• Welcome to the Two Wheeled Texans community! Feel free to hang out and lurk as long as you like. However, we would like to encourage you to register so that you can join the community and use the numerous features on the site. After registering, don't forget to post up an introduction!

The Adventure Begins... Tejas A La Tierra

greeneggs&ham

Forum Supporter
Joined
Dec 18, 2009
Messages
1,325
Location
KYLE, TX
First Name
Sam
Last Name
Crabtree
"Kind of a vacation from the vacation."

You Da Man! :dude: I love it. How are the winters down under. I'm thinking you're just waiting till they open the beaches again. I've heard stories about the women on them beaches. :-D
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2010
Messages
355
Location
Austin
"Kind of a vacation from the vacation."

You Da Man! :dude: I love it. How are the winters down under. I'm thinking you're just waiting till they open the beaches again. I've heard stories about the women on them beaches. :-D
In Rio de Janeiro the winter is not too bad... mostly mid to high 70s. I must say that there are some beautiful women in Rio. I'll try to post some photos of the ladies later. But, as a precaution I must provide this warning...

 
Joined
Sep 2, 2008
Messages
74
Location
Corpus Christi, Tx
In Rio de Janeiro the winter is not too bad... mostly mid to high 70s. I must say that there are some beautiful women in Rio. I'll try to post some photos of the ladies later. But, as a precaution I must provide this warning...

Dangerous curves ahead? Back in the day, or was it before the day, Elvis had a song in one of his movies that was about "Dangerous Curves Ahead" ... her name was Ann-Margaret .

Dale
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2010
Messages
355
Location
Austin
Re: The Adventure Begins... Northern Argentina

Argentina+-+2791.jpg

From Salta, I continued north along the highway.
Argentina%2B-%2B2693.jpg

I passed by the Cerro de los Siete Colores (Hill of Seven Colors).
Argentina%2B-%2B2699.jpg

To me, the hill seemed to have more than seven colors.
Argentina%2B-%2B2712.jpg

I could count at least 10, maybe more. But who is really keeping track. It's just one of those wonders to ponder. How does that happen?
Argentina+-+2735.jpg

I rode on and passed an area known as the Quebrada de Humahuaca (Ravine of Humahuaca). There were mountains with crazy rock formations. I don't know if these mountains were formed from erosion or tectonic plates colliding... amazing either way.
Argentina+-+2747.jpg

I checked out the Posta de Hornillos.

The fort was built in 1772.

Supposedly the fort and others like it were instrumental in the war for independence for Argentina.
Argentina+-+2759.jpg

Ever see a llama up close and personal?
Argentina+-+2753.jpg

How about a giant llama?

I reached the small town of Humahuaca.
Argentina+-+2778.jpg

I left my bags in the hostel and decided to do a little exploring in the outskirts. I headed down a dirt road to an area called Coctaca.
Argentina+-+2809.jpg

I found the village which contained about 5 houses and this small iglesia (church).
Argentina+-+2796.jpg

Not much out there, except some thistles and some ruins.
Argentina+-+2798.jpg

Actually, Coctaca is supposedly some of the largest pre-Colombian ruins in South America covering some 40 hectares.
Argentina+-+2818.jpg

However, many of the ruins were not excavated and could not be distinguished from a pile of rocks. But there were quite a few of them. There was no information center, no landmarks, no signs... just rocks. I walked amongst the ruins freely.

There was absolutely nobody around.
Argentina+-+2802.jpg

Just me, Emi and a few cacti.
Argentina+-+2827.jpg

Actually, there were more that a few... the valley was covered in cacti.

Up close, the cacti were quite exquisite.
Argentina+-+2860.jpg

Oh... and there were a few burros amongst the rocks and cacti.
Argentina+-+2905.jpg

I headed back toward town along the dirt road.

Closer to civilization there were more burros.

And a few sheep going about their business.
Argentina+-+2898.jpg

I ran into this old lady and her dog. She looked like an interesting person.
Argentina+-+2897.jpg

I asked her if I could take her photo... and she said yes. An austere lady in a rugged landscape.
Argentina+-+2917.jpg

The next day I would push on towards the north. I passed hills, rivers, canyons...

chasms, bridges and mountains.
Argentina+-+2925.jpg

I stopped along the way... just to take a deep breath... and look. Northern Argentina had some of the most amazing scenery.
Argentina+-+2927.jpg

Further down the road, I reached the frontier town of La Quiaca. I crossed from Argentina into Boliva. Bolivia requires a visa for US citizens. I was able to get it at the border. It set me back US$135.

Ciao Argentina, you have been an amazing travel partner.

For the full story visit Northern Argentina
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2010
Messages
355
Location
Austin
Upon entering Bolivia I traveled to the town of Tupiza.


Bolivia+-+0102.jpg


Bolivia+-+0187.jpg


In Tupiza, I met some fellow travelers and we would set off on an excursion to the Salar de Uyuni.

Bolivia+-+0537.jpg


Bolivia+-+676.jpg


The Salar de Uyuni is the largest salt flat in the world at over 4,000 square miles (10,000 square kilometers). The Salar was formed as a result of transformations between several prehistoric lakes. It is covered by a few meters of a salt crust. The crust serves as a source of salt and covers a pool of brine, which is exceptionally rich in lithium. The Salar is both a natural resource and wonder.

For the full story visit Salar de Uyuni
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2010
Messages
355
Location
Austin
Re: The Adventure Begins... Inside a Potosi Mine... From the Sublime to the Subtierra

I went from the sublime to the subterranean. I traveled from the bliss of the Salar de Uyuni to the gritty mining town of Potosi. The town is known as being one of the highest cities in the world at 13,420 feet (4090 meters) and for the production of silver extracted from the mines in the area.

And the thing to do in Potosi... is to go visit a mine.
Bolivia+-+0782.jpg

I saw the mines as I approached the city.
Bolivia+-+0798.jpg

I signed up for a mine tour and was equipped with a vintage Beastie Boys outfit.
Bolivia+-+0799.jpg

As part of the tour, I visited a mining store. It is like a convenience store for miners to pick up supplies for their work... like gear, tools, water...
Bolivia+-+0800.jpg

and dynamite.
Bolivia+-+0801.jpg

That's right... one can walk off the street and into one of these stores and pick up a stick of dynamite.
Bolivia+-+0802.jpg

My guide showed me how to connect a fuse and add a bag of common fertilizer to add a bigger bag for my buck.
Bolivia+-+0803.jpg

I then went to the miner market where I could pick up some grain alcohol to drink and some coco leaves to chew. These are actually things that miners take with them into the mines to lets say "take the edge off the work day". I was encouraged to buy a few items to bring into the mine to provide as gifts to the miners.
Bolivia+-+0806.jpg

I was then taken to a part of the mine at which I was shown how minerals like silver are extracted from the material that is dung out of the mine.
Bolivia+-+0811.jpg

This huge apparatus separates the mineral from the material with water and chemicals like arsenic and mercury.
Bolivia+-+0812.jpg

And if one is lucky...
Bolivia+-+0813.jpg

Silver is extracted.
Bolivia+-+0814.jpg

Then it was time to go inside the mine.
Bolivia+-+0815.jpg

For the full story visit Inside a Potasi Mine
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2010
Messages
355
Location
Austin
Re: The Adventure Begins... Sucre

Sucre is a pleasant town with a nice climate, colonial architecture, cheerful parks, good restaurants and some art.
Bolivia+-+0928.jpg


Bolivia+-+0946.jpg


Bolivia+-+1026.jpg


Bolivia+-+1027.jpg


Bolivia+-+1031.jpg


For the full story visit Sucre
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2010
Messages
355
Location
Austin
Re: The Adventure Begins... Sucre to Santa Cruz... Dirt, Sand and a Slight Hold Up

From Sucre I planned to travel to Santa Cruz.

I had a friend named Dave that was going to be visiting Santa Cruz and he was bringing me some parts for my bike.

I set off from Sucre along the asphalt highway.
Bolivia+-+1040.jpg

Outside of a town called Acquile, I ran into a local motorcyclist pulled over on the side of the road. I stopped to see if he needed assistance. He said that he was just changing his oil. I said great. He inquired as to where I was headed. I said Santa Cruz. He said that he was going to Santa Cruz too and that we should ride together. He seemed pretty eager. I said okay and we headed off.

