Staying at a brewery and me a tee totaler luckily they did home made vanilla cream soda 🙂 as well
Woke up ready for a nice hot shower but bugger shower did not work only a dibble of cold water. After a while I realised that there was no electricity so hence the cold shower so I went out to speak to the young lad I haggled with yesterday over the price turns out no electricity in town there is a power cut. I am sure he knew about it but failed to tell me so now a cold shower and no Internet and I wanted to do some research oh well cold showers are good for you brrr.
Not sure why this town had been recommended perhaps it was for the mountains around the place which I could not see because of the clouds or because of the national park nearby so I decided to head into the park to find out. Today was also cool and cloudy and threatening to rain and when I turned on to the road to the park this was a dirt road and I thought if it rains this is going to turn to mud and slush very quickly and the mountains where under a cloud so I decided against going any further turned round and started making tracks for a brewery that both Chris and Geraldo had recommended that had rooms available as well.
It was a strange day for the first hour the road was a terrible potholes everywhere so spent all morning avoiding them. It was a bit like a computer game trying to find a way through them this was not so bad when it was dry but again it began to drizzle so swerving and changing line quickly not advisable as the roads very greasy. Then there was an excellent bit of tarmac with less potholes and it was dry again whizzing along enjoying my self when I noticed up the road over a brow of hill a dirt track so I slowed down which was fortunate as this dirt track was the road so from excellent tarmac to dirt road in a split second. You have to keep your wits about you travelling through here. So a dirt road for the next 15km with different levels of difficulty that kept me focussed. I had not had breakfast as I was still stuffed from the huge Chinese I had last night and it was nearly lunch time so when I finally made it to La Esperanza I was ready for lunch and just on the outskirts of town I found a nice little café that did Crepes excellent just what I fancied.
Sometimes what you wish for arrives just when you want cool little cafe after a stint of off roading
So a relaxing lunch after my motocross excursion and then back on the road to the Brewery. It was cold and wetter in the afternoon greasy roads and at some stages zero visibility as I was driving through the clouds sometimes. I thought it would be hot and sweaty here but its been cool and wet for the last 3 days I am not sure what I prefer but I would like to be able to see more of the country but most of it seems to be covered by clouds. It took me while to find the place but I did and it is very nice it is to debating on whether or not to stay another night, as it is cheap and the surrounding area looks pretty interesting. I will decide in the morning.
On this trip I have not come across many long distance motorcyclist tonight there are 3 others staying at this place so just like buses see none for ages and 3 turn up at the same time and 2 of them are going on the same boat as me to Colombia.
I spent the evening trying to pick the brains of the 3 motorcyclist but we were all pretty cream crackered and sometimes the more you find out the more you wish you did not know sometimes ignorance is bliss and lets say after last night conversation I am reviewing the situation but ain’t I always doing that so no real change there 🙂
I had sort of arranged to meet Alex and Andrea, Joop and Fred for Christmas and the place was to be Cuenca. The problem was I had forgotten what day it was and thought I had an extra day to get there but nope it was going to be a one-day dash this should be doable especially with my navigations skills! I got out of Quito no problems thanks to my updated GPS maps that actually seem to work which was very strange for me as it has been a while since I had a clue to where I was 🙂
Nice run and the plan was to have a late breakfast early lunch in Riobamba as it is supposed to be a nice place. I did not like Riobamba that much so I drove straight through it and hit recalculate button on the GPS and I followed the instructions out of town through some little villages nice roads but I am not sure I am going in the right direction but I had new found faith in my GPS and surely it would not let me down and the road was great so I kept on going. Then it did it usual trick of turn left in 100 meters but there was no left turn! So kept going then it started telling me to do a U turn that I eventually I did and went back to the spot where the left turn was supposed to be. Yes there it was hidden behind the bushes was a dirt track leading into the mountains. Bugger if I am going down there check my Garmin settings to see if dirt track had been disabled and they had so Mr Garmin think this is a road. So I did what I always do in this situation I am not going to go back to Riobamba as I had done 50km already and so I just kept on going on this road that was actually quite nice.
The signs where saying that this road was going to Macas and on my GPS it sort of looked like it was going in the right direction but I had forgotten that there are huge mountain ranges here with very few joining roads but onwards and forwards and at this point I had settled on the fact that I was no longer going to Cuenca but to Macas so lets have a look in the book and see where it is and if there is anywhere to stay.
