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Thread: The Wife takes on Chlamydia. A South American Retrospective

  1. #33
    Subscriber Click here to find out how to Subscribe
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    Jan 2014
    up north
    Great stuff Chris, keep it coming...

  2. #34
    Never knowingly understood Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    South Yorkshire
    Great photo's and report Chris

    Thanks mucho

    Tours, training or custom made earplugs ... it's all here.

    "If you want the rainbow then you have to put up with a little rain" Dolly Parton

  3. #35
    It's been a little while since the last installment. Apologies. Things are a bit hectic and now that the weather is improving, bikes need riding...

    On the road (of the Lagunas Route across the Altiplano) again

    It's great to be riding again. Especially with (for now) working suspension. I rode most of this route in 2001. Some journeys are definitely worth repeating! Breathtaking views. Literally and figuratively.

    Last rays of sun at my wild camp. It got cold, but the sleeping bag did it's thing. And the stove failed again, so it was cold tuna and bread for supper

    Nice morning for it

    Room with a view

    Twisters that headed my way

    Not much pollution here

    Undulating terrain

    Navigation wasn't so difficult. It was knackering riding, so every so often in order to take a breather I took a picture

    The famous Árbol de Piedra

    And again in 2015

    Now with the Wife in 2001:

    Similarities and differences? Answers on a postcard please.

    Bloody flamingos! They're everywhere, turning up here and taking all our jobs. Laguna Colorada

    Hot tub in 2015, including entry fee with changing rooms and a restaurant. And in 2001 with Lars and Tini from Germany on their Trans-Americas 2001 trip. No entry fee, no changing room, nor restaurant. But because of Health and Safety considerations in both cases it's important to wear protective head attire... :

    Didn't encounter any pedestrians in 2001. In 2015, this (British) chap. Barkin' mad pal! Also came across a bicyclist from North America. He seemed utterly knackered, and in the spirit of helping fellow travelers I felt he needed a packet of cookies and 2 liters of bottled water more than I did...

    Similar location to this pic from 2001?:

    Laguna Verde 2001. 43 litre Acerbis gas tank and 2 x 4 litre oil cans strapped to it when I set off from San Pedro de Atacama towards Uyuni. 51 liters of gas for over 600km. With the altitude and the hard going my fuel economy went through the floor, but I made it.

    In 2015 on Chlamydia I set off from Uyuni towards SPdA with 27 in the tank and 6 or 8 liters in cola bottles on the back. After the fun stuff, when you hit the pavement on the Argentina to Chile road it's down hill for about 60km if I remember right. Just as well, as I free wheeled with the motor off most of the way and arrived in SPdA on fumes.

    I think the 2015 route was longer (and in ways more difficult and scenic) because it followed more high-Altiplano lakes than 2001.

    Does this picture look like it was taken at the same place as the front cover of the 2002 BMW R1150GSA brochure, see

    Funny you should mention that Mr Bright!....

    Right place, wrong time? In 2001 I stumbled upon and into the photo shoot for the 2002 R1150GSA brochure

    Init. In the clothing section (page 30) and on both sides of the pullout poster. The same picture 3 times. Subliminal message: You can either ride a shiney GSA and wear a shiney BMW jacket or ride an old scabby shed and wear second hand stuff bought at the BMF rally at Peterborough. The choice is yours. Make the right decision!

    No joke... When I got home after my 99 to 02 trip I spammed all the BMW headquarters I could think of. I now have said brochure in 10 languages! "You probably think the song is about you".

    What the brochure sezz... ;-) There's a bloke on the HUBB who likes trolling me: Lots of pointless stuff that probably makes his chest swell with indignation. He even wrote in the guestbook on my website at - A Guestbook Interestingly enough, it's possible to edit others' words to make them very different, even positively sycophantic :-) Does he not realise I have wool in my flies and shouldn't be messed with?

    Another 2001 picture I like:

    And from 2015

    Highest Customs office in the world?

    In no mans land between Bolivia, Argentina and Chile

    2001 trip words are at Chapter 22 The Big Trip

  4. #36
    Superb update Chris.

  5. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by AustinW View Post
    Great stuff Chris, keep it coming...
    Quote Originally Posted by Micky View Post
    Great photo's and report Chris

    Thanks mucho

    Quote Originally Posted by Timolgra View Post
    Superb update Chris.
    I appreciate you taking the time to write positive stuff, guys.