For the full story visit... Sucre to Santa Cruz
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2010
Messages
355
Location
Austin
Re: The Adventure Begins... Santa Cruz, Bolivia Street Art

After two days of tough riding, I landed in Santa Cruz. I checked into a hotel and went for a walk. Near the center of town, I came across some interesting street art.
231.jpg


232.jpg


236.jpg


237.jpg


238.jpg
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2010
Messages
355
Location
Austin
Re: The Adventure Begins... Think of the Possibilities

While walking around Santa Cruz, I spotted this tuk tuk for sale. Think of the possibilities!

231.jpg
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2010
Messages
355
Location
Austin
Re: The Adventure Begins... Friends, Food and Fixin' Things in Santa Cruz, Bolivia

I met up with some friends that were visiting Bolivia.
Bolivia+-+1070.jpg

Noel, Dave, Steve and Pat were in Bolivia on a mission trip. We had a chance to walk around the city center a bit and enjoy a nice dinner of asado (bbq). There were some other friends that I got to see as well that were not in this photo. Big ups... Gaylord, Caris, Leslie, Sophia, Cara, Ricky and Candace. It was great to see you all.

Dave brought me some motorcycle parts that I had ordered online... a new chain, a front and rear sprocket, chain roller, gas filter and a tank bag.
Bolivia+-+1079.jpg

The next day, I took the chain and sprockets to this Suzuki dealer and asked them to install the parts and perform some other maintenance. Emi had reached her 20,000 mile (32,000 km) anniversary. It was time to give her some tender loving care. The shop installed the new chain, sprockets, chain roller, gas filter, and performed an oil and filter change, air filter cleaning, lube, carb adjustment, valve adjustment and a washing. As a result, Emi was looking good and feeling good.
Bolivia+-+1072.jpg

While in Santa Cruz, I wanted to obtain a visa for Paraguay. I visited the Paraguay consulate office which was not far from the town center. The staff member was helpful and explained the process to me. I needed to fill out a form. Check! I needed to provide a passport photo. Check! I actually was carrying one with me, so it worked out fine. And, then I needed to go to the Mercantil Santa Cruz Bank and deposit US$100 into a specific account. No problem...
Bolivia+-+1075.jpg

Except that the police were on strike across the nation. It was a pretty intense situation for a while. There was news coverage of the striking police officers taking over police stations and wielding their weapons. Businesses were not opening.
Bolivia+-+1077.jpg

Which meant the Mercantil Santa Cruz Bank was closed because of security concerns. People were still lining up outside the bank with the hope that they would be able to access their accounts. But I waited around for two days and the bank did not open. Which meant that I was not going to be able to deposit money in the bank to pay for my visa for Paraguay.

Sometimes, you just have to make it up as you go.

So instead of waiting in Santa Cruz for the police strike to end, I decided that I would take a trip to a little visited area in eastern Bolivia.
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2010
Messages
355
Location
Austin
Re: The Adventure Begins... The Jesuit Missions of Chiquitos, Bolivia

One of my favorite films of all time is called The Mission.
Bolivia_themission.jpg

The Mission is a 1986 British drama about the experiences of a Jesuit missionary in 18th century South American. Back in the day, the film collected a number of prestigious awards from the Cannes Film Festival, the Academy Awards and the Golden Globe Awards.
See Video
Here is a scene from the film.

Based on historical facts, the film takes place in an area that stretches across Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil. There is a grouping of Jesuit missions in eastern Bolivia. It is a little off the beaten path for most travelers, but being on a motorcycle, I thought that I would check it out.
Bolivia+-+1215.jpg

So I hopped on my bike and headed north and east down a dirt road.
Bolivia+-+missionmap.png

The Jesuit Missions of Chiquitos are located in eastern Bolivia. These former missions collectively were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990. Distinguished by a unique fusion of European and Amerindian cultural influences, the missions were founded as reducciones de indios by Jesuits in the 17th and 18th centuries to convert local tribes to Christianity. In 1767 there was an expulsion of the Jesuits from the area and many of the settlements turned to ruins. A large restoration project of the missionary churches began with the arrival of the former Swiss Jesuit and architect Hans Roth in 1972.
Bolivia+-+1626.jpg

On the way to the mission area, I passed by some lush green farming areas.
Bolivia+-+1145.jpg

It was a very picturesque ride with small lakes and rivers and rolling green hills. It looked like scenery fitting to be in a film.
Bolivia+-+1130.jpg

The first town that I visited was San Xavier (San Javier).
Bolivia+-+1091.jpg

Initially established in 1691, the mission of San Xavier was the first of the missions listed as a World Heritage Site.
Bolivia+-+1109.jpg

The church was built between 1749 and 1752 by the Swiss Jesuit and architect Fr. Martin Schmid. The school and church, as well as other characteristics of residential architecture, are still visible today in the village.
Bolivia+-+1102.jpg

The original inhabitants of San Xavier were the Piñoca tribe.
Bolivia+-+1649.jpg

San Xavier was restored by Hans Roth between 1987 and 1993.
Bolivia+-+1647.jpg

The wooden structure was meticulously restored by local wood carvers both inside and outside.
Bolivia+-+1670.jpg

Along with many of the religious artifacts.
Bolivia+-+1133.jpg

As I was about to leave, I spotted this young boy hanging around the front of the mission.
Bolivia+-+1134.jpg

Then he was joined by his sister and pet dog. As they road off, I snapped this image... capturing the two kids and their dog at play.
Bolivia+-+1463.jpg

I rode on.

For the full story visit The Jesuit Missions of Chiquitos, Bolivia
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2010
Messages
355
Location
Austin
Re: The Adventure Begins... 10 Things I Have Learned About Riding A Motorcycle In LA

Brazil+-+0866.jpg

These are 10 things that I have learned about riding a motorcycle for a year around Latin America. I do not know if they can be generalized or applied for life in general, but perhaps they can.

1. A big motorcycle gets you attention, a small motorcycle gets you inside.
2. One can source and repair just about everything, just about everywhere for the Suzuki DR650.
3. Ride like a local, which usually means on the far right side of the road.
4. Ride slow around, through and over obstacles.
5. A friendly proactive horn beep is better than angry reactive horn blast.
6. It is not necessary to "fully speak" the language, but it is necessary to "attempt to speak" the language. It will always lead to better accommodation, food, drinks and experiences.
7. Asking for help, directions or suggestions is not an indication of weakness, it is an opportunity for others to participate in the journey.
8. Eat the menu del dia (menu of the day).
9. Smile, you are on vacation.
10. Adjust your attitude to the latitude.
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2010
Messages
355
Location
Austin
Re: The Adventure Begins... Perhaps the Best Meal of My Trip

I had perhaps the best meal of my trip. Strangely, it was not in a big city or a fancy restaurant. It was in the small town of Concepcion, Bolivia in a small restaurant just off the central plaza called El Buen Gusto.

The restaurant was set inside a colonial style patio house. There was soft music playing in the background. I sat toward the front of the restaurant which allowed me to to see both the tables inside and people passing by outside.

231.jpg


The meal started off with a vegetable soup.

232.jpg


The second course was a self service salad bar... vegetables are sometimes hard to come by in Bolivia.

236.jpg


I was thirsty from traveling so I ordered a jarra de limonada (jar of limonade). I had no problem finishing it off.

237.jpg


The main course was orange chicken with rice and potatoes.

238.jpg


And I elected to try the strawberry cake for dessert.
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2010
Messages
355
Location
Austin
Re: The Adventure Begins... Samaipata... A Bit of Serenity in Bolivia

I spent two days in Santa Cruz. Principally to apply for a visa to enter Paraguay. The Bolivian police strike had ended, so the banks were open once again. I was able to complete all the tramites (paperwork) and submitted my application. Sure enough, within 24 hours I had my visa!

I decided to head back toward Sucre. Along the way, I stopped in a little town called Samaipata. Samaipata is a Quechua word that means: The Height to Rest. With its delightful subtropical climate and an altitude of 1600–1800 meters it tempts foreigners to settle.
Bolivia+-+1732.jpg


The little village is kind of a Micromundo where about 25 nationalities now live together in harmony and peace. The town is small with numerous colonial buildings and narrow cobbled streets.

