Patagonia: Puerto Montt to Santiago (19th November to 27th November)

Puerto Montt

We had arranged to meet a friend of a friend, Walter Buschmann, in Puerto Montt who could help us with a dry place to work on the bike. Walter then arranged for a college of his, Jorge who had a pickup truck, to meet us at the ferry and pick up my bike and take it the 7kms to Walters company. Once again showing how helpful, generous and hospitable people are the world over.  After dropping he bike Jorge then helped us find a hotel and told us that Walter would come and fetch Joern in the morning on his way to work.

The next day, Joern got his bike and rode up to Puerto Varas to collect a carburettor that Mick from Ride Chile had left for us at a hotel. Carburettor in hand, Joern fetched me and we started fixing my bike. I felt like I was performing heart surgery on my little gadget. The fault was so clear, a torn vacuum membrane in the carburettor. The new membrane fitted perfectly and we eagerly started my bike which just purred, kicked him into 1st gear and wumpppp he stalled … DAMN hell and all those nasty words. We could not believe it, totally deflated we asked Walter if he knew a good mechanic. He gave us directions to Johnny’s company, Austral Motorsport. Johnny spoke perfect English and said that unfortunately his best mechanic was out with a sick family member and they would be able to help us on Monday. Walter agreed that we could leave the bike at his place until Johnny fetched it on Monday.

IMG_2047 Walter and Jorge

IMG_2041 IMG_2036 IMG_2018 hole in the vacuum membrane

Making the most of a bad situation we decided to stay in Puerto Montt and just do a couple of day trips as miraculously the weather report for the weekend indicated some gorgeous sunny days.

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We got up early on Saturday and headed to Puerto Varas and the Osorno Volcano with me riding pillion on Joerns Africa Twin. What an awesome day!

The ride was great, the skies were clear, the roads were excellent and the scenery stunning. The views of the volcano across the Llanquihue lake were just breathtaking. We stopped for coffee at the little roadside café with a view of the volcano and a few pet lamas for company. Man the lamas just make me laugh. Brownie, a teenage lama, was extremely tame but very cheeky and curious and you had to watch your clothes as he nearly took a bite out of Joern jacket while we were having coffee.

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We also met two Australian riders, who we first met on the ferry, again. They had hired bikes for 5 weeks to tour Chile, which is clearly a very popular place to tour as I have seen more bikes in travelling in Chile than I have on the entire 3 months prior to entering Chile. I frustratingly cannot for the life of me remember their names :( but they were really nice guys and after we stopped and chatted to them on the road they rode ahead of us, but stopped on their way back to say that it was impossible to ride around the lake as the bridge was out and the road closed.


Damn our plans were thwarted, but no problem we simply turned around and went back to Puerto Varas for lunch and then rode on to Frutillar Bajo, where we could get a view of the volcanoes across the lake.  The view of Osorno was well worth the ride, Calbuco was sadly hidden behind some clouds, but we did get a great view of it from the road later in the day when the clouds lifted.

P1000914 Calbuco

P1000910 Osorno

P1000901 P1000899 view from Frutillar Bajo

We had such an awesome day that all frustration due to my broken bike was forgotten.

The following day we could not decide exactly what to do as there were quite a few options. So we decided to do the same thing again … well not quite. We rode up to Puerto Varas and over the bridge we could not cross the previous day and straight up to a national park called Petrohue. There we went for a short hike and a look at the very pretty small waterfall. Thereafter we completed our round the lake trip which we could not do the previous day and got a closer look at Osorno. Another great day on the bike :)


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I could hardly sleep on Sunday night being seriously nervous about the diagnosis on my bike, which turned out to be very simple. Sometimes things are just strange, we had to have 2 problems at the same time both of which have the same symptoms, the carburettor membrane failure and the side stand kill switch failure. We had thought about it on Friday night that perhaps the side stand switch was also faulty but since it was bucketing down and Walter had already closed up shop and left for the weekend we decided to just leave it for the mechanic. 30 minutes later the bike was running again … if only we had thought about that when it did not run after we fixed the carburettor, but we were so deflated we just could not see the wood for the trees, and we probably would not have had such a  fantastic weekend doing the mini day trips, so it was all good in the end.

On Tuesday we headed off with sunshine in our hearts … sadly not in the skies but we were so happy to be on the road and heading north we ignored the rain which lasted all 500kms. I was just ecstatic to be riding my gadget again that the kms just flew by. We stuck to the motorway which is boring but we just wanted to get to warm dry weather after day and days or riding in the cold and rain. Soaking wet we arrived in Los Angeles and found a hostel for the night.


Wednesday was another long 500km motorway day but at least a dry one :) :) :) and we arrived at Hostel Casa Matte in great spirits and looking forward to seeing what Santiago had to offer.  Christian and his wife Francisca own the most stunning hostel, it feels more like home than a hostel and is a bike friendly place as Christian is a serious biker himself.  I just fell in love with their house it is an old renovated 4 story building with gorgeous high ceilings and wooden floors, amazing views from the rooftop terrace and some really funky and beautiful decorations including the 1976 Yamaha XT in the lounge. There are a number of bikers at the hostel at the moment, all really nice and friendly as travelling bikers usually are.  2 bikers from Argentina, 2 from Chile and a Japanese lady called Mai. Mai has resigned from her job, bought a great little XT200 and is heading down to Ushuaia next week, how awesome is that.

P1010055 Mai, Christians dad, Christian, Francisca and me

On Thursday (and no surprises here) we spent the day at the mechanic fixing my bike again, this time the front wheel. For a few days now whenever I went around a corner I could feel the slightest tiny vibration of the wheel. I started to think that I was just being paranoid as I do get paranoid with my bike but it was, to me, just so obvious. I checked the front wheel and could not see/feel anything but when Joern checked he said he could feel a slight grinding resistance when shaking the wheel. I decided to play it safe and take the bike to a mechanic. Johnny Mottos (real name Ruben) might just be the best mechanic on the planet. Well, mechanic / entertainer. This guy has no webpage, does no advertising, his shop doesn’t even have a sign and yet business is booming.

IMG_2062 Louis, Johnny and me

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When he first looked at the wheel he said he could not see anything wrong, but then he took the wheel bearings out. The one spun smoothly with no issues but the second had a distinctive grinding rough sound/ feeling. Voila I was not just being paranoid the wheel was faulty. We spent the whole day at Johnny’s place while he replaced the bearings and got a machinist to straighten the axel which had the slightest bend to it. Johnny was so thorough I was really pleased . He also greased the steering column, and replaced the fork oil. I had not even realised how spongy my forks had become as it is such a gradual change but now they feel like new. We also had a BBQ (called Parilla in Chile) lunch with Johnny and his friends during which time  Johnny entertained us with some dancing … it was a good laugh and a very good day. Johnny does not speak English but one of his friends Louis who does was there and did the necessary technical translation for us. Louis is a really nice guy and  runs a bike accessories shop called Ru7austRal, he rides a KTM and has the cutest dog which rides with him in a special dog carrier case which is strapped to the back of his bike.

Since we spent an entertaining day with Johnny we decide to stay in Santiago another day so that we could go and visit Mick the Danish guy from Ride Chile, find a post office, do our washing and get to see some of Santiago.

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P1000973 view from the roof terrace at Casa MatteP1000969 Breakfast on the terrace

I was dead keen to head north to go visit Lorraine Chittock who lives 2 hours north of Santiago in but could not miss this opportunity of seeing Santiago so had to delay our visit by a day.

