At 3 am we got up and put the bikes on the trailer and left at 4 am heading to Altamira and then on to Tucurui to pick up Rick and his bike that has completely seized. So bikes on the trailer and off we go the journey is hmm what can I say hell on wheels. Riding bad dirt roads is one thing but try doing it in a 4×4 man oh man you get bumped around like washing in a tumble drier, and then things got worse.
The truck started struggling and choking and I could just see Mikes face drop, the problem had returned and we’d only gone about 200kms and had 1100 more to go. We pulled into this smallish town and Mike managed to find a really good mechanic, what luck. We spend 4 hours sitting in the mechanic shop while they remove the fuel filter and tank and clean them out, added good fuel and put the whole lot back together again. Finally we set off with a truck that sounds and felt great…for 250kms that is. The minute the choking and struggling started all our hearts sank, it is now 4pm and we’d been on the road for 12 hours (including 4 at the mechanic) and had only gone about 450kms.
We pulled over and Mike hoped on his bike to go find a town with a tow truck. Fortunately we were now off the dirt road but it is hot and I mean hot that is one thing I can say about Brazil. So we sit and we wait and we wait and we wait, I take a short walk to see the trees, and the lovely little purple orchids that grow everywhere, and then go back to the truck and sit and wait some more, almost 2 hours later Mike arrives with the news that he has a huge flatbed that is used to transport diggers and construction machinery, and we can put the truck and trailer with the 2 bikes all the way to Belem, awesome. The truck driver was fantastic, only 23 and a really good driver and very responsible. We load the truck and trailer, Mike sits up front with the driver and the 3 of us sit in the truck on the truck. It was not so bad on the tar road sections but the minute we hit dirt OMG the bumps and shakes were incredibly intensified, I have never experienced anything like that before.
To make matters worse I needed to pee OMG so bad, I was really in pain. Peter and Henry were fast asleep in the 2 front seats and I had no way of communicating with the flat bed driver to ask him to pull over. I was counting the minutes hoping we’d stop but to no avail. Eventually I could not take it anymore and decided I needed to pee in a bottle. So I took my penknife and cut the top off an empty water bottle of which we had plenty in the truck. Then the fun began. I was so conscious of not wanting to wake Peter and Henry up so I tried putting the bottle down my trousers, but nope that did not work. I gave up on the idea and thought I just need to hold it in…well that lasted about 10 minutes and I knew I had no choice. So I had to kneel on the back seat and take my trousers down, phew what a relief, this had to be the best feeling in the world. But there I was kneeling on the seat, pants down with a bottleful of pee in my hand hmmm I was a bit stuck but somehow managed with one hand to pull my pants up while balancing the bottle with the other. Job done I now sat in the truck with this bottle in hand not knowing quite what to do. I hate to litter but honesty had no choice I had to open the door and lob the pee grenade as far out as possible. Of course this completely foiled my plans of not waking Henry and Peter as this stupid damn truck has this alarm system that goes off if the doors are opened without pushing the unlock switch on the key, even from the inside. Alarm going I dive back down on the back seat and feign sleep while with one eye open see Peter wake up, find the key and press the alarm … sorry Peter.
About an hour later, now midnight and we’ve been driving since just after 6pm the truck pulls over. The driver says to Mike he needs to sleep for 6 hours, fair enough. So we find another really good trucker hotel for 6 hours, heading off just after 6am. Another 12 hours in the truck and I’m just getting sick of it, damn I wanted so badly to be on my bike but with the battery issue and having to jump start it every time I stopped (even push starting it did not work) that was not an option. I must say poor Rick was far worse off as he is about 7 foot tall and had very long legs so being cramped in the truck on top of a truck was just hell for him. Eventually we reach Belem. I have never been that happy for a journey to end 🙂 we are reunited with the group at last and get a chance to catch up on all their news.
there is so much water around it is incredible, we take barges / ferries across rivers at least once a day and they are huge, and we haven’t even hit the Amazon river yet these are just tributaries but I have never seen such huge river sin my life
some of the many many hundreds of small ugly black vultures we have seen everywhere. I’m keen to see a documentary on them as I am convinced there are so many because we have destroyed so much of the Amazon and brought in domestic animals and loads of people which means loads of garbage. They are like rats all over the place and all over the garbage heaps and road kill.