Bolivia+-+1720.jpg


Bolivia+-+1738.jpg


Bolivia+-+1764.jpg


For the full story visit Samaipata
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2010
Messages
355
Location
Austin
Re: The Adventure Begins... Doubling Down on the Dirt

From Samaipata I continued down the road to Sucre.

I usually do not like to ride the same route twice, but my options were somewhat limited. I wanted to make my way to Sucre. There was a southern route, which I estimated would take three or four days to arrive in Sucre. So, I elected to take the northern route, which I estimated would take two days or as little as one day. But it meant that I would be traveling a route which I had ridden previously... a route that I knew was mostly gravel, dirt and loose sand. So I doubled down on the dirt and hoped that I would have a little luck.
Bolivia+-+1780.jpg

The ride started out along a nice twisty asphalt road.
Bolivia+-+1786.jpg

But then it soon turned to gravel. I knew what to expect. After many days of riding on gravel and sand, I felt comfortable tackling the terrain. I just needed to stand up and move with my motorcycle.
Bolivia+-+1788.jpg

So I relaxed and enjoyed the beautiful scenery.
Bolivia+-+1790.jpg

Mountains beyond mountains.
Bolivia+-+1794.jpg

Then I came upon this. Outside of the town of Saipina, there was a bloqueo (road block) due to construction. This was the same bloqueo that I came across before. I was told that the construction crew would let traffic through between 12-2pm and after 6pm. It was about 3pm... I had missed the window of opportunity... so I was in for a wait.
Bolivia+-+1799.jpg

So, I pulled back away from all the dust created by the construction and waited. The dirt digger kept digging and I kept waiting. Eventually, two other motorcyclists on small bikes arrived on the scene. We assessed the situation. We debated if we could ride over the mound of dirt and gravel. To the right (uphill) of the dirt digger there was not any space. To the left (downhill) of the dirt digger there was about one foot of space... then a cliff with a drop-off of 100 feet. Risky. As we were discussing the issue, the head construction engineer approached us and interjected that he would not allow us to ride over the mound. Oh...well...time to relax.
Bolivia+-+1800.jpg

So, I decided to do a little checkup on my motorcycle. This is what my motorcycle setup looks like now. I have a Giant Loop Great Basin bag, GL Fandango tank bag, Pelican case, tent, empty extra gas tank and the orange bag holds my rain gear. And depending on the road conditions... dirt. All good.
Bolivia+-+1802.jpg

Then something strange was happening near the construction area. I was off at a distance and could not quite determine what was going on. So I approached the construction area to obtain a better view. It appeared that one of the motorcyclists had crossed over to the other side of the dirt digger. I did not see him crossover, so I did not understand how he accomplished it. But then the other motorcyclist was attempting to cross. This is what they did.

The motorcyclists had negotiated with the operator of the dirt digger. The operator placed the shovel of the machine on the ground. Then the motorcyclist backed his bike into the shovel. The operator lifted the moto and motorcyclist with the shovel, swung them around the edge of the cliff and deposited them on the other side. I would not have believed it if I had not seen it with my own eyes. Ingenious. The Bolivians are geniuses at creative solutions for everyday obstacles. Unfortunately, I was not quick enough to get out my camera and take a video or photo. Equally unfortunate, my motorcycle was too large and would not fit inside the shovel of the dirt digger, so I would have to continue to wait.

I waited until about 6pm... and then like Bolivian clock work...ha ha... the road was opened.
Bolivia+-+0743.jpg

I rode on for about an hour and then it turned dark. It is always a little precarious riding in sand, but riding in sand and at night was a little crazy. There was no moonlight... there was just black (see the picture above). I road on for about 30 minutes and came across a faint light. The light led me to a small cafe. I could not really say that the cafe was part of a village, because there really were no other structures around. It was just one small cafe in the middle of darkness. An old man at the cafe told me that I should ride for 30 minutes more to the next village of Perez. There I should ask for Dona Juana. She sometimes offered travelers a room in her house. So, off into the darkness I rode. I arrived in the village of Perez and asked for Dona Juana. Either I had the wrong name, wrong village or Dona Juana was hiding from this gringo. I could not find her. Anyways, I asked if there was a place that I could stay.
Bolivia+-+1804.jpg

The consensus among the good people of Perez was that I could pop up my tent in front of this business that was closed. The owner was not around and was not expected to return for a number of days. I asked if it was safe. Everyone said that I "should" be okay.
Bolivia+-+1890.jpg

And as it turned out.., everything was okay. I woke early the next morning to complete the journey to Sucre. Before I left Perez, a gentleman told me that the road ahead would be closed starting at 8am for a motocross race. I thought that was cool... they close an entire road...the only road... for a motocross race. I decided that I should ride quickly with the hopes of surpassing the road closure. I wanted to see the motocross race, but I wanted to reach Sucre as well. So, off I rode. At one point there was a small bloqueo. A man at the bloqueo said that the road was closed for the motorcycle race. I said that I just wanted to go a little further to watch the race. It was not a lie. I wanted to see the race, but I really wanted to get ahead of the race. He let me ride pass. The family waiting at the bloqueo did not look happy. I rode quickly.

For the full story visit Doubling Down on the Dirt
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2010
Messages
355
Location
Austin
Re: The Adventure Begins... The Backroad of Bolivia

See the video

This is a link to a short 3 minute video with scenes of traveling around the backroads of Bolivia. The scenes include some segments of riding over asphalt, gravel, dirt, sand through a dry river bed.

Watching the Wheels


People say I'm crazy doing what I'm doing,
Well they give me all kinds of warnings to save me from ruin,
When I say that I'm o.k. they look at me kind of strange,
Surely your not happy now you no longer play the game,

People say I'm lazy dreaming my life away,
Well they give me all kinds of advice designed to enlighten me,
When I tell that I'm doing Fine watching shadows on the wall,
Don't you miss the big time boy you're no longer on the ball?

I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round,
I really love to watch them roll,
No longer riding on the merry-go-round,
I just had to let it go,

People asking questions lost in confusion,
Well I tell them there's no problem, Only solutions,
Well they shake their heads and they look at me as if I've lost my mind,
I tell them there's no hurry...
I'm just sitting here doing time,

I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round,
I really love to watch them roll,
No longer riding on the merry-go-round,
I just had to let it go.

- John Lennon
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2010
Messages
355
Location
Austin
Re: The Adventure Begins... Kids and Kart Races in Sucre

I was walking around Sucre and came across this banner near the central plaza.
Bolivia+-+1930.jpg

The banner reads National Race of Karts without Motors...Finish!. It appears that every year Sucre hosts a push kart race for youth. There were entries from different regions of the country and divisions based on age.
Bolivia+-+1925.jpg

I met this crew on the street. There is always one driver and one pusher. They can switch places during the race. The driver drives and the pusher pushes. The pusher hops on the back of the kart on some of the downhill sections.
Bolivia+-+1924.jpg

The crew proudly introduced me to their kart. A classic build... 4 wheels, wooden planks, pad brakes, push bar and helmets.
Bolivia+-+1931.jpg

This little guy had an amazing kart made mostly with wood. Notice the wooden wheels wrapped with rubber for traction. He steered the kart with a cord attached to the front axle.