 Joern making friends with another gas station dog

Patagonia: Coyhaique, Puerto Cisnes to Puerto Montt (14th November to 19th November)


The 217km ride to Coyhaique went without incident but sadly with lots of rain, and it was very cold. One phenomena we experienced over the last couple of days was riding in the rain when there was not a cloud above, behind or in front of you, but on the horizon. It is really quite comical but the wind is so strong that it blows the rain for miles.

We took a lunch break at the cutest little restaurant located in 2 hippy style busses, followed by more rain on the road. So cold and wet we decided to call it a short day in Coyhaique which is a very nice little town. I have to say the small Chilean towns in Patagonia are very cute and much nicer than those in Argentina.

We later found out from a Dutch backpacking couple that it snowed in Coyhaique the day after we left. They were in a bus which could not get through and had to change busses to one with snow chains … what a stroke of luck that we left when we did.


we found some pretty large interesting plants on the road to Coyhaique

P1000691 stunning Chile

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Making good use of two old broken down busses.


One of the many Gauchos (cowboys) we saw along the route

Puerto Cisnes

Next stop La Juanta, we were planning another short, chilly and wet day which turned out to be a lot shorter than we expected. 160kms out of Coyhaique we stopped to take a break from the constant rain. At this time of year there is just no end to the rain in this part of Chile, it is incredible it doesn’t stop for a minute. With fresh dry gloves from my panniers I started my bike, kicked it into 1st gear only for it to promptly die, it just simply went uummppp. Hmmm I tried it a couple of times but with no luck. There was clearly a serious problem. It seemed as if the bike had no fuel which was not the case. We were stuck just totally and utterly stuck in the middle of nowhere in the rain :(

even the most miserable cold wet day can be beautiful

my shelter from the rain for the hours I waited for Joern to return

 picture from the shelter

We decided that Joern needed to go back to the last town we passed about 25kms back and find a truck to fetch my bike. We were hoping there’d be a mechanic and hotel there as well but that was really wishful thinking as it was a very small town. I stayed with the bike amusing myself by putting it back together, we’d take it apart to try finding the issue thinking it may be a blocked air filter. We suspected that it was not getting fuel but thought the issues could also be lack of air, this however was not the case. After putting the bike back together and watching the rain fall the sun came out for about an hour and I almost ran out of the shelter to make the most of it, walking up and down the road balancing on the curb for fun.

3.5 hours later Joern returned followed by a pickup truck. He’s had quite an ordeal trying to find a mechanic who knew nothing, a hotel that was more a hole than hotel. He finally managed, with the help of a very nice Argentinean guy he met who had lived in Germany and spoke German and Spanish, to get someone to come up and fetch the bike. However the agreement was to take it to another town about 35kms north where they thought there was a mechanic.

P1000742 sunset in Puerto Cisnes

We finally arrived in Puerto Cisnes at 7pm and found the cutest little cottage to rent for the night. The next day we went in search of a mechanic but to no avail. There were a couple of motorcar mechanics but no bike mechanics. We had pushed the bike a couple of kms to one man who said he was a mechanic but knew less than Joern so Joern took it out and started pushing it back to the cottage. On his way back a guy stopped and asked in very good English if he needed help. Louis was another awesome helpful person and just a downright nice guy with a lovely family. Joern explained the situation to him and said that all we need is a dry place to work in so that Joern could take the carburettor off and find out the reason why the bike is not getting any fuel. Louis immediately offered us his garage.P1000759 preparing to go out in the freezing rain

Unfortunately the fault was a torn Carburettor vacuum membrane, damn. After I googled how to temporary fix this vacuum membrane we bought the right sealant and fixed the tear, however to no avail as it did not hold and we were back to square one. We needed a new one, no doubt about it. I frantically emailed bike shops and rental agencies trying to find someone with KLR spare parts. Enter Mike from Ride-Chile a Danish guy (good people the Danes, I have yet to meet one I don’t like)  Mike runs a motorbike tour and rental company out of Santiago. To cut a long story short he has an old KLR which he used for spare parts and was willing to sell me the carb. He was also driving down to Puerto Verde 21kms north of Puerto Montt on Thursday to fetch some bikes and said he’s bring the Carb down for us. What a stroke of luck since we were booked on a ferry from Puerto Cisnes to Puerto Montt on Wednesday at 12:00 arriving at 19:00 on Thursday. We agreed for Mike to leave the carb at his hotel after he left and we’d ride up on Joerns bike on Friday and fetch it. With any luck I’d be back on the road on Saturday.

Although the delay and the constant rain were getting us down we made the most of it by enjoying the little town and lovely little cottage we were in, cooking our own food and having more space than any hotel room could offer, so we strung up the washing and had a few good laughs.

P1000761 our cute little cottage

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P1000752 make some slop

P1000755 the slop – didn’t taste half bad though :)

Puerto Montt Ferry

After my ordeal with the ferries in Brazil I could not believe that once again I needed to take an overnight ferry. Really not looking forward to it we pushed my bike onto the Jacaf which to my pleasant surprise was a very large modern sturdy ferry. Even when the seas got a little rougher and the ferry bucked and rolled it was not nearly as bad as the ferry I took out of Macapa so although I felt a tiny bit queasy it was fine.  The ferry was clean and modern the real bummer was that there were no cabins just seats (like economy class plane seats), and although they were quite comfortable, for 33 hours a cabin would have been AWESOME. The good news was that the ferry was nearly empty so we both had 3 seats to ourselves and could stretch out and sleep. It also made a huge difference to have Joern with me as he keeps me amused… he is a funny guy

P1000764 The ferry


 stuck in this space for 34 hours


I eventually took a sleeping tablet and knocked myself out, best way to not got mad.

my amusing husband … and the not so amusing couple in the background

There were also a couple of other things that kept me amused on the voyage. There was a young married couple with a beautiful baby boy (about 2 years old) on board along with the mother of the girl. She turned out to be quite a batty woman who had long rather loud conversations with herself, her daughter and son in law and any passenger that looked her way. She was also quite a grumpy old thing and sat on the opposite end of the boat and just shouted across to her daughter and son in law. Who at one point had a screaming match right on the boat much to everyone’s amusement and shushes. The old lady and daughter seemed to tag team against the poor guy and he really got it in the neck. Since we could not speak Spanish we had no idea what he did but I would have felt sorry for him if they had not been so damn loud playing computer games and talking in loud voices and just disturbing everyone for the whole voyage. I was so glad when they got off the ferry in Quellon at midnight meaning that we all had a peaceful sleep. The other things that kept me amused were the beautiful Patagonian Fjords, sadly it rained but we did seem to hit the eye of the storm at some point and had a couple of hours of sunlight and spectacular views, while seeing black clouds in a circle all along the horizon, quite interesting. Sailing through them was less interesting but as I mentioned the ferry was modern and very sturdy so I coped and only got a little green but took some sea sickness drugs. The best sightings on the trip were the seals, we had 3 different sightings of seals and that was nice as they were so close to the boat. Unfortunately not at a time when either of us had our cameras at hand. So the ferry trip was not altogether bad, but if I had a choice I’d FAR FAR rather be riding my bike, even in the rain.

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Off loading some passengers mid voyage. This was an interesting sight. The boat did not dock, they simply let down the ramp and the passengers boarded a small boat which took them to one of the islands.


