Moto Adventures

Monday, March 26, 2007


Kenneth Allan Gassman

Have you seen this man lately?
Latest known where abouts; South America, but is expected back in Canada in May.
My be on motorcycle accompanied by MWF.
Not considered dangerous but can be a little wild at times.
If you come across this man approach with caution and offer a beer to calm his nerves, as he is taking the big 5-0 rather hard.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Northern Argentina to Foz de Iguazu

Those Damn Cops
Ever since Ken and I have come into South America we have been hearing about the crocked cops, first in the area of about 200 kms around Lima, in Peru, and second in the province of Entre Rios in the northeast corner of Argentina. Everyone who travels in these areas knows about the cops but still nothing is done to solve the problem. Rotten cops, they are a sore spot with me and I guess I really haven't got over the couple of times they dinged us in Peru, we were not looking forward to crossing into Argentina, the province of Entre Rios and the ride up to Foz de Iguazu. As the day approached we readied ourselves for combat, Ken would strictly abide by all posted speed limits and road signs, I would have my camera and little black book ready to take a photo of the culprit and record his name and badge no. along with his signature. We hoped if maybe it all looked very official the cop would back off. We crossed the border and headed north into enemy territory, 20-40-60-80 kms still nothing. One check point and we slipped through that behind a semi truck without being detected. From here on clear sailing. We made it through with our pocketbooks intact.
Well, one more crossing into Argentina, that's six times so far, it is a very long country with lots to see. The countryside is still beautiful; at this time of year the crops are being harvested (the biggest crop being matte te, a hot tea that the Argentinians and Uruguayans drink morning, noon, and night) and the cattle are being driven home (believe me with all the BBQs here there is a lot of cattle). We stopped along the way to buy some oranges from a family selling them at the side of the road, 15 oranges for one peso or .33 US. We were so distracting to the whole family that the boys didn´t realize they were late for school. Ken put them on the back of bike and gave them a ride the 5 kms to school. I guess the boys tryed to look pretty nonshallant about the whole thing, like it happen everyday, but when he took a look in this rear view mirror he saw the boys surrounded by all the kids in the school, the biggest grins on their faces. Cool.
Puerto Iguazu, a small tourist town where the Rio Iguazu and Rio Parana join, and the cornerstone of Argentina, Brazil and Paruguay. It is also the place to stay if you want to see the Foz de Iguazu, the widest waterfalls in South America. We stayed 3 days and took in a tour of the falls that was truly amazing. The amount of water that goes over the falls is huge and the park has catwalks built over a lot of it so you can literally walk on water to the edge of the waterfalls and look over Garganta del Diablo ( the devils throat) the biggest part of the falls. Our tour took us up the river to the base of the falls but it didn´t stop there, under the falls we went and got soaked to the skin. Not once, not twice but four times. Good clean fun. There is a lot of wildlife around the the falls including millions of butterflies and about 500 different types of animals and birds. Ken says the falls are not as tall as Niagra but maybe prettier because of the green foliage. I will have to make the trip to Ontario to see for myself.
We finally got our visas for Brazil after being turned away four times in Buenos Aires for any number of things from not having photos, or an address where we could be contacted in Brazil with a land line phone number to the way we did our hair that day. Then on top of all the info they wanted it would take up to a week to process. We got the visas in Puerto Iguazu, all they wanted was 144 pesos and they handed it over in one hour and with a smile on their faces.
Tomorrow Brazil.
A cattle drive down the middle of the highway.


Buying oranges.

Yes, we are going under those falls, too!

A different angle, the falls are huge.

The view from the Garganta del Diablo.

One type of the millions of butterflies.

The last photo before the battery died at the park.
Pollo, chicken on the grill.

