Monday, February 27, 2012

South America Motorcycle Ride 2012

Day 24 to Day 27

The Samore Pass Chile/Argentina

Volcanic ash covered the vegetation along the Samore Pass from Mt Puyehue eruption 4th June 2011

Lake covered with pomice

Lake Puyehue

Lake Traful, Argentina

Nature at works - the Samore Pass and the surrounding areas some 30km in radius are still smothered with volcanic ash from the 4th June 2011 eruption of the Mt Puyehue
The fine ash still float the atmosphere as I passed this Pass on 23rd Feb 2012.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

South America Motorcyling Road Trip : Riding Travel Log : Day 14 - 20

Middle of road Route 5 crossing the Atacama Desert.

Valparaiso in front of The Admiralty HQ. Same spot I stood here in 2006

German riders in-company


Atacama Desert

Atacama Desert

Crossing the Tropic of Capricorn

The San Marcos Church, Arica, Chile

The Hands Monument. 71km away from Antofagasta, Chile

Day 14 to Day 20

Border crossing from Peru into Chile at Tacna, Peru/Arica, Chile.

Out of Peru

Park bike as directed by the Police. He directs you to an office to fill up Pasejero form 4 copies. Then go to the Immigration and stamp out passport and the Pasejero forms.The immigration took one copy Pasejero form. Then go to the Aduana, they took one copy and stamps the other copies. About 300 m, there is a Peru check point, they took 3rd copy you hold the 4th copy. You are free to go out of Peru and enter Chile.

In Chile

Police directs you where and what to do. Go to immigration and stamp passport. You will be asked to fill GAP forms 4 copies. This is custom declaration form. The Chilean government is very strict about food and agricultural products and foreign currencies import into Chile. Once you have got all the GAP forms stamps from the various offices you will be directed to unload your bags for screening. Then with all GAP form stamps you are clear to enter Chile.

The whole process of the border crossing took almost 3hr. Not bad but filling up forms in Spanish language may be an adventure to me. I did it after few mistakes and rewriting of forms. The best part is, you have to do it to know how it feels. And remember, common sense prevails.

The first Chilean town from this part of land border is Arica. It is a new township and new infrastructures though the old buildings are kept and new internal decorations take shape. Insurance seeking in this part is difficult as it is Friday and most shops closed at 3.30pm. See the San Marcos church from the same designer of the Effile tower in Paris. I observed the ground set up and the church's tower releects the similarity of the Effile tower.

Riding from Arica to Vallenar passing through Antofagasta experience the Atacama desert features; arid, hot, dry and emptiness. The physical nature consists of rocks, reddish mud, sand and occasional gust of strong wind blowing sand across your path. In some places there are salts deposit. No wonder there are many salt production factories there. In general, there is no townships between 200 - 250 km. Trucks, express buses and four wheel drives dominate the traffic. Met and rode in company with 4 other riders from Germany for 2 days. We went each other ways after Taltal, Chile.

Departing from Atacama desert and hug the West coast of Chile, I encountered rugged, steep and long winding roads.There are many fishing villages and they served great fishing menu. My favourite is Pescaldo vapour (Steam fish).

Along Route 1, I crossed the Tropic of Capricorn; a man-made concrete separated by 2 towers with 4 brass plates written in Spanish about the lines. It's quite an achievement I think to have cross this another important invisible lines of the world.There is no ceremony like Crossing the Equator which sailors do as part of the good old sailor tradition. But, I was quickly shown the way out and asked to continue my journey as 2 Chilean army guards came and cautions me not to take picture towards the military camp just behing the Tropic of Capricorn monument. I called it a ceremonial send off!

At Antofagasta, about 71 km South along Route 5 PanAmericanas I stop by just to picture the Hands Monument. Many riders did that, so I thought it is good idea to do the same. Would you?
In Chile especially along the coastal areas there are many campsites to pick. It very refreshing to camp as most campsites are well laid up and good amenities.

Day 21 to Day 24

Transit Valparaiso and took the coastal road before meet up Route 5 PanAmericanas again at Temuco. In was very nice to be in Valparaiso again and stood taking picture at the same spot near the Chilean Admiratly HQ when I was here in 2006.
After Valpairso and ride South, the physical vegetation and air change; its green and many vineyards and other agricultural scenary.

On the Route 5, strong wind take the centre stage. This cross wind as though a drill before encounter the Pantagonian wind later. So is the riding style, change from just upright straight into incline riding position towards wind direction. Speed limit is 120 kph maximum and there are many police speed trap guns.The other feature along this route and at this time of the year is the afternoon downpour. Also the temperature drops as the day draws close. Night temperature about 15 degree C average.

The bike started to give this strange 'tractor sound' and I suspected the chain and sprockets are producing such awful noise. This has been going since Machala, Peru but I reckon its too much to push the chain to limit. So I decided to call it a day for maintenance at Temuco, Chile.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

South America Motorcycle Ride : Photo Travel Day 14

Photo Travel - Day 14

Big Bird by the Pacific Coast

A man on his Vespa towards Ushuaia. Good company.

Road leads to the centre of the Earth

Cactus Farm

Typical Peruvian Town

Riding along the West coast of Peru looking at the Pacific Ocean brings back good memory while working on board ship. Good to see the Ocean again. The Big bird in the picture was so friendly as I took his pic close-up; did he smells an old sailor? Hehe.