For the full story and a short video visit Kids and Kart Races in Sucre
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2010
Messages
355
Location
Austin
Re: The Adventure Begins... Museo de Arte indígena ASUR

I visited the Museo de Arte indígena ASUR (Museum of Indigenous Art).
Bolivia+-+2112.jpg

The mission of the museum is to protect and preserve the artisan work of the indigenous population. The museum contains a collection of Jalq’a and Candelaria (Tarabuco) weavings and offers instruction on techniques used to produce the traditional textiles.
Bolivia+-+2099.jpg

To arrive at the museum one must climb a small cobblestone hill.
Bolivia+-+2143.jpg

Once inside, one can see artisans at work creating various forms of textiles
Bolivia+-+2144.jpg

It is generally a handmade process.
Bolivia+-+2120.jpg

The artisans take yarn from sheep or alpaca and create masterpieces.
Bolivia+-+2134.jpg


For the full story and more photos visit Museo de Arte indígena ASUR
 
Joined
Dec 13, 2008
Messages
910
Location
Killeen, Texas
First Name
William
Last Name
Rich
Bravo Troy! Great video. I would love looking at all the bikes you must encounter in other countries.
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2010
Messages
355
Location
Austin
Bravo Troy! Great video. I would love looking at all the bikes you must encounter in other countries.
I've thought about doing a post about motos in each country. I try to snap photos when I see something interesting. When I have some time maybe I'll put all the photos together. For some reason, there were interesting motos around every corner in Sucre.
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2010
Messages
355
Location
Austin
Re: The Adventure Begins... Salteñas... a Culinary Delight in Bolivia

In Northern Argentina and Southern Bolivia there are these confections known as Salteñas. Salteñas are savory baked pastries filled with chicken, beef or pork, mixed with vegetables like potatoes, peas, olives and infused with a sweet sometimes spicy sauce. I found them in many places, but Sucre seemed to have some of the best. They are often available in corner convenience stores, but the best are found in specialty Salteñas Cafes. And they are best eaten when they are fresh out of the oven and hot!
Bolivia+-+1968.jpg

These are three examples of different Salteñas. From left to right Santa Clara (Sweet Chicken), Carne (Beef) and Pollo (Chicken).
Bolivia+-+1966.jpg

This cafe called El Patio had some of the best Salteñas.
Bolivia+-+1967.jpg

One can enjoy the Salteñas while sitting in the cafe's nice outdoor patio.
Bolivia+-+1969.jpg

I liked to accompany my Salteñas with a fresh juice or smoothie. This one is made of strawberries.
Bolivia+-+1971.jpg

One characteristic of Salteñas is that the ingredients on the inside are infused with a juicy broth. The fist time I ate a Salteña I simply picked it up with my hand and took a bite. The hot juices overflowed onto my hand and plate. It was a mess. As a result, much of the savory goodness was wasted. I then observed how the locals were eating the pastries. The well versed eaters of Salteñas would take a small bite out of the top of the pastry, then use a small spoon to spoon out the ingredients and juices... a much more refined way to enjoy the delicacies. I learned my lesson... eat like a local.
Bolivia+-+1972.jpg

This is an example of a Salteña de Pollo (Chicken). It contains chicken, potatoes, peas, herbs, spices and the broth. It seemed like there may have been a touch of curry as well. Delicious!
Bolivia+-+1973.jpg

This is a Salteña de Carne (Beef). It contains beef, potatoes, peas, herbs, spices and the broth. It seemed to have a little more picante (spice). Yummy!
Bolivia+-+1975.jpg

And, this is a Salteña de Santa Clara. It contains chicken, potatoes, peas, herbs, spices. It seemed to contain less broth and was a little more dry. Also, it had a sprinkling of granular sugar baked on the top. I would say that it was a little sweeter.

All of them were great. Sometimes the Salteñas contain other surprises like olives and small eggs.

Salteñas became a staple of my diet while in Sucre. Generally, the cafes that sell Salteñas open at around 9:30-10:00 am. They make an excellent mid-morning snack... or for late risers... a perfect morning breakfast. Buen Provecho!
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2010
Messages
355
Location
Austin
Re: The Adventure Begins... Convento de San Felipe Neri (Convent of San Felipe Neri)

I visited the Convento de San Felipe Neri.
Bolivia+-+2005.jpg

Could it really be interesting to visit a convent? You be the judge.
Bolivia+-+2014.jpg

You enter the convent and walk down these long white arched hallways.
Bolivia+-+2010.jpg

Along the way you see some religious artwork.
Bolivia+-+2003.jpg

And you keep walking.
Bolivia+-+2067.jpg

And you see some more religious artwork.
Bolivia+-+2007.jpg

And as you walk down the hallways, you start to realize that there are intricate details in the workmanship all around you.
Bolivia+-+2018.jpg

You look out at the courtyard and realize this is truly amazing. Hmmm... you wonder if you could go higher.
Bolivia+-+2020.jpg

And then you find a passageway that leads you to the roof.
Bolivia+-+2061.jpg

OK, you are up on the roof... this is cool.
Bolivia+-+2052.jpg

The colorful masonry surprises you.
Bolivia+-+2051.jpg

Could you go higher. Try going up the stairs.
Bolivia+-+2023.jpg

As you look around, you see the shadow of a bell tower.
Bolivia+-+2021.jpg

And then you see the bell tower. You wonder if you could go inside and ascend.
Bolivia+-+2042.jpg

Sure enough, on the inside, you find a spiral staircase that ascends the tower. It is pretty tight, but you climb the steps slowly.
Bolivia+-+2033.jpg

When you reach the top, you look out of the bellfry.
Bolivia+-+2038.jpg

You see some beautify views.
Bolivia+-+2044.jpg

You overlook the hills of Sucre.
Bolivia+-+2046.jpg

You overlook the rooftops of the city.
Bolivia+-+2048.jpg

You can almost see the central plaza.
Bolivia+-+2058.jpg

So what do you think? Can a convent be an interesting place to visit?
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2010
Messages
355
Location
Austin
Re: The Adventure Begins... Honda CRF250L Review

honda-crf250l-1.jpg

See the video
Here is a 5 minute video review of the Honda CRF250L new dual sport motorcycle.
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2010
Messages
355
Location
Austin
Re: The Adventure Begins... Adventure on a Triumph Tiger

See the video
OK, this is basically a cheesy advertisement for Icon, but this 30 minute short film features some amazing motorcycle riding on Triumph Tigers. My adventures are not nearly as extreme as those shown in this film. Although I do not think these guys were stopping to take photos.
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2010
Messages
355
Location
Austin
Re: The Adventure Begins... Sucre...La Ciudad Blanca (Sucre... The White City)

Bolivia+-+2072.jpg

Sucre is known as La Ciudad Blanca or The White City. The nickname was bestowed upon the city because many of the colonial style houses and structures are painted white. I took a walk around the city and this is what I saw.

Loreto Chapel

Colonial style villa

The Government of Chuquisaca building

Iglesia de Santo Domingo

Plaza 25 de Mayo

Vendor selling popcorn

Sasteria (Tailor)

Arches of the Basilica de San Francisco

Basilica de San Francisco

As I approached the Basilica de San Francisco there was some sort of commotion.

It appeared that a wedding had just taken place. The bride and groom are at the very back of this photo.

It was very festive... with heaps of confetti being tossed in the air.

Colorful and covered in confetti.

As the festivities ended, the people poured out into the street.

As I continued on exploring the city I came across this... a zebra.

It was actually a dancing zebra that was directing traffic and assisting pedestrians to cross the street. I learned later that the zebras are part of a youth program to help street kids with education and job training. The motorist, pedestrians and tourists all seemed to love the assistance.

For the full story with photos visit Sucre
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2010
Messages
355
Location
Austin
Re: The Adventure Begins... Repair of Gaerne G Adventure Motorcycle Boots

Bolivia+-+1050.jpg

As I have chronicled earlier on my website (post 1, 2, 3). I have been wearing the Gaerne G Adventure Motorcycle Boots during my adventure. I have worn them from Austin to Antarctica. The boots have been through quite a bit... riding, trekking, casual wear... exactly like adventure boots should be worn. I like the design, fit, comfort and utility of the boots. But three months into my travels, during some heavy rain in Panama, the boots showed the first signs that they were not waterproof. I had been treating the boots with creams, polishes and Sno-Seal. However now, the situation had worsened. The boots are definitely not waterproof and some of the leather had started to crack. I met another motorcyclist with the same boots... and the same problem. It looks like this is not an isolated situation with the Gaerne G Adventure boots.

Many months ago, I wrote to Revzilla, the online retailer from which I bought the boots, and to Gaerne, the manufacturer, to inquire if they could repair or replace the boots. Neither offered a viable alternative. So now nine months into my travels, I had to make a decision. Continue traveling with the non waterproof boots, buy some new boots, or try to repair the boots through my own means.

I opted for the last choice.

I took the boots to a zapateria (shoe repair store) near the mercado negro (black market). The cobbler said that the boots would be ready in three days. After three days, I returned to the store and the cobbler had not started working on the boots. I explained to him that the boots were my only shoes other than my sandals and that I needed the boots as soon as possible. So, I reclaimed my boots and searched for another zapateria.
Bolivia+-+2183.jpg

I found this zapateria down the street... Reparadora de Calzados Frobana. The cobbler was very nice and said that it would take two days to repair the boots. I left the boots with the cobbler... hoping for the best.

