On the road again

Trip Start Oct 20, 2009
Trip End Jun 23, 2010

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Where I stayed
Brisas Del Litoral
Village Hotel Sao Borja

Flag of Brazil  , Rio Grande do Sul,
Sunday, December 13, 2009

13.12 09

On the road again.

No rain, yippee!

Des had been loading the bikes up all of Saturday, save for the couple of hours when he went with Alex Bakof of Bakof Tec poly products factory (www.bakof.com.br) to see the workings of this Brazilian company. Alex has been helping us locate an auto electrician, who has been working on our Com System, the audio system we installed on the bikes so we could talk to each other, which has not been working lately. We wanted to have it fixed before the long ride to Patagonia. We had been having a lot of cracking down the line, so we couldn't hear each other very well. Des thinks the unit is too close to the motor of the bike. The auto electrician suggested the unit needed a filter, so we’ll see how it goes once we’re under way. It’s pretty important to have some kind of communication between us, not only for directions and alerting each other to hazards, but also for the nice things we see along the road and to determine rest stops.

Well, the big day finally arrived. At 7:30 on Sunday morning, when there’s no traffic on the roads, we said goodbye to Pedro, who owns the Palace Hotel where we’ve been banged up abroad for the last 5 weeks, ready to head down the road for the last time in Frederico Westphalen. I must admit, I was pretty sad about this as I have grown to love this little town and its calm and generous people. I was very nervous about getting on the bike again, but with my wrist firmly strapped in the skateboard wrist guard, I donned my helmet and jumped on the BMW. I think Des was very worried too, because he kept asking me "Are you alright, everything OK?" Pedro gave us a final wave, and a big smile and thumbs up at the Chimarrao cup we were taking in the top box. We have to teach Lou and Lynn to Chimarrao.

It was such a great ride. The rusty red soil of the Brazilian countryside and the green fields stretched for miles as we rode along highway Br 158 through Palmeira towards Santo Angelo on highway Br 285. We saw some real live gauchos tending their cattle on horseback. I wonder do they do this on quad bikes or with helicopters in other parts of Brazil as they do in Australia, I guess so.

The only incident we found a little unnerving was when a semi trailer was overtaking another truck and was heading straight toward us on our side of the road. We both had to pull off onto the shoulder of the road, which, luckily was in good repair. We’ve seen some which one couldn’t venture onto, especially after the rain.

When we overtook the trucks on the highways, they indicated when it was safe to pass, and tooted or waved as we did so. As cars passed us, they often had their mobile phones out the window, and took pictures of us as they passed.

We stopped for a break every hour or 100km whichever came first. We looked for a service station to pull into, and if possible some concrete to stand the bikes on. I had to have a sleep under a tree on the grass at a service station about lunch time, to rest up a bit. Having to pull in the clutch lever to change gear so often, had actually helped to reduce the swelling somewhat in my fingers, and made my hand a lot more comfortable. When I’d set out in the morning, my fingers felt like fat sausages on my palm. The wrist band also helped with the strength needed to operate the clutch.  Unfortunately I could not wear a glove on my left hand, so the fingers and thumb got badly sun burnt.

We ate the boiled eggs and drank the coffee I’d prepared the day before at the various stops, and finally settled for the night in Sao Borja after a 512km ride, not bad for the first day.  

The hotel was in the centre of the small town and a nice young lad walked Des around to it, while I stayed with the bikes. I was pretty done in by that time, so Des brought both bikes into the hotel garage while I unloaded the gear into the room. It was expensive for what the condition of the place and the bed, but we had little choice, and we both slept soundly, regardless.
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