Yet again riding in the semi arid desert rules this part of my route on the Panamerica Sur (South America Highway). Alas! I met my dear Italian friend riding his Vespa on the same destination. "Tony" is a role model for anyone who loves adventure motorcycle. Not the bike but the rider!

South America Motorcycle Photo Travel : Day 11 - 14

Riding Travel Log Day 11 till 14

The Nasca Lines

The long straight road

Inca Cola same taste as Sprite

My bike - Rojas taking a short break

Its always feeling lonely on any adventure ride on long stretch roads where there is no town or human being. You look around there is emptiness but see God creation around and you know why he creates this universe. Living on the road is like that...

Thursday, February 9, 2012

South America Motorcycle Road Trip : Riding Travel Log : Day 10 | Lima to Ica

Day 10: Lima to Ica

Another long desert riding day with occasional gusty wind blowing fine sand all over. I recalled Peru is just like the Philippines; the horrible traffic, the mototaxis, the food, rural houses and the agriculture products. The people differ though.

I had a short break for Rajos too.Traffic is mainly dominates by heavy trucks and double-decker buses. They just zoom past me. On a brighter side, it is a free toll for motorbikes. There are signed of new construction over this stretch of the Pan American Highway.

Just after Lima city along the long stretch of the Pacific coast, there are lots of newly build apartments and condominiums. Yet another sign of foreign investments and property boom.

More pictures below :

Gusty wind bring sweeping fine sand across my path

Oh! What a sight! Sand castle?

Hard work for both man and animal. Any similarity with Mindanao?

It was all in all yet another riding day. I overnight at Ica Hostel by the road side and I am looking forward for the riding adventure tomorrow.

South America Motorcycle Road Trip : Riding Travel Log : Day 1 - 5 | Cali to Santa Rosa

Riding Travel Log : Day 1 - 5 | Cali to Santa Rosa

Day 1 (28/1/12) Cali to Pasto

* Riding duration 10 hr, RnR inclusive.
* After Popayan ride along ridge of the Andes
* The Andes - volcanic features with river flows in valley
* O/nite in Pasto

Day 2 Pasto to Otvalo

* Border crossing Colombia into Ecuador
* Before cross border visit Las Lajas Church. The church built between gorges.
* Border cross took 2 hrs. No charges. Colombian Custom (Aduana) helped me with a written statement to Ecuador Custom.
* Good, long winding road along ridge of the Andes
* Speedometer broke
* O/nite Otvalo

Day 3 Otvalo to Quito

* Visit Otvalo market. Many local stuff there.
* Another long winding road towards Quito.
* O/nite at Secret Garden hostel in Quito old town

Day 4 Quito to El Bamba

* Long winding road
* Rain and foggy; limited visibility
* Many heavy vehicles
* Average height 1000m above sea level
* Cold
* O/nite El Bamba

Day 5 El Bamba to Santa Rosa

* Long winding road
* Heavy fog and rain
* Gravel road
* Took 2 and half hour to cover 70km!
* Very taxing ride
* O/nite Santa Rosa

South America Motorcycle Road Trip : Riding Travel Log : Day 6 - 9 | Santa Rosa to Lima

Day 6 Santa Rosa to Zorritos

Border crossing Ecuador into Peru . At Huaquillas Ecuador, stamp passport out Ecuador at Huaquallis town. Their computer failed waited 2 hrs to clear immigration. Bus passengers dominated the long queue.Then back track some 3 km away from Huaquallis immigration office to hand over motor temporary import permit to Ecuador Custom. Just hand over, then you can go.

Ecuador immigration and custom new building not open yet. This is a big blue building. Ride between new Ecuador check point office (not open yet) into Peru where you will stop at the police road block. They will guide you to their temporary Immigration and Custom container type office.Their check point office like Ecuador is not open yet.

At the temporary office, stamp in passport at the immigration counter. They will ask you to fill up form. Use your common sense to fill the column. If wrong they will correct you. They gave me 30 days to stay. Then get the bike temp import permit. Get insurance SOAT from the make shift counter next door. One month insurance cost me USD 35. After all done, you free to enter Peru. All these took me 3 hour.

Ride into Zorritos and overnight in a hostal by the beach facing the Pacific Ocean. Good place to rest and do some maintenance works. Walk along the beach is very relaxing.

Day 7 Zorritos to Chiclayo

* Passing Sechura Desert
* 2 types of physical vegetation . First the mud type desert; very brown. Second the sand type very white and strong wind blow (approx 30 kph)
* Very long straight road makes you bored
* Just nothing but empty only some donkeys
* Traffic medium - trucks and express buses
* O/nite Chiclayo at Hostal Paraiso

Day 8 Chiclayo to Chao

* Still across the semi desert area to Trijillo.
* Visit Chan Chan - Historical site
* Visit the Mochae pyramids
* O/nite at small town called Chao.

Day 9 Chao to Lima

* Another long winding semi desert ride
* Still passing desert region along the West coast of Peru facing the Pacific Ocean.
* Strong gusty wind blowing fine sand across my path.
* Its bright sunny day but foggy along the high plateau and cool temperature.
* The long winding road, up and down is boring ride but stunning view!

The picture above shows the ruin of the Mochae pyramids (background under reconstruction) in Trujillo.

Just me and the empty desert and lonely signboard.