After two days, I returned. The cobbler had started working on the boots, but had not finished. He asked me to return later in the day.

Later in the day, I returned. The cobbler was still working on the boots and explained how difficult it was to work with the boots because of the hard leather and height of the boots. He asked me to return in the evening.
Bolivia+-+2184.jpg

I decided not to return in the evening, to allow the cobbler more time. I returned the next day.

The boots were repaired! As we had discussed, he had sewn a patch of leather over the cracking crease and polished up the boots. He was going to charge me 70 Bolivianos (US$10) ... I tipped him an extra 20 Bolivianos. I thought that it was money well spent.

I was happy with the repair. I thought the repair looked amazingly good and fit the style of the boot. To add some water protection, I applied some seam sealer to all the stitches and seams.

Some times you just have to make it up along the way.

Thumbs down for Gaerne and Revilla.

Thumbs up for small businesses and craftsman that are masters at their trade!
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2010
Messages
355
Location
Austin
The Adventure Begins... Tarabuco, Bolivia... Textiles, Pulmón and a Lucky Horseshoe

Bolivia+-+2193.jpg

While staying in Sucre, I heard about the town of Tarabuco. The village is known for its beautiful weavings and for having a colorful Sunday market. Typically for the market day, thousands of indigenous people from the surrounding countryside descend on the town in traditional costumes.
Bolivia+-+2284.jpg

At the hostel in which I was staying in Sucre, I met another motorcycle rider name Russell. We decided to take a little ride to Tarabuco to check it out.
Bolivia+-+2281.jpg

It was a clear and cool day. We rode for about an hour through some rolling hill country. We reached Tarabuco around noon... lunch time.
Bolivia+-+2191.jpg

We passed by the market and found this little outdoor food stand. Russell was hungry so he quickly sat down and ordered some rice and chicken, a safe bet. I walked around a bit and asked this lady what she had for sale. The first thing she mentioned was pulmón... then pollo (chicken), carne (beef), credo (pork). I was stuck on the first thing she mentioned... because pulmón translated into english is..... lung! Hmmmm... I had never heard of eating lung. I know that I had never eaten it myself. So.......................
Bolivia+-+2190.jpg

I ordered a heaping portion of pulmón! It was cooked as a stew with some potatoes, beans, carrots, greens and spices. Looking at the stew, one could easily mistake the pulmón for beef or pork.

I took a taste of the potato first. It was good. The sauce was a little spicy, just the way I like it. Then, I found a piece of pulmon. I lifted it to my mouth...took it in.... and began to chew.

Not bad! It was a little soft and a little chewy. It had the consistency of a firm mushroom. I could not really tell if the pulmon had a distinct flavor. I think that it had absorbed most of the flavor of the sauce.

Overall, a very tasty meal.

OK, let's hope that I do not get sick later.
Bolivia+-+2212.jpg

After eating lunch we took a stroll around the village. There was a lot of activity. People were transporting good, vendors were set up along the streets.
Bolivia+-+2195.jpg

There were predominantly woven ponchos, bags and belts.
Bolivia+-+2237.jpg

The artisans take colorful yard like this...
Bolivia+-+2197.jpg

And weave it into amazing textiles like this.

As well I saw a few charangos, which are traditional Andean musical instruments with a sound somewhat similar to a ukulele. Typically made from the shell of an armadillo, thankfully these charangos were made of wood.

While in the market I came across another tourist from Europe. He exclaimed that he was disappointed in the market because the street venders were only interested in trying to sell him things. Hmmmm... I thought to myself for a moment.... then I mentioned to him... well this is a "market"... a place to buy and sell things. I understood what he meant, but thought that his comment was a bit odd.

As expected, there were a number of items made especially for tourists.

However, these dolls appeared to be more traditional and perhaps for other purposes.

Russell and I continued walking around, just taking in the local culture. Here are two gentlemen sitting inside the doorway of a store, just chatting and drinking one of the local concoctions.

Granadina Salvietti

If you wander around long enough in Tarabuco or get directions from a local, you might find the real local market.

Where they sell real chacos made from the tread of old tires.

They sell items in bulk....

like coca leaves (used for chewing, tea, medicine and occasionally other uses).

Stylish felt hats

Chili peppers

Balms for all types of ailments.

Offerings for the Pachamama. The Pachamama has a special worship day called Martes de challa (Challa's Tuesday), when people bury food, throw candies, and burn incense.

In some cases, celebrants assist traditional priests, known as yatiris in Aymara, in performing ancient rites to bring good luck or the good will of the goddess.

This man dressed in a traditional outfit was buying grain by the bulk.

In this area of the market I did not see any tourists, just locals going about their regular routine of shopping.

As I was walking down the street this scene caught my eye. It was a blacksmith's shop. The natural light from the outside was casting light inside the workshop perfectly to highlight the anvil. The furnace was stoked, the craftsman's tools were hanging on the wall, and remnants of the man's work laid about the floor. It was a scene strait out of the 1800's.

We met the blacksmith. Russell was about to take a photo of the man, when the blacksmith interjected... he wanted money for a photo. There was an awkward pause. I do not think either us wanted to pay for a photo.

I reengaged the man. I said that I was interested in his workshop, because I had never seen a shop like his. He explained that he made mostly horseshoes and pick axes for agriculture use. He proudly showed me a few of his products. I said that I was interested in buying a horseshoe. He said that he would sell four for 40 Bolivianos. I said that I only wanted one. He looked puzzled. I think that typically anyone buying horseshoes for a horse would buy four or at least two. He said that he would sell me two for 20 Bolivianos. I said once again that I only wanted one and handed him 10 Bolivianos. He took my money, I took a horseshoe. We shook hands.

I then asked him if I could take a photo of him and his workshop. He stood proudly and said ok.

He then went into a demonstration of how he stoked the furnace to heat the steal. And, how he pounded the steel to form a shape. Amazing.
See video
Here is a short 1 minute video with the master at work.


Russell and I walked around a little more. Then called it a day and rode back to Sucre.

There seems to be layers in life in Bolivia. Sometimes one just needs to slow down, wander, perhaps get lost to uncover the really good parts.

For the full story with photos visit Tarabuco, Bolivia... Textiles, Pulmón and a Lucky Horseshoe
 
Joined
Feb 13, 2012
Messages
3,786
Location
Dallas, TX
First Name
Kenneth
Last Name
Feagins
Glad you got them fixed. In the past I've had decent luck with loose weave fabric and RTV sealant for seats and such. Wonder if that would ever hold up on a pair of boots.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2010
Messages
355
Location
Austin
Re: The Adventure Begins... Sure... I Am Always Willing To Help Out A Buddy

Bolivia+-+2284.jpg

I introduced you to Russell in my previous post. We met in Sucre and took a nice little day trip to see a colorful market in Trabuco, Bolivia. It seems that Randall had gone "walkabout" in the mountain area outside of Sucre for a few days. He had returned to Sucre, but had lost his jacket somewhere out in the wilderness.
Bolivia+-+2048.jpg

Well, I had been staying in Sucre for about two weeks, just seeing the sights and relaxing. I had seen and done just about everything that I wanted to do... and was ready to move on to the next destination.
Bolivia+-+2316.jpg

Then Russell came up to me and asked if I wanted to go on another little ride. A mission to recover his jacket from the wilderness. I had already packed my bag and was ready to leave Sucre. But... I said, "Sure... I'm always willing to help out a buddy."
Bolivia+-+2383.jpg

So I dropped my bag, filled up my tank, filled up my extra tank too... and we headed down the road.
Bolivia+-+2319.jpg

Which after about an hour of riding turned into a winding dirt road. We would be heading through the Cordillera de los Frailes, a spectacular mountain range that runs through much of the western Chuquisaca and northern Potosí departments. We would hopefully pass by the dramatic Maragua Crater.
Bolivia+-+Potolo.jpg

A...marks the village of Potolo. Russell thought that the jacket was close to Potolo. From google maps there was no road... heck, there was not even a dot to mark the village of Potolo. Sucre is on the right. The Maragua Crater is in the middle. From Sucre there was a road that headed north and west, but it ended after about 100 km (60 miles). From that point, it would be all dirt.
Bolivia+-+2318.jpg

Fortunately, I had brought my gps with me and was tracking our route.
Bolivia+-+2333.jpg

The road continued and wound through some beautiful mountain ranges.
Bolivia+-+2334.jpg

We would capture these glances at mountains and valleys and vistas.