P1000815 The beautiful Patagonian Fjords




When the ferry docked at one small town I spent the time watching this gorgeous dog. He greeted every person who left the ferry. It looked to me as if he was waiting for someone specific and when the person did not arrive he watched the ferry leave and seemed to walk away quite forlorn.


The small town of Melinka where we docked to load & off-load passengers and cargo

We bordered the ferry in Puerto Cisnes at 10am on Wednesday morning and disembarked at 8pm on Thursday evening in Puerto Montt, 34 hours later … I never want to see a ferry again, EVER

Patagonia: Argentina to Chile (12th November to 13th November)

Los Antiquos

I left Comodoro Rivadavia feeling very relieved that I now had temporary import papers. We needed to ride 420kms to Los Antiquos but had no idea that they would be one of the toughest 420kms to ride. The road was long and boring but we were quite happy to ride it until we got bombarded by the wind.  Unless you experience the Patagonian wind yourself you will not be able to image what it is like. At one point I was pulling my right handlebar with all my strength against the wind just to keep the bike in a straight line. I wish I could have taken a picture of Joern in front of me but I could not let go on the handle bars in order to do so as riding with one hand in that wind was impossible. His bike was practically at a 30o angle, it was almost comical. Joern later told me he had seriously considered hanging off racing style to see if he could get his knee down while going in a straight line. Would probably be some kind of record.

I have heard of people getting blown off their bikes in the Patagonian wind and now I understand how this is possible. We needed to stop almost every 50/80kms as my neck and back started really aching (we usually ride at least 150kms before a short break) The day seemed to last forever but we finally arrived in Los Antiguos at 5pm exhausted.

P1000558 P1000566 beautiful beaches south of Comodoro Rivadavia


P1000576  not the first shredded Argentinian flag we saw due to the high winds

 I just love the things you see on the road :)

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P1000589 trying to capture how crazy the wind is

P1000583  This place has it’s own desolate beauty I think it is the vast open space that appeals to me.

Puerto Rio Tranquilo

We headed to Puerto Rio Tranquilo not to early as the border only opens at 8am but we were the first people there. The crossing was simple, the people were very nice and friendly and we did both borders in less than 1.5 hours, the only thing that took a little time was the fact that on the Chilean side the customs officers were training a couple of new recruits and they very thoroughly checked our bikes / panniers and luggage. We had two options from Chile Chico, one was to take the ferry across the lake and the other was to ride around it. After meeting a bunch of 6 bikers on the way who told us, that due to the state of the raod  they had 6 punctures and had taken 9 hours to do the 165km ride from Puerto Rio Tranquilo to Chile Chico, we really did consider the ferry, but decided against it and were glad we did.

P1000613 Chilly in chilly Chile



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The road was okay, just a normal dirt road but with a lot of rocks and sharp stones which could cause a lot of problems. I suspect it was a bit of testoteron induced racing among boys and the fact that they were on rented bikes and had a support vehicle, that caused the many punctures.

We employed the tortoise and the hare principle, slow is fast, and it worked. We rode between 40 and 60km/h depending on the road surface and stopped to take a lot of pictures. Boy were we glad we did not take the ferry as I’d have hated to miss those views. The only incident we had the whole day was being blown off the bikes by the wind. The wind was just phenomenal and at one point where the road was cut between two rock faces which acted like a perfect wind tunnel, we came off.

I came around the corner and was hit full force by the most vicious wind I have ever felt, I could just not keep my bike upright and before I even knew what had happened I was on the ground. I was fine and jumped off the bike and turned around to warn Joern only to see exactly the same thing happened to him. We then tried getting the bikes up and found it impossible against the wind, it was just nuts. Both of us together couldn’t even pick my little bike up against the gale force winds we were fighting against. Eventually a car came along and the very nice man stopped to help us with my bike. We then started, all 3 of us, on Joerns larger bike and quickly ran out of steam. The poor man indicated that he could not stay and help as he had to be somewhere urgently and so left. We took a few deep breaths and calmly assessed the situation. I put a couple of large rocks under Joerns right side pannier a she lifted it a few inches, the thinking behind that was just to try and inch the bike up a little to get a better angle. Just then my bike crashed to the ground again even thought I thought I had manoeuvred it to a better angle against the wind. A second car pulled up and a very kind older gentleman got out, almost having his door ripped off by the wind while doing so.

We first got my bike up and Joern rode it the 100meters out of the wind tunnel where it stood as solid as a rock with no further issues. The 3 of us then tackled Joerns bike and got that up as well. When the man got back in his car he did so from the passenger side, against the cliff face so slightly sheltered, with both his wife and me holding the door steady.

What a crazy situation.

The windy mishap over, we continued without incident, just a little rain and some very cold weather. We arrived in Puerto Rio Tranquilo absolutely starving at 3:30pm and freezing cold. A chicken schnitzel, hot cup of coffee later and I was ready to start again. But we didn’t, instead we checked into a very cute hostel run by a delightful couple and with the best fireplace ever in the lounge where I spent the evening blogging.

P1000638  stunning stunning Chile. These views just takemy breath away (and I live in Switzerland)


Argentina: Buenos Aires to Patagonia (7th November to 11th November

Leaving Buenos Aires I had mixed feeling, I was very excited about getting back on the road but really like Buenos Aires and could easily have stayed for another week, there is so much to see and do there. We had a long way to ride South to Patagonia and across to Chile. We sadly decided not to go all the way to Ushuaia as we just felt that we did not have time ad the last thing we want to do is stress on our honeymoon. So we decided to ride as far as Comodoro Rivadavia, along the coast and then cut across to Chile.

some long boring roads and yet just so awesome to be back on Gadget

P1000410 the post apocalyptic looking gas station next to our lunch stop

Our first stop was Mar Del Plata a nice but very touristy seaside town. The ride was great, yes long boring roads but it you can’t cope with that you are not an adventure biker. Interesting twisties and great scenery is one thing but when you are crossing a continent you really do spend hundred, no thousands of kms on long straight boring roads and I enjoy them. It’s kind of meditative. It was relay nice to see Joern either in front of me or in my rear view mirror. It just makes it fun and we travel well together, we have the same outlook, pace and endurance. Mar Del Plata is 415kms from Buenos Aires and it was easy and just GREAT to be back on the bike, we arrived just after 4pm so had a good few hours to explore.


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Bahia Blanca was another 464 easy kms from Mar Del Plata. We got up late so only arrived just before 6pm and as we pulled into a petrol station my clutch cable broke. Talk about good timing. In Buenos Aires I had taken my bike to a Honda dealer to get a full big service done as Gadget had done 21000kms from Bogata and although I’d done small things and had the oil changed etc it was time for a big service. A few days before BA the clutch had started sticking so I had decided to swap it out with a new one I was carrying and thought I’d keep the old one as the spare. Dumb idea and a perfect example of not fixing something unless it is broken. I should have just had it oiled. The mechanic had routed the new cable alongside the steering column but close to the steering lock. So every time I turned the handle bars the cable was pinched but not noticeable at all. It only took 2 days for the steering lock to grind right through the cable but fortunately just as we arrived in a city.  It took Joern 10 minutes to oil the old one and replace the new now broken one with it … I knew there was a good reason to invite him on my trip ;) We also double checked and his spare clutch cable for his Africa Twin will fit my bike perfectly so we still have a spare cable in case.

