs. As soon as he knew I was British all he wanted to talk about was the fact that the iron lady had past away and what excellent news that was. This may be a good thing for the Anglo Argentinian relationship and maybe a lot of the anti British sentiment may be reduced because of this event but I personally took no pleasure on the gloating and the joy that this gentlemen had on the demise of a former prime minister (human being) or the subsequent outpouring of ding dong the witch is dead which was to fill the social media for the coming weeks as I personally have an admiration for Maggie and what she achieved this was never popular or a cool position to have not that I agreed with everything that she did as like us all she made loads of mistakes as well but least you knew what her position was on an issue and I am old fashion you may not agree with everybody’s point of view that may differs from your own but you should respect it.

Due to this historic event my entrance back into Argentina was easy and straight forward but that could also be due to the fact that this was the 5th time I was coming into Argentina so I knew the process pretty well by now.

Left the hostel at about 9am with yet another run at the cashpoint and then to the money exchange to maximise the amount of cash dollars I had which I would need to pay for Daisy getting home then I headed to the docks to catch the boat to Buenos Aires. Had some empanadas for breakfast whilst waiting to be boarded and then onto the boat. Easy and pleasant journey I met up with an Israeli biker Doron http://doronsvoyage.wordpress.com who was also heading for Dakarmotos http://www.dakarmotos.com

I arrived back at Dakarmotos at about 1pm as I had been there before so it was like coming home or it was nice to be back in familiar places with friendly folk who I already knew. Daisy needed to be at the airport the following morning so first order of business was getting the paperwork started and the first payment of USD 100 for Sandra’s Broker fee so then of to the photocopy shop for the relevant copies and filling in of the paperwork and a trip to the local supermarket to get some dinner in and I spent the rest of the evening sorting my kit out and prepping Daisy for her big trip back to the Netherlands. Dumping loads which I do find difficult as a hoarder and a tight arse but my sleeping bag I have had for 20 years so I guess that is due for replacement and my tent which still had some miles in it but was looking a bit tired and needed some TLC so it is not worth lugging this kit back to NL only to chuck this kit away there maybe someone can make use of this here. Whilst going through my stuff I still could bring myself to chuck certain t-shirt and bits of kit away even though threadbare and minging I get very attached to stuff. One of my panniers had been leaking so some of the kit had got a nice bit of mould on it so that was slightly easier to part with. Other bits and pieces I had carried for 65,000km and I had never used or worn so those extra hiking boots had a grand trip of the Americas without ever seeing daylight I most confess I do carry to much kit but would I change anything well probably not as I would rather have to much and not use it than to little and find I need it and if there room in the panniers well its gets filled.

Did a dry run of striping down Daisy ready to be transported on the plane so that is taking the mirrors; front screen and GPS mount of. I am glad I did this as I could not get the screen of because way back in June 2012 in Canada it had come loose so Philly being the mechanical genius with his tool kit of duct tape, zip ties and Loctite had made sure that the screen would never ever come loose again and had gone to town on the 4 screws holding the screen on and there was no way these where coming loose so in the end I had to break the screen to get it off. It was already cracked in two places where I had over tightened the screws. So anyone in the Netherlands who has got a spare screen for Daisy as she looks rather naked without it can you please contact me 🙂

  

Fortunately that evening Javier was there so had some muscles to break the screen and to concur that it was the only way that screen was coming of without taking the whole front end to pieces and it was already buggered as mentioned earlier and it was also 12 pm at night and I was heading to airport at 9am the next morning.

The reason Javier was there was that we where expecting an American couple  Suma and Hoa http://whyweroam.wordpress.com who had crashed there bike 2 days earlier at Rada Tilly way down South In Argentina and straight after the crash had put the bike on a back of lorry and had been traveling North since then still covered in blood and dirt from the crash. They arrived at about midnight Hoa had a mashed foot and Suma one hand in bandage (turned out later to be broken) and the bike a huge GS BMW on the back of huge truck and the only way to get it of the back of the truck was with good old fashion muscle power. Javier called a mate of his Carlos and there was me and the driver of the lorry and Doron who kept insisting that it was impossible to get the bike of the lorry with just us and Javier telling him to shut the f**k up as this was not the first time he done this 🙂 Well we did manage to get the bike off the lorry but I also I had my doubts, as did my poor back.

            

It turned out to be a long day and late night after we sorted out Suma and Hoa we changed their bandages fed them and got them settled in There is never a dull moment at Dakarmotos 🙂