  6. #38
    Update of local map (Leg 3)

    Here’s a map(ish) (actually screenshot of track log in Garmin Mapsource) of my route (clockwise) from Uyuni to San Pedro de Atacama in northern Chile, to Arica, then on to Arequipa and the Colca Canyon in southern Peru, to Lago Titcaca, and back into Bolivia to La Paz, the bicycle tour marketing ploy of the "Road of Death" and on to Samaipata for Christmas 2015

  7. #39
    Down the Hill to Chile and then north to southern Peru

    After a brief attempt by the Chilean border officials at San Pedro de Atacama to justifying their existence (attempt to persuade me to remove all my luggage and carry it indoors to shove it through their xray machine… I explained it was too hot for me to do it and that the aduana man should unbolt everything and carry it to his machine himself or not at all… it was agreed that he could use his fancy machine to look in my small rucksack only), I entered muy muy caro Chile. European prices rule here, which if you’re a tight-arsed descendant of a Jock isn’t so good.

    San Pedro de Atacama is rather quaint with its desert setting and colonial architecture.

    Here’s also a pic from 2001.:

    South America is full of younger backpacking types, from North America, Europe and other far flung countries as well as local ones, in particular from Argentina. SPDA attracts more than its fair share, justifiably so. It's a pretty place and tourism central.

    A large (certainly visual) amount try to make money at traffic lights and other public places as what would loosely be described as “entertainers”, usually jugglers at traffic junctions. They were there in 2001 too, but haven’t, sadly, become more talented in the intervening one and a half decades! This guy was good though: Juggling 3 batons while standing on one leg on a heavy duty bit of webbing strung between 2 trees!

    The border crossing from Arica into Peru is straight forward as long as the name in the passport matches that on the vehicle registration document. My paperwork was conveniently in order :-) The Pan-American Highway along the coast is 1000s of km in a straight line. Why would anyone just ride that when inland up in the Andes there are great roads, views, culture and history? I rode it a short way before turning off towards Arequipa, a city I hadn’t visited before

    When stopped under a tree for a comfort break (it was bloody hot!), spotted this chap refilling the drinking troughs for his cattle

    Arequipa is very pleasant. Great views around the Plaza des Armas. What a backdrop too!

    The Cathedral

    And again

    Again again

    I recall this still is a convent, as it has been for centuries. None of the resident ladies were available for a chat (up)… Probably already tucked up in bed, in order to be prepared for another dawn session of genuflection and flatulation

  8. #40
    Colca Canyon

    Along with Arequipa I had also not visited the Colca Canyon on my last trip. I'd heard great things about it and it didn't disappoint. A superb place to visit and, dare I say it, I didn't see too many gringos as on the bike, I was able to dodge the tour buses. Bonus!

    Leaving Arequipa. The Misti volcanos overlooking the city.

    The same recipe for the past 600 or so years... ;-)

    Yanque is a pleasant little town and a good base to explore from. A lot less touristy than Chivay

    This is wrong in so many ways :-)

    The Ampato volcano bubbling along nicely

    A more pleasant depiction of rural Peruvian life

    The walk home from work

    Smithing pots and pans in the street

    The Colca Canyon is famous for the Andean condor. They kept their distance and with only an 18 to 105mm lens they weren't so easy to capture on film

    How high? How far? The turn off down to the canyon bottom. 800m horizontal distance to my right, 2000m drop in altitude and 29km to ride!

    Some hardcore civil engineering

    Pleasant views

    A leisurely ride down begins

    More turns

    Taking a rest, mindful of rockfalls

    Reached the river. Now the only way is up again!

  9. #41
    Just a quick update should anyone be interested. Been out of touch in terms of RR updates for a little while.

    In early June I had a great time watching the TT on the Isle of Man. I want to find the time to post a few pics here.

    Last week following and accident in my house I was operated on my back and have some nice new pins there to set off airport metal detectors. Hope to make a close to full recovery, but no bike riding for me this year :-(

    As you've also seen by the image place holders above, the fcuker from Photobucket are partaking in some very sharp business practices. There's a thread at

    So I'll have to spend many hours sorting this situation to make the images reappear on this RR and my other RRs. Won't be giving those sh!ts any money. I won't be blackmailed!