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 these cute cows were so inquisitive, when we stopped to take pictures they all ran up to the fence to look at us

P1000462 P1000463 Patagonia :)

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P1000480 you see the strangest things on the road

Next stop Las Grutas 430kms further south, another easy day but WINDY wow the wind down here is incredible, but we have been very lucky with great weather and only one small 30 minute shower. It is also a lot cooler down here but after 40/42oC in Brazil I am enjoying the cool riding weather. Las Grutas is a lovely seaside town, small and just stunning. We spoilt ourselves with a beach side hotel and 5 minutes after we arrived were in the pool.

P1000500 roughing it in Patagonia

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P1000505  I fell in love with this scruffy dog on the beach and wanted to pack him in one of my panniers and take him home .. I am not sure what his owners would have thought about that though


P1000512 P1000513 The Patagonian parrots who nest in caves all along the sea wall, just hundreds of them

Up to this point one of the things that had been on my mind a lot was my lack of temporary import tables. When I arrived in Argentina I was not given any temporary import papers. I did ask at the border for papers and was told ‘’no documents go’’ It was one of the easiest border crossings ever and since you don’t get import papers in Brazil I thought this was just the same process. But I was wrong. When Joern arrived he got papers and Sandra from Dakar motors who helped him with the import told him to make sure he did not lose his papers. He assumed I had papers and I assumed that like me he didn’t. He did mention it the day before we got married and I said oh I don’t have those and just put it completely out of my mind … I had better things to think about. On our way down south I remembered our conversation and started to get concerned. I researched the situation on the web and it seems I definitely needed them and some mistake was made at the border. So I started to get worried and we decided to stop over in Comodoro Rivadavia as it is a port city with a customs office. We decided that the best action would be to go to the customs and explain the situation.

Comodoro Rivadavia is 670kms from Las Grutas so it was a long hard ride and extremely windy, by the time I got in my neck was cramped from trying to keep my head up against the wind, sadly this happens when you don’t have a windshield. Other than that it was okay though just not at all bad with a perfect road and some slightly more interesting scenery. We checked into the hotel and got everything ready to go to the customs office in the morning.

P1000524 P1000549 just an ordinary road in Comodoro Rivadavia but I liked the houses


P1000531 P1000537 the coastline at Comodoro Rivadavia

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Other than the wind one more thing I can say about Patagonia is that it is expensive DAMN Argentina is MUCH more expensive than Brazil and the further south you go the more expensive accommodation gets, no wonder people camp more here than anywhere else, which we’ll be doing as well. The place is stunning though and the people very nice. I had prepared a letter in Spanish thanks to my friend Ric in Switzerland, and we had the address in hand. I was worried as I hate dealing with bureaucracy especially foreign country bureaucracy when you don’t speak the language. I had no idea what the customs people would do or how long it would take. They could have refused to help and told me I needed to go back to Iguaçu or Buenos Aires or (as had been suggested on the internet) impound my bike. SO I was Nervous.

Well how silly was I, expecting the usual apathy and by the book attitude you often get from these places we were blown away by the positive attitude from the people at the customs office in Comodoro Rivadavia. All we had was a note translated to spanish via mail by Ricardo back home. Took them 2 minutes to find Luciana who spoke english to help us. Two others started phoning collegues at other offices. Then Marianna who spent 4 years in the US and spoke perfect english informed us, that we had to go to another office, but she would go with us and help. She left the office in her car with us following and took us to Silvia in a little booth on the docks and explained the situation. Sylvia nodded a lot, took a sip of mate and then told us to pick up the paper we needed at 1400. They even wrote a note to the guards at the entry to let us back in. At 1350 we were back and was handed the exact document needed. No fuss, no fee just have a nice day and enjoy your trip. Wow, thanks girls, you are awesome

IMG_1993 outside the small office at the docks with Mariana

Special Thanks to Mariana, Silvia, Luciana and all the ladies and gentlemen in the customs offices in Comodoro Rivadavia. What I loved about these ladies and gentlemen is that they just took it like another day in the office, even being quite surprised when we turned up with a cake to say Thanks. However they have no idea what a huge impact this act of kindness has on a traveller.

How to get married when you hate weddings. Argentina: Buenos Aires (31st October to 6th November)

The week is Buenos Aires was pretty amazing mostly because I got married.

After Joern arrived at 5 am on the 30th we spent the day just chilling and walking around the week was spent sightseeing in Buenos Ares and sort out wedding stuff. It is seriously complicated to get married here as a foreigner but it is at least quick. We had to submit a ton of signed documents and have a blood test for Syphilis, no I have no idea why but what can I say… at least I now know that neither Joern nor I have syphilis :)

If you do have to spend a week in a big city then Buenos Aires is a great choice. I like this city, it has a good vibe a TON of FANTASTIC restaurants, lots to see and do and we just enjoyed every minute of it.

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We did do the Argentinean experience meal which was great fun you learn to make your own empanadas and quite a lot about Argentina tradition and you meet other fun foreigners. We had a really good night

P1000173 P1000171

The highlight of the week was obviously the wedding. I hate weddings. I am okay going to weddings of friends and family because you are there to celebrate their happiness and if they are happy it is great to be a part of it. I just cannot face having a wedding myself, it is not the marriage part that I can’t do but the wedding is just not me. Fortunately I have a husband who feels the same way so it was an easy choise to have a simple wedding in Buenos Aires. After Joern asked me to marry him back in July we stated to discuss weddings and he suggested we get married on our South America trip. Joern will be travelling with me for 2 months which is all the leave he could get.  We were going to try get married at lake Titicaca but nothing seem to work out as it take up to 6 months for foreigners to get the right paper work. So Joern started looking at other options and found out that we could do everything in one week in Buenos Aires, perfect.  He got in touch with a fantastic wedding planner Leti who could sort out all the legal stuff for us foreigners and walk us step by step through the process. Since the process is so complicated we could not have done it without her.  She also arranged the official translator, two required witnesses, the lady who did my hair and makeup and the photographer (the only real wedding stuff)

P1000198 no wedding is complete without duct tap

When I got to Buenos Aires I started looking for a dress, shoes and rings. Since Joerns dad was a jeweller in Denmark we decided it was fitting to get a very close friends of Joerns family to make our rings. Since this could not be done before the wedding we got temporary one… silver lord of the rings rings … I promise I did take my wedding serisouly but I just got uch a kick out of these rigns. Ash nazg thrakatulûk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul. Translated, the words mean: One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them. Call me a geek but I just love the fact that we have ”Lord of the rings” rings and even when I have my final ring I will still always wear this one.


The only really bridy thing I did was have someone to do my hair and makeup, since Joern is so awesome and put such an effort into sorting out the wedding I wanted to look the best I could for him.  We also had a photographer because we wanted really special pictures of the special day.

5th November 2015

The day could not have been more easy or simple. I grabbed a small bunch of flowers from a street flower seller and duct taped them into a bouquet… I mean no biker should get married without duct tape. I had my hair and makeup done, put on my dress and we hopped a cab to the registry office. There we had to wait and wait our turn which was rather frustrating since its bad enough having a wedding and I just wanted to be married. I did at one point comment ‘’lets get this bloody thing done’’ Finally they called our name and we went into the room with the registrar, two witnesses, translator and Leti.  The registrar did all the formal stuff and then just said he wanted to say a few rods to us. He told us that marriage meant a partnership and that we must always support each other through good and bad times. That we must be there for each other and always remain friends etc. It was really really nice and I could honestly not have wanted a different registrar, even though he spoke in Spanish and the translator translated for us, it felt very special.  We then signed more documents, exchanged rings and we were done. Walking out of the registry office to a shower of rice which was just fun.