Well it turns out its in the Amazon! So after driving through the Sangay National Park on a beautiful road cold and wet but very enjoyable it got down to 11 degrees at one stage so I had changed my gloves and put on a jumper for the first time since I am guessing Canada and there where a lot more trees and every so often huge lookout towers with great views when the clouds cleared. This is when I realised I was heading into the Amazon as there where huge signs saying Amazon. Well I was certainly was not planning on coming this way but its rather nice and Macas was going to my new destination for the night. About 25km out of Macas the perfect tarmac turned into a dirt track so it was off-road for the last hour or so and it started getting hot again as I descended into the Amazon cursing my GPS as I bounced down the mountain. I finally hit tarmac and Macas and I started looking for a Hotel the first one nice enough but no WI-FI next one had a swimming pool that I was never going to use but was reasonable enough so I settled in there and went for a wander now it is back up to 30 plus degrees so I had temperature variations of more than 20 degrees and my poor body has not got a clue what is going on 🙂
view from Macas
This evening entertainment is a pizza and watching the locals play volleyball I say volleyball but the net looks a lot higher and there are 3 on each team however its great to watch.
Back to the Hotel and a marathon update of this blog and I also found out that Fred and Joop did not make it to Cuenca because of bike trouble but Alex and Andrea had so plan to join them for Xmas. Yes it Christmas eve but it certainly does not feel like it.
So I guess Santa does not deliver to the Amazon as there was nothing in my sock this morning except a bad smell. I did a Skype call to the folks to wish them a Merry Christmas and its back to the business of travelling to the point of South America. I was going to make a second attempt to get to Cuenca and meet up with Alex and Andrea. I had look at Google maps and there was no direct route I had to go South and double back however according to my GPS there was a more direct route through the mountains. Mmmm who do I believe I will make it up as I go along, as that is what I usually do 🙂
I grabbed some breakfast before I left town, as I did not want to be in the same position I was in yesterday hungry and nowhere for food. Gorgeous winding road through the foothills of the Andes and on the edge of the Amazon hot but okay as long as I kept moving this went on for about 100km I was really enjoying myself confident that its was going to be tarmac all the way to Cuenca. Then Mr Garmin GPS says turn right in 100 meter oh here we go again sharp U turn into a dirt track with a barrier that was open but a sign in Spanish saying Dangerous road enter at own risk. Mmmm another car pulled up next to me and the driver told me that yes this was the road to Cuenca. I ask what is it like his response was not bad and he points at his car saying he can do it in this so in other words I am wuz if I do not at least try. How far I ask is the road not bad response 60km so that 3 times further off road than I did yesterday and a good 2 hours hard slog. Oh well lets go for it, bouncy bounce Merry bloody Xmas of I set at between 20km and 30km an hour odd bits faster taking it easy as the surface was continually changing from hard compact mud to gravel to deep gravel to serious muddy mud up and down hills single track no track and everything in between. Biggest humiliation was being overtaken by the local bus but fortunately I had left my pride at the beginning of the track 🙂 Later on I saw the same bus in the distance and I was even slowly catching up with it and was keeping up with it for a while was I getting better at this off road malarkey nope the road was getting worse and worse yet my pace was not slowing so maybe I do have some talent for the dirt.
Trying to keep up with the local bus!
To add to my misery (Its not really that bad) I kept getting chased by dogs so here’s is me trying to keep the bike upright through whatever the terrain was kicking out and running along side me snapping at my legs are angry dogs. This is certainly a different way of spending Christmas. Later it got cool and even started to rain a bit making the road a tad more difficult and then after 2 hours plus of full on concentration I finally reached tarmac and an easy run into Cuenca to Hostel that Alex and Andrea where staying at and I was checked in bike parked in the hall and then I went for a quick wander round the town with Andrea before it got dark. That evening another Pizza (Its Xmas and that all that was open that’s my story and I am sticking to it :-)) and we watched a film called taken or kidnapped with Liam Neeson so finally a typical Xmas activity stuffed and watching a film on the goggle box.
Off road again supposed to be a salt road but on hills it is like corrugated iron this is quite a smooth bit!
I checked out and asked about splitting the difference on the room but she was having none of it saying she had said that she could not guarantee that someone else would come she was very persuasive and confident yesterday so in short what a bitch and I left with a very bad taste in my mouth I will not get burnt like this again.
Heading for Valparaiso heading inland again on the salt roads as they where pretty good yesterday. Even told a Dutch English couple from Canada that these roads are doable well I would like to retract that statement the one I took today was a lot rougher and on the slopes it was like driving on corrugated iron so quite slow going. Scenery is changing from brown to more green with stubbly bits as I move south with lots of Cactuses. So after heading inland I am back to the coast where it’s much greener and a nice long day in the saddle and I get to Valparaiso quite late. Heading to a place called Villa Kunterbunt a Motorcyclist Hostel I had heard about.
