Tag Archives: Rio Grande

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!)

Rio Grande to Ushuaia, Monday, 4 February 2013, Day 216

Made It!!!

Star date February 4 2013 captains log after 216 long days wandering the Americas Star ship Daisy and her Captain Philly of Phillysbigtrip.wordpress.com have finally completed there mission of Alaska to Chile or is that Argentina so they boldly went from the Top of the World to the Bottom of the world with a few Zigzags thrown in for just for a laugh or due to the Captains woeful navigating skills.

Extra Extra read all about it

Cor Blimey Guv I think they gone and done it who would have thought! What they gonna do next!

Tune into next weeks instalment at phillysbigtrip.wordpress.com when he gets round to updating it lazy bugger or if you got any suggestion on how the two of the are going to get home well answers on a postcard to yes its that blog again phillysbigtrip.wordpress.com

Message above posted on Facebook so it looks like Philly and Daisy made it 🙂

So lets recap I have just ridden my bike 52,213km I started on the 5th June in Halifax Nova Scotia so had to cover 11,500km before I even hit the start line at the Arctic Circle so a few km to get the tyres warmed up. It is 17,848km from the Artic Circle at the top of the world to Ushuaia at the Bottom. As we all know my navigating skills are pretty mediocre and that I am easily distracted so I did 40,600km and I could go on and on with loads of stats and numbers but I am not sure you all would find them as fascinating as me 🙂 So one final stat I have been on the road for 216 day and it took me 183 days so no speed limits or records broken and no animals where harmed in the making of this blog (well there was that squashed snake in the Mississippi and all the road kill on the side of the roads)

So what was the final day like I had a nice breakfast and Alex and Andrea popped by but did not stay long as they wanted to get to Ushuaia before the wind got up like yesterday again so plan to meet them at the Campsite in Ushuaia. (They just wanted to be first to Ushuaia is my theory :-))  The Ruiz brothers and me hit the road at about 10am after a leisurely breakfast and the mandatory photo shoot for willy for his Facebook site https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bed-Breakfast-RUTA-40/300645910050700?fref=ts

Ruiz Brothers and Willy outside Ruta 40 B & B

      

The wind had dropped considerably still blowing (it never ceases) but is manageable so we are off. The Columbians are running at a much faster pace than me and disappear off into the distance I am determined to enjoy every minute of this last 210km so I set of at a more sedate pace and stop every now and again because I can and takes some photos. Nice run and soon I am back in the mountains I stop for some petrol but they are topping up the pumps so it will take 45 minutes I have enough to get me to Ushuaia so I press on and then after some nice twisty mountain roads I am there.

Nearly there!

So how am I feeling about getting here especially after yesterday failure? Well to be honest I have no idea yes I am chuffed to bits as for me it’s a completion of one my life long ambitions and I just slam dunked it!  It was bloody hard at times extremely scary at others but on the plus side bloody awesome most of the time (lets forget about all those times I was whingeing about being to hot to cold to whatever) But what now how am I going to top this one. So with joy and elation comes yet other feelings of what next as I have been totally focussed on this goal for the past 7 months (longer in you count the endless years dreaming about this trip) to reaching this point and I have ignored everything else telling myself that I will deal and handle them once I reached Ushuaia and now I am here I am going to have to start making some tough decisions and I have no idea where to begin its like a huge void has just opened and I have no idea on how to get to the other side. So my day of elation that I been working on for so long marred by the reality of real life and that bloody awful question what is it that am I going to do when I grow up!

So today I am not to keen on camping so find a hostel and then go and try to find A & A at the campsite to see how they are feeling about reaching the most Southern town in the world.

I was a bit confused as I thought Chile was at the bottom of South America but when folks started telling me Ushuaia was in Argentina I was even more confused but looking at the maps I was right it is Chile at the bottom for some reason the bottom of South America has been carved up and each been given a chunk so Argentina and Ushuaia is the most Southern Town Punta Arenas the most Southern City and Puerto Williams in Chile as well is the most Southern Post office so my original plan and tag line of Alaska to Chile was sort of right.

A & A were not there so I head back to the hostel and veg out as well as working on this and enjoying the great views from the top floor common room across the harbour bay and mountains it looks like a great place maybe should venture out!

View from the Hostel not bad but should really go out 🙂

Eventually I go for a walk nice town nice feel to it I am looking for somewhere to eat but nothing takes my fancy so I head to the supermarket and Philly will be cooking tonight and let me tell what I cooked was absolutely disgusting I brought what I thought was chicken cordon bleu which I thought I could just pop in the microwave and hey presto dinner. Nope these are not for the microwave so I end up doing them in the frying pan and they are breaded ham and cheese no chicken so as I said disgusting but cheap!

Sociable place so chatting with folks a late night at the bottom of the world I hit the sack planning to do a lot of sleeping for the next couple of days, as I am totally exhausted.