We then spent a few hours in the rose garden with the photographer. WOW he really did a fantastic job. I hate this kind of thing, a photo session is my worst nightmare but Emiliano made it painless and easy, plus the photos turned out fantastic. Finally the wedding was over and we could settle down to a takeout veggie meal from the restaurant across the way from the hotel, man we really are cheap and easy. We did however go out for a lovely romantic dinner for two at a great Argentinean restaurant.

I cannot thank Leti from Fabulous weddings enough for helping us put this all together so painlessly. I must also thank Karin for doing an awesome makeup and hair job on this biker chick, plus  Jordana and Juana for being our witnesses and Margarita our translator for being there at our wedding.  I especially need to thank Emiliano for taking the most amazing photos I hardy recognise myself, he truly did a great job.

P1000207 The wedding party; Jordana and Juana our two witnesses. Joern and me. Margarita the translator and Leti the wedding planner.

P1000293 The photographer Emiliano, Leti and me

This honestly was my kind of wedding. We will have a celebratory party back in Switzerland in a year’s time on our first anniversary.



Argentina: Iguacu to Buenos Aires (27th October to 30th October)

After leaving Iguaçu I hit the Brazilian / Argentina border and it was the easiest border crossing to date. On the Brazilian side it took about 5 minutes to get my passport stamped, no bike formalities. On the Argentinean side I rode up to the booth, I did not even need to get off my bike the lady asked for my passport and bike documents. She then filled some stuff in on the computer, I did not need to fill in or sign any documents. Once finished I asked her is that it and she said sure just stop at the customs officer. The customs officer just asked me if I had insurance for Argentina I said no and so she gave the name of the insurance company and said I can get it in the next town. ALL this while I am still sitting on the bike. DAMN easy man.

Unfortunately the insurance company in the town could not do insurance for a foreign bike so sent me to another company, but they were closed. So I decided I had to risk it until I got to a larger town.

About 100kms after the border crossing I was riding along and this ox pulled up next to me, the guy hooted and waved me down. I waved back but though hell no way am I stopping. He pulled on the other side of me and gave me a thumbs up and motioned me to pull over, so I thought ok some biker who wants to say hi so I pulled over. He stopped and started speaking to me in German Awesome, I immediately realised that he had recognised the Zurich number plate.

Vreni and Carlos

To cut a long story short Carlos is Argentinean but lived in Switzerland for 30 years, his wife Vreni was born in Argentina but from Swiss parents. All 4 of their kids and 5 grandkids live in Switzerland.  When Carlos retired he returned to Argentina with Vreni, but visit Switzerland every year. They live in a small village in north Argentina and it is full of Swiss and German people.

Carlos asked me please to come home with him to meet his wife so I said yes since the chance to hear & speak German for an afternoon with such nice people was just too tempting. Carlos called Vreni and just said ‘’mama get the spaghetti on we have a visitor for lunch’’. Needless to say I spent the next 3 hours speaking German and eating spaghetti it was FANTASTIC :) What a lovely couple and what a yummy home cooked meal.

Carlos is also a biker and we then rode through his little village together and back to a town called Puerto Rico to get my bike insurance as Carlos knew exactly where to get it done. SUPER insured up off I went thanking Carlos for his help and wonderful hospitality.

I spent a night in Posada another in Colon and finally arrived in Buenos Aires. The riding in Argentina was easy the roads were great. The birdlife along the way was also excellent I cannot believe how many birds of prey I saw over those few hundred kms. The last day of riding was a wet one but fortunately I only had 350kms to ride, arriving in Buenos Aires very cold and wet but a hot shower later and I could feel my feet again.

 final stretch through Argentina to Buenos Aires

I could not believe I was finally in Buenos Aires and when Joern arrived at 5am on Saturday morning I was the happiest women in the world. We’ll be spending a week in Buenos Aires sorting out bikes and then we head south.

Brazil: Palmas to Foz Do Iguazu (20th October to 26th October)


 Day 4 to Porangatu

Frajola had arranged for me to stay in Porangatu with another biking couple Junior and Marcia. The ride there was easy and I had their address setup in GPS. About 10kms outside the city I passed a police block, there are many of these in Brazil but had never been stopped not once, until this day. A policeman stepped into the road and waved me down, I was surprised but pulled over. There was a biker standing next to him and I assumed he had been pulled over as well. The office said something which I did not understand and the biker said ‘’documents, documents’’ as I was about to reach for my passport still very confused I noticed the name Junior on the bikers patch. J man oh man they really had me going I can only image the look on my face. We had a good laugh at that, the officer is friend of Juniors and helped him play the joke on me.

 Junior and Marcia what a lovely couple

 Juniors Mascot, I just love it :)

Although Junior and Marcia do not speak English and I do not speak Portuguese with Google translate, the few words I recognized, hand gestures and expressions we managed to communicate and had a wonderful evening. I was exhausted and really felt the need to just chill and have an evening in and that is exactly what Junior and Marcia did for me, they made me feel completely at home, it was wonderful. Great company, excellent food (home cooked meal of the fish Junior had caught, which we ate outside on their huge patio), great music (we listed to good old classic 80s music bringing back some fantastic childhood memories for us plus of course queen and guns and roses) what a great evening I could not have asked for a better evening. One of the things I just loved was Juniors mascot, the gorilla just perfect.

I had an early night and slept very well and late so headed off to Trindade at about 9am.

Trindade (Goiânia)

    Day 5 to Trindade

The trip to Trindade went really well, I was back in the riding groove and just enjoyed every minute of it. It was still a long boring road but I love it. I also realised that unless you are happy in your own head you cannot be an adventure biker. This is not a criticism as not many people enjoy true adventure biking, they prefer to be on a tour in a group of just do short day / week trips, which is fine it’s all just different strokes for different folks. When I get in the zone I just love it and can ride for hundreds of kms alone and content. This is how I felt on the ride to Trindade and was really glad to have my old self back again :)

 Ediberto, Nubia, me and Jean Paul

I arrived in Trindade where I had arranged to meet Jotope (Jean Paul) we had agreed to meet at a petrol station where he said I could ask the ladies in the near pharmacy to call him. However as I arrived he arrived to, very fortuitous. I followed him and after meeting his two gorgeous put bulls, who he adores ( and I love to see that :) it made me very happy ) and his girlfriend Nubia, I had a nice shower and put my clothes in the wash ( I had not washed for 3 weeks and my clothes stank so this was a much needed activity) I had a chat to Jean Paul and heard about his life. WOW what an interesting man, I think we need to have a few more conversations. He is a civil engineer by trade but spent 27 years in the French foreign legion and retired as a Captain after he was shot 3 times in the back. He was sent to 104 different countries with the legion and he speaks, French, English, Portuguese and Spanish. After retiring he bought a farm in Portugal with this wife however after she passed he returned to Brazil, living initially in the south and the moving to Goiânia, because it rains too much in the south and he likes the heat. Jean Paul will only ride goldwings and has had three covering almost a million kilometres on the 3 bikes, but he only rides the old models not the new ones. He does what we all do on trail bikes on his goldwings and has ridden across Asia, including Mongolia on his goldwing as well as the northern part of Africa from Morocco. The current one unfortunately has alternator problems so he is waiting to get a new part when he goes to Mexico in a few weeks. He is also president of the Brazil chapter of L.A.M.A Latin American Motorcycle Association.  What an interesting and very nice and hospitable person. I really  Liked Jotopes house it is an open plan house with an outdoor kitchen plus a patio with BBQ, what I liked were the honeybirds so used ot humans they flew in and out and he could put his hand right next them when they were using the feeders just stunning. He also has the largest mango tree I have ever seen :)

 a few of the bikes at the bike meet


São José do Rio Preto

What a great and welcome interruption to my ride out of Trindade. I met up with Rui and Sinomar on the motorway and was taken for lunch, how cool is that. I was so late I thought they would not be there as we’d arrange to meet mid morning and it was already lunch time due to my oversleeping. THANKS guys for waiting it was great to meet you two crazy Brazilian bikers. Thanks Rui Leite for the lovely T-shirts and Thanks Sinomar for the great lunch. Rui does not speak English however Sinomar does speak some, however once again all language barriers were transcended by their wonderful hospitality and the common topic of bikes. It was just awesome to meet these two guys I will not forget riding along the motorway and seeing two bikers flagging me down, such a cool sight.