    So, wishing everyone a fun summer! And beware of gravity!


  10. #42
    Subscriber Click here to find out how to Subscribe
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    Jun 2015
    Hi Chris,
    great reading,some pics fab, but I thought it was only me who can't see pics due to photo bucket 3rd party rubbish message..
    I am glad you mentioned.........sad business
    ..hope you are getting well and keep up the spirit...
    cheers Albatross

  11. #43
    Thanks for the kind words Albatross!

    Just an update. After a little birdy whispered me a workaround to the extortion attempts of the fcukers at the image hosting "service" Photobucket, Greg was kind enough to edit all my posts to make the images display again. Thank you Greg!!

    I'm on a Windows 7 PC running Chrome. They also appear on my Samsung cell phone (Android and Chrome). If you can't see them (i.e. only see placeholders demanding money...), please let me know.

    The workaround in adding ~original immediately after the .jpg in the IMG code.

    I've downloaded all my images from photofcukem and will self-host all digital content in future.

  12. #44
    Going to get this RR going again after a longer break. It needs to be done and will serve another purpose to take up some of the many hours of boredom I have every day where I’m just sitting around whittling my life away.

    The summary so far: Between October 2015 and July 2016 I rode a shagged out Gen 1 Kawasaki KLR650 20 thousand miles around South America. From Sao Paulo in Brazil, via Foz to Iguassu, to northeast Argentina to Bolivia, to N Chile via the Altiplano, southern Peru to Lago Titicaca, where the RR has gotten to so far.

    What follows will be more fooling around Bolivia and a New Year on a Brazilian beach with a Brazilian with a Brazilian. Then, following the 2016 Dakar race from Uyuni all the way to the podium at Rosario, it’s down the Ruta 3 to Ushuaia and an Antarctic cruise.

    After that the minor case of a ride all the way to Santa Marta in Colombia.

    I rode around this magnificent continent on an airhead GS around the Millennium, so will continue to mention my views/ thoughts/ pictures of then and now.

    Feel free to comment. It’s a bit boring to just post stuff and hear nothing from anyone.

    A couple of pictures...

    Out of hospital, but sporting a starship trooper brace

    Michael Dunlop on his way to winning the 2017 Isle of Man TT Senior race

  13. #45
    There's now the opportunity to play cat and mouse with disappearing and reappearing images, all based on the fact that Photobucket is messing people around with their extortion attempt. Rather than placeholders demanding a ransom, it's a case of regular placeholders that signify that no image of that name exists in that server location.

    Then following a hard refresh (Crtl + F5 in Windows), different images disappear and others "reappear"... I'm running this RR on 3 different forums and different images are visible/ not visible at any particular point in time, all on the same laptop. Also different on my Android phone. Go figure.

    I started trying to link to images on my own webserver, but it's a huge faff editing all the IMG codes and reloading everything. Having said that, this option may well become inevitable in the near future.

    If everything goes t!ts up, please let me know!

  14. #46
    The ride to Lago Titicaca

    Kicking off this RR again. I spent a night in Colca town before heading towards Lago Titicaca and the border back into Bolivia.

    Allegedly the highest Irish pub in the world. No Guinness served. Nor Jameson. Just one other obnoxious tourist in there. The barman was sh!te too, so didn’t think it appropriate to share my money with this establishment

    Christmas coming up, so nativity plays need practising

    Wonder what this lorry is transporting….

    Views en route

    Never say you weren’t warned!

    Hippies were all around South America. In 2000/1 and in 2015/6. Harmless enough and still drugged up and broke. At traffic lights lots of squeegee merchants and “jugglers”. A lot of them from Argentina. And why not? Their own country is utterly bankrupt. Still can’t play a decent guitar though.

    Catching up at the end of the day

    In 2015. However many times you visit it, it’s still mystical.

    In 2001:

    Then (in 2001), traditional dress

    And now, replica football shirt. Fuel still comes out of a drum and dispensed with a funnel…

    What a view

    Same ferry service to the mainland as in 2001

  15. #47
    Side trip down the now less than deadly Death Road

    In 2001 I rode down the dirt track into the Yungas region, part of the Amazon jungle (whose principle crop is coca leaves… processed into a white powder in Colombia...) from the heady heights of the pass above La Paz to the town of Coroico. In those days there was only one road, barely wide enough in places for two 4 wheeled vehicles to pass.