They use Cactuses as fences and occasionally as guard rails so make sure you do not end up in them!
I find it but they are full but they put a mattress on the floor in the office a total contrast from yesterday they where very accommodating and made sure I was ok unlike the attitude I got from that queen bitch in La Serena.
I was planning on going round the corner for dinner but I ended up wandering all over town which is built on hills so quite hard work it is a bit run down but this place has a cool vibe to it which I like even though very rough around the edges in some places. Back to the hostel which is full of bikers, some waiting for there bikes to arrive some just starting there trip those who had finished and where shipping there bikes back so lots of tall stories been exchanged. I will keep this place in mind when it comes to shipping back as the prices seem reasonable which is weird as we are on the Pacific side not the Atlantic side which is closer.
Valparaiso rough old working town with a certain charm 🙂
They arrange import and export of motorcycles here as well.
So a big thumbs up for Enzo and Martine Tesser of villakuntabuntvalpo and the great place that they run 🙂
Detour led me into this loverly Farmyard unfortunately my off road skills (lack off) meant I could not go much further!
As I have mentioned earlier in this blog the problem with Chile is that there is only one main road through the heart of it called Route 5 everything is off this road but normally you have to turn off go to the place and come the same way back as the connecting routes are non existent or dirt roads. So I wanted to spend some more time whizzing around the lake district but I did not want to too keep heading back to Route 5 for each different lake so again Philly was going to be adventurous and go of road so that I could spend more time round the lakes than on the motorway.
So after a good breakfast at the hostel headed to Pucon another place I wanted to see and I hit the road hoping that road I was going to take was doable but the first thing I needed to do was fill up and find that road which I did eventually. First part was flat and gravelly and dusty but doable I was past by a couple of cars kicking up a lot of dust making visibility difficult but I pressed on. Then the road was blocked and you where then diverted on to a grass track that took you through a farmyard. Also manageable but I thought I had better check with a group of people who had pukka Motocross bikes and ATVs that they where prepping about the state of the road ahead. The first response from a young lad in all the pukka motocross gear was yes it was easy with a smirk on his face so I thought I had better ask a grown up which I did and he looked at me looked at the bike and he had seen me come gingerly into the farmyard and he said I think the road will be to difficult for you and your bike. He looked like he might know what he was talking about and then he pulled out his iPhone and showed me pictures of the road and various ATV struggling through mud and the odd stream crossing that is when my decision was made it looks like I will be breaking my cardinal rule of onward and forward and backtracking to Villarrica but it was gorgeous where I was so I decided to continue a bit further to the hot springs and turn around there. There was a sign saying 39km to the town I was heading for and it was 109km via the paved road and again back on route 5 bugger and dam my lack of off road talent but looking at that blokes pictures it makes me think that I made the right decision,
Pukka equipment may help with the off road stuff
So back the way I came and then to another lake I chose this one because it was not in any of the guidebooks so I thought it may be less touristy but as was in the lake district it would still have some touristy facilities and I was right and I found myself in a nice little town called Futrono I even liked the name and I found a great little affordable hotel the town that I think it had two hotels this one and one big posh one according to the nice ladies at the small tourist office so I settled in and went for a walk, At this lake a completely different vibe than Villarrica which was a tourist town this was a lot quieter and I liked it I walked to the lake and around the town and grabbed some dinner and then later sitting in the garden of the hotel working on this. It is a bit disappointed about my off road shortcomings but there is not much I can do about that and I am in a great little place so lets just enjoy that 🙂
Lago Ranco less touristy lake in Chiles Lake District which I prefer
Clean me, Get me some new tyres, and some new oil and tell that funny looking bird to stop staring at me!
I crawled out of my tent and I started pulling my stuff together as it starts to spread out when I stay more than one night in one place. It is already quite hot so a slow process but I was not in a hurry as I was only doing a short run of about 300km to Buenos Aires. Jorge had popped out so I was ready to leave and unsure when he was coming back so left without saying goodbye and saying thank you so I will do it here. Jorge great place you run had a very relaxing time I had so I am a bit more refreshed than when I arrived so thanks.
I hit the road and it was hot and again the scenery was not at all very interesting so I put my head down and headed for the capital. Today’s problem was not the wind even though it was still a bit blowy but the roads. This was not only today but the last couple of days the roads here are so worn out that in places the tarmac has two tracks which are very deep where the trucks combined with the heat have melted two deep ruts into the tarmac , so it is a bit like being on a dirt road however the problem is that on dirt road the sides of the ruts are usually quite soft with this its tarmac so it is solid so the first time I hit this I was following a truck and then the bike started moving all over the road as it hit these tarmac berms which I had not noticed as I was behind a truck it took me while to figure out what was wrong and what was forcing the bike to make it handle that way so if I was not careful or if I hit these berms at the wrong angle or place I would be off. So yet another sobering obstacle to impede progress I will have to keep an eye out for these ripples (deep) and once in one be careful on getting Daisy out.