with Rui

with Sinomar

 Day 6 to São José do Rio Preto

At about 17:30 I was so tired I started to look for a hotel and on the horizon saw the Pousada Onsen Rio Preto a thermal spa and thought ‘’damn it I could do with some thermal spaing right now, so no matter what the cost I’m staying’’ The hotel looked okay so I pulled up and checked in, only to find that this is where thermal spas goes to die. The place must have been wonderful in its day, huge rock pools, plenty of thermal pools, tennis courts and massage building. You could really imagine how it once looked, but sadly no more. Only two of the small thermal pools were full, one was warmish and the other slightly warmer. The many stunning pools, rock pools and thermal pools all lay empty, the walking paths were cracked and the whole place was just worn and in need of a good lick of paint, so sad. However on the bright side it was cheap and the one warmer thermal pool was lovely :) The hotel was slightly creepy though with only about 5 guests and made me think of the shining … so I put a chair in front of the room door that night … not sure what that would do against the creepy ghosts but it made me feel better.


 Day 7 to Maringa

The following day I had a great 443km ride to Maringa, the weather was warm but just slightly cooler than up north and that was very welcome. I stopped on the way at a typical Brazilian roadside restaurant churrascaria a place where meat is cooked in Churrasco (BBQ) style. You find these places all along the roadsides in Brazil and the food is FANTASTIC. Every place I went to even if it was a petrol station restaurant had a buffet style lunches and this Churrasco meat available and boy are they good. I also bumped into a few bikers along the way which is always fun.  It seems Saturday is the bike clubs / groups day to ride as Sunday is family day in Brazil. There were plenty of clubs out and it just put me in such a good mood seeing all the bikes from unbelievably speed (remember these are Brazilian crazy riders) sports bikes to a group of Harleys and a small group of three wheelers. What a day :)

Foz Do Iguazu

 Day 8 to Foz Do Iguazu

I finally arrived at Foz Do Iguazu after 4620kms from Oiapoque on the border of French Guiana. I had just crossed the 5th largest country in the world, from top to bottom on my motorbike. The others being Russia (which I crossed in 2012) USA (which I will cross in 2016) China (which I did backpacking in 2001, and on my bike in 2012) leaving Canada on my bucket list.  I’ve now also travelled 80 countries in the world (my goal is 100 before I die) I’ll stayed in Iguazu for 2 days so that I could go and see the falls.

I got up early, caught the bus to the falls and wow they are stunning. I saw them before, during and after one of the heaviest rain showers I have ever experienced.  When it rains in Brazil it sure does bloody rain. It was coming down cats and dogs and after getting soaked I decided that I’d had enough of the falls and hopped a bus back to town.

 while taking one of the pictures I looked up and saw this little guy

I asked at the central bus station about going to Paraguay and the guy said it could not be easier ‘’just cross the road and take the first bus that stops’’ which literally arrived as I walking towards the stop. It took 10 minutes and we were across the bridge in Paraguay, no border check or anything.

Ciudad del Este is border town across from Iguazu and my first impressions were not very impressive. It was dirty, crowded, smelly and full of shopping malls. The prices are really cheap so this is a shopping haven for Brazilians. I was sadly not impressed although I think the heavy rain that kept me inside the shopping malls had a lot to do with my bias which may be unfair. I did however stop for sushi for lunch and was to die for, the best sushi ever. I did not feel like walking around Ciudad del Este in the heavy rain especially since I was now soaked to the bone and still trying to fight a cold. So I came back to the hotel and spent the afternoon lying on my bed listening to the rain and watching videos, a very welcome warm chillaxing afternoon. I relay liked the Pousada I stayed in, Pousada Aloha, the people are lovely and the rooms are so nicely and individually decorated you just want to spend time in them. It really feels like home and not a B&B.


 Junior and Gracia from Pousada Alaha

Brazil: Belem to Palmas (16th October to 20th October)


After turning green on the ferry we finally made it to Belem in 26 hours :( but boy was it good to hit firm dry land again. However not after having to get the bikes from our ferry onto another ferry and then onto dry land. I almost couldn’t watch the proceedings as the bikes we walked across the most bendy thinnest planks with no support except 3 of the crew members I was in a panic but I guess these guys do this all the time so neither of the bikes landed up in the river.

We were soon sweating to death in the Belem traffic on the way to meet Alex. I had arranged to get my bike to a mechanic through Alex as I needed the chain & sprockets, front tire and oil filter changed. I was also going to put my bike on an auto transport to Sao Paolo in order to save the 4600km trip to Buenos Aires, since I needed to get there no later than the 30th October.

12118859_754724647989378_5502478612599669351_n with Benoit and Alex

12079329_961655270573232_7563733555524683013_n Rube gave this little girl on the street half his coke much to her delight and her mother thanks

Sadly the transport did not work out as it would have taken longer than me riding so I readied myself for a very long boring ride, but at least the bike was up to it. Alex was great and posted my trip on Face book and I got invitations to come and stay with fellow bikers from all over Brazil. I wished I had a month or two just to travel Brazil and meet them all, but sadly my deadline calls so I only got to see a few, but it turns out that those meet ups were awesome.

The best thing about Belem was of course seeing Rubem and Cristina again. Benoit and I stayed with them for two nights and it was great . I really really enjoy their company. They helped me get a new back tire, we went and ate, and then went and ate some more, damn I’m eating a lot. All in all I just had a great time, sadly I was very ill though as I had a throat and sinus infection but it did not stop me enjoying myself.

12079518_1008457755873445_8000879280498519457_n  Rubem and Cristina

12140701_1008457695873451_6672373643083778123_n Ready to hit the road


On Sunday 18th I headed off for Paragominas only a 302km journey but since I was not feeling 100% I wanted to take it easy.  I got first taste of this long journey and it was BORING as hell. I thought the Peru Pan Am highway was boring well try 4000kms of that. Damn dead straight roads with boring scenery and HOT as HELL. I  did make good time though since it was a Sunday and there was no traffic.  I found a cheap but pleasant hotel and just crashed straight to bed, as I was still trying to get over this cold. The one great thing was all the MX bikes I saw coming into town. It turns out there was a huge race just outside the city but sadly I arrived too late to see the last race, that would have been fun.