    Then and now the obligation is to drive on the left. On every other South American road, people drive on the right. The reason being is that the road hugs the right hand hill side on the way down and drivers of left hand drive vehicles on the down hill journey can see where their left wheels are in relation to the several hundred foot sheer drop-off. In those days some people did die. Indeed, I saw an older man on the side of the road on one corner with a flag, who apparently made it his life’s work to wave his flag to all cars/trucks/bikes to warn them. He had lost his entire family when their minibus rolled off the road!

    Today, however it is the most un-dangerous, un-deadly, average gravel track that can be found 100s of times throughout the Andes. Why: An alternative paved road to Coroico on the other side of the valley has been built. The old “Death Road” has been graded and crash barriers have been put in the corners. It’s still scenic if there’s no cloud or rain. Virtually the only traffic is now cycle tours and other detritus like me.

    The bicycle tours are still milking it, as can be seen from this backpacking “survivor” pictured below. He seemed surprised I was taking his picture in an ice-cream parlour in La Paz.

    I took the following video on the helmet mounted GoPro, in which I might well be taking the p!ss out of said survivors :-) If I’m honest, it was dangerous for me riding up the hill: meeting mainly female, mainly French, mainly heavy weight cyclists head-on who didn’t know their left from their right ;-) Sorry if any offense is caused. It is intentional! ;-)

    It’s probably the most boring 21 minutes of footage on the internet. (See 13.25 onwards ;-) ) A lot like the majority of unedited self-published helmet cam footage out there….

    2015 Tshirt. Ha ha

    2001: Scary? Yes

    2015: Not now

    The sign says it. This picture was taken by an Israeli couple on their honeymoon. The man tried to convince me not to ride the road as it would be too dangerous for me. They had just ridden it up hill.

    It took my best smile and random polite platitudes to get through to him that I was going to flatly ignore everything he told me.

    2001 view from Coroico

    It rained a lot in 2015

    Gas station tourist attraction in 2015?

    La Paz, when it’s cold isn’t so much fun. It’s a big and dirty metropolis. Taking this picture was the highlight of my stay

  16. #48
    The Ruta del Che

    I found Bolivians in rural areas, away from the big towns and especially away from the usual gringo tourist centres, to be warm-hearted, inquisitive and friendly. Fuel for gringos at Bolivian gas stations is 3 times the price the locals pay. However, if you get it from a drum on the side of the road you get it for the same price the locals pay = 25% more than the regular government price… Often out in the boonies there isn’t a reliable gas station for many many miles, so local entrepreneurship wins the day.

    Don't think any of these 3 chaps are/were ever on P=45, P-10' Christmas cards list. ˇViva la revolucion!

    I think I need my GPS to follow the route...

    A map to give you an idea where the Ruta de Che is. It's essentially many different dirt roads that lead to the village La Higuera where Che Guevara was killed by the army in 1967 after he entered Bolivia in order to promote his ideals. The roads are all similarly deadly to the hyperbollox "Death Road" as covered in the previous post. Wide gravel/ dirt with marginally tricky bits once in a blue moon. If you ride/drive off the edge, death could possibly come to pass. If you don't, you're pretty much guaranteed to have no fatal mishaps.

    La Higuera lives its infamy large

    More largess

    Y mas. There were a couple of restaurants in the village. They refused to serve me as I was alone and they couldn't be ar$ed to cook for one solo punter. Ended up asking the lady in the grocery store nicely if she could fry me a couple of the eggs she was selling, along with some bread and cola I bought from her.

    3 of Che's disciples who were also killed at La Higuera

    Pleasant views

    Good memories


    Vilagrande. Carrying a 10 litre container with which to walk into gas stations in order to buy gas at the locals' price, having parked the bike around the corner. It developed a hole near the bottom shortly after I bought it ;-) The cell phone coverage in Bolivia is better than in England

    Pretty big bridge

    Over this...

    I spent Christmas back with Mika and his mates in Samaipata, but lost most of the pictures from there as my phone didn't react so well to being dropped in the Atlantic Ocean off Brazil. Probably a good idea, as far too much alcohol was involved celebrating the birth of the Baby Jesus :-)

    I flew back to Sao Paulo and the Brazilian coast for New Year to meet with a dear friend, Simone. A pleasant way to see in 2016...

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