We rode for about 3 or 4 hours. There was no turning back... we were on a mission.

We finally arrived at the small one road town called Potolo.

Potolo was a village that mainly consisted of substance farming. There was one cafe in the town, but it was not open. We went to the one kiosk that was open and had lunch which consisted of crackers and a can of tuna.

From Potolo we headed deeper into the valley.

Russell said that he thought that we were close, so we rode along this embankment further into the valley.

This photo puts it into better perspective.

Yeah, I think we just need to follow this semi dry river bed to get to the jacket.

OK Russell, you lead and I'll follow. Off we went down the river.
See video
Here is a short 30 second video of riding through the dry riverbed.

I could not complain because it was fun riding in the dirt with a riding partner. So many times I have had to ride through some sketchy areas alone. At least if we were to get lost, we would get lost together. We rode on...

Yeah, I think that it is down there. We will need to leave our bikes here and go down by foot.

Sure enough, the jacket was there. But it was just out of reach... on the other side of the canyon.

The canyon spanned from about 6 feet to about 100 feet. Russell went walkabout looking for a way to cross the canyon to the other side.

We eventually found a route that seemed approachable.

Russell just needed to climb this crevasse that was about 40 feet high, at a 60 degree angle, and consisted of loose shale. He did it.

Once he crossed the canyon, it was easy reaching the jacket.

Mission accomplished!

Oh, and then he needed to jump across the canyon back to the other side. This was possible because the right side of the canyon was higher than the left side of the canyon. It still makes a pretty dramatic photo, don't you think?

OK, now it is mission accomplished. But we still needed to return to Sucre.

It was about a 3 to 4 hour ride back to Sucre.

We rode by much of the same beautiful scenery that we had passed by on our outbound route.

It was late in the afternoon. The sun eventually set and we had to ride in the dark for about 2 hours.

On one narrow stretch, a bus came hauling around a corner on the single lane road occupying most of the right of way. He pretty much ran me into the uphill side of the mountain. Luckily, we did not make contact and I was able to recover.

We arrived into Sucre sometime after 8 o'clock. What a day!

Sure, I am always willing to help out a buddy.

Stay warm... my friend...stay warm.

For the full story with photos and video visit Sure... I Am Always Willing To Help Out A Buddy
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2010
Messages
355
Location
Austin
Glad you got them fixed. In the past I've had decent luck with loose weave fabric and RTV sealant for seats and such. Wonder if that would ever hold up on a pair of boots.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2
I don't know, maybe. Since these boots are really my only shoes I wanted them to look good and perform as well. The work seems to be holding up.
 
Joined
May 8, 2011
Messages
1,101
Location
Texas
Yes, before long we may need to go south to relearn crafts like that if things do not turn for the better. Hate to hear that about the Gaerne's- as expensive as they are. Keep those posts coming- I sure do enjoy em! Are you getting lonesome for home at all yet?
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2010
Messages
355
Location
Austin
Re: The Adventure Begins... 2012 Cologne, Germany motorcycle show highlights

See Video

Here is a short 3 minute video with highlights from the 2012 Cologne, Germany motorcycle show. They highlight three new adventure motorcycles from Suzuki, BMW and KTM. Check it out!
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2010
Messages
355
Location
Austin
Re: The Adventure Begins... Exiting Bolivia...with Some Unexpected Stops

sucre_chaco.jpg

I had a great time in Sucre, but it was time to move on.

I was at point A (Sucre) and wanted to go to point B (El Chaco) in Paraguay. In general there is not much tourist information about Paraguay, and even less about El Chaco. El Chaco is a vast and isolated area in the north of Paraguay. I was not having much success finding reliable information about the border crossings, check points and roads to determine which would be the best route. There was even less information about places to stay, but I thought that I could figure that out once I arrived in Paraguay.

In Sucre, I asked a hotel owner and he did not know. I asked the tourist information office and they did not know. Finally, I stopped by the police station to find out which route the buses generally travel. I was told that one could cross in the north via Robore, but there was no check point. One could cross in the middle via Boyuibe, but there was no check point. The typical route that the buses take was via the city of Villamontes. It was the only route that had a reliable check point. This meant that I would have to travel south, then east, then north. Who's up for a little adventure?
Bolivia+-+2387.jpg

And so I set off.
Bolivia+-+2389.jpg

I rode through some majestic areas...mostly dirt roads... green mountains along the way.
Bolivia+-+2393.jpg

After about 4 hours of riding, I came across this little obstacle.
Bolivia+-+2392.jpg

I was not sure if the tree had fallen accidentally and the people were clearing the brush out of good will. Or if the man had cut down the tree for firewood and now was trying to clean up the mess. Either way, the tree was blocking the road and it was taking the group of three a long time to clear the obstacle. I was the only person on my side of the tree. There was a group of three or four cars on the other side of the tree. To hurry things along, I decided that I would help to clear the brush. I got off my bike and started moving the big branches. It turned out that my motorcycle gloves were functioning pretty nicely as work gloves. After about 30 minutes we had moved enough of the brush out of the way so that my motorcycle and other cars could pass. Funny thing, some of the drivers in the cars got out of their cars to watch, but none of the drivers helped to clear the tree.
Bolivia+-+2420.jpg

I rode on.

I had starting riding at 8am in the morning and it was now about 7pm in the evening. It was starting to turn dark. It had been a full day of riding when I came upon a small village called Bourgue. At least I believe that was the name of the village. The village was so small that I have had trouble finding it on Google Maps. For some reason there was a check point. I pulled up to the check point and got off my bike. I asked the guard if there was any place in the village where I might be able to stay for the night and set up my tent. He directed me to next door to a little store with an enclosed yard. I walked around the corner to see what I could find out.

As in many small villages in Bolivia, the store was basically the front room of a house. There were a few odds and ends of basic neccesities...soap, matches, cooking oil. The owner appeared to be the lady of the house.

I was hungry, so I first glanced around to see if there was anything that looked appetizing. Glancing over the shelves there was not much - some chips, candy, canned food. The woman opened up a box and showed me a half butchered pig. I could tell that it was a pig because the head was still attached to the body. Looked interesting, but I said...no. She pointed to some eggs. I shook my head...no. Then she uncovered at a large bag filled with loaves of bread. I shook my head in approval. She also pointed at a can of sardines on the shelf. Bread and fish out of a can... it was starting to grow on me. I said that I would take three loaves of bread and a can of sardines. It seemed to make her happy that she was able to help me find something to eat.

I then asked the lady if there was anyplace where I might be able to stay and set up my tent. She said that I could stay in her yard. I pointed to a clearing in the dirt yard and inquired if it would be a good location. She said that I was welcome to set up my tent under her porch. I accepted the offer and said thank you. I then moved my motorcycle inside the yard and started to set up camp.

By this time it was completely dark. There was no moon out. There were no lights in the village.

I guess that it was a bit unusual to have a traveler visiting this area... let alone a guy on a motorcycle. I mean, why would anyone stop in this small village that lied along a dirt road in the middle of nowhere.

A crowd started to gather. There were old men, women, teens and some kids. It was hard to make out the expressions on the people's faces because it was so dark, but they seemed to be enjoying the experience of watching this extranjero (stranger) set up camp. Of course I got the usual questions... Where are you from? What are you doing here? Do you like Bolivia? Where are you going? How much did your motorcycle cost? How much did your tent cost? Are you Chinese?

When people ask me if I am Chinese I always share that I am ethnically Chinese, but that I was born in the United States... a Chino Americano. Some people get it, some people don't.

I asked the group, now numbering about 15 people, if they had even had ever seen an actual Chinese person. Most of the group said...no. There were three teens that raised their hands eagerly and said that they had seen Chinese people before. I asked them where. They said that they studied in Sucre and had seen Chinese tourists in the city. Cool, I pondered a bit.