Ushuaia to Rio Grande, Thursday, 7 February 2013, Day 219

Finally make it to the end of the road for the mandatory photo shot 🙂

  

So what is the Plan Philly has spent 3 nights here which is a long time by my standards and it is time to hit the road again and a new destination that being Iguazu Falls, Brazil so that should please some of you that this trip is not over yet and I will be headed up the west coast of South America it was always my intention but needed to put in a dramatic pause as a will he won’t he moment to keep you guys interested.

I was supposed to be up early so that I could finally go to Tierra del Fuego national Park and get in free and get the mandatory end of the road Photo.

But I have got used to wallowing in my pit again so late start it is cold and I think its been snowing in the mountains (It has I just got a note from Andrea telling me this) the wind is also pretty strong so I am off to a great start for my return leg got to get of Tierra del Fuego island the same way I came and I am hoping that it will be a lot easier than on the way down but I need to get some early starts if I am going to avoid the wind which picks up later in the day.

I had not got round to giving Daisy a test ride since fettling with her a couple of days ago and on the run down to the petrol station crunch grouching sound still there bugger looks like the chain has developed a tight spot that is what happens when you do not look after your chain bugger and double bugger. So I am going to have to keep an eye on this and see how this develops but guess I am looking for a new chain this one has only done 22k on it last one lasted 34k and was still reasonable when I changed it as a precautionary measure and this one looks like it shot already the tyres are pretty shot as well with only 8.4k on these so it looks like Daisy is going to need some work done on her soon at the first big city in Argentina me thinks as she is definitely looking a bit sorry for herself especially after all the dirt we been doing in so some serious TLC  is needed if I am going to continue to churn out the miles that I have been doing during last couple of months.

I fill up with fuel and crunch up to the park and try and blag my way into the park free saying I only wanted to take some photos and I have come all the way from Alaska but no they heard this a thousand time before but if I get there before 8am I can get in free yes I already know that but I am an idle sod. So I cough up the money and there is an easy 20km dirt track to the sign. The sun has come out and the park is very pretty but its full of buses as there a couple of cruise ships in town so on my last run to the end of the world I am in a traffic jam!

Gorgeous and foxy!

The folks on the buses are fascinated by what I have just done and I am surrounded by loads of folks when I get to the end of the road sign and they all want to shake my hand and have there picture taken with me so I was a bit miffed when I thought that the park was going to full of tourist but as me and Daisy are the center of attention and its like I am some kind of celebrity and everyone wants a bit of me so I am loving the attention and I think Daisy is thinking you bastard you could at least have given me a clean and polish considering all these folks want to take my picture but I say the dirty rough look is butch and all the range with long distance motorcycles in  2013 which will buy me some time before the next bike wash the last one was in Columbia!

Been a bit of snow last night need to start heading North ASAP

Loads of question are being fired at me from the adoring crowd funny thing was they where all pretty negative questions such as did you have any mechanical breakdown, nasty situations, kidnappings etc. they seem to dwell on the negatives side of things rather than ask how wonderful some of the place I had seen they wanted to know how bad the place I had been to where which I found very strange but I am noticing that folks are more interesting in bad things than good things and I guess I am guilty of that trait as well but it very strange being surrounded by a group of people looking to hear horrors stories so it was only polite that I obliged.

Philly at the bottom of the world

I finally freed myself from he crowd (there bus was leaving) and I went for a bit of a walk and a ride around the park nice place but it was still a bit parky so one of my plans of camping here the night went straight out of the window and I was heading to Rio Grande. A nice run the wind was strong but not enough to impede progress so was just about manageable and I hit Rio Grande ay about 4pm and the wind was really starting to blow again for the last 30 minutes but I was nearly there. I headed for the place that A & A had stayed at it was supposed to be cheaper but as usual GPS let me down and I could not find the number of the house and it was not obvious and I did not want pull my computer out and look it up again as I already put the dam number in the GPS and then it disappears so if anyone knows how to get it back again I would really like to know. Plan B to Willy’s at Ruta 40 B & B and I checked in there, as the wind is getting stronger. There is me and a German biker called Doris www.doris-auf-reisen.de staying there and we head down to the supermarket for supplies or literally get blown to the supermarket. Philly is cooking again tonight this time edible pasta with ham something I can do and another evening with the PC chatting and working on this. Strange Internet very slow but very good for uploading pictures so I am getting them up to date at least

Nice old car!

  

Rio Grande to Cerro Sombrero, Friday, 8 February 2013, Day 220

Bye Bye dirt roads and next to go the bloody wind but will be with me for a while me thinks!

Plan to day was a big mileage day 2 borders crossings and a ferry crossing and head to the free campsite at Puerto Santa Cruz so that is the plan.