The cornerstone of the 3 countries.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Uruguay, people call it the little Switzerland of South America because it's clean and it's rich. It almost seems criminal when you see the wealth in Uruguay and compare it to Bolivia or Peru, how can this difference be so extreme on one continent? The people if Uruguay are absolutely the most friendly and helpful people we have met so far, we got waves and thumbs up the whole time we were there. They go out of their way to help you, always! Our first stop Colonia del Sacramento, a cute little tourist town. The first thing we noticed were all the old vehicles, some in mint shape some not quite, and a lot that we don't have in Canada. Brian you would have a hay day down here!
The country itself has only about 3.5 million people and a third of those live in the capital, Montevideo a clean and modern city that stretches along the beach front, about 20 km of it to be exact. Farther up the beach is Punto del Este, the who's who place on the beach for people in Uruguay and Northern Argentina, again modern and clean. We didn't take the time to sit and enjoy the beach for to long but walked and walked and rode and rode along it, Uruguay has over 350 kms of beaches. Loads of beach and barely a person on them.
In Punto del Este we stopped in at the Kawasaki dealer to say hi and see how easy it would be to sell the bike in Uruguay, as it turns out is impossible to do. Foreigners can't sell used bikes, so much for that idea. This is where we met Fernando, the owner of the shop, who he set us up with a shipper/broker in Montevideo who can help us ship the bike back to Miami, when we are ready to go. With a few hours notice we met with Maria and she dropped everything and had a quote ready for us, amazingly helpful. We still aren't quite sure what we are doing about returning home but it fells good to know our options.
We headed inland from Montevideo and rode through a few days of farmland. We thought of home as we munched on freshly picked apples and watched as they got ready to harvest grapes. The whole center section of the country is farmland, beautiful rolling fields of cattle and crops, and quaint farming towns. We stayed in an old hotel dating back to 1872 in a little place called Santa Lucia 15 ft ceilings, a footed tub, and a beautiful garden you could just imagine the people sitting in and sipping tea. Again here, met some terrific people who invited us into their home for a beer and to show us some old antiques they had. We would definitely come back to Uruguay!
Beach in front of our hotel in Punto del Este

Life can be a roller coaster, or at least the bridges can be in Uruguay.

Old cars everywhere.

Cute street scape in Colonia del Sacramento

Kens doing the cooking, leftover pizza.

Harvesting apples and getting ready to pick grapes.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Buenos Aires

How can a city so big, over 13 million inhabitants, be so nice? We have asked ourselves this question everyday for the last week. The city is very accessible, with a 6 lane road circling the city and arms going off to every district you can get to where ever you want to easily, even if you absolutely hate driving in cities. The truth is we only had to drive one day to look for Dakar Moto, a bike shop with people we wanted to talk to about shipping the bike to the U.S. by plane or boat.
We found ourselves a cute little hotel in the center of the city (for a lot less than we expected, in fact the parking cost us just about as much as the hotel) and set out to explore the city, parks and green space everywhere, little sidewalk cafes, a great mix of old and new architecture, and in the evenings, great restaurants, street musicians and tango shows. We didn't find Evitas' grave but we did see Casa Rosada where she used to wave to her many admirers in the 1940's. We are kicking ourselves now for not taking in a futbol game (aka soccor, in Canada) but we did go and checkout the Boca Stadium which was pretty impressive in itself.
The first weekend we were in the city we looked up the friends we made while camping in Chaos Milal, German and Gracie. They invited us to their weekend house outside the city where German prepared an awesome parrilla and Gracie gave me an Argentinian cooking lesson. What a great time we had with them, drinking wine, bike riding and practicing our Spanish (remember they don't speak a word of English). Many, many laughs! Hopefully we can return the hospitality in Canada.
We decided a week in Buenos Aires was a enough for us so we booked passage on a ferry to Uruguay and waved goodbye as we sailed away.

Ken and Gracie displaying our new favorite wine, Colon Malbec and a serving of Berengena (marinated eggplant) recipe to follow.


  1. 3 eggplant
  2. 1/3 c. minced garlic
  3. 1 T. oregano
  4. salt and pepper
  5. 1/3 c. olive oil
  6. several bay leafs
  7. 1/3 c. red wine vinegar

Peel and slice eggplant into 1/2 inch slices. Sprinkle with salt and let sit for 30 minutes than pat off excess water. Boil eggplant in 1/2 and 1/2 water and white vinegar for about 20 minutes and let cool. Layer eggplant and of remaining ingredients 3 times and let sit overnight in the refrigerator. Mix and serve with sliced french bread. Caution; extremely garlicy therefor everyone must sample at least a little.

Serve with your favorite bottle of wine and good friends!