So another dull hot day and I pulled up at Dakarmotos at around 5pm not realising that there would not be anyone there as they are only open during business hours and closed at the weekends bugger. The nice bloke next door let me use his phone to call Sandra who politely told me to come back on Monday. Bugger I am hot sweaty and tired and I did not fancy going into Buenos Aires to find alternate accommodation so I did some pleading and whining on the phone but this did not work. Bugger so whilst I was cursing and trying to figure out what to do next a Swiss chap called Markus came out of the closed Dakarmotos so I thought I would ask him to call Sandra and as he was there then he could let me in. So he does this and eventually Javier turns up and I am in at Dakarmotos which is a relieve as I said I had no energy for finding another hostel in a new city especially one the size of Buenos Aires. Javier is not to happy as he had received the call from Sandra who had received the call from Markus and he had to shorten his motorcycle ride he was on to let in a hot sweaty biker from Holland who had turned up out of hours on there weekend so my apologies for this and thanks for making this work as Dakarmotos is not a commercial hostel but a workshop that just happens to have a couple of bunk beds for travelling bikers that are passing through Buenos Aires so I appreciate them taking the time to accommodate me and I hopefully I may be putting some business there way.
So I settled in and I went for a walk looking for some diner I found another fresh pasta place so ravioli for dinner again I do wish I had better culinary skills but fresh pasta is not bad. Back to the workshop via a trip to the supermarket where I think I may have been a partner in crime in a shoplifting crime. I walked in and there was a young teenager who I held the door open for and I followed him in. The first aisle was the booze aisle and he was acting a bit suspiciously and he then grabbed a bottle of booze from the shelf and stuffed it up his shirt and then he ran out of the door. I was a bit shocked but no one else seemed to have noticed or if they had they ignored it. So welcome to the Big City I have been in the outback to long I will have to have my wits about me as Buenos Aires is a tough old city so I can not be to casual with my belongings here.
It is a nice evening back at the workshop chatting to Markus from Switzerland and then beddy byes its still very hot so will have to start getting used to the heat again.
60,000km 36 degrees hot and only two photos taken todays tells you a bit about my day!
Daisy hit 60,00km today so another happy km day for her I think she deserves some new bits and pieces let’s hope we can get them in Buenos Aires.
I am heading inland today and I am heading in the direction of Lages on the Ruta138 Serra do Rio do Rastro. Jake in Sao Paulo told me about this road and I had read about it on some others folk’s blogs so I was looking forward to an interesting run. So a slow breakfast quick ride along the coast and then a right turn heading for the hills. Its been a while since my GPS and Mr Garmin sent me into the unknown today it decided that Phillys needed to do some dirt roads even though we have had this discussion on numerous occasion that Phillys and Daisy prefer tarmac and has disabled off roads in his choices menu and yet I still keep finding myself in the middle of nowhere on a dirt road and today was no different. A good day in the saddle even with the addition of the odd off road excursions lovely countryside and a run on a gorgeous road through and up and over the escarpment that runs along the coast of Brazil.
I stopped and tried to get some information about Lages at a tourist info place but my Portuguese is non existent and the lady there only spoke Portuguese so with my bad Spanish I managed to get a new destination of Urubici as it got a thumbs up from the lady which I took as a sign that it may be nice. I rolled into Urubici at about 3pm looking for somewhere to stay but all the places I had a look at were very expensive. One I thought had potential and I thought the guy said 30 Real’s which was around my budget he spoke Portuguese only with a speech impediment making the dialog a tad difficult! It turned out it was 300 Real’s not 30 Real’s you are taking the piss mate it’s a Pousada not the bleeding Hilton. Obrigado mate and ciao. I found a nice Pousada, which was within my budget just as it was starting to chuck it down. It rained for a while so I worked on this and the sun came out again so I went for a walk trying to find something nice for my dinner.
I walked for miles again and I found an Italian restaurant just as I was going to resort back to the standard fare so a nice Spaghetti tonight which is just what the doctor ordered. Back to the Pousada chatting to the owner who gives me some top tips and pointers for my route back to the coast tomorrow and I had found another route on Advrider and he added some extras to it and showed me some pictures of this so I am really looking forward to tomorrows ride.