Here is the reality did not really get away as early as I liked a leisurely as we know Phillys likes his leisurely breakfast I packed the bike I was a bit concerned about the chain as is making some horrible noises when pulling away there is a tight spot and then it goes slack so I am not sure how to adjust it so I am hoping today will stretch it out a bit more evenly and then I might go for the over tightening it if necessary for a short while to see if I get the tightness out if not slack running and try and to find a new chain ASAP.

Bye Willy of Ruta 40 B & B

Bye Doris she is heading South I am heading North

I got lost leaving town no idea how I do it but this is a reoccurring theme this time I cannot blame the GPS as I ignored it thinking I knew the way out and I ended up in some dead end housing estate being chased by all the local dogs not a nice way to start the day. I followed the GPS this time even though it took me round the houses in my view I finally got me on the right road 70km of tarmac and then back on the dirt for 130km oh my heart fills with joy or is that fear. Wind is not to bad but it’s a bit damp. I am thinking about taking a different route back more dirt but different dirt but in the end stick with the road I had done as I knew it was manageable except for the soft sand bits in the middle.

Never ending dirt roads!

I hit the Argentinian border at the same time as two large busses so queues at immigration take a while and then its on to the dirt 14km no mans land to the Chilean side of the border and its decided to rain. I am not sure if this is an advantage as I can see the cars tracks or the smoother part of the road clearer but as its wet it’s a bit muddier so slippery. Chilean formalities done the name on my temporary import papers is Phillip and Dean as my surname I have told them every time to change this to Beckwith in the system but falling on deaf ears and they say it not important try telling that to some jobs worth copper looking for some extra spending money next time I get stopped.

Cold wet bikers not a pretty sight 🙂

So it is wet so I settle in for 130km of dirt roads doing between 40km and 50km an hour so progress steady as she goes. Just before I hit the tricky bit I see a couple bikers at the side of the road so pull over for a chat in fact this is just a delaying tactic, as I really have no appetite for the sandy bit. I finally hit the road again and the tricky bit is not that tricky at all they must have flattened it or worked on the soft sand bit and before I knew it save for an accident where a car had a puncture and rolled over nobody hurt just shocked I was 15km away from Cerro Sombrero on hard road again and it was about 3.30pm.

I did some calculations and I was still a ferry and a border crossing short and 420km away from my original plan but who cares I am staying here at that nice hostel I stayed in last time and having the same dinner at the same place as last time. So via the fuel station I was checked in said hello to Jose and the friendly dog who lived outside and decided to have an afternoon nap as I cannot remember the last time I had one of these and I certainly needed it after todays off road excursions.

Cute dog and friendly as well!

Later I went for dinner a good feed again and back to the Hostel which was a bit fuller this time as its during the week so full of oil workers so not on my own some this time so first day of heading up north worked out well and it is time for bed again.

Nice Evening for a stroll

Buenos Aires (and Tigre), Sunday, 17 February 2013 to Thursday, 21 February, Day 229 to Day 233

Buenos Aires = Tango

So that’s 6 nights in a row at the same place a new kind of record for me I only do this if I staying with someone I know and or I am studying and this was neither except I was waiting for new tyres and with a public holiday and a weekend thrown into the mix and the real reason was that I needed a bleeding rest and some time to figure out what I am going to next. So priority number one was rest and lots of it, in which I was successful, next was trying to come up with a route for the next part of the journey and third how and when am I going to get me and Daisy home both of them still blanks loads of ideas and options I just need to commit to one and I have sort of already but I will hold out on telling you my decision until I am certain that the option I am going for but I think my mind is made up.

Local train and station I will be using this for a couple days.

So what have I been up to, well on Sunday did a trip into town on the train and walked for miles around the old harbour and the San Telmo area it was a bit dull and overcast but a nice walk.

Old Harbour Buenos Aires

My kind of Tank!

Tango on the streets of Buenos Aires

Monday was a lazy day just hanging around the workshop working on the computer trying to figure out the answers to the question posed above as well as catching up with my rest. Successful on the last one still not sure about the others!

Tuesday another trip into Buenos Aires walking around weather not so good but it is dry but it pissed down later so I got well and truly soaked

Evita Peron still very popular here

  

Balcony where she used to give her speeches from

  

Wednesday was a public holiday so I decided to get the train to a place called Tigre that is just outside Buenos Aires this is an area based around canals and boats. So two train out there a tourist boat trip whilst there and 2 other trains back. A pleasant day and an interesting place folks living in a nice place next to the water but I bet its a mossies hell most of the year so may look idyllic but being eaten alive in the process.

Tigre Canals

Thursday my new tyres arrived so hung around the shop again getting the rest of my rest caught up with and changing my route out of here for the umpteen time as I still no real idea of when I am going home!

Dakarmotos as I said great workshop and shipping agent run by Javier and Sandra with 2 bunk beds and a kitchen and small garden for camping. So all week it’s been pretty busy with different folks coming and going and very good evenings had just sitting at the table outside in the garden just yakking about travel motorcycles and anything else that came up.