Day 1 to Paragominas


On Monday I headed off to Araguaina a 550km journey. The road and scenery did not change but unfortunately the traffic did. This route is used mostly by huge transport trucks that don’t give a damn about bikes. Most of them travel at just under 100kms/hr but there are some when not loaded that do easily 120, and my average is 100 to 110. These buggers ride right up your ass and then they overtake barely go into the second late, I had a couple of near misses :( but am still here to tell the tale.

Day 2 to Araguaina

I stopped at a shopping centre for lunch and this time had my camera with me which meant I could finally get a picture of these little mechanical cars. I just get such a kick out of them the ids ride them around the shopping centre. It is just a pity that I am too heavy as I could see myself riding a pink panther :)


Another boring day doing 385kms to Palmas. Palmas is the hottest city in Brazil and I just happened to be there during the hottest month L however it is a really nice city I think one of the nicest in Brazil.

Day 3 to Palmas

I had directions to get to where I was meeting Osmar, a friend of Alex (from Belem) who I was staying with. As I get into the city this biker pulls up next to me and said ”hey Lorraine are you going to Posto Primavera follow me” So I did the only thing I could and followed this total stranger, I knew from his Facebook photo this was not Osmar. It turns out Roberto is a Prospect in the bike club that Osmar is the president of. He had a meeting with Osmar as he is being patched in in a couple of days and had seen a photo of my bike on Face book and just coincidentally rode past me, recognized me and that is why he pulled me over :) how fortunate.

Osmar, or as he is better known Frajola (Sylvester from Sylvester the cat) is the president of the Asquerosos MC in Palmas. His wife Wannessa who is stunning is also in the club and they have the cutest biker chick 6 year old daughter Julia. Wow what a fantastic family, they welcomed me into their home and I just had the best time ever. Roberto speaks very good English and so he did a lot of translating. After heading to the flat and just chilling for a couple of hours another friend of their arrived Moura and we went to see Palmas. I had had enough of riding for the day so rode pillion on Frajolas bike and it was just too much fun to ride through the city with this group and I got a good look of it. We then went to have dinner at a friend of their street restaurant. Gucho(Jorge) is the VP of the Guardioes Do Tocantins MC. He owns a street restaurant and does all the buffet cooking and it is sooooooooo good, he also has a couple of staff members help him and they do the BBQ. No matter how much I argued he would not let me pay for my meal, these Brazilians are honestly extremely generous and hospitable.

 Frajola, Julia and Wannesa

 Gauchos bike

We had such an awesome night I felt so good and had such a good time I had to force myself to leave at 1am as I knew I needed some sleep before my long trip the next day. Not all club members could be there but there were quite a few and every one of them was great. I spent a lot of the evening speaking to Nula, who taught herself English and speaks perfect English. We had a great conversation about Brazil, politics, economics and the environment. I really learned a lot about Brazil that night. I wish I could have stayed longer in Palmas but sadly I only had one very memorable night.

The next day I got up late but before I headed out Frajola returned to tell me that Wannesa had had a bike accident and inured her back and was in hospital. I could not believe it, what a lovely lady on such an awesome bike. The accident was not very bad and she is okay and will go see a back specialist in a couple of days, but still it was a shocker.

Brazil: Calcoene and Macapa (Santana) (12th October to 15th October)

The fun 200 or so km road to Calcoene was easy peezy even with the loaded panniers, my bag and spare tire. I took it really easy and since it had still not rained there was no mud so I made good time. After a relaxed easy night in Calcoene I hit the road to Macapa. This is part of the BR153 and is a fantastic condition so I made very good time on it and had a nice relaxed afternoon in Macapa.

I spent some time riding with a local and even though we never stopped and met we hooted and waved at every corner when I over took him or he overtook me. This carried on for 100kms and it was really fun.  He was riding a Honda 250 (I’m not 100% sure of the model), when he finally turned off the BR 153 he waited at the corner and gave me a wave and thumbs up … its’ the little things :)

I booked into the Ceta Ecotell just outside of Macapa and it is another great hotel, with chalets and a fantastic restaurant, swimming pool, iguanas and even a resident Coati family of which I saw the dad a few times.

So now my only problem was sorting out the ferry in Santana.  I decided I needed to try finding someone who spoke English as the internet is no help when it comes from getting g a ferry from Macapa (Santana) to Belem but has tons of info about getting from Belem to Santana. I went to the hotel restaurant where there were three families eating and asked at one table if any of them spoke English.  They said no but asked the next table. The 17 year old son (Leonardo) did speak English and I asked if they knew anything about the ferries from macapa (Santana) to Belem, the next minute we had the whole restaurant on the case and trying to get me some help. They got a phone number for the ferry company or the dock but could not get through SO … WAIT for it

The family with the 17 year old took me the 8kms to the docks and helped me find a boat and get a ticket with a cabin for me and my bike. They gave me the ticket guys name so I could write it down and ask for him if there are any problems tomorrow. They explained that I have paid for everything so if anyone asks for more money I must say no. When they brought me back to the hotel they wouldn’t even let me buy them a drink WOW how fantastic is that, faith in humanity once again.

 Leonardo on the right with his older brother and uncle

So both gadget and me were booked on the ferry at 16:00 the next day and I had a cabin which I would have to share but that is no big deal, I’d rather have a cabin than try sleep in a hammock, they are good fun to chill in but I find it impossible to sleep in them, so cabin it is.

So you’d think that everything was sorted and I’d be happy. Hmmm not so fast. I woke up at 3am and had one of those demons in my head again. It was so bad I think I came close to having a panic attach my hands were literary shaking, I was sweating and just terrified. I just keep having this awful feeling about the ferry. This has been going on for a couple of days but this night was horrific. I just cannot figure out why I am like this. I love travelling, I love not knowing what is around the next corner, meeting new people, having new experiences and new challenges. Yes I’d had bad moments like when my bike broke down in the middle of Siberia and yes I got really scared at the time but for a very short time as then my pragmatic side kicks in automatically and I start looking for solutions. So this feeling of fear is not like me and I didn’t know how to get rid of it.

I emailed Joern and we had a good chat which always makes me feel better, he also started his twerking again which always makes me laugh and puts me in a good mood.

I spent the day swimming, blogging and chilling and got to the ferry at 13:45, it departs are 16:00 so I had to be there 2 hours before at 14:00. I was then told it leaves at 17:00. Then I was told it leaves at 18:00. It was now only 14:15 and I was worried about taking a ferry at 18:00 and getting into Belem at night as the ferries are notoriously late and Belem is a pretty dangerous city so I was concerned about getting lost at it and riding around until midnight. I asked the ferry guy about a ferry the next day and he said I could take one at 14:00. I told him I’d think about it and decide if I want to take the 18:00 or 14:00 so came back to the hotel for lunch. I then send Alex a message (a mechanic in Belem who speaks English and is also an adventure biker, he had been recommended to me by a friend) I asked Alex if he knew anyone in Belem who could help me and he put me in contact with Rubem.  Who arrived at the hotel about 30 mins after I spoke to Alex.

12079297_959765120762247_3657018934437009789_n Rubem at his day job as a helicopter pilot for the police

Rubem and I went to the docks and there discovered that the 16:00 ferry was now only leaving at 19:00 and it could not take motorbikes on it. I should have demanded my money back there and then but didn’t instead I agreed to take the 14:00 the next day. I also met Benoit a French biker who was just starting his trip of one year and had just left French Guiana where he had been working for 2 years. He was just as confused, worried and angry as me but would also take the 14:00 ferry.