Argentinos know how to B.B.Q.
Cabra at a Parrilla

Beautiful architecture

Stadium home of the Boca Juniors

Colourfully painted houses in the artsy Boca distrist

Tango street dancers

Wall mural in the microcenter in the new area of down town

The whole mural is made up of smaller murals

Good bye Buenos Aires,
our view as we leave on the Buquebus for Uruguay

Friday, March 09, 2007

Re: Roadside Monument

After a little research I have dug up the answer to my unanswered question as to all the roadside monuments enveloped in plastic bottles of water.

According to legend, Deolinda Correa followed her husband, barefoot, through the dessert during very hard times in the mid 1800's. It was here that she met her demise and died of thirst. Her body was found with her newborn infant still suckling at her breast. A shrine was erected on the spot she was found but her death has turned into a near cult her in Argentina with shrines being placed everywhere along the roadsides. Bottles of water being left in her name to quench her thirst, her biggest follower being the truckdrivers.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Just a Wondering


The infamous but not all that impressive Inca Bridge.

Looks close but can take days.

He flies through the air with the greatest of ease.

Bocchi game out of control?

No, round rocks formed by a very long roll along the bottom of a river bed.

Look up, way up!

It takes thousands and thousands of years for the wind and rain to carve out these columns. Echos go on for ever..........

George, the amazing dueno of La Posta. A great guy and a very different biker experience.

Alfredo and Karena, thanks again. Reminder: Canada has great wines you would love too, come try them out.

Plata Del Mar

The population in Jan. and Feb goes from 600,000 to 1,200,00 and you can't find a spot on the beach. We arrived the first week in March and we couldn't find a person on the beach.

Ah, a life of leisure! Since paying our dues on Ruta 40 we have been kicking back enjoying an easier pace. We have visited a few National Parks, Natural Monuments and have cruised miles and miles of farmland. The parks here are good but they don't have anything over the ones we have in Canada: Parque Prov. Ischiguatasto or the Valley of the Moon, known for its fossils, dinosaur bones and lonely rock formations is a smaller version of Drumheller's Badlands, Parque National Talampaya exhibits walls, pillars and rivers of terra cotta red that glow in the sun (or so they say, it was cloudy and dull when we were there), and The Inca Bridge, a natural bridge across a small river that was used by the Inca and the Spaniards while crossing S.A. (it looked way bigger in the the publicity photos, but still better than getting your feet wet).

We have been lucky with the weather so having purchased our new camping equipment (that we do find more comfortable than the lumpy, soggy or taco-y hotel beds), we have been spending our nights camped out at lakes or in small towns which mostly all have a municipal campground with baños and good hot water showers all for about $3. The only time we have splurged for a room was when the room cost $7 and it just wasn't worth opening the tent and when the rain was just too bad to camp. Last night was one of those nights, after a long debate as whether it looked like rain or not we decided to take a room. Good thing as this morning we woke to thunder and a river of water running down the inside wall of our hotel room. Our poor tent along with us inside would have been pumbled during the course of the night and early morning hours had we decided to tough out the weather.

We are still busy wine tasting, as per strict orders from Shaun and Iris. Plata Del Mar found us with new friends Alfredo and wife Karena, at their friends wine bar, tasting the local fare and trying to talk them into coming to Westbank, to try the best we have to offer. When the rain stops( it had better be tomorrow), we are on our way to Buenas Aires the biggest city for us yet, a whopping 19,000,000 people, half of Argentina's total population.

Kens' FYI about our trip so far:

  • 40,000 kms or 25,000 miles
  • 2,000 litres of gas
  • we are averaging close to 5 litres per 100 kms
  • average .90 per liter with the cheapest gas in Patagonia Arg. at .40 per litre and the most expensive in Peru at 1.50 per litre
  • we have purchased 4 rear tires and 1 front tire, Michelin Anakee seem to be the best
  • no valve or engine adjustments
  • 7 oil changes, uses no oil
  • original chain, sprockets and brakes are still in good shape

Kens' pet peeves about driving here in Argentina

  • most cities have no lines on the roads so anything and anywhere goes
  • many cars have no lights on at night
  • people here don't respect motorcycles or pedestrians, look out!!! for your life
  • where are road signs.....and if they do they are after the turn you were supposed to take