So the cast this week was Markus, Michael, Ende, Dwight, Chantal, Jean, Pavel and girlfriend and many others popping by during the day so it is a very lively place.

And the residents of Dakarmotos Javier, Sandra, Julian, Negrita the cat and the new uninvited guest the little kitten who no one know where she came from and Javier who wants her out ASAP as he does not likes cats but the problem is she is very shy and no one has been able  to get near her and there are loads of places for her to hide in this place and she is sneaking out to eat the other cats food when no one is watching it will be interesting to see how this one pans out 🙂

Some are starting there trip others are finishing and shipping out using the great service that Sandra provides and from what I saw of the process this could be the way I am leaning to as well but when is the next obvious question.

So a very relaxing and enjoyable week I did not do much but that is exactly what I needed. Am I motivated for the next part of me trip I am not sure as part of me has had enough and just wants to go home but I know I would regret it if I pulled the plug now so I am now aiming at a return date of middle of April but watch this space as this could all change.

Why because they are yellow!

On a totally unrelated topic that I forgot to mention in a previous blog, whilst riding on the dirt roads from Rio Grande or maybe I did I cannot remember, I saw a man walking down the middle of the road which I thought was strange at the time  as why not along the side? I had to manoeuvre from one dirt rut to another and I did not want to stop in the middle of no where and as I was making progress in the dirt I did not want to upset any rhythm I may have had. As I passed I noticed he was pushing something in front of him that only had one wheel and as I looked closer it was a monocycle! He was trying to ride a monocycle on the dirt roads it is amazing what you see and the strangest things and you forget about them until someone else happens to mentions it.

Porto Alegre, Friday, 29 March 2013, Day 269

Some more industrial landscapes for a change!

I am spending another day in Porto Alegre so I got up just in time for breakfast as it was nice in my huge room which I thought I had all to myself but someone else had arrived during the night. Relaxing morning Internet still up the spout but I spend the morning in the garden with my Kindle finishing my book and then of for another marathon hike around Porto Alegre. As I mentioned yesterday Porto Alegre is not really that much of a tourist destination and a bit run down in places but a I had a great day just walking around taking in the sites and taking loads of crap photos in the hope there may be that wonder shot in there somewhere 🙂

  

      

So this were St Nick goes forces Holidays!

I had left the hostel at about 12am and got back at about 7pm so that is 7 hours just wandering around all over the place I covered a lot of distance today I think.

The man for the Internet has not turned up either so it is worse tonight so the blog will have to wait I did manage to sort some of the other stuff that needed doing in the moments that it was cooperating but it is to frustrating to work with a dodgy connection so I am going to start yet another book to catch up with all that reading I promised myself I would do on this trip which as usual I have left to the last minute 🙂

      

      

  

I have no idea where I am going tomorrow as it would be nice to have a look on the Internet but let it be a surprise its either Rio Grande or a place called Pelotas which I have heard has a yearly candy festival I wonder if its this weekend?

Porto Alegre to Cassino, Saturday, 30 March 2013, Day 270

Leaving Porto Alegre

Oops I have let this slip so a mad catch up is needed  it must be because I am so close to the end that this is no longer a chore that I cherish but I will persevere on behalf of my loyal fan base and I hate reading blogs or ride reports that just end in the middle with the last bit omitted or the end of the story missing so I am determined not to let this happen with mine, I even have some plans on adding a couple of extra pages with the Finances, Accommodation list, Cost and kit reviews but I digress lets get back to the story. A weird day I had two options of a final destination and I was unsuccessful with both and I ended up putting my tent up in the dark.

So the original destination was Pelotas uneventful run there tried a few hotels but all rather expensive and I was not getting a great feel from the place and I had a plan B which was Rio Grande so pulled the plug on Pelotas but I first checked out the beach to see if I could find affordable digs there. Nope there was not much going on there either so onwards and forward to Rio Grande. So no Candy festival in Pelotas but there was the festival of the sea in Rio Grande, which made finding accommodation for Daisy and I nigh on impossible. Tried loads either too pricy or full or no safe parking. So what was supposed to be an easy relaxing day was turning into a pain in the ass. Eventually I decided to pull the plug on Rio Grande and head for Cassino the next town down the coast. All of the above had taking a lot of time and it was getting dark. On my way into Cassino I spotted a campsite but I first wanted to try and get a bed for the night in Cassino but no joy there either so back to the campsite and I am putting my tent up in the dark.

So my original plan had failed and I am back under canvas it has been a while. I went back to Cassino for my dinner a nice Lomito sandwich and then back to my tent with my kindle for the rest of the evening.

Was passing what looked like a modern block of flats but on closer inspection turned out to be a multi-storey graveyard!