Rubem took me back to his house to meet his wife Cristina and two boys Yuri and Yvan.  He took us all out to dinner but not before going past the school where Cristina is the principle and fixing a plumbing problem. Rubem Amazonian Rambo (as his friends call him) man of many talents from fixing toilets to helping bikers to flying helicopters for the police.  We had a fantastic dinner and it was just a pleasure to spend time with Rubem and his family. I also got to meet another two of his biking buddies Clesio and Gilson, what a nice evening and I can honestly not speaking Portuguese does not mean you have any less fun :)

 Cristina, Rubem, Clesio, Gilson, Yuri and Yvan

 Amazon Rambo Rubem at his night job fixing toilets and helping bikers

The following day Rubem fetched me at 9am to go see the fort in Macapa Fortaleza de sao Jose. We also went to meet some good friends of his which was great, he knows so many nice people I’ve thoroughly enjoyed myself in Macapa. We ended the morning sightseeing with a trip to the equator line. I have to say seeing Macapa with someone who lives there makes such a difference you really see more details of the city.

On Wednesday both Benoit and I arrived at the dock at 12:00 ready to board the boat and leave at 14:00. Hmmmm wishful thinking. We waited and waited and got told the boat will leave at 15:00 then we got told the boat will leave at 16:00 and we’ll board at 15:00, at 15:00 we get told we’ll board in 30 min in 30 mins we are losing out patience. Well to be honest we lost them a long time ago but are now starting to let it show. Finally we get told to take the bikes onto the doc, where a man comes out and says ‘’no moto no moto’’ … WTF, to cut a long and boring story short the boat could not take the bikes as it was a very low boat and they cannot get the bike off it in Belem. Right!!! So how come when they saw the bikes the day before did the book us on this boat? How come they did not tell us at 14:00 no 12:00 that we could not get the bikes on the boat? How come they did not tell Ruben about the earlier boats when he asked? I had seen posters of boats leaving at 10:00 and 11:00 but these guys told us they cannot take bikes. I was furious and called Rubem he came to sort it out.

I had gone to the agent next-door who assured me the 10 & 11 o’clock boats can take bikes. I now demanded my money back. Ruben tried but his hands were tied and he could not get it back but assured us that we were both booked on the 10óclock boat with a cabin and the bikes. They gave us this run around about putting the bikes on the boat that night and even sleeping on the boat but neither of us were having any of that as it is just way to dangerous.  Also 24hrs on one of those damn ferries is enough I wasn’t going to do it for longer just for the hell of it.

Rubem very kindly offered to put both Benoit and myself up for the night, wow does this man have no end of generosity how lovely is that.  We had a lovely relaxing night at Rubems and saw Clesio and Gilson again and met another of his biking buddies Paul who if from Portugal and it was really nice to meet him. Rubem and his family left for Belem at 3am and so he arranged for Clesio to take us to the docks at 7am to catch the boat at 10am and he did not leave until we are on the boat. How wonderful is that, the friendliness, hospitality and generosity of people just blows me away.

We got to the ferry early and thank goodness Clesio was there, he helped us get the bikes on the boat, ensured we had a cabin and then there was some problem with regards money. I was going to lose it if something went wrong but Clesio just calmly sorted it out. I have to say I just did not trust the Bom Jesus agents at all they were really trying something and I suspect that if Rubem and Clesio were not helping us they would have somehow tried to get a bribe from us. I would highly recommend that no one use these agents if they are crossing the Amazon by ferry.

the tiny split plank we had to ride up to get the bikes on the ferry, nerve wracking

12141589_895124393898223_4163904871304443679_n 11227029_895124210564908_7854668217067945856_n with Clesio

12115858_895124627231533_6549115573148827010_n finally the bike is on the ferry

Finally the 10am ferry left at 11am and arrived in Belem at 13pm the next day :) 26 hours of hell … I hate ferries and this one rolled and pitched like anything so I was totally green by the time I put my feet on dry land and what a celebration that was.

Retracing my steps to Belem: French Guiana and Macapa in Brazil (9th October to 11th October)

French Guiana

I left Paramaribo at 5am in order to catch an early ferry to French Guiana (there are 4 ferries a day so no major panic but I was hoping to get a morning one) The border crossing out of Suriname to French Guiana was so easy, I mean crazy easy this is the kind of border crossing the need all over the world. They do the usual passport checks / stamps but don’t give a damn about a motorbike as it is for personal use so no customs, super cool.  I continued directly onto Cayenne as it was only about 200kms away and it was only 11am when I landed in St Laurent so no need to spend the night. Cayenne was uneventful I had a good mean and spent the afternoon in the pool at the hotel.

The next morning I took the road, again quite early to St George to catch a ferry to Brazil. The road was empty and misty and not at all hot and I had a great ride.  I was also well rewarded with a sighting of two young ring tail Coatis’ playing in the road. I slammed on breaks and they continued to play so I quickly took my camera out but that is when they noticed me and decided they were camera shy and ran off into the bushes, damn

 young ring tail coati just like the two I saw

 there are tons of framed dead spiders in Cayenne and I was very tempted to buy one but knew it could get broken on the trip or even if I posted it. the shop was sadly closed so this the only picture I could get.


At St George I did the passport thing at the police station, quick and easy and then went to find a ferry. The actual official ferry was not there and I was told by the cops that it is very expensive but not a problem to put my bike on a small boat i.e. it is quite legal. At the doc a few boatmen approached me and told me it would cost Eur50 to take my bike across to Brazil. I tried to argue the price down but they were not having it. So I agreed and we started loading the bike OMG, it was far far easier to get an empty 250 onto a canoe in Myanmar than get my 650 onto this boat. Eventually I just stood back and let the experts handle gadget onto the boat… I think they have done this before. I did feel bad though as one of the lads cut his leg open on the bike, it was not very bad or deep and stopped bleeding quickly but I still felt bad for the chap.

getting the bike on the boat

 getting the bike off the boat

The trip only took 10 minutes, I couldn’t believe it. When we crossed with the group t book 40 minutes on a large sand barge, but this speedy little boat only took 10. When they dropped me on the shore amongst the fishing boats I actually got suspicious that they had dropped me on an island somewhere since I was so sure the trip should have been longer. However they convinced me that this was just the very far side of Oiapoque. The bad thing is that now the boat owner said I also needed to pay Eur 10 x 2 to the 2 lads who helped with the bike. I argued with him but 3 fishermen had helped off load the bike and when he started speaking to them in an animated way I was wondering if he was saying I won’t pay and got a bit nervous about the situation since it was just me and 6 of them and a load of fishing boats. So I quickly paid the lads and headed off, and this fun boat trip turned out to be a very expensive endeavour L

Again I completed the very easy passport control at the police station and then headed to a couple of hotels whose addresses I’d noted down only to find they were full. I tried 6 places in total but it was Friday and some big cycling event was taking place that weekend (well that is what I think people were explaining) eventually I went back to the first place and explained the situation to the very nice owner who agreed that I could camp on his lawn. He even refused to charge me anything and then apologised for the bathroom that I needed to use which was in the laundry, but it was great very nice and clean. Wow talk about fantastic hospitality. I spent the afternoon just relaxing in a hammock reading my book totally chilled. I considered riding the 288kms to Calcoene but since it is a dirt road and it was already 1:30pm I decided to play it safe and stay and head to Calcoene in the morning. I had a lovely night camping at Chácara do Paraíso and can highly recommend this place, a real oasis with lovely chalets, fantastic restaurant and a swimming pool.