I asked the group if they had ever eaten Chinese food. There was silence. Nobody responded. Then one lady asked me what was Chinese food. I tried my best to explain. I said that there are basic ingredients like chicken or beef, vegetables like carrots, onion, scallions, and that all the ingredients are cut up into small pieces then cooked together in a big pot called a wok. She said that it sounded like some of the food that they made. I said that the seasonings and flavors might be different. One lady was really curious and asked if I knew how to cook Chinese food. I said that I knew how to cook a few dishes. She asked if I could teach her. Without really thinking... I said yes.

Hmmmm... then I thought. Was she serious. I asked her if she was serious. She said that she really would like to learn. Hmmmm... I asked her... right now? She said that I could do it the following day. Well, I was not really planning to stay around this small town for much time. But, I was so overcome by the eagerness and openness of this small village that I said... okay.

I inquired if they had chicken... yes... rice... yes... onions... yes... carrots... yes... salt... yes... pepper... yes... oil... yes. And then I said we had all the ingredients, but usually I would use a sauce we call... soya (soy sauce). The lady said with great eagerness... we have soya! Wow, I knew that there were many places in Bolivia that had soy sauce, but I was surprised to that they would have it in this small village. We live in a global village.

We continued to talk while I set up my camp. But it was settled... I would teach the village how to prepare Chinese food the next day.

After setting up my camp, it was time to eat. The crowd sensed that I was about to eat, so it started to disperse. I proceeded to open the can of sardines and break the bread. There were still a few people hanging around watching me. I offered them some of my newly acquired sardines and bread. Two of the teens accepted my offer. So I shared my food and we had a nice little meal. I was glad that I had some people with which to share the sardines, because after a few bites, I knew that there was no way that I would be able to eat the whole can. Between the three of us, we eventually finished the food. Nothing went to waste.

Then it was time to go to sleep. I said good night to all my new friends and crawled into my tent.

Bolivia+-+2399.jpg

The next morning I awoke. This is the house/store/yard where I had camped for the night.

I packed up my things and prepped my motorcycle.

Some of the townspeople were hanging around watching me. I asked them kind of half heartedly if they still wanted me to teach them how to cook Chinese food.

Yes! the ladies replied.

Okay, brunch would be served!

So I rattled off a list of the ingredients and asked them to compile them. I asked them how many people might be interested in cooking and eating. The one lady that was kind of the coordinator said... Oh, probably about 15.

Wow, 15 people. I have cooked for 8 to 10 people in my house before, but never 15. And I've always had all the proper ingredients, utensils and kitchen space. This was going to be interesting.

It took the group a little time to run around the village and gather all the ingredients. We moved to another house to do the cooking.
Bolivia+-+2400.jpg

As I walked through the open courtyard and up to the house, I saw this scene. Two of the young girls had killed a chicken, boiled it to remove the feathers and were plucking the remaining feathers. It was probably the freshest chicken that I had ever cooked.
Bolivia+-+2401.jpg

I then proceeded to show the group how to cut the vegetables and chicken into small pieces. They had all the basic ingredients and most of them had been grown right around the village. If you look closely you will even notice that they had a bottle of soy sauce. For some reason they had brought mayonnaise and catchup. I told them that those ingredients would not be necessary.

Also, a number of times they asked me if we would need any potatoes. I said... no. Potatoes are a staple food in Bolivia and are eaten with just about every meal. There are hundreds of varieties of potatoes that are grown in the country. Unfortunately, for this recipe we would not be using any potatoes.
Bolivia+-+2402.jpg

After a little time, we had all the food prepped and we were ready to begin cooking.
Bolivia+-+2403.jpg

I had never cooked Chinese food over an open fire. It was definitely a new experience. The heat was intense. I found it difficult to get close enough to the fire to stir fry the ingredients. Eventually, I turned over the responsibility of stirring the dish to one of the ladies.
Bolivia+-+2404.jpg

In the end, it all worked out. We made a big pot full of chicken fried rice. I think that there were about 10 people that showed up to eat. They all said that they really enjoyed it. I do not know if they really enjoyed it or if they were just being polite. But... in the end... all the food was finished.
Bolivia+-+2405.jpg

Here is the core group of women that I taught how to cook the meal. People that I have encountered along my way have been so willing to share their culture with me, it was nice to share a little bit of my culture with this community.
Bolivia+-+2406.jpg

It was time to leave... so I said my good-byes.
Bolivia+-+2412.jpg

I headed down the road.
Bolivia+-+2408.jpg

I followed a dirt road, which followed alongside a river. I had been riding over a lot of rough roads in Bolivia. I heard a little rattling noise coming from my bike. I stopped to inspect it. I noticed that a spot weld that connects my rear rack and case to my motorcycle frame had separated. It was not a crucial mechanical weld, but it did support the weight of my rear case.
Bolivia+-+2417.jpg

In the next town I passed called Monteagudo I sought out a soldidura (welder). I found this one man shop and explained the issue. He said that he could help me.
Bolivia+-+2415.jpg

I backed my motorcycle into the shop. The welder went to work. The work was complete within 5 minutes. Simple roadside repair in Bolivia. It cost me $15 Bolivianos (US$2).
Bolivia+-+2418.jpg

I rode on...traveled for about an hour... until I came across this fallen tree.

At this spot there was a crew with some heavy equipment moving the brush. It was all cleared in about 5 minutes.

I rode on for another 3 or 4 hours to a town called Camiri where I stayed the night. I found an inexpensive hotel... ate a decent meal... and rested.
Bolivia+-+2419.jpg

In the morning, I left Camiri and traveled for about 2 hours south to the town of Villamontes. In Villamontes I stopped for lunch.

With a full stomach, I headed east to the border of Paraguay.
 
Joined
Dec 13, 2008
Messages
910
Location
Killeen, Texas
First Name
William
Last Name
Rich
Great story Troy, cool that you took the time to prepare "Chinese" food in South America, ha!
 

philipbarrett

Forum Supporter
Joined
Jul 9, 2011
Messages
3,699
Location
Dallas, TX
I've found in my travels that the Chinese have done a really good job of spreading their cuisine worldwide. You're generally not too far from a Chinese restaurant.
 

jfink

Forum Supporter
Joined
May 29, 2007
Messages
3,160
Location
Conroe, Tx
First Name
Joe
Troy, are you in Brazil now? What are your plans for getting back? We will be in Nazca, Peru tomorrow!
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2010
Messages
355
Location
Austin
Thanks guys. I have a story about preparing a little Tex-Mex meal coming up.

Jfink, I'm in Rio de Janeiro, but I'm planning my trip back to Texas. The transport companies in Brazil make it a little difficult to transport a moto back to the states. I may ride down to Buenos Aires to ship my moto back to Texas.
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2010
Messages
355
Location
Austin
Re: The Adventure Begins... El Chaco, Paraguay...Lots to See in the Middle of Nowhere

Paraguay+-+005.jpg

From the town of Villamontes, Bolivia I traveled east along a dirt road. There was absolutely no traffic for miles and miles.
Paraguay+-+017.jpg

In the middle of nowhere I came across some motivational signs.
Paraguay+-+012.jpg

Sigue Adelante (Keep moving forward)
Paraguay+-+019.jpg

Another one.
Paraguay+-+020.jpg

Un Poco Mas (A little more)
Paraguay+-+021.jpg

Another one.
Paraguay+-+022.jpg

Llegaste! (You've arrived!) I was not exactly sure where I had arrived. There still was nothing around.
Paraguay+-+007.jpg

At another place along the road I came across this tree.
Paraguay+-+008.jpg

Someone had some paint and had some fun.
Paraguay+-+023.jpg

I continued on down the road to the border and finally arrived at the Bolivian immigration office.
Paraguay+-+025.jpg

It was a pretty small open air office. I was the only person crossing the border. Checking out of Bolivia was a snap... it took all of 2 minutes.
Paraguay+-+027.jpg

I rode a little further down the road to the integrated Bolivian/Paraguayan aduanas (customs) office. It was about 3pm and the office appeared deserted. I looked around a bit and found a travel trailer. I could see that someone was inside laying on a bed. I called to summon the person. Out of the trailer emerged the Bolivian immigration officer in a tank top, bermuda shorts and flip flops. I assumed that this was a pretty laid back post. He reviewed my documents and checked me out of the country. I then asked if he knew where the Paraguayan official might be. He pointed to a small house around the corner. I walked around the corner and up to the house and called out. Out of the house emerged the immigration officer. He was dressed casually, wearing a pull over shirt and jeans. He asked me to fill out a form and shortly thereafter he provided me my temporary driving permit for Paraguay. This was perhaps the most casual and remote customs office that I have passed through on my journey. Pretty nice.

The Paraguayan immigration office was not in the same area. From what I could gather I would need to travel about 90 miles (150 km) to a city called Mariscal to pass through immigration.

I rode on...

A little further down the road I came across a Paraguayan military checkpoint. There was one car behind me. The military officer asked for my passport and documents. I handed him my passport and temporary driving permit. The officer also gathered the same documents from the car behind me. He took both sets of our documents inside his office. A few minutes later he emerged from the office. He proceeded directly to the car behind me, returned their documents and waived them through.

I thought... uh oh... it was a bit odd that he would first give the car behind me their documents and waive them through. I was in the middle of nowhere... with nobody around. I had an intuition as to what was about to occur.

The officer approached me. With a friendly demeanor, he struck up a conversation. He started asking me about where I had traveled, where I was going, about my motorcycle. I answered all his question with a smile on my face and brief responses. He eventually came around to the question... do you have a gift for the military? Hmmm... a gift. I smiled and said that I really did not have anything that I did not need. It was the truth... I travel light. I said all that I had with me were my clothes and tools for my motorcycle. He smiled and inquired... nothing. I said with a smile... nothing. He looked me over and spotted a carabiner hanging on my pants. He said... how about that. I said... I need this to keep my keys. He smiled. With that I cranked on my motorcycle and said... estamos bien? He waved me on.

I rode on...

It started to turn dark. I arrived in a small town called San Pedro. It was basically an intersection with a few houses scattered about... and there was a police checkpoint.

Before the policeman could signal me to pull over. I signaled with my indicator lights and pulled up right in front of the officer. I turned off my engine, got off my bike and took off my helmet. I think that it surprised him to see a extranjero (foreigner). That is what I wanted to do. I wanted to manage the situation. Then I asked him if there was a hotel in the area. He said... no... not one where you would want to stay. I understood what he intended... the only hotel in this small town was a pay by the hour hotel. He asked me where I was going... I told him that I was going to the Parque Agripino Encino. He said that it was not too far down the road... maybe 10 miles (15 km) and to the right. He said go straight, then when you see the sign, turn right. We continued our conversation for a while. I asked him if the road was in good condition. He said that the road turned to dirt in about 100 yards (100 meters), but the dirt was compacted and in good condition. He said that the park was only about 30 to 45 minutes away.

Generally, in all the countries that I have visited, I have found the immigration, customs, police and military to be very helpful. I have never been taken advantage of. A lot of travelers and adventure motorcyclists complain about corrupt officials, but I have had nothing but positive experiences. I think that it helps to speak the language. Also, I think that it helps to control the situation and direct the conversation by asking them for assistance. It creates a situation in which they are in the role of a service provider. I have used this technique many times and it always seems to work out well.

I decided that I would ride on in the dark... on the dirt road... to find the park... to camp.

Before I set off into the wild, I stopped at the only open store/restaurant/bar in town. The proprietor said that she did not have any hot food, just dry goods. I looked over the shelves and picked up some water, crackers, a can of tuna and some oranges. The oranges were a score. This would be my food for the coming days.
Paraguay+-+030.jpg

With supplies in hand and a vague idea of where to go... I rode on... into the unknown.

I eventually came up to a sign that said Agripino Encio 80_ and a road on the right. It was just as the police officer had indicated. It was dark, but it appeared that there was a space after the numbers 80. It looked like a number or letter had been removed. I did not know how to interpret it. I just figured that I would ride down the road a little and soon find the park. I turned right and headed down the road.

I rode on. I started to have doubts. Did the sign indicate 80 meters or 800 meters or 8 kilometers or 80 kilometers. I did not see anything that resembled a park entrance at around 80 meters or 800 meters. But, why would they use 800 meters instead of 0.8 kilometers. The main road was hard packed dirt, but this side road was loose sand.

It was dark... it was late... it was sandy... it was the middle of El Chaco. My odometer displays miles not kilometers, so I convert everything in my head. My odometer indicated that I had ridden 214 miles since I last filled my tank with gas. Under good conditions, I could obtain 250 miles with a full tank of gas. Which meant ideally, I had about 35 miles of gas in my tank and 15 miles of gas in my spare tank. I decided that I would ride for 8 km, then turn back.

I knew that I had already traveled 15 km to the sign... 15 km plus 8 km would be 23 km. 23 km is equal to about 15 miles. Following? Thus, I could ride up to 15 miles, then turn around and ride 15 miles back if needed. That would equal 30 miles. Got it? Then, I would need to find a gas station to fill up with gas. I was doing this math in my mind while I was riding in the dark. I started to second guess myself. I ran the numbers again in my mind... yes... I should be okay.

I discovered that in El Chaco one can see a number of nocturnal animals while riding in the middle of nowhere. I saw some lizards, rodents, armadillos, foxes, an owl and some kind of pig like animal. I saw one small black cat. I thought that it was just a feral or domestic cat, but I later would learn that it might have been a Jaguarundi. Of course, I could not capture any of these animals in photos. As soon as I could see them in my headlight, they would dart back into the darkness.

I rode on... until I crossed 8 km... still no park. It had been tricky riding in the sand. I was tired. It was late. I had been riding all day and did not feel like riding further. I decided that I would find a place along the road and camp.
Paraguay+-+031.jpg

I found a spot along the road, set up my tent, and ate dinner... crackers and tuna and oranges. The road was only about 12 feet across (4 meters). I was a little concerned that a passing car or truck might hit me. I set up my motorcycle so that the reflectors on the body of my motorcycle would hopefully catch the eye of any driver.

I slept.

At about 1am in the morning I heard an approaching car. I turned on my flashlight which illuminated my tent. It kind of worked like a giant glow balloon. The truck slowed down and passed by safely. That would be the only traffic for the entire night.
Paraguay+-+038.jpg

The next morning I woke up at about 6 am. This was my campsite.
Paraguay+-+032.jpg

I looked to the east and saw a wonderful sunrise.
Paraguay+-+043.jpg

I stood still... watched... listened... and breathed.
 
Joined
Jul 13, 2010
Messages
355
Location
Austin
Re: The Adventure Begins... Parque Nacional Teniente Agripino Enciso, Paraguay

Paraguay+-+049.jpg

After a night of roadside camping and the sun rising over my shoulder, I rode back down the dirt road retracing my tracks.
Paraguay+-+056.jpg

I made it back to the main road. I found the intersection where I had turned... and the sign for Parque Agripino Encino. And, I even found the park.

It appears that the sign was placed to mark the turn into the park. However, the entrance was 80 meters straight and then to the right. I thought to myself... why would they place the sign right before the dirt road... it was a mystery to me. When I arrived at the park I asked the park ranger this very question. He said that a number of people make the same mistake and turn right at the road. I asked why they do not move the sign to the other side of the intersection... it would solve the problem. He just shrugged his shoulders.
Paraguay+-+067.jpg

Happy that I had finally reached the park and officially in El Chaco, I went for a walk around the area.
Paraguay+-+076.jpg

What I discovered was that El Chaco does not have a lot of striking scenery like the Andes or extreme scenery like the Patagonia or wildlife like the Amazon.
Paraguay+-+072.jpg

But, there was a lot of very subtle elements to the area that made me pause. I had to look closely.
Paraguay+-+068.jpg

I would not call this beautiful, but interesting.
Paraguay+-+078.jpg

Cacti were common.
Paraguay+-+066.jpg

And uncommonly unique in their own way.
Paraguay+-+063.jpg

Some little things that I have never seen before.
Paraguay+-+062.jpg

Like this crazy tree with a thousand spikes up its trunk.
Paraguay+-+064.jpg

Like this tree with bark like curly locks.
Paraguay+-+077.jpg

And a birds nest made of thistles and thorns amongst the arms of a cactus.

Ahhhh... El Chaco...Paraguay.
 
Top